Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Laughing at food allergies - "One Grain More". Brilliant

I'm so very happy that Potty Mummy shared this with me on Facebook. It's Les Misérables meets allergy baking and very funny.

Favourite line?

"Carob doesn't work, Carob is a trap. Anyone who's had it knows it tastes like crap!"

I'm going to waste a lot of time watching this today. I suggest you do too :-)

And as Rowan Atkinson says (about to paraphrase badly) "Nothing should be off limits when it comes to humour, taking the piss and generally feeling a bit better about a crappy, allergy situation."

Ok, so Rowan said almost none of that, but he did say something about humour and free speech and I totally agree. And if Ro and I sat down for a coffee, he'd completely agree with me adding an allergy twist to his honourable sentiments.

So. Enjoy, giggle and see? Allergies can be mocked sometimes and that's a Good Thing.

Allergies, I laugh in your face!

 © Pig in the Kitchen All Rights Reserved

Friday, 25 January 2013

Review: Helen's Gluten & Wheat Free Brown Bread Mix

Recipes for allergies
Looking good! But - whisper - a bit small...

I LOVE getting products to review.

Why? Coz I can pretend I'm an authoritative guru.  

So gather at my feet people, look worshipful and let guru Pig tell you all about Helen's Brilliant Brown Bread Mix.

Caveat Number 1: The packets are designed to be used with eggs, but after a chat with Helen's PR, we decided I should try using an egg replacer to see what happened. I used two level tablespoons of ground golden linseeds, two heaped teaspoons of 'No Egg' and enough coconut milk to make a smooth paste. (You could use rice milk or just water.)

Is this a loaf, or a mouthful?
I was a bit dubious when I saw the weight of the ingredients - 250g (that ain't a lot) - and the instructions to use a 1lb loaf tin. I don't do 'lbs' any more, but given the small packet, I went with my smallest of small loaf tins which measures 12cm x 21cm.

It looks small. Will it rise in the oven?
I can't fault the prep time -about eight mins after faffing with the egg replacer - and the liquid mixed into the flour really easily.

Umm, but I scraped it into the loaf tin and it looked forlorn; it was only half full.

Never mind, I thought, it will rise spectacularly in the oven and be like the Magic Porridge Pot! (I do actually think like this, I've clearly missed a few developmental stages.)

The instructions told me to cut a slit in the dough before I put it in the oven and that was rather thrilling and looked really good once it was cooked.

But my guru-like instincts were right; this mix did not metamorphasise into a whopping great crusty bloomer. 

It politely grew a little instead.

What did it taste like?
Yummy. With an authentic wholemeal taste and a great crusty crust. In fact, it tasted like home baked bread

Alas the texture was - like a lot of GF bread - a little 'gummy'.

But eaten warm from the oven and dipped into a hearty tomato soup, this would be lovely. It also toasted well.

The drawbacks?
Too small to make sandwiches. 

Although if you were feeding a toddler - I'm not being facetious - this would make a dinky plate of beans on toast.

And actually, with the post-Christmas blubber that is hanging around my middle, this is quite a good-sized loaf for middle-aged me.

Worth having a packet in the cupboard for emergencies, but this is unlikely to replace your daily bread if you have to make packed lunches every day.

Allergy advice: "May contain traces of egg. Packed in an area that handles soya and dairy."

Ingredients: Wholegrain rice flour, Cornflour, Potato Starch, Flaxseed flour, xanthan gum, raising agents: (Sodium bicarbonate, Disodium diphosphate), sea salt

Price: £2.49 for 250g

Where to buy it: Virginia Foods.net 

recipes for allergies
For Lilliputians, this would be ideal!
© Pig in the Kitchen All Rights Reserved

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Chickpea Chowder (gluten free, vegan, dairy free, egg free)

Allergy recipes
Chickpea Chowder. I can't guarantee that your kids won't retch...
I can't stand kids who are fussy about food. It's wasteful, spoilt and I really should have more patience because I was a kid who was fussy about food.

But in my defence, my Mum did once serve me stuffed marrow. That is definitely a crime against culinary and probably a 1970's form of child abuse. She made me sit there until all the washing-up was done and I was about to follow through with my retching. Shudder. (But it's ok Mum, I've forgiven you.)

So when my children are fussy, what do I do? Wait for the retching.

My rule is; 'one retch and you're out'. (There's little joy to be had in watching a child dry heave over their plate.) And if we're at the pre-retching stage (the 'pushing the food about the plate and sighing' stage) I kindly allow them to eat the same number of spoonfuls as their age. 

Although the 13-year-old doesn't really see this as a good deal and the 7-year-old doesn't like it much either.


There is often retching and sighing in our house, because I have always served 'proper' meals cooked from scratch (ooo, get me! all virtuous and nauseating!) But amazingly, the 'do or die' strategy seems to have paid off.

Because even though this Chickpea Chowder consists of hastily thrown together ingredients with a tin of chickpeas chucked in as an afterthought, about 75% of my kids like this meal!

And on good days - if I allow some of them to slather on Worcestershire Sauce - I can get it up to a 90% positive vote. And in my book that is pretty good.

Do you have fussy kids? I definitely feel your pain.

Thank-you to everyone who gave suggestions for naming this dish. In the end I went with Chickpea Chowder suggested by Elsie B because I couldn't resist the delicious alliteration and I've always been strangely attracted to the word 'Chowder'.


Chickpea Chowder (serves 4 kids and two adults)

Remember those student days when you had no money but you did have an onion, a tin of tomatoes and some random veg? Well this is a grown-up version of student survival cooking. I fall back on it nearly every week when I haven't planned what we're going to eat and it's already 6pm.

