Peanut butter and Chocolate Cookies (Vegan, GF)

Allergy Big’s favourite sandwich filling is peanut butter with Dutch chocolate breakfast sprinkles.  These cookies are the biscuit equivalent.  If you need a nut free recipe, then follow this link to biscuits made with Free Nut Butter.

Ingredients

  • 90g peanut butter
  • 40g sugar
  • 75g corn flour
  • 75g gram flour
  • 30g margarine
  • 60g chocolate chips (I had to make my own by chopping up Kinnerton chocolate bars)

Method

  1. Grease a baking sheet with margarine or line it with baking parchment.  Preheat oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5.
  2. Cream the peanut butter, margarine and sugar together.
  3. Stir in the flours and chocolate chips, and work together to form a soft dough.
  4. Take ping pong ball sized pieces of dough, and squash them flat into cookie shapes.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until they are browning on the top.
  6. Leave to cool before removing from the baking sheet.

 

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Planet Organic

I recently had an Allergy Mum fail.  We started to run out of Ecomil Almond milk.  Normally, we buy this from a wholesaler, but, for various reasons to do with deliveries and school runs, we have to do this in the school holidays.  It was clear that Allergy Little was going to run out of his favourite breakfast drink before the next school holiday.  I had a google about and discovered a company that was new to me – Planet Organic.


I was really amazed by the range of non-dairy products that they stocked.  I was able to buy some products that I didn’t even know existed – Ecomil Chufa nut milk, Ecomil Béchamel Cream, and Ecomil Cashew Nut Cream.  When our order arrived, I was also pleased how well the products were packed.  We buy a lot of food online and it can be a bit of a lottery whether delicate products actually get to you in one piece, but the whole Planet Organic order was really carefully packed.  At the risk of sounding like Victor Kiam in the Remington razor advert (showing my age a bit there – here’s a link for the young ones among you, who have no idea what I am burbling about), I was so impressed that I joined the Affiliate programme.  If you feel like checking out this company, then any purchases you make (at no cost to you) will help support this website.

Spicy Za’atar, Carrot Soup (GF, Vegan)

This post contains an affiliate link.

This month, it has been really chilly here in the UK with some snow, so I have really appreciated being able to make easy, hot lunches with my soup maker (Tefal BL841140 Easy Soup and Smoothie Maker).  This soup uses Za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend containing sesame seeds, sumac, oregano, cumin, and marjoram.

Ingredients

  • 1 Eschalion shallot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 500g carrots, peeled or scrubbed, and chopped
  • 1 Knorr vegetable stock pot or stock of your choice
  • 1 tin of butter beans, drained
  • 1 tbsp. Za’atar spices (plus extra for serving)
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice

Method

1. Chop and peel the shallots, garlic and carrots. Drain the butter beans.
2. Put all the ingredients in your soup maker.
3. Add water up to the minimum liquid level
4. Choose the “blended soup” option, and enjoy the amazing smell of spices filling your kitchen.
5. Serve with a sprinkling of Za’atar spices.

Vegan Cheese Omelette!

Recently, Allergy Little had to have a day off school because he had a cold.  Obviously, I wasn’t pleased that he was ill, but it was nice to have my cooking wingman back for the day.  It was like the beginnings of this blog when he was at home during the day while Allergy Big was at school. Enough reminiscing…

Allergy Little and I decided to try Terra Vegane’s Egg-free Omelette Mix, which we bought from The Veggie Stuff website.  The ingredients of the mix are Potato Starch, Cassava Starch, Chick Pea Flour, Amaranth Flour, Sunflower Oil, Nutritional Yeast, Corn Starch, Baking Agent (Potassium-Tartrate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Turmeric, Kala-Namak Salt.

The mix is easy to prepare as you simply mix 4 tbsp of omelette mix with 4 tbsp. water.  Allergy Little and I were very surprised by how eggy and sulphurous this smelt, as eggy as an egg mayonnaise sandwich left in a plastic lunchbox on a hot coach on a summer term school trip.  Luckily, the smell quickly disappeared.

We cooked the omelette mix in a little olive oil, and used Vegamigo Pizza Melty vegan cheese as the filling.  And what we ended up with was pretty impressive.  It’s not exactly like a fluffy egg omelette, but nonetheless it tasted good and not at all like it had smelt on mixing.  The texture is different too as the cassava flour makes it a little doughy.  However, judged on its own merits, and not as a fake cheese omelette, it was very good.

