Sunflower & pumpkin seed butter

I am a peanut butter loving woman living in a nut free house due to my son’s food allergies. There are a couple of nut free alternatives on the market but my preferred one made from sunflower seeds is only available in the USA and while you can order it to be shipped to the uk it is eye wateringly expensive to do so. Finding seeds that have not been processed in the same facility as peanuts and treenuts has been a life changing discovery. Life changing. I am not in anyway linked to or paid by https://nutrenergy.com/ but I’m so happy to have found a safe source of seeds (and great customer service) that I have to resist telling them I love them several times a week on social media. They’ve not blocked me yet so I think I’ve managed to be fairly restrained in my affection for them.

After a lot of experimentation with different seeds, oils and sweeteners (you can make it without added sweetness if you prefer) I’ve settled on a recipe that my daughter and I absolutely love and will pretty much eat on anything – biscuits, scones, muffins, toast, cereal. My son is less taken with the idea of eating something that looks a bit (ok quite a lot) like baby poo but he really enjoys biscuits & bars using seed butter as an ingredient.

You’ll need a food processor to make the seed butter.

This butter is a combination of sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Just sunflower seeds is delicious and needs less oil, just pumpkin seeds is a lot thicker and curiously green. The addition of chia seeds looks like you’ve stirred in fleas. Don’t do it.

Ingredients

90g (3/4 cup) toasted Sunflower seeds

40g (1/4 cup) toasted Pumpkin seeds

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon maple syrup

3 tablespoons sunflower oil (melted coconut oil is also delicious, it’s sets a lot firmer in the fridge so depends what consistency you prefer)

Instructions

To toast the seeds (which gives them their nutty flavour) spread a thin layer of seeds on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and toast in the oven for 18 minutes at 165C. Extra seeds not required for the recipe can be stored in an airtight container and are super tasty sprinkled on breakfast and on salads (or eaten by the handful).

Measure the sunflower & pumpkin seeds and the salt and place them into a food processor

Process on high for 2 minutes, scrape the sides with a spatula then leave the seeds to sit for 15 minutes to release their oils.

Whizz the seeds again repeating several times for about a minute at a time with a minute in between until they start to clump together.

Add the maple syrup and a tablespoon of sunflower oil and whizz again then add the remainder of the oil a spoon at a time till you have the desired consistency. If you are just using sunflower seeds you will only need a couple of tablespoons of oil, just pumpkin is considerably thicker and may need more.

You can store the seed butter in clean sterilised jars (google how to sterilise jars, it’s really simple) but we get through it so quickly I usually use a small plastic tub stored in the fridge. I can’t say how long it’ll keep in the fridge because we scoff it within 3 days.

These were seed butters I made with coconut oil so are a more set consistency (optimum for eating by the spoonful 😉)

I’ve been making seed butter at least once a week. It’s tasty, it makes me happy because it tastes so nutty but without the fear and I’m delighted my daughter likes it as it’s certainly a more nutritious topping than jam.

Strawberry choc chip muffins

I love muffins. I make large batches and freeze them in twos for quick breakfasts. They also work well as an after school snack or add dairy free custard and you’ve got pudding. They’re a good way to sneak fruit & veg into my kids, stir in a few chocolate chips and it immediately becomes a treat. I asked my son if these were blog worthy and got a big thumbs up.

Ingredients

2 cups/300g plain gluten free flour

(I used 1 cup of rice flour, 1/2 cup potato starch, 1/4 cup brown teff flour and 1/4 cup sorghum flour but a packet mix will work)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/3 cup/ 70g sugar

2 eggs (if you can’t have eggs use 1/4 cup apple purée plus an extra teaspoon of baking powder)

1 cup/250ml Koko dairy free coconut milk (or dairy free milk of choice)

Splash of/ Tablespoon of lemon juice

1/4 cup/ 60ml sunflower oil

Approx 6 large strawberries chopped

Small handful of dairy free chocolate chips (I used Plamil baking chocolate)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 180C

Grease a 12 hole muffin tin (I use dairy free spread, can also use oil)

Measure the dairy free milk, add the lemon juice and leave to sit while you prepare everything else

Measure flour, xanthan gum, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and sieve into a large bowl. Add the sugar and whisk well.

Combine the eggs, oil and dairy free milk/lemon juice in a jug or small bowl then pour into the dry ingredients and mix till you can’t see any dry bits.

Stir in the chopped strawberries and chocolate chips

I use an ice cream scoop to measure the mix into the greased muffin tin.

Bake for 22 minutes

Remove from oven and once the tin is cool enough to handle transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool completely. You can eat these warm but they may not hold together as well. Serve on their own, sliced and spread with dairy free margarine or once they are past their best (if there are any left) with warm dairy free custard.

