Thursday, 30 October 2014

Violife Creamy Dairy Free Spreadable Cheese

I know, I know, yet another product review, but I really think this one is worth sharing!!

I found this in an independent health food store.

To be honest, I wan't expecting much. I've tried a few Vegan cream 'cheeses' (not many, because most contain soya, so are no good for me) and to be honest, I've not been that impressed so far! So when it came to this one, I was expecting to grit my teeth and grin and bear it.

However, I was really quite pleasantly surprised!

It was both creamy and cheesy! How about that?


What to look out for


In fact, it is the ONLY Vegan cheese that I have eaten that I don't feel the need to toast before consumption - normally ALL vegan cheese tastes better (to me anyway) toasted or cooked in some way! (And that, by the way, is my usual advice to anyone who struggles to like the stuff, but is desperate to find a decent dairy free cheese!)


On Udi's Sundried Tomato Bagels.


What's in it?

As you can see from the label this creamy cheese is free of all kinds of things. Dairy, soya and gluten being my main horrors to avoid, this one had my name written all over it! But you might well be wondering what on earth is in it?

Well here goes (it's quite a list)...

Ingredients: 
Water, Coconut Oil (21%), Vegan Flavours (Basil, Sunflower Oil, Water, Olive Oil, Salt, Sugar, Mashed Potato, Modified Starch, Acidity Regulator: Citric Acid, Herbs, Yeast Extract, Preservative: Potassium Sorbate, Antioxidant: Natural Rosemary Extract), Starch, Modified Starch, Sea Salt, Stabilisers: (Sodium Polyphosphate, Carageenan, Locust Bean Gum, Potassium Chloride, Carboxymethylcellulose, Guar Gum), Preservative: Sorbic Acid.

It's noticeable that there's quite a few long unpronounceable ingredients in there - it's obviously a highly processed product. There's also a few legumes in there - for those for whom this may be a concern!



Where can you buy it?

Well, unless your local independent health food or vegan store is stocking it, nowhere else on your high street as yet! It's worth asking, though, as most that I have visited have been open to ordering in new products.

Strangely, I can't seem to find Violife Creamy on my usual 'go-to' free from or vegan online shops. Most puzzling!


How much??

Of course, most free from products tend to cost more than we'd prefer... but at £2.35 for 200g (in my local shop), I think this is priced fairly enough in comparison to what else is out there that are both dairy and soya free (i.e. not much). 


Violife on Newburn's Gluten Free Sandwich Thins


Related Posts:

Other posts about dairy free cheese, can be accessed via links on the page about Dairy Free Substitutes


Friday, 24 October 2014

Let her eat cake! - On Inclusion for Food Allergy Kids and Free School Meals

'Baby' has been eating a LOT of fruit recently. Good! Good! She's been so reluctant to do so, up until now. Problem is, it's not because she enjoys it very much more than she used to...

What she'd really like to eat is chocolate cake.

Chocolate cake is normal in our house (although not every day, I hasten to add). We love chocolate, we love cake, we love the two together. Daddy likes it, Mummy likes it (more than is good for her) and so does 'Baby'!!


A Genius dairy and gluten free cupcake. Who would know that it's free from??

Now, picture this: 

I've just picked up 'Baby' from school. As I'm loading her and all her school stuff into the car she nonchalantly ponders aloud, 'I don't suppose we have any chocolate cake at home??'

Me (thinking that she's remembering the cake she's had in the past few days, as a result of her first school cake sale) replies guardedly,  'we might have.' 

I'm also thinking of the two Genius chocolate cupcakes that I bought in Sainsbury's the other day, which I squirreled away in the cupboard - well, you know, they were on offer! However, I don't want to give in to her request too easily - as (obviously) too much of a good thing isn't, always a good thing!

'Can I have some, when I get home?' she asks. 

'Maybe, ' I reply evasively, 'we'll see when we get home.' I'm being evasive, as she is a little sugar monster and it's hard getting her to eat healthy foods - sugar and chocolate are such a draw! I now rue the day I ever first gave her some, 'cos now she evaluates every food as to whether she enjoys it as much as she does anything sweet or chocolatey!

Sure enough, as I'd hoped, by the time we've done Waitrose and got home, she's forgotten. 

'Yippee!' I rejoice quietly inside.

A few hours later, Daddy comes home, and a few more vital facts of her day slowly emerge - the ones that she neglected to tell me earlier. Chief among them, is the fact that everyone else had chocolate cake for dessert, at lunch, today... and she didn't. 

The alternatives? Yoghurt or fruit.

