Since the success of the Grace Cheetham ginger biscuits, Sophia has been on at me to ‘make something else’. So much so that when we were packing on Saturday for our half term holiday at the seaside at Nana’s house, Sophia actually packed the book – Simply Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free – in her trunki, so I wouldn’t forget!
We have had a lovely holiday, but the weather started to turn yesterday afternoon, so she decided it was time we did some cooking. She chose the chocolate semifreddo (looks stunning in the book, page 172) and I am very glad she did. First of all, there is no baking involved – which is always a result. Like me, Sophia likes chocolate and also like me, she loses interest very quickly in any recipe with too many ingredients or steps. So this had many attractions.
When you have an intolerant child, or allergies of your own, you can spend what feels like a huge part of your life constantly looking out for new and interesting – and safe – foods to try. One of the brands that has caught my eye many times is Isabel’s www.isabelsfreefrom.co.uk
The range seems to be expanding and looks very interesting, but is mostly gluten free and not dairy free, so I decided to make contact with Isabel Gordon – the founder of Isabel’s Cuisine and see if I could find out more about her, her products and the potential for any new dairy free products to be added to her line. I love supporting independent ‘free from’ brands and am always keen to know how they got started and what their plans are. So we had ‘a little interview’ and here it is. Hope you find it interesting.
It’s about time I put up a new recipe. Life has been somewhat chaotic of late and I feel guilty for not trying anything new for a while. So as I was running out of ideas, I decided to treat myself to a copy of Simply Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free by Grace Cheetham. I bought my copy from http://www.lovelactosefreelife.co.uk/ – she sells ‘dairy free books’ as well as chocolates. So I popped one in my ‘basket’ last time I put in my ‘Zac chocolate’ order.
It is a great book, full of inspiration and is relatively simple – which is what I think is really lacking. A lot of the gluten free, dairy free recipes look a bit complicated to me with too many alien ingredients and far too many steps. As I said, I have been a bit pre-occupied of late and hadn’t even had much of a look at it, until this weekend when my six year old daughter saw it and started having a look. She is a bit like me and loves ‘looking’ at beautiful food and seems to enjoy flicking through cookery books. I think her eye was initially caught by the beautifully shot little cakes on the front cover, but it was the ginger biscuits that she asked me to make – thank goodness. As I am a bit rusty, I thought it best to start with a biscuit rather than a pretty little fairy cake.
Here is a link to the podcast of a conversation I had last week with Liz Fraser – parenting guru, broadcaster and author of the Yummy Mummy books. http://www.liz-fraser.com
We had a discussion about the challenges with getting children to eat, in particular one who has anxieties about trying new foods, as a result of food allergies/intolerances.
It was great to meet her and get some insights and ideas on how to overcome the challenges we face when trying to persuade our overly cautious little boy, that not all foods will give him a tummy ache.
Hope you find it interesting.
Last week, I was lucky enough to have a little interview with Chris Hook, the MD of Warburtons Gluten Free division – the Newburn Bakery. I contacted him because I was curious to find out what was behind the rebrand and have noticed that they are expanding their product range and it all looks rather interesting. He must be a very busy man, so I was impressed that he took the time to speak to me. The insights I gained were fascinating, so I thought I should share them.
Chris has worked in gluten free baking for over 25 years. He was behind the UK launch of the Dietary Specials brand, which he sold in 2010. In that time Chris saw gluten free foods go from being something that was available only on prescription to a product that was becoming more and more mainstream.
Warburtons entered the gluten free market in 2011. They were aware of the demand from their existing customer base, and also the MD Jonathan Warburton, has a niece who has to follow a gluten free diet, so it was a natural development. Chris Hook joined in 2012 as Warburtons were not altogether happy with their start and were looking for someone with more experience. Chris hired a development baker and they spent a lot of time and effort in improving the product.
When you have an intolerant child, you cannot leave the house without a bag of food. Things are improving, in terms of the availability of gluten free food, but dairy free food is still pretty hard to come by and so it is simpler and safer to bring your own. Just last week, Zac and I had a busy day planned – morning play at a friends house followed by a big shopping trip – so as we would be out over ‘snack time’ and lunchtime, we packed his little Angry Birds lunch bag and were set for the day. But what do you do if you are staying away from home?
A while back I wrote a blog post about a recent hotel stay with the kids that required all the lunch boxes and ice packs we could find, just so we could take some ‘special milk, butter and yoghurts’, and give him a proper breakfast the next morning. Of course, he could have a cooked breakfast – no gluten or dairy in bacon, eggs, tomatoes and baked beans – but he is fussy and slightly afraid of a lot of food, so we took his cereal and bread along too. It was a hassle and we haven’t been away since, so I haven’t had to think about it again.