Tag Archives: recipe

I scream…

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Ice cream: that perennial favourite of children everywhere. What image does ice cream conjure up for you? Summer sun and beach holidays? Bowls of jelly and ice cream at birthday parties? The necessary accompaniment to just about every dessert you can think of, from apple crumble to treacle tart and, if you’re British, the 99 – vanilla soft-whip ice cream in a cone and topped with a chocolate flake. Mmm, my mouth is watering just thinking of it.

For M, ice cream has been the one pudding he has missed most in the 2 years since he went elemental and it has taken a painfully long time to find and adapt a recipe to make the perfect M-friendly alternative to this popular frozen treat. I have long had an ice-cream maker as part of my essential bits of kitchen equipment as once M had gone MEWS-free, I quickly realised that the simplest way to find a dairy- and soya-free ice cream was to make my own. img_13421M and I are also big fans of sorbet and we have enjoyed some deliciously indulgent home-made lemon, orange or raspberry sorbet over the years. I even attempted a wine sorbet, thanks to the recipe book that came with my machine, but it was a disappointing disaster that really couldn’t be saved.

Over the last couple of years, I have tried an apple sorbet for him, but M was less than impressed and I struggled to get the consistency right as the sorbet failed to “set”. Since the summer, I have been determined to find a way to successfully make a safe vanilla ice cream and finally found a simple, vegan recipe with just a handful of ingredients that I knew I could easily replace. The discovery of a palatable rice cream last year was the key to my success and I shut myself into the kitchen in the lead up to Christmas in order to perfect my recipe in time for the festive period.

I struck gold in that very first attempt and I was delighted with just how close to the “real” thing this version came. M and G were absolutely thrilled with that first bowl of vanilla ice cream and it’s been a good alternative for Mike too, who is unable to eat a bowlful of dairy ice cream without suffering the consequences. I love being able to whip up this easy dessert in less than an hour and know that it will continue to be a favourite for a long time to come!16830691_10154166034751123_1184328170820370385_n

*Interesting piece of trivia – the song “I scream, You scream, We all scream for ice cream” was a popular song first recorded in 1927 as a novelty song, before becoming a jazz standard and part of popular culture!

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A Quick Pudding Dilemma

On Saturday afternoon I spent some time reading back through my National Eosinophil Awareness Week blog posts from previous years, looking for a little inspiration for those I’ll be writing to mark this year’s week, which is fast approaching. I expected to spend a good 20 minutes reminiscing and little else, 0c0dc8797599764caae7d88291139822but instead found myself being led in an entirely different direction as the very first post I re-read inspired me in a completely unexpected way.

I’m always on the lookout for new menu ideas for M and whilst we really don’t need any more sweet options, the lure of a quick and easy pudding was too good to resist. I had a look at the original recipe I had posted, but wondered if there was a more M-friendly one already out there, which would only require the very slightest tweaking on my part. To my delight I found an almost perfect vegan recipe, where all I needed to do was change the flour and oil to suit M’s restricted dietary needs. I was particularly excited about the fact it could be cooked in the microwave as so often puddings for M take a lot longer to prepare and cook, something which requires a level of planning ahead which doesn’t always happen in our household.

IMG_0446[1]Recipe adapted, ingredients checked and with 5 minutes on the clock, I whipped up the sponge batter, set the timer on the microwave and waited with bated breath for that final ping which would tell me if it had been a success or not. As always, the children’s reactions are the best indication of whether I’ll be cooking a dish again and this one has definitely earned a place in my repertoire. It’s an easy pudding to make with only a handful of ingredients and can be cooked in 4 minutes with the help of a trusty microwave. M and G both gave it a massive thumbs up and enjoyed finishing it off for Sunday tea. Even better, I’m sure it can be easily adapted to use my M-friendly lemon curd instead of the golden syrup, or any safe jams to change the flavours, which really does make it a success in my book too.