And this is a good one for toddlers; just leave out the salt, seasoning and wine (!)

1 onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 courgette chopped very finely (or grated)
1 carrot (grated)
1 tin of chickpeas
1 tin of sweetcorn
1 tin of tomatoes
100 ml (ish) of red wine
1-2 tbsps tomato purée
Optional: A small carton of coconut cream (or 4-6 tbsps)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 GF stock cube
mixed herbs
salt and black pepper to taste
Rice to serve
  • Finely chop the onion and garlic and put them into a large frying pan, or non-stick saucepan. Add the olive oil and fry gently while you chop the courgette
  • Add the mixed herbs and chopped courgette to the frying pan and stir. Peel the carrot and grate it directly into the frying pan, stir again. If you are using the stock cube, crumble it into the pan and mix through
  • Add the tin of tomatoes (chop the tomatoes up), tin of sweetcorn and tin of chickpeas. Add the red wine (don't use if this is for a toddler), bring the pan to the boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the liquid has reduced
  • Add the tomato purée and coconut cream (if using), stir through and season to taste
  • You might want to simmer for another 10 mins  if you think it's too runny
  • Serve with rice, or you could stuff this into pittas
  • It also freezes well, so double the quantities if you want to make a big batch and freeze it
  • If your kids retch, don't make them eat it!

© Pig in the Kitchen All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Butternut Squash soup by Pippa Kendrick

Gluten free recipes
Liquid comfort. (And no hangover in the morning.)
The recipe for the Chickpea thing is definitely coming soon.

But in the meantime you should all be making Pippa Kendrick's Roasted Butternut Squash, Coconut and Chilli soup.

I've tweaked the recipe to make it easier (note: always choose the lazy way if you can) and sans roasting the butternut squash, you can have this ready in 20 mins (ish).

Oh and I threw in some red lentils too. Other people's recipes are definitely made to be tweaked :-)

Pippa's recipe is in her book, but wait, I can't find the recipe on her site! Does that mean I have to type it up for you?  Gah.

Well here's my version then. (Yes, my tone is ungracious, this was supposed to be an easy post...)

1 butternut squash
1 red chilli
1 green chilli
3 cloves of garlic
2-3 tbsps of red lentils
2 tbsps of cheating curry paste (I use one in a tub from Waitrose)
1tbsp olive oil
1 small carton of coconut cream
Bunch of fresh coriander

  • Peel the butternut squash, scoop out the seeds and roughly chop. Place into a deep saucepan
  • Add the oil, half the curry paste, chopped chillis, garlic, lentils and half the coriander
  • Fry gently for about 5 minutes, then add enough water to just cover the butternut squash
  • Bring to the boil and simmer hard for about 15 mins while you clear up the kitchen and do last night's washing-up (true story). Add more water if necessary
  • Blitz with a hand blender until smooth. Add the coconut cream
  • Put back on the heat and add salt to taste and the other tbsp of curry paste if you think it needs it
  • Serve and garnish with the rest of the chopped coriander
  • Try to get warm and wonder if the snow will bring the country to a halt on Friday

© Pig in the Kitchen All Rights Reserved

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Recipes for children with food allergies

Recipes for toddlers with food allergies
Mmm. Yummy comfort food
This recipe is coming soon. But I need a little help.

In our house this meal is called 'Chick Pea Thing'. "What's for tea Mum?" "Chick Pea Thing."

It's instantly recognisable and some kids groan, others whoop (more on that when I publish the recipe).

However, it's not a very appealing name and it's definitely not a name that people are typing into search engines as they look for allergy friendly recipes for children.

(I know, you see how grown up I have to be when I plan my titles? I used to be blissfully unaware, now I have to pretend to be savvy...)

So, let's cut to it; what shall I call this recipe?

It's gluten free, dairy free, egg free, it has chickpeas and veg and it has optional coconut cream.

I'm going to use it to 'launch' the Baby and Toddler section of my website - oooo, thrilling! - so maybe 'children' or 'toddler' could feature in the name?

I'll leave it up to you darlings, don't let me down!

*waits anxiously*


*whistling wind from the East*


This recipe is now live! You can see it HERE.

© Pig in the Kitchen All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

'Free From for Kids' a mail order site for allergy sufferers

Allergy friendly goodies delivered to your door. Yes please
Caution: I am about to sound like an old fart...

Way back when my daughter was diagnosed with food allergies (ok so it was only seven years ago) it was tough. 

We were down the mine at 6am baking tea bread. We swept the chimney all day and toiled away to put egg free cakes on the table. Times was definitely hard.

You lot don't know you're born. (Now I'm sounding bitter and like I have a chip on my shoulder.)

Not only do you have Goodness Direct, you now have Free From For Kids

(Ooo, you could shorten this to FFFK! Although that looks rude...scratch that.) 

Free From For Kids is a mail order company for yummy, free from products. It was started by Suzanne Attryde whose two boys can't eat dairy, egg or soya. Does that sound familiar?

From Hale and Hearty mixes to Wot no Dairy yogurts, FFFK (couldn't resist, sorry) provides you with mail order choice. Hurrah!

And Suzanne's sons are possibly the luckiest kids alive; they taste all the stuff and give their feedback on the site. 

Which is nice work if you can get it.

Take a look at the site here and if you want Suzanne to stock stuff that isn't on the site, get in touch with her here

© Pig in the Kitchen All Rights Reserved