Friday, 22 March 2013

Nut oils in hair products. What's that all about then?

Food allergies: Nut oils in hair products
Caution: You may find these in your hair (products)

I have the best hairdresser.

You know you're in good hands when you can just regress in the chair and nod soporifically at the talented lady who is whispering sweet, comforting words about how she's going to make you look amazing and it will really suit your face and it will add life and layers and bounce and you can just relax and....zzzzzzz.

Yes, I love my hairdresser.

She recently removed a goodly amount of my barnet (what's with my writing today? I've gone all Beatrix Potter crossed with Shakespeare with a touch of cor blimey guvn'a East Ender. Weird.) and I'm all revamped and re-energised, etc.

Anyway, ever the sucker for expensive hair products, I enquired after the serum she'd used to make my locks look so sleek.

And imagine my horror to had Macadamia nut oil in it!

Well, in all my born days (sorry, I can't stop) I never would have thought to check whether a hair product might have nut oil in it.

Because it seems a bit weird to put an anaphylaxis-inducing allergen into a hair product doesn't it?

And although I'm not allergic to nuts, my daughter has allergies to hazelnuts and Brazil nuts and the whole nut subject makes me pretty twitchy. So I wouldn't be lining up to run my nut oiled fingers through her hair.

The message here people, is that nuts could be EVERYWHERE. Even on your head.

So next time you're dozing off in the hairdresser's chair, remember to do a quick speed read of the hair product ingredients first.

Which is a bit of a depressing thought isn't it?

But better than hives on your head, or a blues and twos ride to A&E.

Forewarned and all that...

Has anyone else had a 'nut in weird location' experience recently?

Come on, hit me with your nut horror stories and let's all be scandalised and worried together!

© Pig in the Kitchen All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Pear and Custard Muffins (gluten free, egg free, dairy free)

gluten free muffin recipe
Are these too good for toddlers?

If custard were a woman, she'd throw open her plump arms and clasp you to her ample bosom.

There, there she'd say. Whatever it is and however bad you feel, we can solve it with a dollop of my soothing, yellow goo.

I love the custard woman. I wish she lived in my kitchen.

Do you love custard? Were your childhood puddings enhanced by its unctuous, silky embrace? Did you savour the consistency in your mouth? Enjoy the vanilla fragrance?

Yes, I AM waxing lyrical and it is a little over the top.

But I do sort of think that custard could solve all of our 21st Century problems.

What's that Kim Jong-un? Want to nuke us into the stratosphere? Well, before you press play, shall we have some Treacle Sponge and custard?

Say what Mr Ahmadinejad? You'd like to dissolve Israel? Hush now, first let's have a slab of Spotted Dick drizzled with Mr Bird's finest.

It's such a shame that we won't get my custard foreign policy past the voters because I'm pretty sure I'm onto something.

Anyway, I've decided that the best way to take the world by storm with my Custardology - you heard it here first - is to start with the babes in arms.

They are vulnerable, loving, trusting and hungry. They deserve the best start in life. And custard is it.

I have crafted a recipe for toddlers that combines sweet pear with the substance that will rock their world, now and forever more.

May Custard be venerated. Ommmmm shanti cusstaard.

Pear and Custard Muffins

Let's see, think this makes about 12 muffins? Or it could be 14. But definitely enough to keep your bundle of joy going for a while.

Egg free, dairy free, gluten free version
1 tbsp custard gluten free custard powder
100ml of coconut milk (or formula milk)
225g Doves Farm gluten free self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon
130g agave syrup
90ml vegetable oil
70-175ml coconut milk/formula milk (GF flour can suck up loads of liquid, it's hard to be precise)
1 large pear or 2 medium pears
Egg replacer:
1 heaped teaspoon of Orgran 'no egg' egg replacer
2 tbsps ground linseeds
⅛ tsp xanthan gum
½ tsp gf baking powder
apple juice to mix

Gluten free with eggs
Use the same ingredients as above, but instead of egg replacer, use 1 egg

