One step closer to a “normal” birthday cake…

Having turned a big 10 months last week, we can now start trying to reintroduce both dairy and eggs into X’s diet as most babies will grow out of their allergies by 10-12 months. So last week was mostly about…

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Yogurt! This is what I was recommended to start with and so far we’re not doing too badly. We started off with just a teaspoon of yogurt in the morning and have moved up to 2 teaspoons with breakfast. X has a slight reaction to it but nowhere near the crying fits we used to have.

On the plus side, it does mean that I can eat CHEESE again in small quantities.  Bliss!

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Our progress with eggs seems to be even better. X had some of my scrambled egg yesterday and an omelette for lunch today and there was no sign of the hives that used to consume her face when she ate egg previously. 

Hopefully at this rate X will be able to have a “normal” birthday cake in a few months time. Fingers crossed.

Popcorn cauliflower

This is another recipe that I came across on Pinterest and it’s gone down a treat with X. Anything with popcorn in the title will get my attention as I love the stuff but alas cauliflower and spices is all you need for this recipe.

You can use any combination of herbs and spices that you might have in the cupboard. I just choose to use smoked paprika because I’m a big fan of it and it means we can share the cauliflower. (One bit for X, one bit for mum…)

Popcorn cauliflower

Ingredients
Half a head of cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized chunks
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
Pinch cinnamon (to add a bit of sweetness)

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 175C.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the oil and spices and add in the cauliflower. Mix until the cauliflower is coated in oil.
3. Place the cauliflower on an oven tray and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the cauliflower and bake for a further 10 – 15 minutes or until the cauliflower starts to brown.
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Duffins!

This week’s playdate bake was duffins: a wonderful cross between doughnuts and muffins. They are coated with sugar, filled with jam…what’s there not to like!! I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

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The recipe that I used is on the Channel 5 website. I of course had to make mine dairy-free so I substituted soy yogurt for the buttermilk and it worked fine. Thanks Michelle for recommending the recipe!

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Baby led weaning porridge bars

These have been a staple on our breastfast menu pretty much since we started baby led weaning. They are great for us because I can make them with a milk alternative and they’re so versatile. If I’ve had time to make an apple or mango purée, I use that along with the milk alternative as the base for these bars. If I’ve not had time, I tend to use a pre-prepared pouch of fruit purée.

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Porridge bars

Ingredients
1 cup porridge oats (not baby porridge)
1 cup milk, formula, water, fruit purée or a mixture of any of these
(optional) fresh fruit, e.g. blueberries, raisins, chopped cherries

Method
1. Mix the porridge oats and liquid together and leave for a minute until the oats have soaked up some of the liquid. Stir in fresh fruit, if using.
2. Place in a flat bottomed dish (I use an old takeaway container) and either cook for 2 minutes in the microwave or 30 minutes in the oven at 175C.
3. Leave to cool – preferably overnight – before slicing into bars.  Depending on the liquid you use, they’ll keep in the fridge for a few days or they can also be frozen. 

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When cooking, the secret I’ve found is to make sure that the mixture is pretty dried out all the way through. I’ve made a few batches where they’ve been still a bit soft in the middle and it just ends up messy!! 

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Rocky road with homemade honeycomb

With my other half ill all weekend and working late every night this week, things have been a bit chaotic so my usual pattern of planning and baking for our Thursday play date has been abandoned. When it got to Tuesday and I still hadn’t got myself organised, I opted for a no-bake bake: rocky road.

Since giving up dairy last year, I’ve not been able to make the infamous Rolo slice. Hopefully my version of rocky road will satisfy my craving for a chocolatey tray bake.

Rocky road with homemade honeycomb

Ingredients
425g dark chocolate
3 tbsp golden syrup
125g margarine
200g crushed biscuits of your choice (I used Rich Teas)
100g mini marshmallows
Homemade honeycomb, crushed (see recipe below)

Method
1. In a pan, melt 225g of the chocolate with the syrup and margarine over a low heat, stirring occasionally to ensure the mixture doesn’t burn.
2. Meanwhile, crush the biscuits into chunks and place in a bowl with the crushed honeycomb and mini marshmallows.
3. Once the chocolate has melted, pour it into the bowl with the biscuits and mix until everything is coated in the chocolate mixture.
4. Pour the mixture into a large greased baking tray and place in the fridge until set.
5. Once set, melt the remaining chocolate and spread over the top of the rocky road. Place back in the fridge until set. Cut into chunks and serve. image

Homemade Honeycomb

Ingredients
80g butter
160g caster sugar
5 tbsp golden syrup
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Method
1. Place the butter, sugar and syrup in a large pan over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Turn up the heat slightly and allow the mixture to boil for 5 minutes.
2. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the bicarbonate of soda until the mixture starts to fizz and expand. Working quickly, pour the honeycomb onto a greased baking tray and leave to set. Once set, break into chunks. image

Making the recipe dairy-free
Typically cheaper biscuits and chocolate are dairy-free as vegetable oil is used in the manufacturing process rather than butter. For biscuits, look out for supermarket “value” brands of rich teas, digestives or ginger nuts. Most Bourbon biscuits are also dairy-free.
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Potato, spinach and tuna bites

Oh how you get used to multitasking as a mum! I’m currently typing this with one hand on my phone as X is crashed out on me and won’t let me move!

Anyway, while she’s out cold I thought I’d share the recipe that she had for lunch. I was supposed to be making some more of the potato, apple and spinach bites this week but used up my apples making pork chops. Keen to give X some protein, I added some tuna instead.
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Because I’d made them with coconut milk this time instead of formula, I was able to try them and I have to say they were pretty tasty. X devoured 3 for her lunch so she clearly approved too!

Potato, spinach and tuna bites

Ingredients
400g mashed potato
80g spinach, fresh or frozen
1/2 tin tuna, drained
3 tbsp milk (I used hypoallergenic formula but you could also use coconut milk if dairy is an issue)
2 tbsp oil
30g plain flour

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C. If using fresh spinach, fry it in a little oil until wilted. 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.

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Marbled chocolate crumb cake

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.

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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.

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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!