Saturday, 25 May 2013

Barbecued Bananas

You can tell it's Bank Holiday - The Hub has been car shopping, mowed the lawn and lit the Barbie. Not the plastic doll, you understand, but the outside thing, that you use for cooking a meal on. Well... I say 'barbie'... actually it's a disposable one - because five years into marriage, The Hub's man barbie is still in his Mum's back garden!! 

No matter, between the oven and the disposable barbecue, the job was done and everything was properly cooked. However, being a man, there was just one thing The Hub forgot - to buy anything of vegetable matter to balance out the protein and the carbs. 

'What shall we do for veg?' he asked, once everything was nearly ready. Oops!

Fortunately, I had bought some bananas today. It was at this point that I remembered being at a barbecue, some years ago, when baked bananas were the dessert. 

'Okay,' I thought, 'I'm sure we could give it a go.'

I also remembered trying this once before, without much success. However, I decided NOT to let that hold me back, and started googling recipes.

The most common recipe seemed to involve lemon, brown sugar and butter.  Brown sugar we did have, lemon we didn't have,, butter... we can't have. Although our dairy free marg. has been great for a number of things, I just knew it was not going to be fit for the purpose of this job. No, there had to be another way. 

When I spotted a recipe that used chocolate, I knew that I'd found The One!! Fortunately, along with the bananas today I'd also bought some dairy free chocolate 'coins' from Sainsbury's.

So, having grabbed some foil, slit my bananas down the side, and filled the slits with choccy buttons, I crimped the foil together and threw (well not literally, you understand) the bananas on the barbie. 

Before long they were sizzling away. I was quite surprised that the barbie seemed to have sufficient energy to do the job and was half expecting to have to chuck them in the oven, to really finish them off. 

Having given them 20 minutes or so, I retrieved them from the barbie with tongs and unwrapped them to cool down a bit. Once they'd cooled down sufficiently, I proffered one to Baby. Well, she scooped out the chocolate alright, but didn't much go for the banana. 

*sighs and rolls eyes*

It may look a bit black and horrible, but appearances can be deceptive!

Twenty minutes cooking time, although most recipes say fifteen, seemed about right to me, but maybe that's because our barbie was a little disposable one. The banana was nicely cooked and the chocolate sensationally gooey. We could have added marshmallows and ice cream but I left those out on this occasion.

It may not have been quite ripe, but it still went down okay!

Regarding the bananas, I had only had one that was properly ripe and so opted to use a nearly ripe one as well and hoped it would soften up. It did to some extent, but to anyone who hasn't tried this before, I'd suggest using bananas that are only just ripe. I think that overripe bananas would be too soggy and taste not very nice at all!

The next time I try this, I think I would try being all prepared in advance. I quite fancy the idea of dairy free caramel sauce and pecans being added on the top of my chocolatey banana - quite possibly using this recipe, which I've been meaning to try for some time. Now that really would be nice! Maybe, if the weather's nice, I might even try doing that tomorrow. Thing is, being Britain and  Whitsun Bank Holiday, what are the chances of that??

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

NEW Tesco Free From Desserts

Last night, Baby had her first taste of alcohol! 

And I had my first, since falling pregnant (apart, perhaps, from one cooking sauce a few months ago).

I didn't mean for it to happen, really I didn't, but I didn't realise Tesco's dairy free and gluten free desserts would be boozy! OK its not expensive alcohol, but... it's definitely there!

All Baby had was a taste, really, and she didn't like it (phew). BUT at last Tesco Free From have hit on something that is both delicious and grown up! And here it is:

Oo! Yum!

So it's called an Italian Coffee Dessert, but I think we may just as well cut to the chase and call it a Tirimasu.

What to look out for!

Can I just say? I really loved it!

