Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Fruit traybake with lemon glacé icing - gluten free, egg free, dairy free, vegan

Egg free traybake
Thick, oozy icing. Lushilicious (yes, that is a word)

My mum hated making my sandwiches for school. Actually, she loathed making my sandwiches for school. There was the daily grumbling, the sudden groan as she remembered that she still had to make them, and there was eye rolling and vigorous slamming of cupboard doors. 

She once made a huge batch of cheese sandwiches and froze them. Every day she'd break off a round of sandwiches and ungraciously pack them into my lunchbox. (They tasted horrid.)

Mum got frustrated at my unwavering request for mature cheddar cheese sandwiches. She'd try to ring the changes with ham (yuck), with egg (oh dear god do you actually hate me?), Marmite (yawn) and, occasionally, cheese mixed with HP sauce (Mum, it's mature cheddar cheese  on white, why is that so difficult?)
gluten free egg free dairy free cake
Sink your teeth into that bad boy. Rowl! ('Rowl' is what vaguely sexy tigers say)
I could feel a little hurt at how much Mum hated making my sandwiches.

Did she not, after all, feel genuine joy at packing up bundles of sandwiches? Was it not with quiet delight that she slipped in a butterfly cake to thrill my heart?

Well, now that I am 10 years into packed lunches, with another 10 to go (packed lunches did not figure in the 'shall we have four kids?' debate; beginner's error), I completely understand her aversion to sandwich making.

The narrow, unimaginative tastes of my children, the difficulty of squeezing fruit and veg into miniature containers, the sneaking suspicion that they swap the fruit and veg for hydrogenated fat bought from an unsavoury type loitering outside the school gate, the weekly tussle over whether crisps should ever be allowed in a lunch box (compromise: only on a Friday) and the low level anxiety that if Jamie Oliver EVER peeked inside the Tupperware containers, I would be instantly denounced as a feckless, wastrel of a mother.

The only way I know to deal with making packed lunches, is to make the kids make their own packed lunches.

Sure I oversee from a distance and I'll chop a few carrot sticks, but I decided years ago that sandwich making for four kids, five days a week, is not for me.

I do, however, provide the homemade cake.

And when my Jamie Oliver guilt gets too much to bear, I make vaguely healthy cake. Like this fruit traybake. Lots of dried fruit, some treacle - which is rich in iron - and loads of glacé icing. Which is rich in sugar.

What can I say? Making packed lunches is a bitch and sometimes only sugar can alleviate the tedium.

Oh and postscript: if your children are over the age of six, why on EARTH are you still making their sandwiches? Sandwich making is a loathsome buck that you need to pass as soon as possible or you'll end up a vituperative wreck like my poor mum.

(It's ok mum, I forgive you.)
Food allergy recipes
Eat. Me. Now.

Fruit Traybake
Love this. Really easy to make, and the addition of treacle (rich in iron, remember) gives it a sort of Halloweeny/Guy Fawkes'/Parkin/Christmas cake feel as the days start to darken and we can happily hide layers of fat under layers of clothing (I LOVE Autumn).

Egg free, dairy free, gluten free version
150g dairy free margarine
150g coconut palm sugar/dark muscovado sugar/soft brown sugar (or any sugar, there are no rules)
150g Doves Farm plain flour
1½tsp gluten free baking powder
2 tsps mixed spice
1 tbsp/dessert spoon of treacle
260g dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, cranberries, dried cherries...there are no rules)
a few tbsps of coconut milk
For the egg replacer:
1 tbsp finely ground golden linseeds (or dark linseeds, they won't 'show')
½tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp xanthan gum
enough coconut milk to make a loose paste when egg replacing ingredients are mixed together

Gluten free with eggs
As above, but use 2 eggs in place of the Orgran, linseeds, bicarbonate of soda and xanthan gum. Also use butter in place of dairy free marg if you wish (and milk in place of coconut milk)

Egg free with wheat flour
As above, but use wheat flour in place of gluten free flour and maybe add a little more coconut milk

For the lemon glacé icing/frosting
Approximately 200g icing sugar
lemon juice to mix (2-6 tbsps)

