Well the weekend started well on Friday when I realised that maybe my efforts in Sainsburys have not been in vain as they now stock Sweet William Products (www.dairyfree.co.uk– see my previous post) in my local store. Perhaps all that stamping of feet and gnashing of teeth got a result after all?
Then on Friday night I attended a reunion with some pals from school, I really enjoy these evenings as we have such a laugh chatting over both old and current news. The first time I attended I was a bit sceptical as to whether it would actually work but we have now been getting together (after 30 years) every couple of months for the last year and a half and I am still enjoying it, even though at every one of these sessions someone reminds me of some sort of howler I committed at the tender age of 15 ish, some of which leave me cringing and others make me roar with laughter so it evens itself out. Funny how other people see you, I am told I haven’t changed a bit so don’t know whether that is good or bad but they keep asking me back so it can’t be all that bad.
Saturday my best friend (the husband) and I wandered leisurely round St. Albans browsing here and there, we had good intentions to do Christmas shopping and came home with the sum total of 3 bags of vegetables. It was great though as the sun came out, the sky was blue and it was warm so we just enjoyed the day. Saturday afternoon was, of course, doom and gloom as England dragged us through the direst rugby match. We willed them on, we shouted at the tele, we pulled our hair out and then sank back on the sofa in despair – it wasn’t pretty and heads will have to roll. Then we were up and out again and off to the Loch Fyne restaurant in Woburn to meet up with our very good friends for an evening of conviviality – it was all good and we finally fell into bed at 1.15am.
Sunday I made a complete ricket as I had set the alarm for 6.45am instead of 7.45am – don’t you just hate doing that and of course once I was up that was it, no chance of any more snoozing. Well we got up and went up to Columbia Road flower market in London, for all those who have never been, try it as it is a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning. Today it was as if the Gods were against us, the M1 was shut so we had to make a detour and then the heavens opened, we had thunder, rain, hail, lightning, you name it we had the lot and it was very wet rain. Now I know that sounds wierd but English rain isn’t always the sort that soaks you in 1 minute, this was Detroit rain – I have never, ever been in rain as heavy as that in Detroit, as soon as you go out in that rain you are soaked through. I digress, we collected Ella from her new home in Maida Vale and carried on to the flower market and spent a lovely morning buying armfuls of flowers and bagloads of plants, we had a bagel in the Columbia Cafe and then mooched round the mish mash of other shops there and had a lovely time. We then left the market and went for a wander down Marleybone High Street and ended up having a pint in The Bridge Pub round the corner from Ella’s flat. All in all a good time was had by all.
Am now going to put my feet up and read the papers, ahhhh bliss.
Filed under: News
Here we are again in Sainsburys but this time I have found DAIRY FREE CHOCOLATE SPREAD, so of course I bought a jar and have just done a taste test or two, well one’s never enough is it? Anyway, it’s really good and so looking at the label it says it comes from www.dairyfree.co.uk. Have visited this site and lo and behold it is the Sweet William range that Ella discovered in Australia so have emailed and asked where I can get more stuff – watch this space.
It also had recipes to die for on the site so will be trying out some of them.
Maybe, just maybe, I am finally getting through to my local store that some of us have needs…
Firstly, this has nothing to do with dairy.
Friday is my favourite day, especially when I have finished all the freelance work that I do from home and so I have a day when I can just please myself, catch up on chores or just do absolutely nothing – although the latter is a rarity.
Today I woke up and debated on having another 10 minutes snooze or get up and do 30 minutes exercise, the latter won. So having bitten the bullet and decided on exercise I put the radio on as I have to numb the pain with Chris Moyles’ drivel. I really hate this bloke which, I am told, is contrary to the majority view, but he really is crude, rude and an oaf to boot – but then that’s just my opinion. Why do I listen then I hear you say, well he makes me so irritated that it makes me exercise harder and that has to be a good thing so I persevere. Also, I can’t abide Terry Wogan and hate the adverts on local radio – I realise I am hard to please!