Chocolate wraps

Always fun to take a favourite recipe and make a chocolate version. This is the pimped up weekend brunch version of my wraps https://myallergyboy.com/2015/12/10/gluten-dairy-egg-and-most-importantly-pea-free-wraps/

Ingredients

I doubled my usual recipe to make a family sized pile of wraps. Just half it if you want to make a smaller batch.

2 cups/300g gluten free self raising flour (if you don’t like using gums try plain gf flour plus a teaspoon of baking powder, if you’d prefer not to use a rice flour mix then Free From Fairy’s flour works well in my regular wrap recipe so would be fine)

4 Tablespoons cocoa

2 Tablespoons soft brown sugar

1 Teaspoon salt

4 dessert spoons powdered psyllium husk (I know, who uses dessert spoons as a measurement? It’s the same as 8 teaspoons or you could use 3 Tablespoons which is a touch more for simplicity)

2 cups/500ml warm Dairy free milk (I’ve used Rice and I’ve used Hemp, recipe fine with your milk of choice. I microwaved for 90 seconds before I used it, you want hand warm….if that’s a thing)

Instructions

Measure dry ingredients, sift into a large bowl and whisk well to combine

Pour the warm dairy free milk in and stir well until there are no dry bits. It will look very wet.

Don’t worry, it will come together. If I was more patient I’d let it sit and rest at this point (this is not a bad plan!) but once it looks a bit thicker I fling it onto a well floured surface and hope for the best.

I then chuck loads more flour at it knead it gently till it comes together in a workable fashion.

Depending on what size you’d like divide the dough into balls. I cut 8 today but you’d comfortably get 12 medium sized wraps. My son would eat two large or three smaller ones. This is a good time to sit a frying pan/crepe pan on the hob to heat. I dry fry the wraps but you could very lightly grease the pan if you prefer. I have an induction hob and cook them at 7 (it goes up to 9 so that’s quite warm)

Dust with lots more flour (you wouldn’t need quite as much if you’d let the dough rest….) and roll each piece into a ball

I sit the balls of dough back in the mixing bowl

Once the dough is all ready dust your surface and a rolling pin and roll a ball until it’s fairly thin.

Take the wrap by the edges and gently lift it and place on the warm pan

I have a plate waiting with a piece of kitchen roll on it to place the cooked wraps. As soon as one wrap is cooking dust again and roll out the next.

Fry until the edges start to lift then turn the wrap and cook the other side. Bubbles may appear on the wrap as it’s cooking.

The second side won’t take long. Continue until all the wraps are cooked. These are gorgeous served warm. My kids can recommend chocolate spread or jam as a filling. I like coconut jam, nut butter would be really tasty if you can have it, I had none of my preferred sunflower seed butter so I sprinkled roasted sunflower seeds on mine today.

These wraps are great the same day. If you don’t eat them all store them in a sandwich bag at room temp and microwave one for about 25-30 seconds to freshen it up the next day. I haven’t frozen these yet, my regular wraps freeze well, warm before serving.

Chocolate chip and parsnip muffins

I properly love these muffins. They look and taste like a treat plus they have a cup of parsnip in them…….and you can’t tell!! At least my son can’t and that’s all I’m looking for really. I love parsnip for it’s easy ability to hide, I cook it, purée it and stir it into a lot of our meals so discovering it also hides well in baking has been a massive thrill. If you are parent trying to persuade your kids to eat more veg or you’re trying to eat more yourself these muffins are fab. I bake these with eggs as my son passed his baked egg challenge this year so I try to feed him baked egg regularly. They can be baked without but they’ll be best eaten fresh or gently reheated (20 seconds in the microwave per muffin to freshen it up). They probably don’t need as long as 22 minutes to bake but despite over 6 months of my son eating baked egg I’m still a little terrified of it and bake the muffins till they are really really baked!

Ingredients

2 cups/300g plain gluten free flour

1/2 cup/100g sugar

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup/250ml dairy free milk (I often use Koko coconut milk for muffins) mixed with a generous splash of lemon juice

2 eggs (or 1/4 cup apple sauce and an extra teaspoon of baking powder)

1/4 cup/60ml sunflower oil

1 large parsnip finely grated (makes approximately a cupful)

Dairy free chocolate chips to taste. I like to use Plamil or I’ve used a small packet of chocolate orange buttons broken up with great success. You don’t need loads as the muffins are sweet but I won’t judge if you do use loads. A small handful is a good guide.