I have to say when I first saw them in the chiller, I wasn't expecting much, but then I realised that they were soya free too. Woo hoo! At £1.60 for two, they seemed quite bargainous to me (they're a decent size too), so I scooped up not just the Italian Coffee Dessert, but also the Chocolate Mouse and Italian Lemon Desserts stacked alongside them.

If you can't find them in your store? Badger the manager until they do!

I have to say, the lemon pud is amazing too. So, it's just the chocolate one to go. 

Oh! But it's a hard life trying them out :)

Want to know what's in them? Here we go:

Water, Glucose Syrup, Coconut Oil, Sugar, Maltodextrin, Egg Yolk, Chicory Fibre, Cocoa Powder, Alcohol, Potato Starch, Flavouring, Egg, Stabiliser (Sorbitol Spirit), Egg White, Thickeners (Agar, Tara Gum), Emulsifier (Mono- and Di-Glycerides of Fatty Acids), Coffee powder, Raising Agents (Disodium Phosphate, Sodium Carbonate), Preservative (Potassium Sorbate), Salt.

Allergy Advice:
Free From: Milk, gluten and wheat.
Contains egg.
Recipe no nuts, but can't guarantee nut free. Factory equipment has been used to make nuts.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Oh-oh-oh! Dairy free, gluten free Oreos!!

Well, believe it or not, although I'm a huge fan of that drug called chocolate, I've never been a huge fan of Oreos. In fact, I think I tried one not long before I had Baby and I was completely underwhelmed - they tasted so... well... artificial - really not my cup of tea, at all. Which was why, when I first heard that the UK version of Oreos no longer had milk in the ingredients, I was like, 'Yadda, yadda, yadda! Who really cares about that? I still can't eat them, because they're not gluten free, and 'Baby' can't eat them, because they may contain milk, BUT I'll pass the information on anyway.' 

End of... or so I thought...

However that was before The Hub found these:

They look like the real deal, don't they?
Not strictly Oreos, of course, actually they're O'chocos, and you know what? Whether they resemble Oreos or not, I don't care because I love them! They're so much nicer, in my humble opinion. And they're obviously a hit with other people too, because at the weekend Ocado sold out (well they were on offer too). 

Here's what to look out for
They're made by Free From food manufacturers, Lovemore (who will be at the The Allergy and Free From Show in London in June), and are marketed as gluten free, but just so happen to be dairy free, as well. You can buy them online here.

Lovemore also make these Bourbons:

Here's the Bourbons
I crunched into one, but had to stop with one, because I started to read the label and discovered they contained soya flour*. Pants! Now I'm okay with soya lecithin, which is used to make the Oreos, but not so, with soya milk or soya flour.

I have to admit, I was quite disappointed, as the Bourbons were yummy too. C 'est la vie, I guess - all par for the course with multiple food intolerance!

Now, for those of you who need to know, here's what's in them:

O'Choco ingredients:
Rice flour, sugar, vegetable fats, corn starch, cocoa powder, potato starch, corn flour, dextrose, glucose syrup, refined sunflower oil, rice starch, raising agent: sodium hydrocarbonate, thickener: Xanthan gum, flavourings, emulsifier: soy lecithin, table salt.

Allergy Information:
Free from: Gluten, Wheat and milk.
Contains: soya.
Suitable for coeliacs and dairy sufferers.

Bourbon ingredients:
Rice flour, potato starch, sugar, vegetable fat, maize starch, cocoa powder, glucose syrup, soya flour, unrefined brown cane sugar, refined sunflower oil, thickener: xanthan gum, salt, emulsifier: soya lecithin, natural vanilla flavouring.

Allergy information:
Free from: gluten, wheat and milk.
Contains: soya.
Suitable for coeliac and dairy allergy sufferers.

*Why gluten free food manufacturers insist on using such a common allergen as soya, I'll never know. DS Specials are another offender in this respect, with their bread and gluten free digestives, which are really quite yummy and almost wheat-like! The digestives are also handy to take out as they come in little packs of five - just right for slipping in your bag or pocket. Baby loves these too, not that she's gluten free of course!

