Monday, 5 February 2018

Yes you can!! Skiing with food allergies - Gluten Free, Dairy Free

"Oo! Look! You can get a ski-through Mc Donald's in Sweden... and they do gluten free!" 

It was something that I saw on a friend's Facebook news feed.

Little did I know it, but that was all the encouragement The Hub needed! Before I knew it, he'd done some research and booked the entire trip!

I know! Close my jaw for me, why don't you??

We flew in via Oslo, Norway, and hired a car. A two hour drive and we were there!


The Ski Lodge lit up for Christmas

The Ski Lodge in which we stayed, is run by Ski Star, who run the entire resort. We stayed in Salen, but they have other resorts elsewhere.

Now, normally I don't blog about places we have stayed - usually I just head straight to Trip Advisor and post them there, but for this trip, I have made an exception. This is partly because travelling abroad can be fraught with difficulties, and worry, but this place was so great, I'd really recommend it. However, also, I think that this post illustrates how you can still do things that you loved doing before life with allergies took over.


Comfy apartment.

We stayed in an apartment that was in a large complex. However, on the inside, it's all very cosy and tasteful.



The kitchen is bijoux

The kitchen is small, but contains enough for a week, including a dishwasher. You might decide against using the cast iron frying pan as you can't guarantee who's used it and what is therefore in the patina. There's no oven, but there is a hob and a combi microwave. Although there isn't a freezer space in the apartment itself, there is a freezer in the ski and boot room.



Loads of space for dairy free ice cream!

We made sure we wrapped our freezer food in an extra bag to avoid any cross contamination and placed it in the top drawer to avoid anything else that might potentially drip down. In actual fact, not many people seem to use it.



Padlock obtainable from Reception for the boot locker

Food was very easy to come by! The supermarket was just across the car park from the Ski Lodge. Although 'out in the sticks' it contained a good range of dairy and gluten free food, including Oatly ice cream (unavailable in the UK). For further detail on this, read this post).


Bit like the Tardis, the supermarket holds more than you'd think!

The Free From aisle was bigger than some UK supermarkets! There was also a Free From section in the freezer, and the chiller!



Free From aisle!

One of the things I loved about the ski lodge, was the fact that The Hub and I could have a cheeky Apres ski refreshment in the Ski Lodge bar, as just across from the bar was a small children's play area. Staying in the lodge, meant that once we had set up an Ipad baby monitor, we could also sneak down once Kiddo was asleep!


Cheers!

There was also: 
  • a pool complete complete with slides, jacuzzi, heated outdoor pool, toddler pool & wave machine
  • a shopping arcade
  • a bowling alley
  • a coffee shop
  • restaurants (not that we tried them out)
  • a spa
  • a laundrette
  • ski hire
  • ski parks 
  • a cinema... 

I could go on, but if you've ever been to Centre Parcs, just imagine THAT with snow and mountains... right outside your back door, because that's where the green runs started!! 


Ski school starts right on the doorstep!

In terms of skiing, for me and Kiddo it was perfect. The Hub, who is a much more adventurous skier, might have preferred more challenging runs, but as we went early season, they weren't all open. However, that said, there was certainly enough there to keep us occupied for a week. This was helped along as more slopes became available as the week progressed, due to the piste keepers continually working on opening more slopes, whilst snow cannons constantly produced more snow.

There was an extra special bonus element to skiing in Sweden. As it gets darker much earlier in the day, there's a whole series of lights to keep you skiing until around 6pm, which was great fun. In fact, the green slope at the back of the lodge is covered with kids right up to the end of the day and beyond! Once the ski lift stops, out come the sledges (you can borrow one from Reception)!!



Sledges are great for transporting worn out Kiddos!!


The Swedes are very friendly and great with kids. There's no snobbery - everyone hangs out with their kids on the slopes (they encourage them to ski/snowboard from a VERY young age - think toddlers), and there are warm rooms (Varmestuga) with picnic facilities, microwaves and clean toilets.

I've tried skiing a few times since food allergies hit and for me, this was the best place I've been, so far, in terms of time on snow and catering. Okay, the scenery wasn't Matterhorn-esque, but we were there for the snow and the skiing, and as we did far more of that than we had in other places, so it was all good! 

Just by way of comparison, the first time we tried skiing with food allergies, we stayed in a catered chalet, in France. In those days, we were 'just' dealing with dairy. The chalet staff were young and inexperienced and although they had a folder to give them ideas, it was all a bit hit and miss, and I really relied on the bank of food supplies that I had I taken 'just in case'. So we left it for a few years, until Kiddo was a bit older, before trying again. 