'Baby' doesn't like yoghurt (they stock dairy free Alpro yoghurts at her school) and 'ain't that keen on fruit. Consequently she had no dessert today. Hence that request for chocolate cake.

Now, as an adult, I might wryly think to myself, 'Oh well, I don't need those extra calories anyway.'

'Baby' is four. She DOESN'T think that way. 

She sees chocolate cake, so naturally she wants chocolate cake. What kid wouldn't? At home, if anyone was having chocolate cake, she'd be having chocolate cake too!

I WISH I'd given her that chocolate cake.

She DID get a choice of dessert tonight. Mummy guilt kicked in, so she had LOTS of yummy choices.  But my heart was silently sobbing (okay, I may have been a bit pre-menstrual at that point) - for a little girl who loves chocolate cake and couldn't have any, even though everyone else did.

Thing is, this 'ain't the first time - the other day, it was a teacher's  birthday and that teacher shared cake with the class.... well... all except 'Baby' - she was given a digestive biscuit. 

Better than nothing, I suppose! But it's not the same, is it??

I'm guessing this probably won't be the last occasion that something like this happens.

Now maybe you're thinking I should be pleased that 'Baby' is eating ore healthily - all that fruit!! Well, yes, that is good, BUT... 'Baby's' had a LOT of extra vile tantrums recently. I thought we'd got over the worst of these - once things settled down, after our move. Up until now, I thought she was tired out by the long day. Casually, I've asked the around the other mums, but unless they're lying, not so many extra tantrums there! It could still be that she's tired...

But now I'm wondering whether these tantrums are a sign of something else. I'm beginning to think that maybe she is becoming more aware of the difference between herself and everyone else in her class is coming into focus - the effect of milk was buffered at home - we all eat pretty much the same. It's not quite the same at school!!

At 'Baby's' school EVERYONE has dinners. No opt out. I thought I was (almost) fine with that. As an ex-teacher, I completely agree with all the benefits of children sitting down and eating a healthy, balanced meal together (as long as you can ensure it's healthy and balanced, of course - I'm still not convinced that all free school dinners are). However, it's hard trusting someone else to feed your kid safely, when not even your own parents can manage it!! Especially the whole cross-contamination thing!

My reservations were overcome when I was assured (before she started school) that they already have children with milk allergy in the school and consequently always do a dairy free alternative of what everyone else has. 

Excellent news!! 

Clearly, however, they DON'T always have a dairy free alternative... NOT ALWAYS! I know they can do her cake - they did it, just the other week. So why not today? 

The school has been very good in many ways - much better than most, but then we're paying for her education - we opted for that course because the local primary quite clearly weren't au fait with allergies! When I raised the fact that 'Baby' has a milk allergy, at our local allocated primary school,the Headteacher said, 'Well she can have packed lunches, can't she??' 

At which point we decided to look elsewhere. 

Me, knowing that this particular school had been rated 'outstanding' by OFSTED, and that this Headteacher was very experienced and that school lunches were supposed to be provided in every school for all infants starting from the term when 'Baby' would enter school (see here), was speechless!! Never mind the, What will they do at milk time, to make sure that none is spilt? What will they do when they do cooking in class?? questions that were already raging in my mind!!

Thoughtfully, the school where we have sent 'Baby,' provide her soya milk served in a bottle almost identical to everyone else's - only a different coloured lid and her name mark it out as different from the others. They've also given her soya ice cream, when everyone else had 'normal' ice cream... It s unfortunate that this is not the norm in all schools.

BUT, the thing is, I believe that inclusion HAS to be consistent. It's good that they have a lot of stuff nailed, however, the occasions where inclusion is neglected, to my mind, equates to exclusion - these occasions are the ones which the child (and the parent) ultimately remembers!! 

And what does it DO to the child?? Long term...??

'Baby' HAS been very tempestuous recently.

Maybe it's a feeling of being different, left out, excluded, insignificant, that's exploding in completely irrational, hot, fierce, outbursts that can go on for an hour or so. After all, it would make ME feel cross, wouldn't it you?? I find it interesting that as one *report that covered the pilot studies of free school meals noted, the thing with Reception-aged children like 'Baby' is that they are reluctant or even unable to speak up - to advocate for themselves... 

It's too true! And not just concerning food allergies - 'Baby's' even been too timid to tell them when she's missed the toilet!! So much so, that she's walked around with wet underwear, until it's dried by itself!! At least one little friend has done the same!

And I am cross - for her! And for all the other little (or not so little) kids to whom this kind of thing also happens. 

