Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Oh my Daiya! New to the UK dairy free, soya free, cheese alternative

EEK! - Hold the front page!!

Check this out:



Yippee!!

And this:



Huzzah!!


I'm excited, can you tell?

Yep, because we can now buy Daiya cheese in the UK.

It's been a big hit in the US for years!

So...


What's it like??

The cheddar looks like cheddar, similar texture to cheddar and actually, yes has similar flavour to cheddar - the mature stuff that I used to LOVE with a passion and have been missing ever since. The nearest I have got to that missing flavour has been Amy's gluten, dairy and soya free macaroni cheese ready meals.

I mean usually, I would say that ALL vegan cheese tastes better toasted or cooked, but NOT this one! Yes, I actually enjoy this 'un on a plain cracker, just like regular cheese! Hence my excitement!

And there is no residual flavour of anything else, like coconut, for example!

It slices and grates well - a bit crumbly towards the end, but show me a cheese that doesn't!

The only flaw and for me this is a small one - it doesn't melt on top of dishes, like the dish I made for dinner last night. However, Daiya have that one covered with their shredded, mozzarella-style cheese. That one I wouldn't eat on plain crackers, BUT it melts beautifully, and tastes yummy and cheesy once it has done so.

What's in it??

Note this: It is free of the top 14 allergens! BUT! Word of caution for people with multiple allergies that are not in the top 14 (so there is not legal requirement to declare them) - wording such as 'Vegan Natural Flavours' is not exactly helpful. Have highlighted 'Calcium' as it's one of the main nutrients in dairy and soya free cheese that you could be missing.

Otherwise, the ingredients are as follows:

Medium Cheddar Style Ingredients:

Water, Tapioca Starch, Coconut Oil, Natural Flavours, Pea Protein Isolate, Rapeseed Oil, Safflower Oil, Chicory Root Extract, Sea Salt, Thickener: Xanthum Gum, Preservative: Lactic Acid, Anti-Caking Agent: Tricalcium Phosphate, Preservative: Tricalium Citrate, Pea Starch, Potato Protein, Enzyme, Sugar, Colour: Annatto

Calcium: 0.9g per 100g

Mozzarella Style Shreds Ingredients:

Water, Tapioca Starch, Coconut Oil, Safflower Oil, Potato Protein, Vegan Natural Flavours, Sea Salt, Anti-Caking Agent: Tricalcium Phosphate, Emulsifier: Fructan Fibre, Preservative: Lactic Acid, Fava Bean Protein, Whole Algal Flour, Emulsifier: Konjac Gum, Thickener: Xanthum Gum, Yeast Extract

Calcium 0.407g per 100g

How much is it??

Please don't shout at the screen...

Cheddar 200g: £4.50

Shreds 200g: £4.50

It is pricey, I know!! I thought it may be down to the fact that it is imported from the US, but a US contributor on Face Book has pointed out that it bears a similar cost in the US.


Where to buy:

If you're within reach of a Wholefoods market (e.g. London) you stand a better chance than most of us, however, Daiya is now stocked in some Sainsbury's supermarkets. One of my nearest Sainsbury's had it temporarily, but it seems to have disappeared. If it's not stocked locally to you and you are prepared to travel to find some, then Daiya have produced a handy store finder click here.


Summary:

It is pricier than normal cheese and than its nearest rivals on the dairy free cheese market, BUT if a dairy and soya free authentic cheddar is your thing, or a proper melty cheese, then this is your best bet!


For other posts about dairy free cheese, please check out our 'Related Posts' below. Please note that as these other posts were written a few years ago, some details/packaging may have changed.



Please note: 
This post is not an advert. I have not been paid to write this post. I am not sponsored in any way, even by advertising. I do not receive products free to review, although I have often been offered them. This is to try and maintain an unbiased approach. All views expressed are my own (unless I've asked for The Hub's or Kiddo's). I try to tell is 'as-it-is'.



Related Posts:








Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Is the 'Dairy Free Baby' dairy free no more?? or Reintroducing Cow's Milk via the 'Milk Ladder'

So, BIG news - the dairy free baby is NO MORE!!


No, it's all right, she's not expired, it's just that 'Baby' - no longer a baby to be fair - is also no longer allergic to milk!!

