Things have been hectic lately and so blogging has been way down on my list but I now find myself in a situation where one of my freelance contracts has only 5 days to go and I have to say I am not sorry. I went back to work for one of my old Colleagues (a Solicitor) to get him out of a hole he had dug for himself, on the understanding it would be for a few weeks at most. He did try and get me to go back permanently but there was no way I wanted that, yet eighteen months down the line I am still there and now I want out. I have worked in offices for 30 years and if truth be told, have disliked every minute of it as it was not what I would have chosen for myself and I now think that it is time to do something I want to do.
Anyway, in 5 days time I will be free of one commitment that means I regain 3 days per week to do whatever I want and I think for once in my life I am actually going to do that. I want to learn to fuse glass, I want to actually read a book without my eyes being too tired due to all the paperwork I read at work, I want to try out lots of new recipes and even get down to writing them down in a diary that Pub provided me with for that specific purpose. All in all I am looking forward to it and will worry about the finances later, so I know I have been neglecting my ADF bit for a while, hopefully I will be back in force. Roll on the end of April, yippeee.
On Friday my sister-in-law and I belatedly celebrated our birthdays with Tea at The Ritz, and it was so civilised and refined. It is something I have long heard people talk about so we decided that we should give it a go.
Anyone who has ever ready my blog will know my views on birthdays in December, and for my sister in law and myself our birthdays are now overshadowed by memories of loved ones lost on what should be our special day, so we decided to celebrate at a later date.
The Ritz Hotel is quite lovely in itself and I have to say the staff were very helpful and didn’t make me feel out of place, although anyone watching Hotel Babylon on TV will probably never ever feel intimidated by hotel staff ever again!
The food: well lots and lots of tantalising dainty cakes, sandwiches with no crusts and yummy fillings and, of course, scones with cream and jam. Oooh the diet went flying out of the window and I enjoyed every morsel. The brilliant thing is that as soon as you finish something, they come along and fill it up again. How very naughty!
We thoroughly enjoyed it and felt that we had celebrated our birthdays in style.Try it, you will like it.
I did ask if they catered for dairy allergies and am delighted to say THEY DO, hurrah.
As you know, not so long ago I wrote to Alpro asking why they didn’t manufacture individual portions of soya milk along the lines of the UHT cartons available in food outlets. I expressed the fact that it would make life so much easier for anyone with a dairy allergy/intolerance in that they could pop a couple of cartons in their bag and then it wouldn’t matter where they were, they could get a cup of coffee/tea or whatever. Their response to my letter is below :
“Thank you for your enquiry regarding the availability of individual portion size alternative to dairy milk.
Unfortunately, this is not a product we are at present producing, however as the demand for soya products grow it is something we may consider in the future. Thank you for your suggestion, which we will pass onto our Production Team.
I hope you continue to enjoy the range of Alpro Products and if you have any questions or would line information on Alpro products please call….”
Yesterday Ella was at Paddington Station and rang me, highly delighted, to tell me that there was an Alpro dairyfree event/give away going on at the Station and that she had been able to get some milk (so good as she had run out) and other freebies. She also said that the carton of milk was exactly the right size to pop in her bag and take to College.
Now, my point is that Alpro obviously have the facility to manufacture these tiny cartons for their ‘give aways’ so why on earth don’t they capture the market and supply the shops with them.
I think another letter is about to wing its way to them.
PS: As they state the demand for soya is growing, one of Ella’s housemates has now found that she has a dairy intolerance – more and more people I meet or hear about have this problem so why can’t manufacturers make life easy – if it is a supply and demand matter, if they can supply it I know the demand is there.
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…
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.