“Let’s Pretend It’s Summer” Tomato & Kimchi Soup

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I am still using my soup maker daily (Tefal BL841140 Easy Soup and Smoothie Maker, Stainless Steel, White). Recently, I felt like a blast of summer and spice to break the January gloom. This recipe really hit the spot, and it includes kimchi for its probiotics, and spicy and sour flavour.
Ingredients
2 shallots
1 can of tomatoes in tomato juice
250g of summery vegetables (I used courgette, aubergine and pepper)
1 Knorr Vegetable stock pot or stock of your choice
3 small potatoes, washed but with skin on
1 tbsp kimchi (Biona Organic Kimchi 350g (Pack of 6))

1. Chop all the vegetables to roughly the same size.

2. Put all the ingredients in your soup maker.

3. Add water up to the minimum liquid level

4. Choose the blended soup option.

5. Get on with something else.

6. Come back to a soup that has a winter-beating thick texture with a bright taste of summer!

7. Garnish with a little extra kimchi, if you are a fan.

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Six Bells, Boreham, Chelmsford

When a pub restaurant is absolutely heaving on a Wednesday evening, and every table is booked, then you know you are somewhere good.  I was here as part of a club meal with AllergyDad.  The organiser had chosen the Six Bells because they like the food there, but it was a good venue for me as the website proudly proclaims “gluten free and coeliac friendly kitchen”.  There is a complete gluten free menu; there are even gluten free beers behind the bar.

For starter, I ate Homemade Chicken & Liver Pate served with Fruit Chutney and gluten free toast.

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For main course, I chose Seabass with a tomato sauce served on stir fry vegetables and sauté potatoes.

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I was pretty full, but it’s not often that I actually have a choice of dessert.  I chose a chocolate brownie with a warm chocolate sauce.  In the interest of a full review, I did my best and polished off the lot!

20180112_120558There was nothing flashy on the menu, but everything was cooked with skill.  The novelty of having a choice on a menu is almost enough to keep me happy!  The only negative was the lack of vegetarian or vegan dishes on the gluten free menu.

The best thing about winter! Featuring Schlagfix vegan cream

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The second best thing about winter is a walk in the crisp, countryside air.  The best thing about winter is the hot chocolate you can justify drinking after the walk.  Unfortunately, the Allergy Brothers had never been able to have an enormous hot chocolate covered in cream and marshmallows, because we have never found a whipped cream that they could eat.  Soyatoo sold soya-based creams that could be whipped (Soya Topping Cream – 300ml) or came in pressurised containers(SOYATOO – SOYA SOYA CREAM SPRAY), but these were no good for the Allergy Brothers.

We were very excited to discover that Schlagfix sell a “Universelle Schlagcreme” that the boys could potentially eat.  This product can be used for whipping, cooking and baking.   If I am honest, I found the name very funny too because I am immature.  Anyway, here are the Ingredients:

Water, Palm kernel oil (fully hydrogenated) 15%, maltodextrin; glucose syrup; stabilizer: starch, E435, E331, E464, E460, E466, E339; emulsifiers: E4,81, E471, E475; salt, flavour.

Allergy Little enjoyed helping whip the cream, although, as you can see, he doesn’t like the noise of the beaters.  It turns out that you can get this cream in a pressurised container (Schlagfix Vegan Squirty Cream) too so that would save some work.20171228_162729

If we are honest, Allergy Little and I weren’t that impressed.  It turns out that something that is made out of oils and E numbers tastes like…  well, oily chemicals.  Who knew?!  But this product has its uses.  I am sure if you flavoured the cream then it would be much better.  I can imagine that we will use this cream when we need to make an Allergy Brother-friendly version of a specific recipe.

We used regular marshmallows, but you can get vegan mini pink and white marshmallows.

Weekend Project – Feed the birds

We like to make our own bird feeders so that there are no Allergy Brother allergens lurking in them when the boys handle them.

Supplies

250g Suet or lard (you can get vegetable suet, if you avoid animal products)

250g Berries, nuts, dried fruit, oats, cheese, birdseed (choose the things that you are not allergic to)

Garden twine

Yoghurt pots or small plant pots

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  1. Melt the suet or lard either by melting in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water or by putting it in a bowl in the microwave for a minute.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients into the suet or lard.  Set this aside to cool until the lard or suet becomes opaque, but it is still soft enough to spoon into your pots.
  3. While, the mixture is cooling, assemble the pots.  Make a hole in the bottom of the pot.  Tie the twine on to the peg, stick or twig then thread it up through the hole.  Finally make a loop to hang the feeder.  20171224_114332
  4. Fill as many of your containers as you can with your mixture and allow it to cool and solidify completely.20171224_131934 1
  5. Cut away the plastic pot and recycle.
  6. Choose a suitable spot in your garden, at least 1.5m off the ground with some foliage to shelter shy species of birds.20171228_125115You might like to make a variety of bird feeders.  There is another idea here.20151123_140648

 

 

 

 

 

This one gadget changed my gluten free, vegan lunches for the better!

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If your New Year’s resolution is to eat better then this post is for you!  It’s really hard to eat healthy, gluten free lunches in the winter.  Salad doesn’t seem right on a cold, sleeting day, gluten free bread doesn’t make great sandwiches, and gluten free pasta doesn’t work in pasta salads.  This is why I am so glad that a friend introduced me to a soup maker.  I do not use lots of gadgets in the kitchen, but I love my soup maker.  All you do is put the chopped up ingredients in the soup maker, and press a button.  Then you can go away and carry on with something else while it cooks and blends your soup.  My soup maker (Tefal BL841140 Easy Soup and Smoothie Maker, Stainless Steel, White) even has a keep warm function so I can have my lunch when I am ready for it.

This is my favourite recipe to cook in my soup maker.  You need to make sure all the vegetables are chopped to approximately the same size.

Ingredients

2 shallots, peeled and chopped

400g leeks, trimmed and chopped

300g potatoes, peeled if necessary and cubed

1 Knorr vegetable stock pot

1 carton of Alpro soya single cream

You just put all the ingredients in the soup maker.  I find it works best if you put the stock pot half way up the soup maker so it doesn’t get stuck to the bottom or wrapped around the blender at the top.  My soup maker has a minimum liquid level so I add a bit of water to take it to that level.  Choose the creamed soup option and off you go!

Obviously, if you work from home, like Allergy Dad does, then this works really well, but equally you could set this going in the morning and take your fresh soup in a flask with you.  This soup maker (Morphy Richards 501018 Soup and Smoothie Maker, 1.6 Litre, 1160 Watt, Red) looks like an absolute bargain.

New Year Carrot Cake

If you have made a New Year’s resolution to eat more healthily then this is the recipe for you.

Ingredients

550g Free From Fairy self raising flour

225g maple syrup

275ml water

350g carrots, grated

175g sultanas

1 tbsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, 350°F, Gas Mark 4.
  2. Sift the flour.  Combine the liquids, then stir into the flour mixture.
  3. Fold in the remaining ingredients, then pour into a lightly-oiled/lined cake tin.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes.
  5. Leave to cool.20171201_132300

I removed a portion of the cake for Allergy Dad to eat without topping.  I used Betty Crocker Cream Cheese style frosting on the top with a sprinkling of cinnamon, which completely ruined the point of a healthy cake.  It’s the thought that counts, though…