Egg free with wheat flour
Replace the Doves Farm gluten free flour with regular wheat flour
  • Line a muffin tin with muffin cases
  • To make the custard, put the tbsp of custard powder into a small bowl and warm the 100ml of milk. Gradually mix the milk into the custard powder and whisk to a smooth paste. Re-heat the custard (it takes seconds in a microwave) until it thickens and stir to remove lumps. Set aside
  • If making this egg free, mix the egg replacer ingredients together using a mini whisk. Set aside
  • Heat the oven to 180°C
  • Peel and core the pear (or pears) and then grate it finely (keep the juice)
  • Place the flour, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl and add the egg replacer (or egg), agave syrup and oil. Use a wooden spoon to mix. The mixture might be very dry, but don't panic! Add the grated pear to help things along and then the custard
  • Mix to combine and add enough milk to make a loose mixture (not runny)
  • Spoon into the muffin cases - about half full - and bake for 15-20 minutes
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool
  • Hey, here's an idea, why not eat these warm...with custard? Life really doesn't get better than this

© Pig in the Kitchen All Rights Reserved

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Pear & custard gluten free muffins (egg free, dairy free)

gluten free muffin recipes
One day custard will take over the world (true story)
Coming soon....

These kick ass muffins that are great for hungry toddlers with food allergies.

Gosh, can I just say out loud how GLAD I am - this deserves caps, bold and italics - that I no longer have toddlers? It's truly an exhausting time isn't it?

May these muffins fortify you during your daily grind duties.

Talk soon lovely allergy peeps!

Pig xx

Woot! Woot! This recipe is now live, you can find it here.
gluten free muffin recipes
Caution: may contain custard
© Pig in the Kitchen All Rights Reserved

Monday, 4 March 2013

Food allergies and kids - quick treats

Food allergies and kids - quick treats
A biscuit on a lolly stick sandwiched together with chocolate. Yes please.

I feel so stupid because I honestly thought children went to school to LEARN. Turns out I'm completely wrong.

Yes, they do a bit of learning but they also spend  a huge amount of time eating.

A birthday cake here, a bake sale there, an impromptu cooking lesson because it's a random Wednesday in March and a handful of sweets as a reward for who knows what.

As if it's not challenging enough packing a lunchbox for a child with food allergies, I'm supposed to have all this extra 'treat' food on standby as well!


My daughter does have a tin of goodies at school for those unplanned snacks, but let's be real; when someone has bought in homemade cupcakes, a chunk of dairy free chocolate doesn't really cut it. 

So I've decided to fight back. I looked at the lolly sticks in my cupboard left over from Christmas cake pops and I stared hard at a pack of GF biscuits. And an idea started to form.

Behold my tarted up biscuits...on a stick. A biscuit lolly if you will.

Let me tell you these hit the spot with my daughter. There were gasps, there were 'ooohs' and there were 'can I have one NOW?!'

Granted, they will take you about 30 mins (with waiting time) to make, but for those last minute 'Argh I need a pretty allergy friendly treat' moments, I reckon these do the job.

And there's something very satisfying about eating food off a stick. Perhaps it brings out the cave baby in us? (You know when we lived in caves and ate stuff from a stick instead of a fork? Oh never mind...)

Biscuits lollies

I used shop bought biscuits (even though Mum told me NEVER to do that!), but if you had oodles of time, you could make your own; maybe Gingerbread biscuits? Or use the mix from these Jammy Biscuits? Up to you.


One pack of gluten free/egg free/dairy free biscuits (mine are from Orgran)
About 100g dairy free dark chocolate
1 tbsp golden syrup/agave syrup (optional)
Lollipop sticks
Pretty GF sprinkles

  • Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water (a 'bain marie'), or melt it in the microwave (feel no guilt)
  • Using a teaspoon, spread one side of a biscuit with a little melted chocolate, leaving a 'margin' around the edge because the chocolate will spread when you squidge the two biscuits together
  • Place the biscuit on some baking parchment, chocolate side up. Place the lolly stick into the chocolate. Using another biscuit, add a little chocolate to one side of it, then place it - chocolate side down - on top of the lolly stick to form a 'sandwich', does that make sense?
  • Leave the chocolate to harden; you could speed up the process by putting the biscuits in the freezer for 10 minutes
  • Repeat until you have a pleasing row of biscuits on lollies
  • When the chocolate in the biscuit sandwich has hardened, melt a little more chocolate and spoon it over the top of each biscuit lolly to make it look pretty. Or you could cover the whole thing in chocolate, why not?
  • Add GF pretty sprinkles and leave it all to set (use the freezer if need be)
  • Feel happy and amazing and present the biscuit lollies to your children. Everyone will think you are incredible and your child/children will love you forever. Win win

© Pig in the Kitchen All Rights Reserved

Friday, 1 March 2013

Welsh Cakes - gluten free, dairy free, egg free

gluten free recipes Welsh Cakes
Welsh Cakes are definitely not stupid


It's just soo tempting to make fun of the whole country (I'm not v. PC in case you hadn't noticed.)

