I would love to blame my current craving for all things chocolatey on my lack of dairy products but I have to admit that when it comes to baked goods, I can’t resist anything with chocolate in it. So this week’s playdate bake was solely to satisfy my craving for cocoa: Dan Lepard’s marbled chocolate crumb cake.
As with all of my baking at the moment, I substituted butter for dairy-free margarine. It does affect the flavour slightly but with so much chocolate in there (there are even chocolate chunks!), it’s hardly noticeable.
Unfortunately the cake was just too tempting and I cracked into it a whole day before I was supposed to serve it at our playdate. It must have been appreciated by those who can tolerate dairy too as the whole cake vanished quicker than I’ve seen in a while. They may not have been the only ones helping themselves to several slices at a time though!
This recipe didn’t quite turn out as planned but I’m not going to complain. I had been keen to try a recipe for dairy-free and egg-free pancakes that I’d spotted in one of my new cookbooks to add to our repetoire of breakfast recipes. In addition, I’d spotted somewhere that if you make normal pancakes in a muffin tin they’ll typically rise up and then sink in the middle to create pancake cups that can be filled with whatever takes your fancy. As I’m always looking for shortcuts in the kitchen, I thought I’d combine the two ideas.
It turns out that my version of dairy-free, egg-free pancakes don’t behave the same as conventional pancakes. They rose and rose and rose but didn’t sink at all which obviously means that X won’t be enjoying her pancakes filled with fruit but when I first offered them to her, she didn’t seem concerned!
Dairy-free, egg-free muffin tin pancakes
1 tbsp ground flaxseed (also known as linseed) and 3 tbsp water
225g self raising flour
360mls coconut milk (or formula if you’d rather)
1 tsp baking powder
1. Preheat the oven to 175C and grease a 12 hole muffin tin with oil.
2. In a small bowl, mix the flaxseed and water together and set aside to thicken.
3. Meanwhile, mix together the other ingredients. Once thickened slightly stir in the flaxseed mixture and distribute evenly between the muffin tins until they are approximately half full.
4. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until well risen and springy to the touch.
Alternative: If you have no issues with eggs or dairy, you could use the same recipe and replace the coconut milk with cow’s milk and the flaxseed and water mixture with one egg.
Baking a batch of chocolate cookies isn’t usually too complicated but when you have an eight-month-old to factor into the equation, things change completely: no task can be completed without interruption and everything therefore takes ten times longer. So when I decided to make chocolate cookies for our weekly playdate on a Thursday, this is how long it actually took me to make those 16 delicious cookies.
- Start meal planning for the week and decide what recipe to make for the playdate.
- Order grocery shopping online
- Grocery shopping delivered
Tuesday night (after X is in bed)
- Chop up chocolate to create chocolate chips and weigh out all dry ingredients.
- In between giving X her breakfast, getting her dressed and keeping her entertained, mix together all the ingredients.
- Run back to X when I realise that I can’t see or hear her any more.
- Find X half way under the sofa/terrorising the cat/eating the TV remote.
- Return X to her toys where I can see her and put the first batch of cookies in the oven.
- Play with X while they bake, take them out the oven and leave to cool.
- Put X down for a nap and run back to the kitchen to put another batch of cookies in the oven. Jump in the shower while they bake.
- When out the shower, check on the batch that are in the oven because the last batch took longer than planned. Reset the timer for another couple of minutes and attempt to get dressed before the timer beeps and wakes X up.
- Take the final batch out of the oven and leave to cool. Resist eating them while they are cooling.
- Do the washing up.
-Take cookies to play date and enjoy!
Until Little X was diagnosed with an egg allergy last week, my muffin tin was my trusty friend when it came to making meals for her. I was able to quickly knock up a batch of bite-size omelettes, meat loaves or a whole host of other egg-laden goodies that could be frozen for the week’s lunches. But the muffin tin has been relegated for a while until I find an alternative to omelettes and figure out the best way to bind meat loaves together without egg.
Instead, I’ve been making a lot of patties and mini burger style meals. They’re great as they’re still bite-size and X seems to love ripping into them (as of today she now has 6 teeth – she’s only 8 months!). These turkey patties are her favourite so far.
Unfortunately patties, take a bit longer to make than the good ol’ muffin tin creations because they need to be shaped and fried. As I was a bit short if time when I made mine, I decided to get out my largest pan – my paella pan – to fry them all at once. The pan is huge but got the job done nice and quickly before X woke up from her nap!
Makes approx. 16
500g turkey mince
50g fresh breadcrumbs
Zest and juice of a lemon
2 tbsp oil for frying
1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl, roll up your sleeves and use your hands to mix together all the ingredients.
2. Once mixed, separate the mixture into 16 portions and shape into patties.
3. Heat the oil in a frying pan – or a larger pan if you like! – and fry the patties on each side for 3-4 minutes. Check the patties are cooked by cutting into one of them. They should be firm and nicely cooked all the way through. Place on a plate lined with kitchen roll to absorb the excess oil and leave to cool slightly before serving. Can be served hot or cold.
They definitely went down well!
In between re-stocking the freezer with egg-free and dairy-free food for Little X last week, I managed to do a bit of baking for our weekly play date.
Despite X’s egg allergy, I am still able to eat eggs – thank goodness! It’s just dairy that I need to avoid. So the never ending hunt for decent dairy-free recipes continues. One cake that I love at this time of year, and which happens to be both dairy- and gluten-free, is Nigella’s clementine cake.
It does take a bit of time to make as you have to boil the clementines for 2 hours before you even start but I was stuck in the house last week anyway because of the horrendous weather so I made the most of it.
After discovering that X is allergic to eggs as well as cow’s milk last week, I had to quickly think of some new things to make for her lunch. My freezer is full of tray bakes, muffins and omelettes but they all unfortunately contain egg.
Inspired by Mamacook’s spinach and potato bites, I threw some ingredients into a bowl and came up with the bite-sized treats below. I was a little scared that X wouldn’t like them as I made them using the hydrolysed (hypoallergenic) formula that she was prescribed when we started weaning. The stuff smells disgusting but she’s obviously not phased by it as these went down a treat!
Potato, apple and spinach bites
400g mashed potato
2 small apples, grated
80g spinach, fresh or frozen
2 tbsp milk (I used hypoallergenic formula but you could also use coconut milk if dairy is an issue)
2 tbsp oil
30g plain flour
Preheat the oven to 200C. If using fresh spinach, fry it in a little oil until wilted. I used frozen spinach as I couldn’t find fresh spinach at short notice. If using frozen spinach, put it in a bowl, cover it and microwave it for 2 or 3 minutes until soft. Once the spinach is cooked, squeeze out as much moisture as you can.
Place the spinach and all the other ingredients into a large bowl and combine. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag and using a fluted nozzle, pipe rounds onto a greased baking tray. Drizzle each bite with oil and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until starting to brown on top.
It’s become apparent that Little X not only has an allergy to cow’s milk, she’s also allergic to eggs. These are the two are the most common allergies in infants so it shouldn’t be a surprise that she’s allergic to both but it is a little frustrating when I have a freezer full of omelettes, tray bakes and muffins made with eggs!
The recommendation has been to exclude dairy and eggs from X’s diet until she’s at least 10 months old (another 2 months) as most babies grow out of their allergies by then. So despite having made a batch of the broccoli and pea omelettes at the weekend, X will have to wait a few more months to enjoy them.