Saturday, 12 January 2013

Away over Christmas? How do you manage it?

Happy New Year, all ye who are dairy free!! I wonder if, like us, you went away over the Christmas season, to meet up with family and friends. And, if you did, how did you cope, with the whole dairy free thing? I don't know if you have to do the same as us, but when we go away, I have to try and avoid taking half the larder!! 

It would be nice to be able to go away and travel light; I like to think we've got better at going away with Baby. We used to take a whole people-carrierful of stuff. Now it's probably half that amount (unless it's Christmas - think roof box). There's no longer the breast pump, the bottle sterilizer, the bottles, the change mat, the stacks of nappies... but we still can't manage to go away without the Baby monitor and a whole load of dairy free and gluten free food!

If we have an overnighter at a hotel, with breakfast 'included', I tend to take my bread and hope that they'll do me a fried or poached egg, which will get washed down with black coffee. Baby's usually OK with their egg and sometimes sausage or hash brown (I always check) but I'll have to take along some of her 'giraffe' milk. 

Wherever we go we take this with us, even if we only get to use a fraction of it's contents (once opened it needs to be refrigerated).

'Milk' for Baby

It's not an ideal situation - if there's nowhere to keep the milk. I hate waste! However, sometimes there's a big enough mini bar. If not, we have been known to take an electronic ice box!!

Then there's the weekend (or slightly longer) at The Parents. Although the Parents don't live beyond the reaches of civilization (although living on the Isle of Wight, The Hub thinks they do) and knowing we can get hold of Pure margarine at the other end (although these days The Parents usually get some for us, along with some Dove's gluten free flour), as well as the 'Giraffe milk', I may take the following:

Kara Coconut milk - the only dairy free, soya free and rice free milk that can be bought in small cartons. I don't use it in drinks, so much, but, mixed with a bit of Bird's, it makes a rather nice custard! If you're wondering about the 'rice free' by the way, you might want to read this post.

'Milk' for  me!

I used to take some nut-based milk as well, to make porridge (with Nairn's gluten free oats) but I'm giving my gut a rest for the mo - it's been feeling sensitive and I'm trying to work out what's causing it. I'm not sure if it's the oats, or the 'milk'.

Marigold's reduced salt bouillon also comes in very handy. Gluten and dairy free, this makes a good gravy substitute for a Shepherd's Pie (although we tend to make it thicker than it says).

Useful in stews and Shepherd's Pie

If a roast chicken (or turkey) is on the menu, then Anthony Worrall Thompson's instant gluten free gravy (also dairy free) becomes the order of the day. 

Orgran dried gluten free pasta and a pasta sauce also make it into the bag - both useful in case of a Spaghetti Bolognese. The sauce pictured is not technically gluten free, by the way - but it contains no obvious gluten-containing ingredients and I seem to be fine with it.

Useful for a quick(ish) meal.

The pasta I really prefer is Dell 'Ugo's fresh gluten free chickpea fusilli, but I can only get it in certain branches of Waitrose or from Ocado (who don't deliver on the Island). That's where the dried Orgran pasta comes into its own.

The other essential item on the list is my gluten free bread. Gluten free bread tends to be widely available these days, unless it is my own, it has to be Antoinette Saville or Genius Original (if not, my trips to the loo become more frequent) and as they are only available certain places, I tend to find it easier to take my own.

Some favourite treats, have to come too, of course, and might be the following: 

Kelkin's gluten free Jaffa cakes (which also happen to be dairy free, and are beloved by 'baby'); Original Pom Bears; Hale & Hearty Flapjacks and Nature Valley Oats & Honey. The Nature Valley bars are purely for Baby - sadly not gluten free!

We can't go without a few treats as well!

Over Christmas, in the interests of feeling a bit more like a 'normal' human being, I added a few more items to this list:

Mince pies by OK Foods and Hale & Hearty

Hale & Hearty Christmas Pudding

Village Bakery Christmas Cake

Soyatoo Coconut Whipping Cream

Celtic Fine Dark Chocolates Selection Box (You knew I'd have to mention the chocolate sooner or later, right?)

This list was augmented by a trip to Waitrose for some of Bessant & Drury's ice cream and Askey's waffle ice cream cones (no gluten free, just for Baby) as well as to Holland & Barrett for some 'Cheezly' dairy and soya free cheese. The Parents had also thoughtfully bought me some Celtic Chocolates fine dark after dinner mints.

Only Askey's waffle cones are made without milk.

Next time, I'm gonna check out Stotesbury's Fish and Chip Shop in Newport (the main town on the Island). Apparently, they do gluten free fish and chips. Soooo Wish I'd known that one!

Mind you, we didn't go without this Christmas. I think I had all my bases covered... until I tucked into the Christmas Cake (not it's fault, I think it was the spices) but that's another story!

UPDATE - 2014:

I tend not to buy gluten free loaves now, so will probably take Warburton's Wraps or Genius multi-seeded rolls.

For an indulgent brekkie, I might treat myself to some Genius Croissants or Brioche (both dairy, as well as gluten anfree)

AWT's instant gravy is no longer available - we use pots of Masterchef concentrate now, instead!

Biccy of choice is probably now O'Choccos (see here), as the soya flour in the Kelkin's Jaffa Cakes and Hale and Hearty's Flapjacks gives me trouble! Such a shame as both products are great!

My favourite mince pies, Christmas cake and Christmas pudding are now by Baked to Taste, although they're slightly tricky to get hold of - only online via their website!

Celtic Chocolates selection box seems to have disappeared now, so a box of Booja Booja choccies will do the trick, quite nicely!

The ice cream I'll be taking is Mint Choc Chip Almond Dream (see here), from Waitrose. 

Meanwhile my cheese tastes have shifted too! My 'cheese' of choice is Violife, from Tesco!!

I might also have to pick up some Co-yo (see here) and Pudology (see here), whilst I'm at Tesco too!

Related Posts:
We're all going on a dairy free summer holiday
Center Parcs revisited
Treating Father Christmas
Dilemmas of the Christmas Cake Variety


  1. Hi, we too have to take (what seems like) an enormous amount of food with us wherever we go! Just out of interest and because we're snowed in today! what ingredients are in the Askeys cones? I've toyed with the idea of making my own but chickened out!
    oo and I love your blog - it's a great read : )

  2. Hi Sian!

    Glad you like the blog :) it's been a bit of a labour of love. I'm sorry it's taken me a while to get back to you, about the cones. The Askey's cones contain: Wheat flour, sugar, vegetable fat, emulsifier (soya lecithin), salt. Hope that helps! x

    1. Thankyou : )
      is it okay if I pop you on my blogroll?