Friday, 17 May 2013

The Allergy and Free From Show 2013


Can't wait!

Not long now!

So good last year!

It seems so long since the last one.

These are the thoughts going through my mind. 

Why am I excited? Well, obviously, the clue is in the title!

Last year was my first time. You can read about it here, if you like.

If you haven't been and are wondering whether it's worth it, well yes, I thought it was.

There are in fact two now - one in London (June) and the other (October) in Liverpool.

If, you do decide to go, what should you be aware of? Well, here are my top tips:

1. Take advantage of free tickets. Download your free tickets in advance here, by clicking on this link.

2. Take a look at the website, to find out about seminars and cookery demonstrations, that are run during the show. There are some new Spotlight sessions, this year, for which you need to book in advance. You can also arrange consultations with organisations such as Allergy UK and the Anaphylaxis Campaign.

3. Take time to plan your journey in advance. Check with rail services/AA before you go - you don't want to get caught anywhere and end up missing anything! Handily, Olympia is situated right by a station.

Right by the station, how convenient!

4. Take a companion - to help you carry your haul home, be your second pair of eyes/ears  (I wasn't so careful as I should have been - I got very excited if something was dairy and gluten free, and forget to check for soya and cashews etc. It was a good thing that I had The Hub to keep an eye on me!)

5. Take a trolley/suitcase on wheels to carry home your haul - or, as we found last year, a buggy may suffice, if it will take the weight of everything on the handlebars! Last year, we found that many of the exhibitors had special offers on their products, for the duration of the show, so it was possible to buy in bulk. Free From foods costing as much as they do, you may well wish to take advantage! 

5. Take cards by all means, but plenty of cash is sometimes easier at a show. It's quicker to hand over, for one thing, but also stall holders don't always have credit card facilities.

6. Take care. You need to be safety conscious, as stall holders and their assistants are not always familiar with allergies/intolerances etc. - for example, some of the stalls are for Vegan products, which have found a following among egg or dairy allergy sufferers. Although I believe the organisers have taken steps to ensure they are briefed, you have to remember that issues such as cross-contamination may still occur, with those for whom it is not second nature. Always check all ingredients carefully and be prepared to ask the questions to which you need answers. 

7. Take care of your kids. Last year I noticed a couple of youngish children helping themselves to free samples from stalls, without parental supervision. I can only hope that their parents knew what they were up to and that they were okay with whatever they were eating. For all I know they could have been going back for seconds of something they had already tried, and were okay with, but it did concern me.

8. Take food. Last year, although you could buy hot dogs at one of the stalls, the venue caterers were clearly not geared up for catering for allergies or gluten free folks.

9. Take time. Last year I rushed in for a short while - an hour. Although I feel that I benefited even from that, I could really have done with longer, as I didn't have time for everything. And this year there is  more to see - there is a veggie fair (V-Delicious) being held in the same venue. This is handy as Vegan products are dairy and egg free (although watch out for 'may contain traces of...' if you are particularly sensitive).

So, what are you waiting for? Click on the link and order your free tickets now! 

Related Posts:

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The one with an 'ology' - Pudology!

Before launching in to this product review, I must just say, I really love the name 'Pudology'. Maureen Lipman is all I'm saying. Those of you of a certain vintage will know exactly what I'm talking about. Those who don't... well I'm sure there's a clip on YouTube of that particular BT advert... somewhere!!

I first came across Pudology at The Allergy show, last year and was completely blown away by their chocolate dessert. It was so chocolatey and so yummy - without the horridly disappointing synthetic aftertaste that I had half been expecting. In fact, in my Allergy Show post I described them as on a par to the desserts I used to love (prior to going dairy free) made by Gu.

I was so excited when I heard that Ocado were going to be stocking Pudology and as soon as they did, I wasted no time in ordering some. As Ocado stocked both the chocolate and the strawberry versions, I got to try both!!

