Allergy Trifle!

photo by Darling RetroIt’s Christmas and allergy-sufferers like Christmas too. This year I decided to make small boy a trifle.

Jelly and raspberries are not  a problem, but trifle sponges are. However, I discovered we could use the bun part of an iced bun, which is kind of a sweet bread, and that worked fine. If you are avoiding gluten, try some plain gluten-free cake.

I also discovered that Blancmange (from a packet) does not contain milk, so I made up some blancmange with non-dairy milk. If you eat soy, try soy milk, but I tried both rice milk and oat milk. Oat milk works much better because it is thicker, but rice milk will give you a translucent semi-solid attempt. The blancmange I used contained wheat, but the basic ingredients of blancmange are cornflour, colour and sugar, so you could make your own wheat-free version by hand, if you get a wheat-free cornflour (this is possible, but can be difficult to find because of harvesting and milling technicques)

Small boy does not like cream, but you could add soy cream or oat cram on top. And hundreds and thousands of course!

DS Gluten-Free Breadsticks – you can’t tell the difference!

I am always looking for new products for small boy, particularly things that can be carried around for picnics, birthday parties (as he always has to bring his own food) or just for little snacks. So when Dietary Specials asked me to try some of their new breadsticks, I was delighted, as I am a closet breadstick fan*.

Now normally gluten or wheat free products can be, well, a little lacking. They may taste lovely, but sometimes don’t taste like the things they are supposed to taste like. I have a theory that those with wheat or gluten allergies just get used to things never tasting like they used to. However, I have to say that these bread sticks are completely and utterly yummy and you honestly cannot tell the difference between the two.

I wanted to set up a ‘Breadstick Challenge’ (like the famous cola one of the eighties) and give people an ordinary breadstick and a DS gluten-free breadstick, but my neighbours think I am strange enough, so I decided not to. However, any family members who have popped round this weekend have all been accosted with some breadsticks and everyone agrees. No family member was damaged in the making of this blog post.

On a slightly more serious note, Lovely Dad wanted me to add that, if you are having a party and there is a child with allergies coming, maybe you could get these instead of normal breadsticks- if no-one can tell the difference then if you remove the box, the poor allergy child won’t feel singled out with ‘special’ foods. Just a thought.

The DS gluten free breadsticks contain: Potato Starch, Rice Flour, Modified Maize Starch, Yeast, Buckwheat Flour (3.4%), Vegetable Fat, Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Sugar, Salt, Thickener: (Hydroxypropyl Methyl Cellulose), Emulsifier: (Mono- and Diacetyl Tartaric Acid Esters of Mono- and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids), Raising Agent: (Ammonium Hydrogen Carbonate), Natural Flavourings. They can be purchased from all good ASDA stores.

If you *are* interested in purchasing some breadsticks, or any of the other DS products, you might want to sign up to their mailing list as they pay reward you in vouchers for doing so. Just click here to go to the sign up form.

*I have not actually been banned from my local Italian restaurant for eating too many breadsticks. But only because they are desperate.

Note: Dietary Specials have not paid me for this post. Although they did send me some breadsticks. But I can’t pay the mortgage with breadsticks so I still maintain this is an unpaid post. If anyone knows that I can, actually, pay my mortage with breadsticks, please let me know immediately. Thanks.

Video Recipe- Allergy Friendly Bread and Butter Pudding. Yum.

It can be hard enough to find interesting recipes, let alone ones for people with allergies, so I was delighted to find a whole gang of them over at the Dietary Specials website.

Bread and Butter pudding in particular is something that a coeliac or someone with a  wheat or gluten allergy would naturally assume would be a no go area. But not this one. The Dietary Specials lady makes a fabulous wheat and gluten free version, and with a few adjustments, you can make it suitable for those with dairy or egg allergy or vegans too!

All you need to do is to replace the whole milk with either Goat’s Milk, Soya Milk or Rice Milk, whichever suits you and your allergies, replace the butter with goat’s butter, soya spread or non-soya spread, and replace the egg with either Orgran NoEgg (1 tsp per egg) or Xanthan Gum, which is normally available in larger supermarket stores.

So enjoy watching, and please let us know how you get on!

Next week is Food Allergy Week

And we will be posting every day to try and help increase awareness and offer support to those affected by food allergies.

We also have some fab competitions and giveaways, from MedicAlert, Tidy Trays and more

See you next week!

