Jungle Adventure – Stanway, Essex, UK

The Allergy Brothers conveniently only have a few days between their birthdays, and just less than two years between their ages.  This means they are cursed to have shared birthday parties forever!  Luckily, they get on very well and have shared friends and interests.

This year the boys’ party was at Jungle Adventure in Stanway, Colchester.  This is our favourite soft play centre.  It’s light, clean, and well-maintained.  There is a wide range of equipment so it’s very accessible.  Our only complaints are that the music can be too loud, especially if you sit at the sides, and that the Allergy Brothers might be aging out of Jungle Adventure.  Is it too much to ask for the Jungle Adventure team to open a centre for older children too?!

Birthday parties can be a bit sad for us, because everyone, except the birthday boys, can eat the party food.  The Allergy Brothers usually have to bring a packed lunch.  We were really pleased that the Jungle Adventure staff worked so hard to cater for them.  The Allergy Brothers each had a platter of ham and vegetable batons, with crisps and tortilla chips.  For dessert, they each had a bowl of fresh fruit.

Finally, we want to thank unflappable party host, Teni, who was so calm and efficient.

The Allergy Brothers definitely had a happy birthday party.

Chuffed about Chufa milk? (DF,GF)

We have a problem here at Allergy Towers.  Both the Allergy Brothers do cooking at school.  In fact, Allergy Wizard’s class cook every week and have now progressed to the stage that they make a two course cooked lunch for themselves once a week.  I think this is fantastic.  It can be difficult juggling ingredients though.  The biggest problem we have is dairy-based recipes.  The Allergy Brothers are allergic to dairy, soya, coconut and rice.  At home, this isn’t a problem as we use almond milk.  Unfortunately, there are children in their class with severe nut allergies so they can’t use any nut-based milks at school.  This has rather left us scratching our heads.  Chufa milk (AKA tiger nut milk) seemed to be the answer.  Despite its tiger nut nickname, Chufa is a tuber, not a nut, and so shouldn’t trigger a nut allergy.  However, it can trigger an allergic reaction in people, who have pollen or grass allergies.

We decided to try this new ingredient at home, and the boys were keen to make a mango smoothie.

Ingredients

As much mango as you can be bothered to cut up from a fresh mango

Chufa milk (enough to overfill the blender so it runs all over the counter)

Maple syrup (as much as you can bung in before killjoy Mum notices)

Method

  1. Cut up the mango while your Mum tries not to fret and fuss about the big knife.20180416_172829
  2. Bung the mango in the blender with too much Chufa milk and sneak in some maple syrup.20180416_173012
  3. That’s it.

Allergy Wizard tried their smoothie first, and within a minute or so began to have an allergic reaction.  HIs mouth felt “spiky” and he began coughing and finding it hard to breathe.  Thank goodness, this stopped very quickly after he had some anti-histamine.  But clearly, not a non-dairy solution for Allergy Wizard.

Amazingly, Allergy Plant was happy to try the smoothie after his brother’s reaction, he really enjoyed it.  He also finished off the rest of the Chufa milk carton the next day.  Chufa milk tastes nutty; the closest thing I could compare it to is macadamia nut milk.  If it wasn’t for Allergy Wizard’s allergic reaction, we would have been very chuffed about Chufa milk.

We bought our milk from Planet Organic.  Here is an affiliate link to the Ecomil Chufa milk; they also sell the raw Chufa for snacking, putting in salads, baking etc.

CoOp Watermelon Lollies

Ingredients

Water, Watermelon Juice from Concentrate (20%), Sugar, Apple Juice from Concentrate (10%), Glucose Syrup, Chocolate Flakes (1%) (Sugar, Cocoa Mass, Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Powder, Emulsifer (Soya Lecithin), Flavouring), Gelling Agent (Pectin), Concentrates (Safflower, Carrot, Spirulina), Citric Acid, Thickener (Locust Bean Gum), Flavouring.

Allergy Advice: Soya.  May contain peanuts, nuts, milk.

Aren’t these cute?  The ice lollies, not the Allergy Brothers!  Allergy Little gets very cross if you call him cute.  The red part of the lolly is watermelon flavoured with chocolate pips, and the green “rind” is apple flavoured.

The Allergy Brothers weren’t very impressed, but they are not big fans of frozen desserts.  I thought they were really yummy.

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…

Home-made Gluten Free Goujons/Nuggets

This is a very multi-purpose method.  You can use it to coat tofu, white fish, chicken, quorn, etc.  I used turkey strips.  I haven’t provided exact amounts of ingredients because the quantities will vary each time.  If your children like cooking and getting a bit messy then they will love making this recipe.

Ingredients

Something to coat in batter (tofu, white fish, quorn, chicken, turkey, vegetables, etc)

Gluten free seasoned flour (I used cornflour with salt and pepper; you add extra herbs, spices, or chilli)

Gram flour

Unsweetened cereal (I used cornflakes; Rice Krispies or spelt flakes would work as well)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Cut whatever you are battering into appropriate size pieces.
  3. Prepare your coatings.  You will need a bowl of seasoned, gluten free flour, a bowl of gram flour mixed with water to the consistency of egg, and a bowl of your crushed cereal.
  4. Prepare a baking tray with baking parchment.
  5. Coat the item in the gluten free, seasoned flour, then the gram flour batter, and finally roll it in the cereal so it is completely coated.  Place the item on the baking tray.20180116_172846
  6. Bake the goujons/nuggets for 20 minutes or until you are sure that the inside is fully cooked through.20180116_163814