The Chocolate One
Eating the chocolate version was just like being reacquainted with an old friend - everything I had loved, remembered and hoped for!!

I have to admit, I do wonder whether the main reason I love the chocolate dessert is because it's 38% chocolate - which is exactly what it tastes like - soft, smooth yummy chocolate!

My only gripe is that the servings are quite small in comparison to other desserts out there. Being so rich, though, I suppose you could have 'too much of a good thing' if they were very much larger.

Every picture tells a story - see how clean I've left the pot!

Coconut milk, dark chocolate (sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, emulsifier: soya lecithin, natural vanilla flavouring), water sugar, Madagascan vanilla extract

Allergy Advice:
Contains soya. Not suitable for nut allergy sufferers due to manufacturing methods used.

The Strawberry One
I have also tried the Strawberry Pud. Now, this doesn't hit the spot for me, as much as the chocolate pud did (but then it can hardly have escaped the notice of those of you who follow regularly, that I am a bit of a chocoholic)! That said, I do enjoy eating the strawberry pud. In fact, I positively craved it, just before Easter, but had to 'make do' (!) with the chocolate pud, as the strawberry had proved so popular (with the customers of Ocado) that it sold out!

The strawberry version is reminiscent of a cheesecake and cheesecake, for me, is a bit of a personal quest because  finding a 'cheesecake' which is not only dairy and gluten free, but soya free as well has proved to be quite difficult. 

I know Food Heaven have produced a lemon flavoured cheesecake and a forest fruits flavoured cheesecake. These can be bought from the freezer department of some large Sainsbury's and Tescos. However, although they are both dairy free, they are not suitable for me, as they are not soya or gluten free (like many others who are intolerant of soya, I'm okay with soya lecithin - found in most chocolate).  So I was delighted to find in Pudology, a 'cheesecake' that although it 'may contain soya,' otherwise satisfied all of my criteria.

I'm afraid to say, it's so long since I've tasted a cheesecake that I've no idea how these puds compare to the 'real thing'. All I can do is describe the puds as I found them. 

Ta da! Dairy & gluten free cheesecake!

The biscuit base, which is soft and crumbly, is perhaps a bit like shortbread, but without being quite so sweet. The topping, the flavour of which is delicately balanced, is mousse-like. You get the definite taste of strawberry, without being too tart or too sweet and also without any horrid artificial aftertaste! 

If I were to find fault with this pud, I think I would like a slightly more crunchy base and a fruity strawberry sauce on the top. However, I hate to complain, because I'm so excited to find a decent dairy and gluten free pudding.

Strawberry Topping - Coconut Milk, Strawberry Puree (strawberries, inverted sugar syrup), Sugar Stabiliser: (corn starch, pectin E440, agar E406, carob gum E410, sugar).
Biscuit Base - Flour Blend (rice, tapioca, maize, buckwheat), Vegetable Fat Spread (vegetable oils, water, salt, emulsifier: mono- and di-glycerides of fatty acids, flavourings, vitamin E, citiric acid, colour: beta-carotene, vitamins A and D), Sugar

Allergy Advice:
May contain Soya. Not suitable for nut allergy sufferers due to manufacturing methods used.

Where to buy:
If you want to get your hands on Pudology puds, then not only are they available from Ocado, they are now being sold in Selfridges, independent health food shops, and selected branches of Waitrose and Sainsbury's. Follow this link to find out more. 
Update: As from June 16th, they will be available from a Tesco near you! See here for stockists!

What's more, new flavours have been added:
There's a lemon pud, a banoffee pud (this one is made with soya) as well as a chocolate orange version, which 'Baby' loves!! 

Find out more about Pudology, as revealed by Pig in the Kitchen, here!