I DO wonder what these kind of occasions do to 'Baby's' little soul... I don't want her to become angry, a 'victim,' or an 'outsider'...

PLEASE! Let her eat cake too... or let them ALL (unless they're allergic to it) eat fruit and yoghurt!!

(But NOT kiwi fruit 'cos that's a very common allergen and I can't eat it!!)



*apologies for the lack of a reference here - I know I read it in one of the reports, but cannot now ,for the life of me, find it!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Dream a little dream of... Salted Caramel Almond Dream

You can keep your Haagen Dazs... and your Ben and Jerry's!! 

Yeah! I really mean it!!

'Cos now I've got this:


Drool! Drool! Drool!

This, my friends, is Almond Dream Salted Caramel and I don't think I'll be sharing any of it with anyone... not even Baby... well she's got her Swedish Glace, anyway!

And as I've had to go on a bit of a hunt for it - round three stores no less ('cos not all of the branches of Waitrose that are supposed to be stocking it actually have it on the shelves just yet), I think I might just deserve it??

It is, I have to tell you, absolutely gorgeous!!

Just look at it:


Gorgeous huh?

What's in it??

There's only one problem, for me - it contains soya!! Not just soya lecithin (which, as it is a refined oil, which has all the proteins removed, is okay for me) but soya protein. 

Nooo!!! Boo hiss!!!

Soya!! I think I'm gonna struggle later (I'll draw a veil over the finer details). Looks like I'm gonna have to pass this one over to Baby after all - it's not worth upsetting my insides, even for this one!! Good job I enjoyed the Mint Choc Chip, so much!!

So, what else is in it??

Ingredients:
Water, Cane Sugar, Almonds (5%), Tapioca Maltodextrin, Vegetable Oil: Safflower, Brown Rice Syrup, Stabilsers: Guar Gum; Locust Bean Gum; Carageenan, Emulsifiers: Sunflower Lecithin, Soya Lecithin, Natural Flavouring, Salt (0.3%), Colour: PLain Caramel, Cocoa Butter, Soya Protein, Thickener: Pectin.

Besides the soya, other allergens include almonds.

Legume sufferers also beware!

Other allergen information states:


No added ingredients of dairy origin.

Manufactured in a factory that also handles peanuts, other nuts, eggs.

It's also gluten free!



Where can you buy it??Well, I can't guarantee that you'll find this particular flavour in any given store, but the following branches of Waitrose are supposed to be stocking Almond Dream ice cream: 