It's because I lived in Bristol as a child. The Welsh were our nearest neighbours and I think we were a bit jealous because they had all that beautiful scenery and the Severn Bridge.

But their accent was horrible - all sing songy and gentle - and it really couldn't compete with our superior yokel accents.

And anyway we had the Clifton Suspension Bridge (far better) AND Weston-Super-Mare.

Of course I'm not going to mention anything about unsavoury practices that might involve sheep and I won't mention them burning the country homes of the English either.

What I will say is that Welsh Cakes are lovely.

There. That was quite restrained wasn't it?!

On this day of St David when we give thanks for daffodils (Huh? St David was an actual person? Oh well...), I urge you to make my Lemon Welsh Cakes and to think gracious thoughts about our slightly dim Welsh cousins.

Oh dear, I called them dim. Well I told you I'm not very PC...


Lemon Welsh Cakes (makes about 12, hopefully more)
These are a doddle to make (that means easy to make).  You are supposed to only have them with sugar sprinkled on top, but jam, maple syrup, golden syrup, honey, chocolate spread, it's all good in my book.  You will need a crepe pan for this recipe and a 7cm round cutter.

All versions:125g dairy free margarine (or butter)
80g sugar (+ extra for sprinkling)
35g currants/sultanas
1 lemon
Approximately 6 tbsps Rice milk / other milk

Egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free225g Doves Farm self-raising gluten free flour1 pinch of xanthan gum
1 pinch of salt
Egg replacing mix:
1 tbsps ground chia seeds (grind the chia seeds in a blender)
1 tbsp ground linseeds / flaxseeds1 tbsp apple sauce/puree
3tbsps rice milk

Gluten free with eggsUse the Doves Farm GF flour, xanthan gum and salt as above, but replace the egg replacing mix with 1 egg yolk

Egg-free with wheat flourUse the egg replacing mix as shown above and use 225g of self-raising flour (you could probably get away with plain flour in an emergency)

  • If using the egg replacing mix, place the ground chia seeds, linseeds/flaxseeds, apple sauce and 3 tbsps rice milk into a small bowl.  Stir to combine and set aside
  • Place the flour, salt and xanthan gum (if using) into a mixing bowl.  Add the zest of the lemon and the dairy free margarine/butter cut up into cubes.  Rub the fat into the flour with your fingertips until the mix looks like fine breadcrumbs
  • Add the sugar and sultanas and stir
  • Make a well in the centre and add either the egg replacing mix or the egg yolk and mix to combine.  Squeeze some juice from your lemon into the mix and stir/work it until you have a soft, fairly wet dough
  • Dollop your mixture onto a GF floured work surface then, because it is too wet to roll, sprinkle some flour over the top.  Turn the dough over and over on the floured surface until more flour is incorporated - add more sprinkles of flour as necessary - and you have a soft dough that you can roll out.  It sounds a faff doing it this way, but I think it makes for a softer cake at the end of it
  • Gently roll out the dough to 1cm thick, you can almost pat it out to this thickness, the dough feels lovely doesn't it?
  • Using the cutter, stamp out rounds and set them to one side until all the dough is used up
  • Lightly grease your crepe pan by putting a teaspoon of oil onto the surface and then wiping it round with some kitchen paper, the welsh cakes shouldn't be 'fried' in the oil, just browned by the heat
  • Heat the pan over a low to medium heat and add your welsh cakes - in batches of 3 or 4 depending on pan size
  • Cook them on one side until golden brown, then carefully turn them over to cook/brown the other side, lower the heat if they are browning too quickly and not cooked in the middle
  • Place them onto a plate lined with kitchen paper and sprinkle with sugar.  Repeat until they are all cooked
  • Now smear them with margarine and jam, hunker down in the kitchen and eat the whole lot.  Or you could share them with a Welsh person

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