Related Posts:
Confessions of an Allergy Show Virgin
A pud would be good!
Bessant and Drury's Dairy Free Ice Cream

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Celiacs Fayre Gluten Free Cafe

Hidden gem
Recently we had a bit of a treat - a chance for 'Baby' and me to spend some time with my Mum and Dad. As they're from the Isle of Wight, the location needed to be within easy reach of Southampton.

Casting around for somewhere to eat (always our primary concern, whenever we go out) I tried Trip Advisor first of all and then remembered Travel Gluten Free. 

My eye was caught by a short recommendation for a cafe for coeliacs, who could apparently cater for other diets. 'Job done,' I thought, 'we'll go there, then.' 

Those of you who are good at Geography, will know that if this cafe is near(ish) Southampton, then it is in Hampshire.  Now before those of you who live further away all switch off, let me tell you that it is situated in a lovely part of the world, which is worth a little visit! 

If you're looking for a day out and don't mind walking, you can get a train to Shawford (it's on the London Waterloo/Southampton line) and walk through the picturesque water meadows to the tiny village of Twyford. Marwell Zoo is not too far away, but Twyford itself is not known for anything in particular, that I know of, except a boys prep school and some water works, and now, also a cafe for coeliacs! You could also walk from Winchester, but that would be a bit of a trek!

My lovely lunch
The cafe itself, is tucked away a bit. If (like me) you're driving up from the M3, you need to head straight along the High Street, through some traffic lights and Queen Street, in which its situated, will be on your left. Handily, they have a big sign at the end of the road, to let you know. There are a few parking spaces available, right alongside.

Well that's practicalities, now why should you take the trouble? First of all, Jane, the lady who runs the shop is a coeliac herself and all the food she bakes is gluten free. Due to her personal understanding of dietary needs she was prepared to be flexible and gave us a lot of personal attention. The food is not posh gastro fare, but well-chosen for a cafe menu, very reasonably priced and what we tried was not only delicious, but... fresh, fresh, fresh! 

'Baby's' lunch
My choice, for lunch that day, was a chicken and bacon roll with salad and chips. I don't know where she got it from, but the seeded bap was lovely!! My mum, who chose the same as me, really enjoyed the bacon and couldn't get over how fresh the water cress was, that was in the accompanying salad. I suspect that it was sourced fairly locally - a lot of watercress is grown not too far away, at King's Worthy.

Baby had a dairy and gluten free sausage roll with chips. I would have been tempted to help her out with it, but it may have contained soya. It looked nice though and so my Dad (not  usually gluten free) helped me out, by sampling the pastry, and it seemed to pass muster!

Dee-licious... dessert!!
The exciting bit, for me, was that following the 'mains', for once in our lives we were able to order something for 'afters,' which wasn't jelly or sorbet or fruit salad!!! I couldn't have the waffles, because sadly that day Jane only had soya milk in (I was kicking myself, at that point, for not phoning ahead, because she sometimes has rice milk too) BUT right by the till was a plate of dairy free carrot cake, that also happened to be soya free. Baby didn't need too much persuasion to share some with me. I have to say it was lovely and moist. Again the freshness of the ingredients (eggs this time) came through. What a treat!!

The whole experience was rather wonderful, not least because it was so relaxing not having to worry about the chances of cross-contamination - because we were in the hands of someone who knows from personal experience! It made me realise how stressed I must be feeling when I usually eat out.

An added bonus was that they also sell gluten free ingredients and goodies from the cafe  -even ready meals. So, naturally, I couldn't resist making a few purchases before I left. Tried not to spend too much though - I didn't want to give The Hub palpitations :)

A shop and a cafe in one!

If you want to find out more about the cafe, follow this link, to find their website.

Due to it's location (and resulting lack of footfall) with great reluctance, Celiacs Fayre despite having tried to make changes to accommodate other customers Celiacs Fayre has now closed. This is such a shame and I know they will be greatly missed - by us for sure! I really wish Jane all the best for the future!

Other posts about Eating Out:

Lunch at Starbucks