Abergavenny, Abingdon, Admiral Park (Guernsey), Alcester, Allington Park, Alton, Altrincham, Amersham, Ampthill, Andover, Ashford, Aylesbury, Banstead, Barnet, Barry, Bath, Beaconsfield, Beckenham, Bedford, Berkhamsted, Biggin Hill, Billericay, Bishop's Stortford, Blaby, Bloomsbury, Brackley, Bracknell, Brent Cross, Bridport, Brighton, Bromley, Bromley South, Buckhurst Hill, Buckingham, Burgess Hill, Bury St Edmunds, Buxton, Byres Road, Caldicot, Cambridge, Canary Wharf, Canterbury, Cardiff Queen Street, Caterham, Caversham, Chandlers Ford, Cheadle Hulme, Cheam, Cheltenham, Chesham, Chester, Chichester, Chippenham, Chipping Sodbury, Christchurch, Cirencester, Clifton, Cobham, Colchester, Comely Bank, Cowbridge, Crewkerne, Crouch End, Crowborough, Daventry, Dorking, Droitwich, East Cowes, East Grinstead, East Sheen, Eastbourne, Edgware Road, Egham, Ely, Enfield, Enfield Chase, Epsom, Esher, Exeter, Farnham, Finchley, Fitzroy Street, Fleet, Foregate Street, Formby, Frimley, Fulham, Gillingham, Gloucester Road, Godalming, Goldsworth Park, Gosport, Great Malvern, Green Street Green, Greenwich, Hailsham, Hall Green, Hampton, Harborne , Harpenden, Harrogate, Harrow Weald, Headington, Helensburgh, Henley, Hereford, Hersham, Hertford, Hexham, Hitchin, Holloway Road, Holsworthy, Horley, Horsham, Hove, Huntingdon, Hythe, Ipswich, Jesmond, John Barnes, Kenilworth, Keynsham, Kingshill, Kingsthorpe, Kingston, Knutsford, Leeds, Leek, Leigh On Sea, Leighton Buzzard, Lewes, Lichfield, Lincoln, Little Waitrose John Lewis Southampton, Little Waitrose at John Lewis Watford, Littlehampton, Locks Heath, Longfield, Lutterworth, Lymington, Maidenhead, Malmesbury, Market Harborough, Marlborough, Marylebone, Meanwood, Melksham, Menai Bridge, Mill Hill, Monmouth, Morningside, Nailsea, New Malden, Newark, Newbury, Newmarket, Newport, Newton Mearns, North Walsham, Northwich, Norwich, Oadby, Oakgrove, Okehampton, Otley, Oundle, Oxted, Paddock Wood, Palmers Green, Parkstone, Parsons Green, Peterborough, Petersfield, Ponteland, Pontprennau, Portishead, Poundbury, Poynton, Ramsgate, Reading, Red Houses (Jersey), Richmond, Rickmansworth, Ringwood, Rohais (Guernsey), Romsey, Ruislip, Rushden, Saffron Walden, Salisbury, Saltash, Sandbach, Sanderstead, Sandhurst, Saxmundham, Sevenoaks, Sheffield, Sherborne, Shrewsbury, Sidcup, Sidmouth, south Harrow, South Woodford, Southampton, Southend, Southsea, Spinningfields, St Albans, St Helier (Jersey), St Ives, St Neots, St Saviour (Jersey), Staines, Stamford, Stevenage, Stirling, Stourbridge, Stratford City, Stratford Upon Avon, Stroud, Sudbury, Sunningdale, Surbiton, Sutton Coldfield, Swaffham, Swindon, Teignmouth, Tenterden, Thame, Thatcham, Tonbridge, Torquay, Tottenham Court Road, Towcester, Trinity Square, Twickenham, Twyford, Uckfield, Upminster, Wallingford, Walton-le-Dale, Walton-on-Thames, Wandsworth, Wantage, Warminster, Waterlooville, Wellington, Wells, Welwyn Garden City, West Byfleet, West Ealing, Westbury Park, Westfield London, Weston Super Mare, Weybridge, Whetstone, Willerby, Wilmslow, Wimbledon, Wimborne, Winchester, Windsor, Winton, Witney, Wokingham, Wolverhampton, Woodley, Wootton, Worcester Park, Worthing, Wymondham, Yateley and York.

...Of which there are four flavours:

Mint Choc Chip (see previous  post), Salted Caramel (as above), Praline Crunch and Velvety Vanilla.


How much is it??

At £3.74 a tub (472ml), given the cost of some of the other dairy free ice creams out there, I think it is incredibly good value!! Bargainous, in fact!!


Related Posts:












Dream a little dream of... Mint Choc Chip Almond Dream

Stop the flippin' clock!! 

Just throw it across the room, will you??

Those of you wondering what on earth I'm on about will just have to read the post about Co-yo's Morello Cherry Flavoured yoghurt, to understand that comment, because I don't have time to explain it all again here!

I think I could be in some state of delirium, or maybe it's just a huge sugar rush, but I think I have just tasted the absolute BEST dairy free ice cream ever, ever, EVER!!

Ever since I first heard of this ice cream via various American bloggers, I have been sooo longing to try some and here it finally is:


Feast your eyes on this!

I just couldn't believe it, when I heard (via Hananh Banana Bakery, on Face Book) the other day tha it had come to our shores, but here it certainly is!!

It is quite simply every bit as good as I had imagined it would be and then even better, better, BETTER!

I am NOT usually a fan of adulterated chocolate. I'm even less of a fan of mint choc chip (except after dinner, on an odd occasion) but this Mint Choc Chip Ice Cream blew my socks off!! It's like After Eights churned up with cream. Yummy, yummy, YUMMY!!

What's in it??

Ingredients:
Water, Cane Sugar, Almonds (7%), Vegetable oil: Safflower, Tapioca Maltodextrin, Dark Chocolate Chips: Cane Sugar; Cocoa Solids;Cocoa Butter; Emulsifier: Soya Lecithin; Natural Vanilla Extract, Potato Starch, Stabilisers: Guar Gum; Locust Bean Gum; Carageenan, Emulsifier: Sunflower Lecithin, Rice Starch, Sea Salt, Natural Peppermint Flavouring, Natural Flavouring. Dark Chocolate Chips: Minimum Cocoa Solids 44%.

Allergen information states Almonds, but an additional statement read:

No added ingredients of dairy origin.

Manufactured in a factory that also handles peanuts, other nuts, eggs.

And it's gluten free!