It's taken eight years for this momentous event to arrive, but I'm SO glad it is finally here!!


In the beginning...

Initially we were told she would be likely to grow out of her allergy by the age of two (you can follow the high/lowlights of our journey in the posts linked below this one). When that didn't occur, we were told maybe by the age of four, and then, well... maybe never!! 

Well, THAT made me panic!! 

The refrain of 'When you hopefully grow out of it...' had often been heard often in our home, and 'Baby' was counting on it!! She blissfully ignored the caveat 'hopefully', that I carefully added each time. She was looking forward to ice cream, desserts and so much more - the kind of things she saw others happily scoffing - usually right in front of her!!


The realisation of the dream - Mr Whippy - eyes on the prize!

Along the way, we were encouraged by our dieititan, to try and reintroduce milk via first of all biscuits. The number of times we tried 'Baby' with just a malted milk biscuit, only for her to react to the milk in it!! I think that if I hadn't heard Dr Adam Fox, sharing his expertise at The Allergy and Free From Show in London, I would have been tempted to give up! From what I remember, he said that most (around 80%) children grew out of their milk allergy by the second decade. So we kept hoping, and retrying every three or four months - clinging onto our copy of the MAP Milk Ladder, in the hope that one day, 'Baby' might progress further.  


The 'Milk Ladder'

The 'Milk Ladder,' for those of you who don't know, is a framework, produced by top allergy healthcare professionals, by which parents (working under the guidance of professionals), can attempt to safely reintroduce cow's milk to children with non-Ige mediated cow's milk allergy. 

You start gradually, with baked milk products (in which the baking process will have broken down the milk proteins - making them easier to tolerate), and then work up through various forms of processed products, which break down the milk protein a little bit less at each stage, until you reach the point where cow's milk itself can be tolerated. The version we were using was the first version, with twelves stages/steps.

Eventually, around about the age of 3 or 4, 'Baby' seemed to be able to tolerate a biscuit for Day One of her trial, then Day Two, until around the age of 5 or 6, 'Baby' finally seemed OK with malted milk biscuits, and we had a glimmer of hope! We had achieved the first rung of the (then) twelve step milk ladder... but the twelfth rung seemed an awfully long way off!

Then we hit a bit of a wall!!


Stalled!

Illness followed, lots of it, 'cos 'Baby' had started school, and seemed to come down with EVERYTHING that came her way. With her immune system down so much during that first year of school, and a number of unexpected 'milk challenges' (where she ended up eating things at school that had milk in, by mistake), we couldn't seem to find a suitable window to challenge 'Baby' any further. 

It was especially tricky as I wanted to be able to keep an eye on 'Baby', in case she reacted badly - if she was at school and had a bad tummy it would be tricky for her to deal with and might be mistaken for a tummy bug. And then, once we did find a window, sometime during Year One, it was a tricky job finding something suitable for the next step - the baked muffin.

It should have been simple, but I couldn't find plain muffins. 'Baby' didn't like Blueberry muffins (she took exception to the blueberries), or lemon muffins, and I thought chocolate chip muffins would be several steps too far, as chocolate is much higher up the ladder. Stuck, I decided to try 'Baby' with mini Battenburg slices, which worked for a while, until she got bored of eating those. 

Even the inducement of completing the ladder was not enough to persuade 'Baby' to continue eating Battenburg. She was also bored of eating malted milks (shock/horror/groan), so we had to drop those too (and she hasn't eaten another since, to the best of my knowledge). I just couldn't understand it - at her age, I'd have loved the chance to gobble down malted milks and Battenburg slices galore!!

I did consider baking some plain muffins, but 'Baby' is notoriously fussy and if she did like them, or failed the challenge they would all go to waste, as we didn't have much room in the freezer.


Making progress!!

If it wasn't for another trip to our dietitian, I'm not sure we would have made much progress. We saw someone new, who confidently asserted that if 'Baby' was OK with one item of baked milk, then she would be OK with all forms of baked milk. 

I was a bit doubtful, to be quite honest, as I'd heard of others slowly incrementally creeping their way up the ladder (having broken the steps just even further, by starting with a quarter of this and a half of that). But as it happened the new iMAP milk ladder works by the same principle as the advice the dietitian had given us - the former twelve steps, have now been amalgamated into six (see here).

Not quite daring to take the dietitian at her word, we tested 'Baby' thoroughly with croissants and all sorts of other baked goods (although not those containing dairy substances from higher up the ladder), just to make sure, and sure enough, she was absolutely fine with them!! So, our confidence boosted, it was onwards and upwards!! 

And, to our surprise, each step of the way, 'Baby' aced it. Our surprise being mainly down to the fact that progress had been so long drawn out in the early stages, and here she was flying through!


Reaching the top

Having lived with a dairy free child for so long, watched so carefully over her, and having longed so much for a resolution to her allergy, I could hardly believe what was happening. As she aced each step, I was torn between pleasure and pain - pleasure for her progress and pain because she was able to eat things that I still can't. There was, I must admit, the odd twinge of jealousy.

But how can you begrudge the lifting of barriers, the freedom of choosing at will and being able to try out so many different new foods?? The delight and amazement in her voice  the first time 'Baby' went into a garage, with me (to pay for petrol), and suddenly clocked the rows and rows of chocolate and realised she could eat them!! 

'Mummy!' she said, 'look at all this chocolate!'

I suddenly realised, that she, like me, had been studiously avoiding the aisles that contained food that had been 'out of bounds' due to her allergy.


She was so excited, I took a piccy!

Of course, I had to let her try something, but that was tricky in itself. In fact, she was so spoiled for choice, that she couldn't decide what she would like and I had to choose something for her! 

Oddly enough, 'Baby' was quite hesitant about the whole process, of climbing the milk ladder, especially as we neared the end, and she realised she would no longer be the 'Dairy Free Baby'. 

'I like being dairy free,' she announced, 'it makes me special.'

'But you are special,' I told her, 'just by being you.'

'And anyway,' I added, 'you'll be able to eat all kinds of things, like ice cream...'

And then she asked...

'What if I don't like milk?

'Well that's OK,' I said, 'you don't have to drink cow's milk, you can still have your soya milk.'

I'm not sure she was that convinced!

And now??

So what for us now? Infinity and beyond??

Well 'Baby' still wants to hold on to her title of 'Baby' - she's rather attached to it, and I'm still holding on to the blog title - for now, anyway. I'd like to keep it available as a resource, for others. I'm hoping to continue to add posts - as and when I have the time. 

And funnily enough, now she's no longer dairy free, and loving the ice cream, cream buns and so on, for 'Baby', soya milk is still her milk of choice... unless it comes to hot chocolate, or milkshake, in which case she doesn't seem to mind, quite so much. AND she still prefers her dairy free cheese!! Good news for Violife then, as she probably keeps them in business!!

And The Hub, is quite happy to have a partner in crime with whom to share delicious treats - things which he'd avoided eating in front of her, in case she became upset. It was chocolate eclairs the other day! *sigh* At least I can get a free from version of those in the Tesco freezer department!

And then there's my mother, who couldn't get her head around the whole milk exclusion thing in the first place, and who now can't get her head around the fact that 'Baby' can eat ANYTHING she wants!! And there's my mother-in-law who keeps slipping 'Baby' choccy treats - oh well - can't have it all my own way!

And then there's me, still being dairy free who can't seem to tolerate milk (perhaps because I excluded milk for five years, so I could breastfeed) who will be continuing to look out for relevant products and  information - to share with anyone who needs it.

Oh, and by the way 'Baby' would like you to know that she's still very keen on baking, and now helping me write blog posts, as well!! She's been reading this post, and making little suggestions of her own, which she wants me to include. Ho Hum!! I suppose she's entitled to - she was the reason it all got started, in the first place.


Final thing:

BIG THANKS to all the lovely online dietitians and other medical professionals who have contributed, pointed me in the right direction and generously shared their knowledge on Twitter. Particular mentions go to Carina Venter, Julia Marriott and Lisa Waddell. You ladies are all stars - big, bright, shiny and glittery. I hope your patients and colleagues truly appreciate your work. I know I do!



Related Posts:

















Related Links:

The iMAP Milk Ladder 2017 taken from:

Better recognition, diagnosis, and management of non-Ige mediated cow's milk allergy in infancy; iMAP - an international interpretation of the MAP (Milk Allergy in Primary Care) guideline by Carina Venter*, Trevor Brown*, Rosan Meyer, Joanne Walsh, Neil Shah, Anna Nowak-Wegrzyn, Tong Xin Chen, David M. Fleischer, Ralf G. Heine, Michael Levin, Mario C. Vieria and Adam Fox      *Contributed equally


Monday, 14 May 2018

Once they're scone... they're gone! Baking without 'Baby' - Gluten, dairy and soya free scones.

I love scones.

used to love cream teas. But of course these usually involve copious amounts of both gluten and cream - two things I no longer seem to tolerate.


Time for tea!

Since cutting out these two major ingredients in a traditional cream tea, I've tried and failed at making scones several times - finding them OK to eat at first, but quickly turning into hard, dry bullet-like objects. So I put scone-making (and eating) on the back burner until a recent search turned up this recipe from Isle of Flora see here

I really liked the addition of almond flour to the recipe - gluten free flour is often lower in protein, which I find less filling, but the almonds counteract this. Flora's recipe was also very moist. However, I don't know if it's down to the flour I used, but there seemed to be quite a bit more liquid than I required, which made my mixture a bit too claggy to work. You need your scone mixture to be pretty moist, but you have to be able to lift up to pput them on a baking tray! Rather than chucking out the baby with the bathwater, I decided to experiment a bit more, adding flour, decreasing liquid, until I achieved my desired balance. 

Then I found my scones too crumbly, and began to peruse other scone recipes. It was at this point, I discovered that my baking heroine Mary Berry added egg to her Devonshire scones see here. Of course you can do without the egg, but I found that it helped bind the mixture - gluten free mixtures can be a bit crumbly. (You can add Xanthum Gum to counteract this, but this I tend to avoid, as I'm not convinced it agrees with me.) 

Combining bits from both recipes, and making some alterations of my own, I came up with my own preferred formula, as outlined below. Please note, I used cups in the recipe, rather than grams/ounces, as I suspect my scales are a bit on the temperamental side, and using cups, levelled off with a knife, tends to work better!!


Don't know where I'd be without my trusty measuring cups!

Bonus point: I think cups are a great way of measuring ingredients when working with little ones, as they don't need to be able to read numbers/scales, although you could compare them as they get older, as a learning point.




Scones


Makes approx. 10 scones

Ingredients:


2 and a half cups  Gluten Free Self-Raising Flour (I used Doves)

Half a cup Almond Flour/ground almonds

1 pinch Salt

110g Dairy Free Margarine (I used Pure Sunflower)

Quarter of a cup of Caster Sugar

Two thirds of a cup Dairy Free Almond Milk (I used Almond Breeze)

1  Egg


NB Most scone recipes seem to use plain flour and copious amounts of baking powder. I just use self-raising flour (which has some baking powder added already), as I can't stand the taste of baking powder. However, if you don't mind the taste, feel free to add a couple more teaspoons of baking powder to yours!





Method:

Preheat Oven to 220 F.
Line oven tray with baking parchment and sprinkle with flour.
Weigh out and mix together self-raising flour, almond flour/ground almonds and salt.
Rub margarine into the dry ingredients to form fine breadcrumbs.
Stir in caster sugar.
Mix together egg and milk. Reserve about 1 tablespoon of this mixture for brushing on top of the scones, before you put them in the oven.
Make a ‘well’ in your dry ingredients. Pour in the liquid ingredients and bring the mixture together. Try to avoid ‘over-working’ the dough, as this could make your scones go a bit hard. The scone dough needs to be fairly wet, but not so much you can’t pat it out and cut it.
Scatter flour over a clean surface before placing scone dough down.
Pat/roll out the scone mixture a little, until it’s about 3 cm thick.
Cut out round shapes and place on baking tray.
Brush with the remaining egg/milk mixture.
Cook for 12 mins, then bring them out of the oven, and allow to cool.


These scones will keep well for one day, after which they begin to dry a bit (although they're not quite as hard as the bullets I used to make), or you can freeze them the same day.

I like to eat mine with homemade raspberry jam, topped with a generous teaspoon of Vanilla flavoured Coyo coconut yogurt, in place of the cream.

Works for me!!


Please note: 
This post is not an advert. I have not been paid to write this post. I am not sponsored in any way, even by advertising. I do not receive products free to review, although I have often been offered them. This is to try and maintain an unbiased approach. All views expressed are my own (unless I've asked for The Hub's or Kiddo's). The products listed here are those I genuinely use day-to-day. Changing products may lead to differing outcomes, so you may need to tweak your quantities, if you do so.


Related Posts:







Monday, 5 February 2018

Yes you can!! Skiing with food allergies - Gluten Free, Dairy Free

"Oo! Look! You can get a ski-through Mc Donald's in Sweden... and they do gluten free!" 

It was something that I saw on a friend's Facebook news feed.

Little did I know it, but that was all the encouragement The Hub needed! Before I knew it, he'd done some research and booked the entire trip!

I know! Close my jaw for me, why don't you??

We flew in via Oslo, Norway (because that was the nearest airport), and hired a car. A two to three hour drive and we were there!


The Ski Lodge lit up for Christmas

The Ski Lodge in which we stayed, is run by Ski Star, who run the entire resort. We stayed in Salen (pronounced Sollen), but they have other resorts elsewhere.

Now, normally I don't blog about places we have stayed - usually I just head straight to Trip Advisor and post them there, but for this trip, I have made an exception. This is partly because travelling abroad can be fraught with difficulties, and worry, but this place was so great, I'd really recommend it. However, also, I think that this post illustrates how you can still do things that you loved doing before life with allergies took over.


Comfy apartment.

We stayed in an apartment that was in a large complex. However, on the inside, it's all very cosy and tasteful.



The kitchen is bijoux

The kitchen is small, but contains enough for a week, including a dishwasher. You might decide against using the cast iron frying pan as you can't guarantee who's used it and what is therefore in the patina. There's no oven, in these particular apartments, but there is a hob and a combi microwave. Although there isn't a freezer space in the apartment itself, there is a freezer in the ski and boot room.



Loads of space for dairy free ice cream!

We made sure we wrapped our freezer food in an extra bag to avoid any cross contamination and placed it in the top drawer to avoid anything else that might potentially drip down. In actual fact, not many people seemed to use it.



Padlock obtainable from Reception for the boot locker

Food was very easy to come by! The supermarket was just across the car park from the Ski Lodge. Although 'out in the sticks' it contained a good range of dairy free and gluten free food, including Oatly ice cream (unavailable in the UK). For further detail on this, read this post).


Bit like the Tardis, the supermarket holds more than you'd think!

The Free From aisle was bigger than some UK supermarkets! There was also a Free From section in the freezer, and the chiller!



Free From aisle!

One of the things I loved about the ski lodge, was the fact that The Hub and I could have a cheeky Apres ski refreshment in the Ski Lodge bar, as just across from the bar was a small children's play area. Staying in the lodge, meant that once we had set up an ipad baby monitor, we could also sneak down once Kiddo was asleep!


Cheers!

There was also: 
  • a pool complete complete with slides, jacuzzi, heated outdoor pool, toddler pool & wave machine
  • sauna
  • a shopping arcade
  • a bowling alley
  • a coffee shop
  • restaurants (not that we tried them out)
  • a spa
  • a laundrette
  • ski hire
  • ski parks 
  • a cinema... 

I could go on, but if you've ever been to Centre Parcs, just imagine THAT with snow and mountains... right outside your back door, because that's where the green runs started!! 


Ski school starts right on the doorstep!

In terms of skiing, for me and Kiddo it was perfect. The Hub, who is a much more adventurous skier, might have preferred more challenging runs, but as we went early season, they weren't all open. However, that said, there was certainly enough there to keep us occupied for a week. This was helped along as more slopes became available as the week progressed - due to the piste keepers continually working on opening more slopes, whilst snow cannons constantly produced more snow.

There was an extra special bonus element to skiing in Sweden, in the early part of the season. As it gets darker much earlier in the day, there's a whole series of lights to keep you skiing until around 6pm, which was great fun. In fact, the green slope at the back of the lodge is covered with kids right up to the end of the day and beyond! Once the ski lift stops, out come the sledges (you can borrow one from Reception)!!



Sledges are great for transporting worn out Kiddos!!

The Swedes are very friendly and great with kids. There's no snobbery - everyone hangs out with their kids on the slopes (they encourage them to ski/snowboard from a VERY young age - think toddlers), and there are warm rooms (Varmestuga) with picnic facilities, microwaves and clean toilets.

I've tried skiing a few times since food allergies hit and for me, this was the best place I've been, so far, in terms of time on snow and catering. Okay, the scenery wasn't Matterhorn-esque, but we were there for the snow and the skiing, and we did far more of that than we had in other places, because it was all so convenient and close, so it was all good! 

Just by way of comparison, the first time we tried skiing with food allergies, we stayed in a catered chalet, in France. In those days, we were 'just' dealing with dairy. The chalet staff were young and inexperienced and although they had a folder to give them ideas, it was all a bit hit and miss, and I really relied on the bank of food supplies that I had I taken 'just in case'. So we left it for a few years, until Kiddo was a bit older, before trying again. 

Our second attempt involved self-catering with family in Switzerland. We did find some good food options, however, the resort was spread out over a wide area, so we spent most afternoons wondering around trying to find the best places to source food. Whereas, in Salen, because everything was so close together, we were able to self-cater really easily, which maximised our time on the snow (as did the close proximity to the runs). In fact, we loved it so much, we can't wait to go back!!

Oh yes, and in case you're wondering, ski-through Mc Donald's, complete with gluten free burger, was ace!



Please note: 
This post is not an advert. I have not been paid to write this post. I am not sponsored in any way, even by advertising. I do not receive products free to review, although I have often been offered them. This is to try and maintain an unbiased approach. All views expressed are my own (unless I've asked for The Hub's or Kiddo's).



Related Posts:










Friday, 4 August 2017

The Proof is in the Pudding!! Plum Upside-down Pudding - dairy free, gluten free, soya free, free from

Anyone who knows me and my Kiddo will know how often I've groaned about her inability to enjoy the simple things in life - such as fruit and veg. It really does not come naturally to her to eat the stuff, so often I've had to resort to various methods to get her to eat it. 

Carrot cake works (see here), as does chocolate beetroot cake (see here). 

Cake in fact, seems to be the way to go. 

Take for instance The Hub's recent bumper crop of plums...



Just a few of The Hub's crop!


Would Kiddo eat them raw, fresh from the tree?? 

No!!

Would she eat them in a crumble??

No!!

Upside-down cake??

Yup!!

It's a bit maddening, but anything to get her to eat fruit!!

Now upside-down pudding isn't something that normally inspires me - it conjures up too many images of school dinner puddings made with tinned pineapple slices... 

BUT!! Trust me - the plums give this dessert a much needed lift. AND I could see myself taking this dessert along to a family get-together, as I think it would travel a lot better than something like Banoffee Pie.

The pudding recipe I used was one I found online from Morrisons (link to original recipe here). It's super easy. The hardest bit was probably extracting the stones from the plums! 

We made a few modifications (Who doesn't?), in that we used a large over proof Pyrex dish rather than a baking tin, we used more plums than the recipe said (our plums were probably smaller than theirs), I left out the flaked almonds (we didn't have any in the cupboard), exchanged almond essence for vanilla (for the same reason) and exchanged normal flour for gluten free flour (Dove's Farm). 

Following about 35 minutes of baking, at 180 degrees, and the judicious use of a knife round the edge of the dish (to help release the cake), we ended up with this:



Straight from the oven...


What's not to love about this? 

Kiddo took one look at it, and fell in love straightaway. But, of course, the proof of a pudding (as we all know) is in the eating.

'All it needs,' thought I, 'is some of that Nature's Charm whipped coconut cream and we're good to go...' 



You can get this online!


....except that the pudding didn't last that long!! 

Proof, if needed, that this recipe is a good 'un!!


Look! Kiddo even came back for more!!



Can you tell she helped herself??? 