Instructions

Preheat oven to 180C and grease a 12 cup muffin tray

Measure flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, sugar & salt and whisk together in a large bowl

Combine the remaining wet ingredients in a jug or bowl and mix well

Make a Well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet mix into the bowl. Stir until combined then add in the grated parsnip and the chocolate chips

I like to use an ice cream scoop to measure the mix equally but a spoon will also work. Divide into the 12 muffin holes of your pre prepared tin (I bake straight in the tin as the baked muffins often stick to paper cases, you can pop them into cases once the muffins are baked if you so desire.

Bake for 22 minutes then remove from the oven. Once the tin is cool enough to handle gently remove the muffins (I slide a flat teaspoon in the edge of the muffin cups and they lift out easily) and place on a wire rack to cool.

Best eaten the day you bake them but also good the next day with warm custard or gently warmed in the microwave. The muffins freeze well and can be defrosted one at a time on low in the microwave for 1 minute.

We like to eat our muffins cut in half with dairy free spread

Self catering with allergies in Lanzarote

Just back from a week of winter sun in Lanzarote. December is a lovely time to visit as it’s warm and sunny but not dreadfully so. This was our second visit, last year the weather was very pleasant but windy and you needed a sweatshirt, this year it was glorious! Of course I’d packed for pleasant so I ended up rocking my husband’s swim shorts by the pool #stylish.

We flew with Jet2 which is my airline of choice for flying with a nut allergy. Lots of airlines have reasonable allergy policies but Jet2 have been consistently good. If you inform them prior to your flight that you have a severe nut allergy they don’t load nuts onto the plane which means they can’t make an announcement regarding not serving nuts then forget and still serve them (I’m looking at you EasyJet). It’s over 4 hours flight from Edinburgh to Lanzarote so I packed breakfast (muffins) to eat after check in (9.15am flight), lunch (filled rolls, crisps & fruit) to eat on the plane and plenty snacks as my kids eat about nine times what you would think they might need when travelling. I didn’t look into buying food on board as my son has multiple allergies and I think crisps are about all he can have from the in flight menu. I take lollipops for the kids for take off and landing.

We stayed in Puerto del Carmen which is only a short transfer from Arrecife airport. You could get a taxi to your accommodation but we hired a car so we could do a proper supermarket shop rather rely on the smaller resort supermarkets. You could probably manage shopping in town but it’s pricier and there is less choice.

There is a large Mercadona and a Hiperdino supermarket in Playa Honda near the airport.  I like Mercadona, I’ve shopped there in the Costa del sol as well and they’ve lovely fresh produce and a reasonable selection of dairy free milk. They also sell the nicest gluten free pasta I’ve eaten, I was convinced I’d bought wheat pasta by mistake it was so good.

They don’t have a free from section as such, just bits and pieces in with the regular products.

I bought gorgeous dairy free choc ices there last year but my son wasn’t that taken with them.

They have a selection of dairy free fruit yoghurts but they are all soya based so if you are milk and soya free your choices would be very limited (almost non existent). They also sell chocolate desserts and rather excitingly had chocolate mousse this visit (I’m easy excited by free from food).

A lot of the dairy free milks in Mercadona do not contain added calcium so check the label!

The Hiperdino has a fabulous free from section! I could have done all my shopping there apart from soya chocolate desserts as they only had a very small selection of soya fruit yoghurts. To my delight they had Gullon sharkie biscuits which my son loves and are free from gluten, milk, egg and nuts! (Contain soya lecithin). I stocked up on boxes to take home!

The free from aisle is just as you walk in the store.

They also have a large frozen section

There are a few options for dairy free spread.

I haven’t seen any dairy free cheese, I took some in a cool bag in my suitcase along with egg free mayo, chorizo sausage and pepperoni as the only cold meat I’ve been able to find that doesn’t contain milk is plain ham. I also packed some safe bread & rolls to freeze on arrival (handy to keep a packet for making a packed lunch for the journey home!), home baked biscuits and safe chocolate.

We did a big shop day one in the Hiperdino then I sent my husband back to the Mercadona day two for chocolate desserts. Our hire car was not very big so we dropped our suitcases at our villa and had a snack before going to the supermarket. There was a small spar near our villa which was handy for buying water and fresh bread for the wheat eaters among us.

We didn’t eat out. My son is allergic to milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, treenuts, peas and lentils and it’s less stressful if we just feed ourselves. My husband cooked to give me a break. We keep it simple, baked potatoes, pasta, grilled meat. I packed some spice packets to liven meals up a bit. I took my own chopping board, grater, a frying pan and two cooking utensils. I also took lots of plastic clips for closing packets, you cannot take too many.

Restaurants are required to provide you with allergen information if you request it and this was clearly stated on menus outside them.