Those of you allergic to soya, and unable to handle soya lecithin, will not be able to have it, though, and anyone sensitive to various forms of legume might have to watch out for some of the other ingredients.


Where can I get it??

Waitrose! 

Yippee!! 'Cos up to now, they've only had Swedish Glace, which I can't have. I had to travel to three different branches of Waitrose to locate some today, but I think the trek was still worth it!

The following branches of Waitrose will be stocking it (but not all have it on the shelves yet):

Abergavenny, Abingdon, Admiral Park (Guernsey), Alcester, Allington Park, Alton, Altrincham, Amersham, Ampthill, Andover, Ashford, Aylesbury, Banstead, Barnet, Barry, Bath, Beaconsfield, Beckenham, Bedford, Berkhamsted, Biggin Hill, Billericay, Bishop's Stortford, Blaby, Bloomsbury, Brackley, Bracknell, Brent Cross, Bridport, Brighton, Bromley, Bromley South, Buckhurst Hill, Buckingham, Burgess Hill, Bury St Edmunds, Buxton, Byres Road, Caldicot, Cambridge, Canary Wharf, Canterbury, Cardiff Queen Street, Caterham, Caversham, Chandlers Ford, Cheadle Hulme, Cheam, Cheltenham, Chesham, Chester, Chichester, Chippenham, Chipping Sodbury, Christchurch, Cirencester, Clifton, Cobham, Colchester, Comely Bank, Cowbridge, Crewkerne, Crouch End, Crowborough, Daventry, Dorking, Droitwich, East Cowes, East Grinstead, East Sheen, Eastbourne, Edgware Road, Egham, Ely, Enfield, Enfield Chase, Epsom, Esher, Exeter, Farnham, Finchley, Fitzroy Street, Fleet, Foregate Street, Formby, Frimley, Fulham, Gillingham, Gloucester Road, Godalming, Goldsworth Park, Gosport, Great Malvern, Green Street Green, Greenwich, Hailsham, Hall Green, Hampton, Harborne , Harpenden, Harrogate, Harrow Weald, Headington, Helensburgh, Henley, Hereford, Hersham, Hertford, Hexham, Hitchin, Holloway Road, Holsworthy, Horley, Horsham, Hove, Huntingdon, Hythe, Ipswich, Jesmond, John Barnes, Kenilworth, Keynsham, Kingshill, Kingsthorpe, Kingston, Knutsford, Leeds, Leek, Leigh On Sea, Leighton Buzzard, Lewes, Lichfield, Lincoln, Little Waitrose John Lewis Southampton, Little Waitrose at John Lewis Watford, Littlehampton, Locks Heath, Longfield, Lutterworth, Lymington, Maidenhead, Malmesbury, Market Harborough, Marlborough, Marylebone, Meanwood, Melksham, Menai Bridge, Mill Hill, Monmouth, Morningside, Nailsea, New Malden, Newark, Newbury, Newmarket, Newport, Newton Mearns, North Walsham, Northwich, Norwich, Oadby, Oakgrove, Okehampton, Otley, Oundle, Oxted, Paddock Wood, Palmers Green, Parkstone, Parsons Green, Peterborough, Petersfield, Ponteland, Pontprennau, Portishead, Poundbury, Poynton, Ramsgate, Reading, Red Houses (Jersey), Richmond, Rickmansworth, Ringwood, Rohais (Guernsey), Romsey, Ruislip, Rushden, Saffron Walden, Salisbury, Saltash, Sandbach, Sanderstead, Sandhurst, Saxmundham, Sevenoaks, Sheffield, Sherborne, Shrewsbury, Sidcup, Sidmouth, south Harrow, South Woodford, Southampton, Southend, Southsea, Spinningfields, St Albans, St Helier (Jersey), St Ives, St Neots, St Saviour (Jersey), Staines, Stamford, Stevenage, Stirling, Stourbridge, Stratford City, Stratford Upon Avon, Stroud, Sudbury, Sunningdale, Surbiton, Sutton Coldfield, Swaffham, Swindon, Teignmouth, Tenterden, Thame, Thatcham, Tonbridge, Torquay, Tottenham Court Road, Towcester, Trinity Square, Twickenham, Twyford, Uckfield, Upminster, Wallingford, Walton-le-Dale, Walton-on-Thames, Wandsworth, Wantage, Warminster, Waterlooville, Wellington, Wells, Welwyn Garden City, West Byfleet, West Ealing, Westbury Park, Westfield London, Weston Super Mare, Weybridge, Whetstone, Willerby, Wilmslow, Wimbledon, Wimborne, Winchester, Windsor, Winton, Witney, Wokingham, Wolverhampton, Woodley, Wootton, Worcester Park, Worthing, Wymondham, Yateley and York.