Our second attempt involved self-catering with family in Switzerland. We did find some good food options, however, the resort was spread out over a wide area, so we spent most afternoons wondering around trying to find the best places to source food. Whereas, in Salen, because everything was so close together, we were able to self-cater really easily, which maximised our time on the snow (as did the close proximity to the runs). In fact, we loved it so much, we can't wait to go back!!

Oh yes, and in case you're wondering, ski-through Mc Donald's, complete with gluten free burger, was ace!



Please note: 
This post is not an advert. I have not been paid to write this post. I am not sponsored in any way, even by advertising. I do not receive products free to review, although I have often been offered them. This is to try and maintain an unbiased approach. All views expressed are my own (unless I've asked for The Hub's or Kiddo's).



Related Posts:










Friday, 4 August 2017

The Proof is in the Pudding!! Plum Upside-down Pudding - dairy free, gluten free, soya free, free from

Anyone who knows me and my Kiddo will know how often I've groaned about her inability to enjoy the simple things in life - such as fruit and veg. It really does not come naturally to her to eat the stuff, so often I've had to resort to various methods to get her to eat it. 

Carrot cake works (see here), as does chocolate beetroot cake (see here). 

Cake in fact, seems to be the way to go. 

Take for instance The Hub's recent bumper crop of plums...



Just a few of The Hub's crop!


Would Kiddo eat them raw, fresh from the tree?? 

No!!

Would she eat them in a crumble??

No!!

Upside-down cake??

Yup!!

It's a bit maddening, but anything to get her to eat fruit!!

Now upside-down pudding isn't something that normally inspires me - it conjures up too many images of school dinner puddings made with tinned pineapple slices... 

BUT!! Trust me - the plums give this dessert a much needed lift. AND I could see myself taking this dessert along to a family get-together, as I think it would travel a lot better than something like Banoffee Pie.

The pudding recipe I used was one I found online from Morrisons (link to original recipe here). It's super easy. The hardest bit was probably extracting the stones from the plums! 

We made a few modifications (Who doesn't?), in that we used a large over proof Pyrex dish rather than a baking tin, we used more plums than the recipe said (our plums were probably smaller than theirs), I left out the flaked almonds (we didn't have any in the cupboard), exchanged almond essence for vanilla (for the same reason) and exchanged normal flour for gluten free flour (Dove's Farm). 

Following about 35 minutes of baking, at 180 degrees, and the judicious use of a knife round the edge of the dish (to help release the cake), we ended up with this:



Straight from the oven...


What's not to love about this? 

Kiddo took one look at it, and fell in love straightaway. But, of course, the proof of a pudding (as we all know) is in the eating.

'All it needs,' thought I, 'is some of that Nature's Charm whipped coconut cream and we're good to go...' 



You can get this online!


....except that the pudding didn't last that long!! 

Proof, if needed, that this recipe is a good 'un!!


Look! Kiddo even came back for more!!



Can you tell she helped herself??? 




Please note: 

This post is not an advert. I have not been paid to write this post. I am not sponsored in any way, even by advertising. I do not receive products free to review, although I have often been offered them. This is to try and maintain an unbiased approach. All views expressed are my own (unless I've asked for The Hub's or Kiddo's). I try to tell is 'as-it-is'.



Other pud posts you may enjoy:







Monday, 15 May 2017

Seven steps to Banoffee Pie Heaven - dairy free, gluten free and soya free!!

What!!! You've put bananas in it?!?!

Banoffee Heaven!

Kiddo was truly outraged! 

Like why on earth (in her humble opinion) would anyone ruin something so tasty sounding, by adding something as healthy as FRUIT??!!

But she, of course had never had Banoffee Pie, and the last time I ate one, was... well before she ever came along, for sure. If only I had known then, what I know now... well, I think I would have made sure I ate a whole lot more... whilst I still could!!

It's taken me a while, but finally, I have got 'round to making my own - dairy, gluten and soya free - thanks to a few key ingredients, which up until now, were not available to me!

Et voila!

Lookee here!
A while back, I noted, in a Free From magazine, that a Chinese Supermarket which also sells its products online, was now stocking dairy free condensed milk made from coconut. I was chuffed at the time, because I had been researching recipes online, so I could make dairy free condensed milk, so I could make my own caramel. BUT... anything that you can buy ready made... well why wouldn't you??