987MJ5KPEUV7

Does breastfeeding increase the risk of food allergies?

Last Thursday (13 January 2011) the British Medical Journal published a report byMary Fewtrell and colleagues into whether exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, which is the current WHO and UK Department of Health recommendation, could actually be bad for babies and, of particular interest to us here at Food Allergy Kitchen, that such a practice could actually increase the risk of developing food allergies.

The full report is available on the British Medical Journal (BMJ) website but I have reproduced the section that relates specifically to allergies below. In brief, the researchers were not disputing the proven benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child, rather they were questioning whether 6 months was too late a time to start weaning.

The conclusions of this research were that leaving weaning until 6 months may actually increase incidence of food allergies, particularly those associated with wheat and gluten. The research also pointed out that allergies are rising despite advice to avoid certain allergenic foods, and in countries where peanuts (for example) are generally eaten at younger ages, the incidence of allergy is actually lower. Note that the research actually concluded that weaning before 4 months is also associated with later digestive problems, so in summary they are recommending a return to the practice of weaning between 4 and 6 months, which as anyone who had a baby before 2003 will know, was the advice mother used to be given.

From my own perspective, my small allergy-ridden boy was breastfed for 7 months, but started weaning  at about 5- 5 and a half  months, so as a test case he is decidedly inconclusive. As with everything else, as a mother you need to take everything and all the advice into account and make your own mind up. Easier said than done, I know.

We would love to hear your comments on the BMJ report and whether you agree or disagree with the results.

 

Allergy and coeliac disease

Kramer and Kakuma’s original review did not find a link between exclusive breast feeding duration and allergic disease (box 1). Important new data are now emerging with implications for practice.

Paradoxically, many developed countries have rising rates of food allergy, despite increasing advice to restrict and delay exposure to potentially allergenic foods, including cows’ milk, egg, fish, gluten, peanut, and seeds. Moreover, countries where peanuts are commonly used as weaning foods have low incidences of peanut allergy (Israel, for example 23). These observations have prompted further work on immune tolerance to foods.

The development of immune tolerance to an antigen may require repeated exposure, perhaps during a critical early window, and perhaps modulated by other dietary factors including breast feeding. A 2008 review24 found an increased risk of allergy if solids were introduced before three to four months. After four months, the evidence was weak, but suggested an increased risk with delayed introduction of certain allergens. For example, the incidence of early onset coeliac disease increased in Sweden following advice to delay introduction of gluten until age six months, and it fell to previous levels after the recommendation reverted to four months. Subsequent analyses suggest that gluten should ideally be introduced in small quantities alongside continued breast feeding.25 A more recent study in infants at risk (with a first degree relative with type 1 diabetes or carriage of certain HLA types), showed that introduction of gluten before three months and after six months was associated with increased risk of biopsy proved coeliac disease26 and islet cell autoantibodies27. This finding suggests that gluten may best be introduced during a critical window of three to six months. In the same cohort, introduction of wheat after six months predicted increased risk of wheat allergy at age four years.28 Two UK randomised trials are now investigating early introduction of allergenic foods: the Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) study (http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00329784) and the Enquiring About Tolerance (EAT) trial (http://www.controlled-trials.com/ISRCTN14254740).

Extract courtesy of the British Medical Journal website http://www.BMJ.com Reference:  BMJ 2010;341:c5955

Cheeky Chocolatey Dandelion & Burdock Cake

other brands of soft drink are available

I love Dandelion and Burdock. And I love chocolate. So an allergy friendly cake that combines the two? Perfect.

This is a quick and easy cake to make (I make it with 3 and 5 year old helpers) and is very moist. And chocolatey. Enjoy!

Ingredients

• 225g/8oz gluten/wheat free flour
• 225g/8oz caster sugar
• 1 tsp gluten free bicarbonate of soda
• 100g/3½oz mini marshmallows
• 65g/2¼oz dairy/soya free vegetable spread/butter substitute (eg So Good)
• 3 tbsp cocoa powder
• 200ml/7fl oz dandelion and burdock drink
• 100g/3½fl oz full fat goat’s milk or goat’s yogurt
• Egg-substitute (or xanthan gum) equivalent to 2 free-range eggs

Preparation method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease and line a 30cm/12in baking tin.
2. Sift the flour, sugar and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl, then add the marshmallows.
3. Meanwhile, heat the butter, cocoa powder and dandelion and burdock in a saucepan until boiling.
4. Pour the yummy chocolatey/dandelion and burdocky mixture onto the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Mix in the goat’s milk/yogurt and egg substitute.
5. Pour the cake batter into the cake tin and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until the sides of the cake are coming away from the sides of the cake tin and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. (Tip, try and make sure any marshmallows at the top are covered as otherwise they can burn)

Adapted from an original recipe by Simon Rimmer on Something for the Weekend http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes

Image courtesy of TheGiantVermin on flickr.com

Chocolate? Allergy Friendly?