  • Grease and line a 23x29cm rectangular tin (or similar size, not too important). Heat oven to 180°C
  • If using egg replacer, put the Orgran 'no egg', ground linseeds, bicarbonate of soda and xanthan gum into a bowl and add enough coconut milk to make a loose paste, set aside. You may find the mix thickens after 10 mins or so, not to worry, just add a bit more coconut milk
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream the dairy free margarine, sugar and treacle together. Add the egg replacing mix, or eggs, and beat until creamed together
  • Add the gluten free flour (or wheat flour), baking powder and mixed spice and fold gently until combined. Add enough coconut milk/milk to give a soft, dropping consistency
  • Add the dried fruit, mix
  • Scrape into the tin and bake until risen and springy to the touch. Remove from oven and leave to cool
  • As the cake cools, sieve the icing sugar into a bowl and add enough lemon juice to make a thick glacé icing...BUT, not too thick or as you spread it over the cake, crumbs will break off and make it look messy. It has to be thick enough to give a good coating, but runny enough so that you can 'push' it around the cake with your knife. No pressure
  • Place your cooled cake onto a serving plate and spread the icing over the top, letting it artfully drizzle down the outside of the cake. I love the point where you push the icing to the edge of the cake, it teeters on the brink and then gravity slowly pulls it down into a thick oozy dribble. Yummy
  • Leave icing to set and then squish slices into your kids' lunchboxes. No matter that it will be a horrible mess for them to scrape off the box at lunchtime; you'll be at home drinking a cup of tea and eating your fat slice in peace. I love school

food allergy recipes
All good cake comes to an end

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Saturday, 7 September 2013

Chocolate birthday cake for a child with food allergies

gluten free chocolate cake
Birthday girl chose this one as her cake
Note: this blog post does not contain a new recipe. It does contain plenty of my trademark blather.

It was somewhat of a surprise that my youngest daughter woke up deaf on her birthday.

Well, deaf is a little harsh. She was just very hard of hearing, a bit like an infuriating granny.

It started at 0550.

"Mummy can I come in?"
"Groan. I said 6am, but yes, ok. Happy Birthday!"

At first I thought she was taking the p**s. But when I'd repeated myself about five times and she'd comically misheard me - a bit like Saucepan Man in the Faraway Tree - I deduced that she was a few shades of deaf.

I figured it was due to her cold and we carried on with birthday tradition, which means summoning all bleary eyed kids, who sit on the end of the bed and watch the birthday girl/boy open presents.

"E has gone a little bit deaf," I told the other kids. They showed only mild interest.

As E concentrated on opening her cards, I said quietly "E, we've bought you an elephant for your birthday."
E carried on reading her cards. No reaction.
Now the other kids were interested.

"E, we've bought you a fairy princess!" said another sotto voce.

No reaction.

My eldest daughter - who may be a teeny bit wicked - said "E! You're going to Hogwarts!"

Sweet E blithely carried on reading her cards while we did the silent, shoulder-shaking laugh which is so much fun, even at 6am.

(It's OK, we love her really.)

With all kids dropped off at school, it was time to bake a birthday cake.

And look what I found in the Coop:

Allergy-friendly icing
Dr Oetker does it again. Or does she? (You assumed it was a 'he' didn't you? Tsk.)

Silicone. Better out than in
Cu-ute silicone moulds and - may the god of allergies be praised - spray icing in a can! Very exciting!

I used my usual chocolate birthday cake recipe and I also made a lemon drizzle as it's my girlie's favourite cake.

And then it came to the icing, and trialling Dr Oetker's super duper icing.

Well bleurgh and how can you put your name to such a foul product? It tasted cack. And it wasn't even squirty, it required me to bend the nozzle and then it sort of dribbled out onto the cake.

Yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck.

When frosting goes bad, know what I always do? Reach for Betty Crocker. She is the best and her name is so cool.

And this is how the cakes turned out:

egg free birthday cake
Yum. Get the recipe here

Birthday cake for allergy sufferers
It's OK to think that they look like toadstools (or oddly shaped boobs)
Neat huh?

So that's one birthday over and I fully intend to be back very soon with a proper, brand new recipe.


(FYI: My intentions don't always work out)

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