I took a while to get 'round to actually purchasing some, but by the time I did, I noticed their range had extended - to include some vital Banoffee ingredients: caramel sauce and whipping cream. 

Job's  a good 'un!! 

Thought I, and I promptly ordered some (from here, in case you're wondering*)!!

I then ordered my fave (and only suitable) digestives - Barkat's gluten free digestives (see here), which are also dairy free and soya free, then set to work!

Ingredients:

I pack Barkat digestive biscuits (150g)
65g Pure Sunflower margarine
2 large bananas
1 jar of coconut caramel sauce
1 tin of coconut whipping cream (chilled in advance)
1 bar Moo Free Chocolate

You will also need:

20 cm round non-stick tin with lift out base (greased)


Method:

1. Use a wooden rolling pin to take out your aggression on the packet of digestives, until you're left with fine crumbs. You can use a food processor, of course, but I find bashing biscuits rather therapeutic! 




2. Melt the margarine in a small saucepan, then combine with the breadcrumbs. Ease this mixture into the base of your tin. Use the back of a spoon, to pat it into place. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge to chill for around 1/2 hour.



3. Take the base from the fridge and spread the contents of the jar of caramel sauce across the base.



4. Chop the bananas into even slices and spread across the layer of caramel.



5. Take the can of chilled whipping cream and whip at full speed, as per the instructions on the tin. You really do need to chill the coconut cream first. I left it in the fridge overnight. Alternatively, you could try making your own cream, using chilled coconut milk. I have done this in the past, and had variable results with other coconut milks, but this one did work.



6. Use a spatula to gently spread the cream over the layer of banana. Then grate some sprinkles of chocolate over the top. Job done!! Now you can either leave in the fridge to chill, or...



7. Remove from the tin, by placing the tin on an upturned dessert bowl, and gently, pushing the sides down, before lifting the base. Then just serve straight onto plates and tuck in! Of course, you could also just eat it straight from the baking tin, if you're desperate, but only if you're intending to eat it all yourself. However, I wouldn't advise the second approach. A pud like this, needs, nay deserves to be savoured in measured pieces - take it from me, you really can have too much of a good thing! ;)


* Oh and just to add, other places, besides the Chinese supermarket are also beginning to stock Nature's Charm. Ocado have had the evaporated milk and condensed milk on their system for a few weeks, but up until now, they didn't appear to be in stock. They now seem to be available and are on special offer, so what are you waiting for? Hopefully, these will prove so popular, that they'll soon add the caramel sauce and whipping cream to their range. Another place to look for these ingredients is Ethica - an online Vegan store.


Please note: 
This post is not an advert. I have not been paid to write this post. I am not sponsored in any way, even by advertising. I do not receive products free to review, although I have often been offered them. This is to try and maintain an unbiased approach. All views expressed are my own (unless I've asked for The Hub's or Kiddo's). I try to tell is 'as-it-is'.


Other pud posts you may enjoy:







Monday, 20 March 2017

New Swedish Glace Almond Dairy Free Ice Cream

I have a conundrum - to rejoice, or... not to rejoice. 

Which shall it be I wonder?

Technically, perhaps I should be rejoicing - not so long ago, there wasn't a great deal of choice when it came to dairy free ice cream - mostly it was made with soya, or cashews, which was fine for the Kiddo, but not so great for me, as I'm intolerant to both!

Then there was Dairy free Dream's Almond Ice Cream and more recently Alpro's new Coconut Ice Cream, that really met my  dairy and soya free ice cream needs, and now here is a new ice cream that aims to do the same:


Here it is!


'So where's the conundrum?' you might ask.

Well...

For some, the announcement that Wall's (who now own Swedish Glace), has produced a new dairy free ice cream made with almonds, is not so good. For them, the question arises as to whether the soya ice cream that Swedish Glace still make as well, will be cross-contaminated with nuts - by virtue of being produced on the same machinery. If it is - I think the information regarding this has yet to be gathered. 

Whilst this doesn't directly affect me, as such, it could affect Kiddo She is not nut free, but her school is. They sometimes buy this ice cream for her and other dairy free individuals at her school. Should it prove not to be nut free, her nut-free school will be unable to provide it any longer. 

Anyway, in the interests of research, I have of course, ho hum... sampled it. And here's what I found out:


What's in it?

Well, it ticks a lot of the boxes for me: no dairy, no soya, no cashews and it's specifically labelled as gluten free.