The Highlander too near where we were staying offered a full gluten free cooked breakfast (I discovered at the end of our holiday 🤦🏻‍♀️).

http://www.highlandertoo.co.uk/

Allergy action is a super resource for translations if you do wish to eat out.

https://allergyaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Translation-Spanish-a.pdf

We used their Portuguese translations to eat out one night last summer in Albufeira. I wrote out my son’s allergies and a list of questions and handed it to the waiter and my son had a super steak, chips & sliced cucumber which he really enjoyed. I however was so uptight I didn’t enjoy my meal at all and then cried and hugged the waiter when it all went well so my family aren’t best keen to eat out with me in public again.

We stayed in a villa with our own pool, I prefer a villa as you get a kitchen and full size fridge freezer as well as a dishwasher and a washing machine. I booked through Villa plus, we’ve used them several times.

Travelling home can be a challenge to cater for with a later flight. I don’t fancy an evening flight! We had to be out of the villa at 10am and the flight home was at 2.45pm. I made a double packed lunch and used a cool bag and ice packs which kept our food cool enough. No one complained about rolls & crisps for lunch at the airport then rolls & crisps for tea on the plane! I had plenty biscuits & sweets to keep us going as well.

I’d definitely go back, just perhaps not at New Year, they like a firework at New Year in Lanzarote which is probably fabulous if you are out celebrating but feels a bit like Armageddon in the back garden if you fell asleep at 9.30pm after a day of sunshine and a couple of glasses of fizz.

Roast tomato and carrot soup

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know it’s all been a bit souptastic of late. 


My husband has been making a concerted effort to eat healthier so I have been making big batches of soup and freezing it in portions for him to take to work for his lunch. I’ve tried to make lots of different flavours so he doesn’t get bored and I think this one is my favourite. 

Makes 4 generous portions 

Ingredients

Approx 2 tablespoons coconut oil 

900g tomatoes on the vine (or thereabouts, I went to make soup today and SOMEONE had eaten 2 of my tomatoes) 

8-10 large carrots peeled & chopped

3 large garlic cloves

1 small onion

Salt & pepper to taste
Instructions

Preheat the oven to 200C

Grease a large ovenproof dish with coconut oil 

Remove the tomatoes from the vine, wash and cut in half. Place cut side down in the dish. 

Peel and chop the onion into large chunks and place the pieces among the tomatoes. 

Chop the ends off the garlic cloves but add them to the dish in their skins. 

Melt a tablespoon of coconut oil in the microwave until liquid (30-60 seconds) and drizzle over the top of the tomatoes. 

Roast in the centre of the oven for 40 minutes 


While the tomatoes are roasting prepare the carrots and boil them in a large pot until soft. 


When the tomatoes & carrots are cooked and the dish is cool enough to handle place the tomato, onion & juices into a blender and add the garlic by squeezing it out of its skin. 


Blend until smooth (some bits of burnt onion/tomato skin may remain. Do not worry as the next step is to sieve the mixture into a large bowl. Use a sieve with reasonably big holes in the mesh, I bought one specially as my baking ones are quite fine and I was losing too much of my life to sieving tomatoes!


Press and stir the mixture with a spoon until all the liquid has passed through and you are left with the seeds, skins and bits of onion. 


Once you have done this blend the carrots (you can add some of the cooking water to loosen them up in the blender) and then stir them into the sieved tomatoes. 

Season with salt & pepper to taste. You can add more water at this point if the soup is very thick or you could stir in some dairy free milk. I divide the soup into portions to cool and then store in the fridge if they are to be eaten in the next couple of days or I freeze for easy weekday lunches.  


Serve with a spoon of plain dairy free yoghurt or creme fraiche. 

Chocolate beetroot brownies

I’ve been playing with this recipe for a while and I think I’ve cracked it. My kids love these brownies and are oblivious to the beetroot despite the colour!

Ingredients

3 small cooked beetroot (I buy these in the vegetable department in Tesco or Morrisons)

150g plain dairy free yoghurt (I’ve used Alpro soya and Koko successfully)

200g soft brown sugar (yes it looks a lot but they are brownies and hey they’ve got beetroot in them)

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1/4 cup cocoa (20g)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

150g plain gluten free flour (I used Doves Farm)

Up to 1 cup dairy free chocolate chips or a full 85g Kinnerton free from chocolate bar broken into chunks

Instructions

Preheat oven to 180C and grease and line a baking tin (I used a 20cm square tin)

Chop & blend the beetroot till smooth

Mix the sugar, yoghurt, beetroot and maple syrup together in a large bowl

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt together and whisk to combine

Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined then stir in the chocolate

Pour mix into the prepared baking tin and smooth to the edges

Bake for 35 minutes

Cool on a rack before slicing (or eat warm and burn your tongue a little, maybe, I might have, it was worth it)

Also lovely cut with a large heart shaped cookie cutter

These stay moist and delicious for a few days if they haven’t already been eaten