When you hit Waitrose, you'll be looking for a tub like this:





How much is it??

A measly £3.74 a tub for 472ml, which, given the cost of some of the other dairy free ice creams out there, it is (quite frankly) bargainous!!


Related Posts:


Co-yo Morello Cherry Yogurt




Ice-a-cream-oh!



Bessant and Drury's Dairy Free Ice Cream



Co-yo Ice Cream



Free From Creamy Iced Vanilla Dessert - Tescos


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Free From Creamy Iced Vanilla Dessert - New at Tesco!!

Huzzah!

A new dairy free ice cream... from Tesco's own Free From label!!

I was alerted to this on Twitter the other day (sorry I can't remember who, if it was you, please let me know)! So, off I went... to hunt some out!!


Details! Details!

It's not exactly a huge tub, there's 500ml in the tub - whereas you get 750ml in a tub of Swedish Glace... I only compare it to Swedish Glace because it's a popular dairy free ice cream, which is pretty good value.

BUT!! Unlike Swedish Glace (which I gather is not only great value, but also a good dupe for vanilla ice cream), not only is it dairy free, and gluten free, it is also SOYA FREE as well!!

AND, like Swedish Glace, it's a great deal cheaper than some of the other dairy and soya free frozen desserts out there - it's only £2.00 a tub!!

Yippee!!


Here it is!

So what's it made with, you might well wonder!?


What's in it??

Ingredients:
Water, Coconut Oil, Glucose Syrup, Sugar, Lupin, Protein Isolate, Maltodextrin, Dextrose, Emulsifier (Mono- and Di- Glycerides of Fatty Acids), Colours (Calcium Carbonate, Beta Carotene), Stabilisers (Locust Bean Meal, Guar Gum), Salt, Flavouring, Vanilla Powder.

Allergens:
Lupin.
May contain nuts.

From looking at the ingredients list, it is obvious that a lot of processed ingredients have gone into this product, however, what concerns me more, is the addition of Lupin. This ingredient has not been used much in the UK, until quite recently, but is an ingredient commonly used in Europe in gluten free products. As it has become more widely used, it has emerged as quite an allergenic substance - which is why it appears in the EU's list of top 14 allergens. So if you are a multiple allergy sufferer, just take care, in case you turn out to be allergic to Lupin too! *

However, on the positive side, this is a Free From product that is egg free too - as a lot of dairy free folks are also unable to have eggs, this is a great move!

BUT what a shame that, as a Free From product, this ice cream could not somehow have been made nut free too - too many Free From products are not, and here's another one that isn't. I really feel for the nut allergic on this one.


I enjoyed my ice cream with fresh strawberries


What's it taste like?

Well, here's  the thing - it's a long time since I've eaten it - but... well... funnily enough... vanilla ice cream!! 

YAY!!

I'm not a fan, I've decided of vanilla ice creams flavoured with fruit juice - they tend to taste too fruity, rather than purely of vanilla, so this was just right for me, personally.

The way I like it - plain and simple!

To be sure that I was testing it right, I tried it alongside some British strawberries (not sugared or flavoured in any way). AND before I even took a single bite of strawberry, I tasted the iced dessert, and yes, I'm sure it tasted just the same as I remember ice cream tasting last time I ate it!! 

Obviously I haven't taste tested Swedish Glace properly (I once took a sneaky lick, which wasn't enough to affect me) so I couldn't properly tell, but I think they taste pretty similar.

Unlike Swedish Glace, this dairy free ice cream doesn't yet have companions with other flavours, but hopefully they will come along pretty soon! 

Meanwhile, I'm still waiting for a dairy and soya free cookie dough ice cream (Hint! Hint!)!!


Related posts:

Other posts about dairy free substitutes can be found by following this link.


* For more information about Lupin Allergy, follow this link.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Dairy Free Gluten Free Soya Free Autumnal Apple Crumble and Custard

With the nights drawing in, and an autumnal nip in the air, thoughts inevitably turn to comfort food! What could be better than a traditional autumnal fruit crumble and yummy custard??

'Baby' finally, I'm delighted to say, has taken to one of my favourite puds - apple crumble!! And I am truly delighted, because for one thing I can get to eat pudding again (it's no fun just making it for yourself) and for another it means I'm getting a little bit more fruit inside her!!

The recipe I use is based on my parents' favourite formula (my Dad is just as likely to make it as my mum), with a slight twist that comes from my sister-in-law!!

