You might have noticed the extended radio silence over the last 10 days or so as we took a much-needed week away from it all down in Cornwall and the lack of wi-fi in our lodge meant that we almost had a technology-free week too. Despite my lack of blog posts, I did manage to keep up with a current TV favourite and I’m sure I’m not the only allergy-parent out there who looks forward to a weekly dose of the Great British Bake-Off (GBBO), which has recently re-started on our screens. I spend that hour with Mike, M and G drooling over their masterpieces, cringing over their mistakes and pondering on whether I can adapt the recipes to create my own M-friendly #GBBO-inspired entries. Our household is especially excited about the upcoming episode airing on BBC1 tomorrow night (September 2nd) as the bakers will be tackling 3 different “free-from” challenges, though I’m not sure any are as difficult as baking to suit multiple food allergies! One person I’m sure will be watching with equally avid interest is fellow EGID Mum and FABED friend, Dr Berenice Golding, so whilst I’m beavering away to pull together a plethora of posts to tell you just how fantastic our Cornish trip was, I am delighted to be able to share with you this guest blog-post written by Berenice, in which she talks about her attempts at a #GBBO-inspired free-from Madeira cake.
In our house we love everything Great British Bake Off despite the fact that on a daily basis we are dealing with multiple food exclusions. Diagnosed in 2012, at the age of 12, my son is allergic to wheat, gluten, tree nuts (not peanuts but we still avoid), soya, sesame and coconut. We have many other foods we are avoiding, or trialling in small quantities such as tomato, but the list is quite long… He has also, following total food exclusions last summer when he was fed an elemental diet via a NG-tube, been put on a diet that does not include dairy, eggs and fish. Nevertheless, despite the exclusions, #GBBO inspires us as we both like to bake. In fact, baking is a must in our house as it is the only way that safe cake, as a treat, can be made available.
We have trialled dairy re-introduction to no avail, so this summer, rather than re-trialling dairy due to an impending hospital admission, I opted to trial eggs. We have managed to re-introduce small amounts of fish, but egg was my next big adventure due to his rapidly approaching 16th birthday.
Why egg you may ask?
The answer is simple, I have struggled over recent weeks and months with the absence of eggs and trying to find egg replacements that not only work, but are also free from nuts – it has been a challenge. Then, while watching the bakers produce Madeira cake on #GBBO, I was suddenly drawn towards Lemon Madeira cake as a baked egg trial and began my search for an allergy-friendly recipe.
I have a number of allergy friendly cook books; my favourite, albeit American, is by Colette Martin. I have also recently invested in a book by Pippa Kendrick following a recommendation by one of the founders of Families Affected by Eosinophilic Disorders (FABED). I also had a recipe in my recipe folder – I started compiling this when I realised that baking was a necessity and not just for fun! – by Glutafin, but because the flour they produce contains milk powder, we haven’t been able to use their flour recently and so I consulted the internet and found a recipe by Dove’s Farm. Unfortunately, the recipe contained almonds which meant that I needed to modify recipes to make something safe for my son. This is where the fun began.
My 1st attempt, whilst smelling okay, was somewhat disastrous as I had forgotten that I was using self-raising flour and had added baking powder as I was working with the Glutafin recipe. It did not taste that nice – the texture wasn’t right – and there was no discernible crack, Mary Berry would not have been impressed. The first cake made its way to the bin quite quickly. But I persevered and my 2nd attempt was exactly what I had been hoping for – well almost – the texture was a little dry (this time I opted to trial a combination of both recipes) but once topped with icing, prepared by Benjamin, it was actually quite delicious! I still need to work on further recipe conversions as I have yet to perfect this cake and I will share the recipe once I think it is worth sharing.
My thanks go to Berenice and Benjamin for this great post. Dr Berenice Golding is a Lecturer in Social Sciences at the University of Huddersfield. She has a personal and professional interest in the social, emotional and psychological aspects of food. Some of her other posts can be found here and here.