Tag Archives: MEWS

March comes in like a lion

Ever had one of “those” days? You know, the ones where you’re already insanely busy and barely have time to breathe and yet everything that could conceivably go wrong, does go wrong to an unbelievable extent, plus those few extra and unexpected hiccups and challenges that appear along the way. After the last 48 hours, I appear to be heading into not just one of “those” days or even one of “those” weeks, but more realistically, one of “those” months. The next few weeks promise to be extremely busy and I’m beginning to wonder how I’ll get everything done on time and in the right order. You know it’s a sad state of affairs when we’re only on the third day of the month and I’m already counting down to the start of the next one.

Wales from space, courtesy of UK astronaut, Tim Peake

Wales from space, courtesy of UK astronaut, Tim Peake

The month started with our rather low-key marking of “Dydd Dewi Sant”, or St David’s Day for those of you not au fait with the Welsh language. Fortunately, this simply required some frantic scrabbling around my drawers hunting out the daffodil brooches that the children and I wear every year and remembering to pin them securely to school jumpers before heading out the door. The children were both keen and proud to wear their daffodils, though equally unimpressed that their friends didn’t know why they wearing them and so took the opportunity to quickly educate their classes. If I’d been more organised, I might have posted on the day itself, but I wasn’t and I didn’t, so this is me recognising that celebration of my heritage now.

But after that gentle start to the month, things have already started to ramp up. The next four weeks include:

Gotta love my left-field boy - who better than Ford Prefect from HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy!

Gotta love my left-field boy – who better than Ford Prefect from HitchHiker’s Guide to the Galaxy!

  • World book day and required costume x 1
  • parents evenings x 2
  • school book fairs x 2
  • M-friendly croissants (eek!) for French role-play at school with just 3 days advance notice to attempt adapting my MEWS-free recipe
  • Mothers Day
  • riding lessons
  • a 10th birthday (how did he get to be a decade old?)
  • birthday celebrations, including themed party and cake
  • class assembly x 1
  • dentist appointment
  • hair appointment
  • GOSH appointment
  • Easter
  • Performing Arts Exams x 2
  • school play, which translates into costume provision, rehearsals and performances
  • Spa day – a late birthday celebration which will be much-needed as it comes in the middle of the busiest week
  • events linked to school topics which will undoubtedly require some inventive cooking from me
  • preparations for a sibling camp for G, which gives her a week away with other youngsters in similar situations and, more importantly, a week away from M

gin-and-tonI’m sure that there will be things I’ve already forgotten and likewise, there’s no doubt that there will be more items added to my list as March passes by. Needless to say, I will be blogging about many of these occasions and just how I overcome the challenges of taking my M-friendly cooking and baking a step further than I ever imagined possible. Once all of these things are out of the way, it’ll be time for a well-deserved drink and, in case you’re wondering, mine’s a large gin!


Due to a slight miscalculation with my weekly local food delivery and the school holiday arrangements, we ended up with a massive glut of apples in the fridge.  It seemed unlikely that we’d ever reach the end of the bags before the end of the summer holidays and so it presented the perfect opportunity to seek out and try my hand at yet another baking experiment.

Courtesy of telegraph.co.uk

Courtesy of telegraph.co.uk

I looked for some apple cake recipes and found that most of them were of the spiced variety.  Much as this appealed to my taste, I knew that G would baulk at even the hint of a spice in the cake and I was keen to make something she would enjoy too.  When I first suggested apple cake, I had had to break it down into its component parts of apples and cake, to convince G that it might be something she’d like, so my final recipe had to be simple.  I found one for Dorset Apple Cake, a simple recipe containing nothing more adventurous than some ground almonds, which I thought both G and M would enjoy.  The only downside was that it had not already been adapted for any type of special diet.  However, the confidence I had found from baking my chocolate cake meant that I had every belief that I could take my new found knowledge and apply it to this recipe and make a success of it.

I found how to turn my plain rice flour into self-raising flour, how to use flaxseed meal and water instead of eggs and the quantity of xanthum gum to add to help make the cake rise.  I painstakingly calculated the new quantities needed of each individual ingredient, carefully weighed and measured them out and started on the baking process.  My final adjusted recipe can be found here.


This was the first time I’d used flaxseed meal in my baking and I was a little nervous of how it would work.  I had never even heard of it before reading this blog-post by fellow EGID Mum, mumannie123.  She had recommended the Bob’s Red Mill brand and I was delighted to find them at the Allergy show when we attended it in June.  I spoke at length to the lady who served me and gained a little more understanding about using it as an alternative to eggs.  I duly followed the instructions on the pack and kept my fingers crossed that it would work.

I ended up with slightly more cake mix than I had anticipated, so split it between 2 tins as it was just too much for 1.  Given my past experience with cakes that don’t rise, I assumed that I would use my trusty container of Betty Crocker’s Vanilla Buttercream icing, which is MEWS (milk, egg, wheat, soya) free, to sandwich the 2 cakes together to create a perfect teatime treat.


I needn’t have worried.  Much to my surprise and huge delight, my calculations had not been in vain and I ended up with 2 beautifully risen cakes that needed no assistance from me to give them height.  The cakes were moist, sweet and didn’t last long in the house, which is a sure sign of having got something right.  M and G even struggled to decide whether they preferred the Dorset Apple Cake or the Best Chocolate cake in the world, though I didn’t fall for M’s less than subtle hint that perhaps I should bake both at the same time so he could do a taste comparison!