New Layout & New Domain

Exciting news here at Allergy Towers.  We have a new layout for the blog.  I expect that there will be some tweaking and issues over the next few weeks; please let me know in the comments if you spot any problems or have opinions on the layout.

Also, we have a new domain: www.theallergybrothers.com.

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Salted Chocolate Bubbly Caramels

Ingredients

Cooking oil or spray

125g liquid glucose*

360g caster sugar

3tbsp honey

15g bicarbonate of soda

250g dark chocolate

Salt

  1. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.  Lightly oil the baking parchment.
  2. Place the glucose, sugar, honey and 75ml water in a saucepan over a medium heat.  Keep stirring until the sugar has dissolved then allow the mixture to boil until it is a dark caramel colour.20171212_124350
  3. Take the saucepan off the heat and leave it to stand for 2 mins.  Quickly whisk in the bicarbonate of soda.
  4. Pour the mixture into the tray.  Cool down the mixture; I used some convenient snow!20171212_124449
  5. When it has set, break the caramel into pieces.
  6. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.  Cover one side of the caramels with the chocolate .
  7. Sprinkle the chocolate with salt, and then allow that to set.20171211_100720
  8. Store the salted chocolate bubbly caramels in the freezer, and eat whenever you need a burst of energy to get you through the holiday season!20171211_133023

*Why is there liquid glucose in this recipe?  Liquid glucose controls the formation of sugar crystals so you get nice, smooth caramels.

Morrison’s Free From Mince Pies

Gluten free and very nearly vegan mince pies

Ingredients – Mincemeat (45%) (sugar, apple puree, raisins, sultana, glucose syrup, currants, vegetable oils (palm, sunflower), glucose-fructose syrup, orange peel, spices, rice flour, acidity regulators (acetic acid, citric acid), lemon peel, dill, treacle, orange oil, preservative (sulphur dioxide)), Brown rice flour, Tapioca starch, Sugar, Vegetable oils (palm, rapeseed), Water, Ground almonds, Dextrose, Salt, Thickener (xanthan gum), Cornflour, Colour (plain caramel), Emulsifier (mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids).

May contain egg, other nuts and peanuts.

This was a pretty good find for a supermarket own brand.  If it wasn’t for that pesky “may contain egg” then these would be vegan as well as wheat free, gluten free and milk free.  The pastry was crisp, and the filling was plentiful and full of flavour.  My only complaint was that these were a little dry, although that’s a problem with mince pies in general, so they benefitted from being accompanied with something moist.  I went with Alpro Soya single cream.

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Hadleigh Maid Dark Chocolate Walnut & Mallow Whirls

No dairy walnut whirls!

Ingredients: Cocoa Mass, Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Glucose Syrup, Invert Sugar Syrup, Walnut, Gelatine (Bovine), Water, Emulsifier (Soya Lecithin), Natural Vanilla Extract, Stabiliser (E452).

May contain Milk/Nut traces.

I like the Hadleigh Maid company.  They are based close to where we live, in the next county, Suffolk.  Unfortunately, the Allergy Brothers had never been able to try their products before.  Sadly, they couldn’t get past the shape of a walnut whirl!  They have never eaten shaped chocolate before, as they only eat bars of Kinnerton Free From chocolate.  Allergy Little would not believe me that it was edible, “but chocolate is square, that is too pyramidy!”

I took one for the team and tried them.  The dark chocolate was pretty good quality with a cocoa solids minimum of 56%.  The mallow was yummy, but it’s a shame it contains beef gelatine.  Maybe the Hadleigh Maid company could come up with a vegan version?

Veggie Stuff website

I needed to buy a couple of store cupboard staples (Orgran Apple and Cinnamon pancake mix, and Vegamigo pizza cheese).  It seemed sensible to look for one website that sold both these products, and so I came across the Veggie stuff website.  Really glad I did.  Fantastic website with a really wide range of vegan products.

I found some new Allergy Brother-friendly products: an omelette mix and a cream substitute.  Also, they have a really wide range of vegan cheeses.  I found two brands that I have never tried before so I will be testing those in a head-to-head comparison!  Looking forward to reviewing products from this extensive website.

Advent Update

The Allergy Brothers are loving their Playmobil advent calendars and their picture advent calendars, which is fantastic.  I have finally cracked this after 6 years!  (I am a slow learner!)  I talked about all the different types of advent calendars that we have tried here.

I recently read about Reverse Advent Calendars.  The idea is that, instead of getting every day of December, you give an item of food.  I have often wondered how we would manage if we needed to rely on food banks; I can’t imagine that there would be very much food that the boys could eat available.

We live on the North Essex coast in the UK.  A few years ago, there were very high tides and storms; our house was at serious risk of flooding.  We had a few hours to prepare and move the most important items to the top floor of our house.  It was interesting what became essential.  I moved the boys’ medical records, their prescription medications, our photograph albums, our passports, and a stockpile of their food.  Since then, I have always wondered/worried what would happen if it became difficult for us to get the foods that the boys need.  This year I am preparing a free from foods reverse advent calendar for a local food bank.  I hope it makes someone’s life a little easier at a difficult point.  It’s starting to feel a lot like Christmas…