Ingredients:
Water, sugar, glucose syrup, almond paste (5,5%), coconut oil, fat reduced cocoa powder (0,8%), pea protein, stabilisers (locust bean gum, guar gum, carageenan), emulsifier (mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids), flavouring, acidity regulator (citric acid), salt.

Allergens in bold

It's also Vegan approved.


Ready to consume...


What is it like?

Hmm! Again I have a quandary. It's creamy at first taste, a bit like the old Wall's ice cream, and the texture is great - really smooth. However, the cocoa doesn't really feature very strongly on my taste buds - where did it go? And there is the small matter of an after taste. Not unpleasant but not particularly pleasant either. Am not sure where it comes from. However, it doesn't last for long, so this I could perhaps overlook.


How much?

From Ocado, where we bought it, it is £3.99. A tad more pricey than the soya version, which is £2.20 at Ocado. I've not noticed the almond version anywhere else just yet.


Looks good!

In Summary:

It's an interesting move by Wall's, but could backfire if they lose the customers who have hitherto been loyal, due to the nut free soya version.

I wouldn't refuse it if it was served to me, but if I had a choice, I would opt for the Almond Dream dairy free and soya free ice cream, which I reviewed here, or the new Alpro ice cream which I reviewed here.


Update:

Walls (who make Swedish Glace) have confirmed it's made on the same equipment but say that it is cleaned between batches (info via Clare Hussein @allergy_mumof1 on Twitter). They say the tub does not carry a 'may contain nuts' warning, as they believe it is safe. 

Many may beg to differ. I would exercise caution, if you are worried. 

A friend who spoke with someone in the food industry told me about the extent a completely nut free factory went to, in order to prevent traces would end up in their finished product. They even used a vacumn-type corridor to hoover any potential dust traces off clothing, on the approach to their manufacturing equipment, to try to make sure nothing was left to chance. Walls clearly wouldn't meet those standards.


Please note: 
This post is not an advert. I have not been paid to write this post. I am not sponsored in any way, even by advertising. I do not receive products free to review, although I have often been offered them. This is to try and maintain an unbiased approach. All views expressed are my own (unless I've asked for The Hub's or Kiddo's). I try to tell is 'as-it-is'.


Related posts:









Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Great Big Dairy Free Easter Egg Hunt 2017

It's March already!!

I don't know, if, like me, you have been scouring the shops for signs of dairy free Easter eggs, but here is my annual round-up. As before, it's not exhaustive, but should give you an idea of the main movers and shakers, where they can be found and how much they might cost - but always be on the look-out for multi-buy offers!

First of all, it may help to know what's in the different brands of chocolate - especially if you are battling more than one allergy.

At a glance Allergen Chart:



Dairy Free

Gluten Free

Soya Free

Nut Free

Vegan

Booja Booja


Y


Y


Y

-

Y

Choices


Y


Y

Soya Lecithin

Y

Y
Hotel Chocolat (dark)

*Made without


Made without

Soya Lecithin

-

-

Kinnerton


Y

Y

Soya Lecithin

Y



Moo Free


Y

Y

Y

May contain


-

Montezumas


May contain


Y

Y

May contain

-

Plamil


Y

Y

May Contain
(unless ‘None of this’

Y

Y

Hopefully, this table will help you as you read this post, so you know which brands will be suitable for your requirements and can scan down to the bits that are relevant for you.

Please note: 
  • Y = yes
  • 'Choices' does not say 'nut free' on the packaging, but a nut free mum interrogated them on this issue and was happy with their response. 
  • Some brands appearing in this chart are not officially included in my round up, because they are not dedicated free from and may not be suitable for all. However, you may want to check them out if you are Vegan, or can tolerate 'May contain' chocolate. Montezumas may contain milk traces. The same also applies to Hotel Chocolate and Divine. Always check labels - some dark chocolate may still contain milk, it will depend on the recipe. If you're not entirely sure, as to whether their products are okay for you, it may be worth contacting them, before making a decision about whether to buy. 

Now, let's not waste any more time faffing, let's get straight to business - with the main brands listed in alphabetical order


Booja Booja

Pricey but gorgeous!
Okay this is the luxury end of the market. This post lists brands in alphabetical order, so if these are not for you, scroll on by! Their gorgeous papier mache handcrafted eggs contain their delicious truffles. Currently found in Holland and Barrett, often found in health food shops and can be obtained via Ocado.