I hope you don't feel like I'm teaching you to suck eggs, as it were, but if you are new to going dairy free, you may not yet have contemplated making your old family favourites with your new dairy free substitutes!

This recipe can be shared between three ramekins.


To begin with you need:


2 large Bramley apples
1 dessert apple (Gala or similar)
1 knob of dairy free margarine (Pure, Vitalite or similar)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3/4 tablespoons water


A couple of handfuls of blackberries could replace one of the Bramley apples for yet another autumnal favourite.

I also like rhubarb and apple crumble, but that is made strictly for me, as 'Baby' doesn't do rhubarb and neither does The Hub!! If I was making rhubarb crumble, I would replace the Bramley apples with two large stalks of rhubarb and would cut them into large chunks.


Method:

1. First you peel, core and cut the apple into small chunks.


Make sure your chunks of apple are a reasonable size, if you don't want a complete mush!

2. Add all the ingredients to a pan and simmer gently for about 15/20 mins with the odd stir to soften. 

3. Spoon between three ramekins and set aside.


Fill the ramekins about two thirds full, with your fruit mixture.



Next you need:

4 oz     plain flour (I use Doves Farm gluten free)
2.5 oz  dairy free margarine (Pure, Vitalite or similar)
2 oz     sugar


Crumble Method:

1. First turn on your oven and set the temperature to 180 degrees C.

2. Rub the fat into the flour, using the tips of your fingers, to make crumbs. I tend to make these quite rough crumbs, as you really need to work quite fast with dairy free margarine - it becomes quite soft very quickly. It helps if your hands are cool and it's not too hot in your kitchen!

3. Stir in the sugar,using a metal spoon. You can at this stage also add some oats or crushed nuts. I personally love the rustic look, but my little one likes her crumble texture free!

4. Spread over a grease proof paper covered tray and place in the oven for about 5-10 minutes - just to toast slightly (this is the tip from my sister-in-law, who likes her crumble crispy and not soggy!).


Spread it out quite thinly, so that your crumble topping can toast

5. Spoon over the apple in the ramekins.

Now, at this point, I usually place one ramekin in the oven to cook, to eat that day; another ramekin is covered with cling wrap and placed in the fridge, whilst the final one is wrapped and placed in the freezer.

6. The crumble is cooked in the oven at 180 degrees C for about 20 mins, until the top is golden brown. When cooking the crumble from the fridge, it's wise to place the ramekin in the oven before you turn it on - to allow the dish to warm up with the oven - otherwise the dish may crack. 

7. Whilst the crumble is cooking, make the custard!


Good to go!


For the custard, you will need:

2 tbsp. instant custard powder
1 pint of dairy free milk (I use Koko or almond milk - almond milk makes a thinner custard)
2 tbsp golden syrup


Custard Method:

1. Heat your dairy free milk, over a medium heat in a non-stick pan.

2. Mix the custard powder and a couple of tablespoons of dairy free milk, in a heat proof jug (Pyrex or similar).

3. As the bubbles begin to form around the edge of the milk in the pan, remove the pan from the heat and pour the heated milk onto the custard mix. Note: don't try to add the mix to the milk - you will have a disastrous mess on your hands! I know because I've done it - just the once, because once is enough!

4. Mix well, with a metal spoon, and return to the pan. 

5. Continue to heat on a medium heat. Keep stirring with a wooden or silicone spatula or spoon, as the custard begins to thicken, but please note, almond milk will not thicken as much as Koko coconut milk. To counter this, you can use more custard powder at the custard powder stage, but your custard will taste more powdery, as a result! Almond milk may also make your custard have a slightly grey tinge to it, but it still tastes really good!

6. Once the custard has thickened to your liking, pour it into a heat proof serving jug. Please note: the custard may thicken slightly, as it cools.

7. Serve and enjoy! Any left over custard can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days and reheated in your microwave.


Alternative serving tip:

Much as I love apple crumble with custard, if I can't be faffed to make the custard, I love mine with a good dollop of Co-yo yoghurt - it's thick and creamy and goes well with a slightly tart fruit dessert. 'Baby'? well if there's no custard to hand, she prefers hers with a dairy free vanilla ice cream!


Related Post:


Heaven in a mouthful - Co-yo dairy free, soya free yoghurt


For more Dessert ideas, see this page:



Just Desserts

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Finding the perfect formula for the dairy free baby

Breast is best, right? 