Peter Rabbit and The Tale of the Allergy Bullying

It’s not often that food allergies make headlines, but this week there have been articles in as unlikely sources as Vanity Fair.  In case, you have missed it, I’ll summarise.  A film, based on the Beatrix Potter books, has been released this week.  It has caused a furore because part of the plot involves Peter Rabbit deliberately pelting a boy with blackberries because Peter knows that the child is allergic to them.  Luckily, the boy uses his Epipen and survives.  I should say that I have not seen the film because I hate the frenetic pace of the TV series.  The film doesn’t exactly sound like comedy gold, but is the outcry justified?

Last year, thirteen year old, dairy allergic Karanbir Cheema died after allegedly having cheese forced on him at school.  This must have been devastating for his family, and it was only too easy for me to imagine this happening to the Allergy Brothers.  I hope that the perpetrator simply didn’t realise what they were doing, because, in our experience, that is pretty common.

It’s been quite sad to discover how little knowledge some people have about food allergies and how uninterested some people are in keeping the Allergy Brothers safe.  When Allergy Big was a toddler, playdates with his best friend became very difficult.  Despite knowing that he had food allergies, his friend’s Mum would give her little boy snacks, containing Allergy Big’s allergens,  when he was visiting our house.  Toddlers are not tidy eaters and he would toddle about leaving behind a trail of crumbs and dribble.  I would have to watch like a hawk, putting any contaminated toys out of Allergy Big’s reach.  Afterwards, I would have to thoroughly clean them, before the toys could be returned to Allergy Big.  It just became impossible to maintain this long-standing friendship, which was very sad, but Allergy Big’s safety was much more important.

Sometimes, people just show a lack of knowledge.  When the Allergy Brothers were about four and two years old, a family friend happily told us about her first pregnancy.  We were delighted for her, but quite disturbed when she followed it up be saying “what did you eat when you were pregnant, because I don’t want my kids to have food allergies like yours?”  I managed to resist saying my first answer “mainly kebabs and Stella!”  I didn’t really know how to reply though.  I am fairly certain that allergies of the magnitude and range of the Allergy Brothers’ aren’t caused by the fact I had a hankering for lime pickle during my pregnancy.

But does playground allergy bullying happen?  In our experience, yes.  Before I share our experience, I want to make it clear that I don’t believe that it was deliberate bullying or the young child involved understood what they were doing.  A child at the Allergy Brothers’ school started storing their lunch yoghurt in their cheeks and then, when they were released into the playground, they spat the yoghurt over the Allergy Brothers.  I am pretty sure that it started accidently with yoghurt spraying on one of the Allergy Brothers when the yoghurt pot lid was removed.  The young child involved possibly enjoyed their dramatic responses to this, and so repeated this by spitting yoghurt on them.  We are very grateful that the Allergy Brothers’ school dealt with this straight away, when we made them aware of it after the second day of it happening.  We have never had a repeat of this type of incident, but it made me really aware of just how vulnerable the Allergy Brothers are.

So does the Peter Rabbit film matter?  Yes and no.  Children’s cartoons involve all sorts of outlandish behaviour that we wouldn’t expect children to copy.  However, there is so much misinformation and disinterest in keeping people with allergies safe in society in general, that anything that adds to this has got to be a bad thing.

Jom Organic Candy (Vegan, GF)

Finding treats for the Allergy Brothers is surprisingly difficult.  Lots of sweets are flavoured with citrus or strawberry (both Allergy Bros no-nos) or have lots of artificial ingredients in.  The Allergy Brothers seem to be so sensitive to their allergens that they react to products synthesised from their allergens, for example Maltitol is an artificial sweetener that is derived from corn or wheat.  This is a long-winded way of saying “hooray for Jom candy!”

Jom Candy is gluten free, vegan candy, and, as a nice ethical bonus, is palm oil free too.  We tried the wild raspberry flavour (Ingredients – sugar*, invert sugar syrup*, water, corn starch*, glucose syrup*, acidity regulator (citric acid), concentrate of raspberry* (0.29%), natural flavouring, glazing agent (sunflower oil*, carnauba wax*); *=certified organic ingredients).  Well, I say we tried it.  I ate one and then the Allergy Brothers snarfed the lot!  They really liked these sweets.  The sweets tasted of real raspberries, rather than fake flavourings.  The best bit was the texture.  Vegan sweets can be a bit floppy and soggy.  The Jom sweets were more solid with a satisfyingly chewy mouth feel.

In summary, I will be buying these for the Allergy Brothers’ teachers to keep at school.  It is always handy for their teachers to have something stashed away for them, when someone brings in a treat for the class that the boys can not eat.  I might keep a bag or two back for me though…