When you are allergic to soya, it’s pretty hard to find chocolate that is soya-free, but it can be done. However, if you are allergic to dairy you have no chance…

Last year I stumbled across Billy Goat Stuff- a fantabulous site selling hand made chocolate made from Goat’s Milk.

You can either buy bars, or shapes, and it’s pretty tasty too. Billy Goat Stuff is free from  Nuts, Soya, Cow’s Dairy, Eggs, Wheat and Gluten, which makes it a winner in our book!

Christmas Caramel Shortcake- normal and allergy version

Christmas is a great excuse to cook (and eat) some deliciously bad for you treats and this is my absolute favourite. As my Gran is now 88 next birthday I had to learn how to cook them myself (and 112 miles round trip is a bit far!) and if I can do it anyone can. Just ask my husband (who does all the cooking in our house).

I am actually posting two versions here. The first is the traditional version and the second is my own variation especially for my small son. We found out earlier this year that he suffers from multiple allergies after a severe reaction to a peanut. At latest count he is also allergic (ranging from mild to moderate) to dairy, wheat, nuts, eggs and soya. As a result, the second version is probably less tasty, but is wheat free, gluten free, dairy free, soya free and egg free. Believe me, a rare occurence!

Caramel Slice

For the shortbread base, combine 4 oz butter, 2 oz caster sugar and 6 oz self raising flour in a bowl. With your hands. Believe me there is no point trying to use a spoon. It is pointless. Just get your hands in and scrunch. When it is mixed through, and don’t worry it will be crumbly, press it out into a square (or rather rectangle) shallow baking tray. Mine is about 6 inches by 10 inches. Pat it down in the tray so it fills evenly and to the corners. Don’t squash it to within an inch of its life, just so that it sits comfortably. Bake in a medium oven (Gas Mark 4/ 175C) for 15 to 20 mins until golden brown. Allow to cool.

For the caramel, melt 4 oz butter in a pan and add 4oz caster sugar, 2 tablespoons of golden syrup and half a tin of condensed milk. Keep on a moderate heat and stir CONTINUOUSLY for 5-10 minutes. This does get a bit boring, but try and have something interesting on the telly. You will know when it is ready because it will change colour slightly- it starts off quite yellowy and will turn a darker, more golden colour. Pour over the cooled biscuit base and leave to set. Somewhere level.

Finally, once the caramel has cooled, melt 6oz of chocolate (plain or milk are good. Never tried it with white, but if that’s your thing, feel free) and pour over the top. Try and wait until it sets before slicing and chomping.

Allergy alternative

The main problems with an allergy alternative are the caramel and the chocolate. Both contain milk and chocolate normally contains soya lecithin. As a result this is more chocolate covered shortcake than caramel slice, but who’s complaining? Note that all the ingredients I use can be found in main supermarkets. Because I shop in supermarkets.

The biscuit base follows the same scrunching method as above but uses 4 oz of So Good dairy/soya/gluten free margarine, 4 oz of caster sugar, 6 oz of rice flour and1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder. The extra sugar is to combat the more savoury flavour of the rice flour. Cook at Gas Mark 4/175C for 20 minutes. It won’t go proper golden brown, but will singe slightly at the top.

When cool, mix 1 tablespoon of golden syrup with as much cocoa powder as you like to taste. Note this is proper cocoa, not drinking chocolate. Drizzle the runny chocolate over the biscuit and put in the fridge (or a really cold place) to encourage setting. Slice and serve.

Merry Christmas!

[originally published on http://www.mumazing.co.uk]

Welcome to Food Allergy Kitchen!

Welcome to our brand new blog! As parents of an allergic child, we thought that collecting all the info we needed to find out, recipes, useful medical details and products in one place just made sense. So here it is!

Keep checking back for news, updates, and special offers.