The Croissants Adventures: Part Deux

One of my biggest challenges for last week was set by M’s teacher, when she let me know on the Tuesday that they would be engaging in a spot of French role-play and would be tasting hot chocolate, croissants and other traditional French breakfast foods during the lesson. She was anxious that M shouldn’t feel left out and asked whether there was any chance I could send in something “…M-friendly and close to a pastry…” for the activity. The thing is that there really isn’t anything readily available that is even vaguely similar to a French pastry that is based on M’s handful of safe foods and so I knew this was going to be a baking challenge I needed to tackle and quickly. break05My starting point was actually a conversation with M as there was no need to stress about how to create a French-inspired masterpiece for him, if he’d simply be satisfied with a rice krispie treat instead. We started on the matter of the hot chocolate and despite his desperate bids to start his cocoa trial weeks before Easter, rather than when planned, he quickly changed his tune – well who’d want to miss out on an Easter Egg if it’s up for offer?! – and settled on rice milk flavoured with banana nesquik for his drink. However, he was less open to be swayed on the matter of the croissants and I promised to at least investigate if there was anything I could do before the Friday deadline dawned. Fortunately, 2 years ago the school had hosted a MFL (Modern Foreign Languages) Day and whilst G’s needs were met by the purchase of some delicious Genius pain au chocolat, even then there was nothing I could buy that would suit M’s trickier requirements. I had researched and adapted a great vegan recipe for croissants and baked a batch that kept him happy, even if they were not quite up to my more exacting standards. I knew I had added that recipe to my blog and quickly had a skim-through the list of ingredients to see if a new and improved M-friendly version was even possible.

For once, luck seemed to be on M’s side and, after a quick internet search for possible alternatives to the yeast I’d needed before, I was able to tell my excited child that I was willing to at very least give it a go. With plenty of warnings that there were no guarantees regarding taste or texture, I tentatively started the long and drawn-out process of making the pastry dough. I swapped coconut oil for the Trex and a bicarbonate of soda and xanthum gum mix for the yeast. The dough was prepped on the Tuesday night and I popped it into the fridge for a couple of days until I needed it: that was a big mistake. IMG_0207[1]The coconut oil solidifies at cold temperatures and by the time I was ready to make and bake the croissants on Thursday evening, my pastry was now filled with marble-sized lumps of coconut oil that I just had to remove. Whether this made much of a difference to my final product, I really don’t know, but given that a lot of the flavour in a French pastry comes from the fat added to it, I don’t think I did myself any favours.

I rolled and folded, and folded and rolled for a good 25 minutes on Thursday evening, until my dough was smooth and no longer a sticky mess that couldn’t be worked and I carefully cut triangles and rolled each one into the croissant shape, complete with slight curve. With the excess dough, I formed 2 pastry cases and attempted a couple of apple turnovers as an unexpected treat. Once all my pastries were ready, IMG_0209[1]I popped them into the oven, set the timer and attempted to forget all about them until the bell rang. The turnovers ended up being a little overdone and I wasn’t entirely convinced by the croissants either, though both children devoured them eagerly and with far more gusto than I was expecting!

This morning I was asked by a friend if I was planning to make a third attempt and I didn’t know what exact answer to give. The time and patience needed to make this pastry was tough to fit in alongside the everyday hustle and bustle of our household, but I reaped huge rewards. M and G were delighted with this different treat and I know that with a little more tweaking and a lot more practice, I might end up with a M-friendly pastry that would open up a lot more possibilities for meals for him. Not just croissants or apple turnovers, but chicken pot pies spring to mind too. So my honest answer probably should be:

Just watch this space!

Risotto – the M-friendly way!

This could come as something of a surprise to some of you, especially when you consider that rice has been a staple ingredient for us since February, but until recently I really hadn’t thought of making a simple risotto for M. We love risotto in our house, which really makes this lack of regard inexcusable: the children have been eating my home-made version since they were tiny and yet I hadn’t ventured down this particular route in my meal creations for him. Keep-It-Simple-Design-SimplicityJust as with the gnocchi – although risotto is absolutely nothing like as complicated to make a those Italian masterpieces – I’ve been keeping to the mantra of “easy meals are best” for weekday evenings and somehow risotto had escaped my attention.

Our dinner out at Trewithen brought this meal back to the forefront of my consciousness, when I enjoyed the most mouth-wateringly delicate and delicious flavours of their prawn and smoked salmon risotto. The perfect balance of strong flavours and the creamy deliciousness of the dish reminded me of just why it has always been a firm favourite of mine and I determined then and there to see if I could create a M-friendly version that might make the grade.

Taking inspiration from the Trewithen marinade for the chicken, which won such huge acclaim from M that I ended up asking the chef for his recipe, I created my very own nod to a stock as M is obviously not able to eat any of the stock-cubes readily available on the market due to their long lists of ingredients. 20150909_173602I cooked off some sage, thyme and parsley with a little salt and pepper in some Cornish rapeseed oil until an aromatic smell arose from the pan and then added the arborio rice and chicken, before adding my final ingredient of rice milk and leaving it all to simmer in my usual “one pot” approach to risotto.

The end result smelt, well, good enough to eat and I was keen to see how my young gourmand rated my first attempt at a M-friendly risotto. He said little, but the resulting request for seconds really told me everything I needed to know and so another recipe has been added to the 7Y2D repertoire!