Please note: 

This post is not an advert. I have not been paid to write this post. I am not sponsored in any way, even by advertising. I do not receive products free to review, although I have often been offered them. This is to try and maintain an unbiased approach. All views expressed are my own (unless I've asked for The Hub's or Kiddo's). I try to tell is 'as-it-is'.



Other pud posts you may enjoy:







Monday, 15 May 2017

Seven steps to Banoffee Pie Heaven - dairy free, gluten free and soya free!!

What!!! You've put bananas in it?!?!

Banoffee Heaven!

Kiddo was truly outraged! 

Like why on earth (in her humble opinion) would anyone ruin something so tasty sounding, by adding something as healthy as FRUIT??!!

But she, of course had never had Banoffee Pie, and the last time I ate one, was... well before she ever came along, for sure. If only I had known then, what I know now... well, I think I would have made sure I ate a whole lot more... whilst I still could!!

It's taken me a while, but finally, I have got 'round to making my own - dairy, gluten and soya free - thanks to a few key ingredients, which up until now, were not available to me!

Et voila!

Lookee here!
A while back, I noted, in a Free From magazine, that a Chinese Supermarket which also sells its products online, was now stocking dairy free condensed milk made from coconut. I was chuffed at the time, because I had been researching recipes online, so I could make dairy free condensed milk, so I could make my own caramel. BUT... anything that you can buy ready made... well why wouldn't you??

I took a while to get 'round to actually purchasing some, but by the time I did, I noticed their range had extended - to include some vital Banoffee ingredients: caramel sauce and whipping cream. 

Job's  a good 'un!! 

Thought I, and I promptly ordered some (from here, in case you're wondering*)!!

I then ordered my fave (and only suitable) digestives - Barkat's gluten free digestives (see here), which are also dairy free and soya free, then set to work!

Ingredients:

I pack Barkat digestive biscuits (150g)
65g Pure Sunflower margarine
2 large bananas
1 jar of coconut caramel sauce
1 tin of coconut whipping cream (chilled in advance)
1 bar Moo Free Chocolate

You will also need:

20 cm round non-stick tin with lift out base (greased)


Method:

1. Use a wooden rolling pin to take out your aggression on the packet of digestives, until you're left with fine crumbs. You can use a food processor, of course, but I find bashing biscuits rather therapeutic! 




2. Melt the margarine in a small saucepan, then combine with the breadcrumbs. Ease this mixture into the base of your tin. Use the back of a spoon, to pat it into place. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge to chill for around 1/2 hour.



3. Take the base from the fridge and spread the contents of the jar of caramel sauce across the base.



4. Chop the bananas into even slices and spread across the layer of caramel.



5. Take the can of chilled whipping cream and whip at full speed, as per the instructions on the tin. You really do need to chill the coconut cream first. I left it in the fridge overnight. Alternatively, you could try making your own cream, using chilled coconut milk. I have done this in the past, and had variable results with other coconut milks, but this one did work.



6. Use a spatula to gently spread the cream over the layer of banana. Then grate some sprinkles of chocolate over the top. Job done!! Now you can either leave in the fridge to chill, or...



7. Remove from the tin, by placing the tin on an upturned dessert bowl, and gently, pushing the sides down, before lifting the base. Then just serve straight onto plates and tuck in! Of course, you could also just eat it straight from the baking tin, if you're desperate, but only if you're intending to eat it all yourself. However, I wouldn't advise the second approach. A pud like this, needs, nay deserves to be savoured in measured pieces - take it from me, you really can have too much of a good thing! ;)


* Oh and just to add, other places, besides the Chinese supermarket are also beginning to stock Nature's Charm. Ocado have had the evaporated milk and condensed milk on their system for a few weeks, but up until now, they didn't appear to be in stock. They now seem to be available and are on special offer, so what are you waiting for? Hopefully, these will prove so popular, that they'll soon add the caramel sauce and whipping cream to their range. Another place to look for these ingredients is Ethica - an online Vegan store.


Please note: 
This post is not an advert. I have not been paid to write this post. I am not sponsored in any way, even by advertising. I do not receive products free to review, although I have often been offered them. This is to try and maintain an unbiased approach. All views expressed are my own (unless I've asked for The Hub's or Kiddo's). I try to tell is 'as-it-is'.


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