Well, I am a big fan of breastfeeding, BUT sometimes our boobs don't work, or we have to go back to work, or we don't produce enough milk, or... well for a hundred and one reasons, there are times when for some reason or another, with the best will in the world, we need a formula to feed our little ones.

In my case, it was because I had such painfully cracked nipples, that for a while, I needed to ease up a bit on breast feeding and top up with formula.

If you've just discovered your baby is allergic to cow's milk, you might wonder what on earth you can feed your little one - after all the only alternative to breast milk is cow's milk formula, right??

Well, not quite!!

There are formulas that are suitable for a dairy free baby

There are some options out there, that might be suitable for your little one!

Before we explore them, though, let me make it quite clear that contrary to what some might say, you do NOT have to give up breast feeding if you discover your little one is allergic to milk. You may have to remove dairy from your diet whilst you're still breastfeeding - as the proteins from cow's milk can pass through your breast milk (although this is not necessarily true of everyone, as your body breaks down the proteins to some extent), but it can be done. I know, because I have done it! Check out these posts, by following this link, if that's what you wish to do. 


What's out there:

Soya Formula

There are formulas that are completely dairy free, such as SMA's Wysoy, which is made from soya. Soya has been a popular non-dairy choice for years, because the proteins are so similar. However, because they are so similar, six out of ten children with an allergy to cow's milk, might also be allergic to soya.  

The other problem with soya, is that concern has been expressed about phytoestrogens - naturally occurring oestrogen contained within soya. Because of this, soya formula is not recommended by the BDA for children under 6 months of age, particularly boys. The concerns are that the plant oestrogen could affect boys' future fertility or prolong girls' future menstruation.

Also soya milk contains glucose, which can cause tooth decay. Lactose (the sugar contained in mammalian milk) does not.


Extensively Hydrolysed Milk Formula

If your baby has been diagnosed with a cow's milk allergy they may be prescribed what is known as an 'extensively hydrolyzed milk formula,' such as Nutramigen 1 or Pepti. These milk formulas are made with cow's milk, but the proteins in the milk have been broken down into tiny pieces, to enable children with milk allergy to cope with them. They come in two kinds - either whey-based or casein-based. A dietitian or allergy specialist should be able to work out which is best for your little one. 

Most babies with cows milk protein allergy (around 90%) will be fine with formulas such as these, but sometimes babies with a milk allergy are so sensitive, that they cannot even cope with a hydrolysed formula - in which case they may be prescribed an amino acid formula.


Hypoallergenic Amino Acid Formula

An amino acid formula, such as the one prescribed our baby (Nutramigen AA) does not contain cow's milk protein at all, but amino acids - the bits (often referred to as the 'building blocks') that make up protein. Because this formula does not contain milk protein it is also lactose free. If you want to know exactly what is in a formula such as Nutramigen AA, see here. It makes for interesting reading!!

The other brand you are likely to come across in the UK is by Neocate.


Points to note:

1. The first formula that you are prescribed may not be the right one for your baby. So if it does not seem to work for your little one, keep talking to your Doctor/Dietitian, they can probably try your baby with another. However, bear in mind, also, that it may take days or even weeks for the effects of the cow's milk protein to disappear. Another thing to note is that these formulas may cause your baby's poo to be a bit loose and appear a bit green!

2. Around six months a baby's bitter taste buds develop. It can be harder to introduce a formula at this stage, as breast milk is naturally sweeter. 'Baby' went off her formula around this time. Although our dietitian tried to help by introducing another formula, she didn't take to it. Unfortunately, I wasn't aware (at that stage) of how it was possible to gradually introduce a new milk, or that it is possible to try and disguise the taste with flavouring such as vanilla (apparently breast milk tastes like vanilla - see here).

3. Plant-based milks, such as Koko, Oatly or similar, are not suitable as a main milk drink for babies. This is because milk is the means by which babies gain all (pre-weaning) or most (up to the age of one) of their nutrition. Plant-based milks do not contain enough calories, or other essential nutrients. You will need a prescribed milk formula for children under the age of one, who are not being breast fed. 

4. Goat milk formula, such as 'Nanny Care,' is not considered suitable for children with a cow's milk protein allergy, because the proteins are so similar.

5. Some other potential drawbacks with hypoallergenic formulas are outlined here.


Related post:



Further Reading: 

Suitable Milks for Children with Cow's Milk Allergy - BDA Fact Sheet

Living with cow's milk allergy - what do I feed my baby?

Suitable infant formula for babies allergic to cow's milk 

NHS Choices - Can I give my baby soya-based milk formula? 

Find a formula that's right for your baby - Baby Centre