Anyway whilst pumping away on the cross trainer Russell Brand came on the radio and he was so funny, Moyles asked him about the ‘long words’ he uses and if he actually knew what they meant. This struck a chord and made me think of you pub – for all those who do not know pub visit www.longstory.co.uk. Brand’s answer was that he liked words and dictionaries and Moyle’s said he should contact Susie Dent who is the person in charge of the dictionaries on Countdown.
So Pub, it would seem that you are not on your own in your love of dictionaries and words and actually are in good company.
I have just come in from work after spending 7 hrs slogging away at briefs and petitions (yes, I do have a serious hat) and looked in the fridge for inspiration – do I want pasta or sausages? Neither were very inspiring until I suddenly thought of my ‘chuck it all in’ cassoulet, at which the French would probably faint. Anyway have just made a huge panful and can’t wait for dinner, it’s cold outside, starting to rain and this is just the thing to pick my husband up before he goes out to rugby training later (fear not, he is the trainer and will be directing operations so will not be sick) :-
As I said this is my version of cassoulet on the run, I mean who wants to slave over a stove after being at work all day!
4 – 5 sausages cut into chunks (Vegan sausages can be used)
2 onions chopped
1 tin chick peas (drained)
1 tin mixed beans in a chilli sauce (or anything similar you have in the cupboard)
1 tin chopped tomatos
Chorizo chopped into chunks (optional if you are vegan)
Big squirt of garlic paste
1 heaped tsp of smoked paprika (sweet) or more if you don’t use chorizo.
Cup ful of red lentils
Soften the onions in some olive oil, then add the chorizo and sausage and brown. Add the garlic paste and paprika and mix in then add the chopped tomatos, chickpeas, lentils and mixed beans.
Add water and stir well, bring to the boil, cover and simmer on a low heat for at least 1/2 hour.
Keep checking as this will stick to the pan, especially if you don’t use a heavy one.
This is so easy and in my version anything suitable that I have left in the fridge gets chucked in, waste not want not is what I say. Today’s version has a handful of green beans, a small portion of butternut squash that I cooked with red pepper and bacon and a jacket potato left over from last night. It all went in and smells delicious so I’m off.
I have just read an article in The Daily Mail stating “we’re failing to spot milk allergy in babies, say GPs”. The article alleges that “up to four in five could be failing to make a correct diagnosis and that a survey of GPs suggests there is little confidence that the profession is on top of a potentially serious health problem”.
AT LAST the penny is dropping that there are many children & adults out there with a serious milk allergy – will the supermarkets take this on board now I wonder, I’m not going to hold my breath though.
They give a range of symptoms ranging from diarrhoea to wheeziness, I wish I had known this when my daughter was born, she had bronchitis at the age of 3 weeks! It took 17 years for us to realise that my daughter had a serious lactose intolerance, years of being misdiagnosed as having acne (lovely) and shedloads of antibiotics to keep this under control. Every time she got a cold it would usually develop into bronchitis but they just kept dishing out the tablets and on she would go again.
I am not blameless in this either, but in my defence I was only trying to be a good mother and build a strong healthy girl – I actually did entirely the opposite and continued to poison her system by insisting she drink milk as “it does you good and builds strong bones and teeth”. She used to tell me that she ‘hated’ milk and that ‘it makes me sick’ but no, no, mother knows best and I would make her drink some. I also used to cook dinners with sauces and would moan at her because she couldn’t eat it – I just wish I had known what I know now.
My only advice to anybody out there with whom the above rings a bell would be, listen to what you are being told and investigate.
When I eventually thought enough is enough I tried to get an allergy test done on my daughter but the medical profession didn’t want to know. I then decided to get one done privately and it was this that pinpointed the problem. From the day she had the results of the test, Ella has never voluntarily eaten dairy and she is now beautiful and healthy, the rashes have gone and as long as she steers clear of dairy/lactose she is fine. Amazingly, she can now tell if food has a dairy product in it by smell or the smallest taster which is just as well as restaurants in the UK are pants at providing alternatives.