Large Booja Booja Egg
Small Booja Booja Egg

Ocado


£24.99


£9.99

Holland & Barrett


-

£9.99



Choices

Tesco's finest? Actually Choices, otherwise known as 'Celtic Chocolates'

Often disguised as the supermarkets 'own brand'. Widely available, they come in an increasing variety of shapes/sizes and even flavours! Dairy free, gluten free, egg free, nut free.



Small Choc Egg & Buttons
Milk Egg & Choc. Disc
Milk Egg & buttons
Belgian choc egg
&Truffles
Milk Egg & Caramels
Dark Choc. Egg
Choc. Bunny

Asda


-


*£4.00
(orange)

*£3.00

*£5.00

-

-

£0.99

Tesco


*£2.50
(also in white)


*£3.00
(also in white)

-

-

*£4.00

-

£1.00


Morrison’s


-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Sainsbury’s


*£2.50


*£3.50

-

-

£3.50

£3.50

£1.00
(also in white)

Waitrose


-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Ocado


-

-

-

-

-

-

-
Holland & Barrett


£2.89
(also in white)

£4.99

-

-

-

-

£1.29
(white)

TKMaxx









*Supermarket ‘own brand’


Sainsbury's own is definitely Choices!


Kinnerton

Slightly different packaging to last year, surprising variety of pricing. They also make Marks and Spencer's Free From Easter Egg. Sadly no sign of their Easter Bunny this year. Dairy free, gluten free, egg free, nut free.


Kinnerton Dark Chocolate Egg

Asda


£5.00


Tesco


-


Morrison’s


£4.00

Sainsbury’s


£6.00


Waitrose


-

Ocado


-
Holland & Barrett


-
Home Bargains


-


Moo Free

Popular brand

A popular free from brand, found in many stores. They have a range of three eggs all the same size. Prices vary from store to store, but watch out for multi-buy deals. Dairy free, soya free, gluten free, egg free, may contain nuts.



Moo Free Milk Chocolate
Moo Free Orange Flavour
Moo Free Bunnycomb

Asda


-


-


-

Tesco


-


-

-

Morrison’s


£4.00

-

£4.00

Sainsbury’s


£4.00


-

-

Waitrose


£4.25

-

£4.25

Ocado


£3.99

£3.99

£3.99
Holland & Barrett


£4.99

£4.99

£4.99



Plamil

Loving this year's bunny packaging!

Plamil has upped the anti this year, by introducing this cute Easter bunny packaging.I think Kiddo will love this one. Plamil also make Holland and Barrett 'own brand' Easter eggs see here. Dairy free, gluten free, egg free, nut free. made without soya, but may contain soya. They supply D & D chocolate, see here.

Plamil also make a soya free chocolate, called 'Lots of this, none of that'

Chocolate bunny bars - similar in size to Choices
If you can't find these in your nearest Holland and Barrett, you can order from their website, or directly from Plamil online.


Online Brands:

If you can't find the chocolate you want locally, there are places to look online. Check out the following brands:


Cocoa Libre


This chocolate I have tried and can vouch for! They are very yummy indeed!! A full review of what I made of them can be found by following this link. No Easter eggs as such but last year they brought out some Easter chicks to add to their little lambs!

You can buy Cocoa Libre online from their website, or through the stockists listed on their website, see here. Some of Cocoa Libre's range can also be bought online from Holland and Barrett.


D and D Chocolates

From what I understand, their chocolate is supplied by Plamil, so meets the same standard. Their range is great for any dairy free Easter egg hunts. You can view it here.

These small solid chocolate eggs (they had new packaging last year) have proved very useful in the past!

We love these!

For those who prefer it, they also do a range of carob.


Online Stores:

There are a number of online shops that stock dairy free Easter eggs, some of which have already mentioned, along with a few other tasty treats. These stores include:


Just be aware when buying dairy free chocolate from online Vegan stores that although some chocolate labelled Vegan will be suitable for those with milk allergies, you do have to watch out if you are severely allergic, as some Vegan chocolate is made  on the same lines as normal milk chocolate, and therefore 'may contain milk'. Such chocolate may cause reactions in those who are very sensitive.


Check out the supermarket's ranges for yourself here:


Tesco's range





NBavailability may vary according to are/store size - search using your postcode, on their websites, to find out what's available local to you.


Other places to check out:

Health Food Stores
Farm shops
Vegan stores
Bargain stores such as Home Bargains/TKMaxx - occasionally they come up with real gems!

Related posts: