‘Travelling breakfasts’ are not easy for my intolerant child. Last summer we stayed in a hotel for a few nights and sorting breakfast was such a challenge. We took our gluten free, dairy free cereals and our own carton of dairy free milk. We didn’t have a fridge in our room, so took kept the milk in a lunch box full of ice packs. It was still fresh on the first morning, but pretty rough by the second day as the ice packs had melted.
We had also taken his special bread, but could only take a tiny amount of the dairy free spread to go in the ice packs with the milk and again by the second day it was no good. If Zac wasn’t so fussy he could have had some of the cooked breakfast but as the sausages were almost certainly not gluten free and the cross contamination risk was high, he just ‘hit the fruit bar’ quite hard and had fruit salad every morning with a pot of ‘dry cereal’ and some dry bread. He didn’t seem to mind, but I felt sorry for him and that is when I decided I should try and make a cereal bar, just for occasions like these.
I know there are some readily available in the ‘free from’ sections of the supermarkets but they are quite expensive and rather sugar laden so I decided to see if I could make a cereal bar that is hopefully more healthy, economical and delicious.
Whilst digging out my Doves Farm self-raising flour, I came across a bag of Doves Farm White bread flour blend sitting at the back of the cupboard. I bought it a while ago when I had my first attempt at making gluten free bread in a machine. It was disastrous and I sold the bread machine!
But I still get irritated by the very expensive, crumbly bread I spend about £10 a week on. So I decided I should try and make it again, this time the traditional way and see if I can make bread that is edible and suitable for breakfast.
I used the recipe on the back of the Doves Farm packaging. Just for once I had all the ingredients, plenty of time on my hands and no excuses not to do it!
Here is the recipe.
450g/16oz Doves Farm white bread flour
½ tsp salt
2 tsp quick yeast
2 tbsp sugar
325ml/11fl oz warm milk – I used Kara dairy free
1 tsp vinegar
6 tbsp oil
I had a quick flick through my Annabel Karmel book today, to see if there are simple recipes I could adapt. She is the queen of tasty and attractive meals for children and I know there is plenty I still have to learn. I noted a recipe for banana muffins in Feeding your Baby and Toddler and this is my version of that.
60g (2oz) of bran flakes – but I didn’t have any gluten free ones, so used gluten free porridge oats instead.
300ml milk – I used Kara Dairy Free
125g (4oz) wholemeal flour – I only had Doves Farm gluten free self-raising flour, so I used it
½ tsp of salt
1 tbsp baking powder – I used a Doves Farm gluten free baking powder
60g (2oz) butter – I used Pure Dairy Free sunflower spread
60g (2oz) caster sugar
1 egg – we are ok with eggs, but if you are not, I believe there is an egg replacer you can get in health food shops
90g raisins – I used sultanas and a handful of chopped apricots
I also added a ‘squirt’ of agave syrup – just to be sure it was sweet enough. I also added half a teaspoon of xanthan gum, as it improves crumb quality.
Breakfast was the first big challenge we faced when we were advised to put Zac on a gluten free diet. He was already dairy free and that had been easy to manage. We just swapped out his usual milk for Alpro Soya Junior.
We were lucky that he had no problem with soya and were told by the dietitian that this would be a very good substitute for such a young child (he had just turned one). I was reassured that it contained iron, calcium, protein as well as B, C and D vitamins. So for a long time he just had Alpro Junior on his Shreddies or whatever, but he often a lot of ‘bad nappies’ within 20 minutes of eating his breakfast, so I soon worked out that perhaps wheat or gluten could be a problem too. So we stopped the Shreddies and shopped around for dairy free, gluten free replacements.
Like all people new to this I headed straight to the Free From aisle and discovered that there are in fact many to choose from. As he was still a baby, he was not as fussy as he is now, and I was able to try him on many of them without any objection. He got on fine with most and now really enjoys his special cereal. Some are very much tailored to children and they worry me, as they all seem very sweet. So I try to limit the amount he has. That is why I have been working my way through all these alternative breakfasts. Although many ‘normal’ and ‘gluten free’ cereals are fortified with vitamins, many are also scarily high in salt and sugar and best eaten in moderation I feel.
I am not sure what the difference is between a flapjack and granola. I suspect they may be the same thing. Growing up (for me) flapjack used to be more of a tea time treat, but in recent years, I have spied ‘granola bars’ that look suspiciously like flapjacks, on sale in coffee shops as breakfast foods.
From what I can see both are made from oats and fruits, which do appear in many breakfast cereals/dishes, so I am going to propose this recipe as another safe breakfast option for gluten free, dairy free kids. It has gluten free oats and from what I have read, oats are a great thing to eat at any time of day. I have also been told that dried fruits are a good source of iron, so although at first glance this might just look a bit like flapjack for breakfast, I think it is still better than a lot of boxed junk breakfast cereals. It is certainly more filling, serve it with my dairy free smoothie or some yoghurt and I reckon that is a pretty nutritious breakfast.
I know I am almost certainly not the first person ever to think of this, but I promise this is the first time that this recipe has occurred to me and it is definitely the first time I have tried it. I prefer savoury breakfasts to sweet things and so thought it was time to look at some ideas in that area. Zac and I love marmite. I know it can be a bit of a borderline product for coeliacs – as it is a by-product of the brewing industry, but we seem to be ok with it.
When I was a little girl one of my favourite breakfasts was marmite soldiers dipped in a soft boiled egg – that was back in the day when you were encouraged to ‘go to work/school on an egg’. Then came the eighties and everyone got scared of eggs and for many people they went off the menu.
When you wean your baby now, you get conflicting advice about boiled eggs so I have to confess I chickened (!) out of trying them on my little ones. But they are so nutritious, quick and easy and if you are lucky enough that your intolerant child is ok with egg, it makes you think about trying them again. I remember how lovely egg and marmite tasted together and that is how my idea came together.