Well I will shut up now, but it was good to read that at last someone, somewhere is actually realising there is a problem.
I received my Winter edition of the Sainsbury magazine this morning and on glancing through the letters read one that was praising Sainsbury’s Free From range as she had been diagnosed with a wheat/gluten allergy. Yes, I agree, if you have this type of allergy they have made the effort to provide substitutes for bread (which incidentally I have to say tastes like eating old cardboard and costs the earth), biscuits, flour etc. BUT WHAT ABOUT DAIRY FREE, they have made a token effort and that’s about it.
So, once again, I put on my ranting hat and fired off a letter to the magazine asking why supermarkets in this country cannot provide these foods. If you go to Australia you can buy most things in a dairy free version – I know this because Ella has travelled in Australia and she has no problem with food over there – so if they can do it over there, why can’t we do it here or is that just something else the Aussies can beat us at! You can buy a chocolate spread over there which actually tastes just like Nuttella, it is called Sweet William Chocolate Spread, so why can’t you get it here?
This brings me to Christmas, what do you hang on your Christmas Tree if a member of the family cannot eat chocolate. You cannot put the usual chocolate treats on there because that would just be mean – after all Christmas is a time for thinking of others isn’t it – so what do you put on it( I now either buy or make gingerbread stars and hang them on the tree with bright red ribbon. Not only do they taste lovely but they smell lovely and make the room feel so cosy invoking memories of childhood Christmases before the massive materialistic market swung into being). If you try and buy sweets to put on the tree the choice is limited to marshmallows, sugarad almonds (yuk) or jellies, all of which are so everyday that it doesn’t feel right putting them on a tree.
Anyway, for all those who cannot eat chocolate but love it (that would be me then) here is a recipe from a dairy free cookbook I have and I am going to try it today so here goes :-
7 oz caster sugar
1 tbsp water
1tbsp runny honey
1 tbsp malt extract
1 tbsp cocoa powder
3 oz brazil nuts chopped
1 tbsp vanilla essence
Line a small 4 x 6 inch tine with either greaseproof or rice paper.
Melt the sugar, water, honey and malt extract in a pan, without boiling until the sugar is dissolved and then bring to the boil stirring constantly until the liquid becomes golden brown.
Remove from the heat and then stir in the cocoa powder mixing it until it is all dissolved and then stir in the chopped nuts and vanilla essence. If it cools too quickly return it to a gentle heat to get malleable and then pour into the dish and leave it to cool.
When cold cut into squares and then gobble up until you feel decidely sick – no not really, just enjoy.
I love shopping in a proper market, seeing all the fresh veg and snapping up bargains. It was when I saw peppers and tomatos on offer for £1 for a big bowl of each that I remembered a reading a recipe for this soup :-
- 3 Red peppers
- 1 1/2lb tomatos
- 1 chorizo cut into lardons (I buy a pack of two from Sainsbury but it depends how you buy it and how much you like it but it gives the soup a lovely smokey taste)
- 1 tin chickpeas (drained)
- 1 pint water
Put the peppers (deseeded or not, whatever takes your fancy) and tomatos in the oven and cook for about 20 minutes until soft. Put these in a blender along with the water and whiz up until you have a nice smooth soup. Fry (I don’t use any oil as loads comes out of the chorizo) the lardons of chorizo for a couple of minutes and then add the chickpeas to the pan so they absorb all the oil and gently heat through for another couple of minutes until the peas soften slightly. Put the blended soup, chorizo and chickpeas in a saucepan and heat through gently so all the flavours infuse.
Serve with hot pitta bread or chunks of fresh bread.
I have now made myself hungry and so am off to make some of the above for myself.