Dairy Free Lasagne and Cannelloni 

How about two recipes in one? Little one really enjoys mince and pasta based dinners. Don’t get me wrong I love spaghetti bolognese however sometimes it can get a bit repetitive. Lasagne and cannelloni is a twist on a familiar dinner which usually means a hit with little one. Add to that the addition of a white sauce which boosts her calcium intake, it means it’s a winner for me too! 

Meat Sauce (Taken from my bolognese recipe. You can find the original post here.)


Ingredients
500g mince, I used beef 

Olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, sliced

2 carrots, diced

1 celery stalk, diced

150g mushrooms, chopped

1 tbsp tomato purée

1 tsp each of basil and oregano

2 tins of chopped tomatoes (800g)

200/300ml hot vegetable stock (I used kallo very low salt) or just boiled water

6/8 cherry tomatoes 

Handful of frozen peas and sweetcorn (optional)
Method
1. Over a medium heat brown the mince in a large saucepan. Once browned remove the mince and drain the fat away. Keep the move to one side 

2. Next add the onion, garlic, celery and carrot and cook until starting to soften, about 8-10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and return the mince to the pan, cooking for a couple of minutes. 

3. Stir in the tomato purée, basil and oregano, cooking for a few minutes. 

4. Pour in the tinned tomatoes, veg stock (or just boiled water), cherry tomatoes and stir until well combined. Add seasoning if using. 

5. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 25-30 mins until reduced and the sauce is thicker. If it gets too thick then add a splash more water. At about ten minutes before finishing the sauce, add the frozen peas and sweetcorn and stir through. 
Whilst the meat sauce cooks you can make your white sauce. 

Bechamel (or white) sauce (For a fuller recipe check out my earlier post here.)
Ingredients
1 tbsp dairy free spread, I use Pure sunflower spread

1 tbsp plain flour

400 ml dairy free milk, I use Oatly
Method 
1. Melt a heaped tbsp of dairy free spread in a pan over a low heat. I used Pure sunflower spread. 

2. Add a heaped tbsp of plain flour. Could be gluten free. Stir quickly and cook for a couple of minutes until you make a paste (or roux). I use a silicon spatula.

3. Gradually add dairy free milk (I used Oatly) to the pan whilst continuously stirring. Add a little at a time to prevent lumps and to help the sauce thicken. I added about 400ml of milk. Slightly increase the heat and stir until the sauce is thick and smooth. 
Assembly 
Lasagne

1 pack of dried lasagne sheets 250g
1. Preheat your oven to gas mark 6, 200 C. 

2. In an oven proof dish place half of the meat sauce on the bottom and spread out evenly. Then cover with a layer of lasagne sheets (I parboil the sheets for 5 minutes first). Top with a third of the white sauce. 

3. Repeat step one, finishing with a layer of pasta followed by the white sauce. 

4. You could add grated dairy free cheese to the top. 

5. Pop in the oven and cook for half an hour until the lasagne is bubbling! If the lasagne looks as if it’s drying out cover with tin foil. This helps to keep in the moisture.Allow the lasagne to rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving as it helps to hold its shape. 


Cannelloni

1 pack of dried cannelloni tubes 250g
1. Preheat your oven to gas mark 6, 200 C. 2. In an oven proof dish place a couple of tablespoons of the meat sauce on the bottom and spread out evenly. 

3. Fill the dried cannelloni tubes with some of the meat sauce. Tip: stand the tube on a spoon and spoon in the filling. This stops the sauce from going straight through. Then place the filled tube on top of the layer of meat sauce. Repeat until you have filled your oven proof dish with tubes/ run out of cannelloni tubes or sauce (whatever happens first!). 

4. Pour the white sauce over the filled pasta tubes. (You could add grated dairy free cheese to the top)

5. Pop in the oven and cook for half an hour until the cannelloni is bubbling! If the cannelloni looks as if it’s drying out cover with tin foil. This helps to keep in the moisture. Allow the cannelloni to rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving as it helps to hold its shape. 

Important Bits



Dairy, egg, nut and soya free. Use gluten free pasta sheets and flour to make gluten free. 

Makes 5/6 (adult) portions

Freezable

Total make time less than 2 hours

A Dairy Free Party

The last couple of months have been really busy so I’ve finally gotten around to post about little one’s birthday. Little one turned two on June 9th. I imagine most parents feel the same, but I really wasn’t ready for her to turn two. She is changing everyday. Becoming more confident, learning new words and skills, just generally becoming more independent. Don’t get me wrong, I am so proud of the smart, kind and beautiful little girl she is becoming. However the more she grows, the further away from being my newborn she becomes.

Anyway on her actual birthday we took her to the Sealife Centre in Brighton like we did on her first birthday. She thoroughly enjoyed herself and it was lovely to see her interacting with the fish. We also went for her first proper walk on the beach. She did well navigating the pebbles all the way down to the water. Then got a little stroppy she wasn’t allowed in! She had fish and chips for lunch at a pub off of the Lanes and picked out a Duplo playset from the Lego shop. A good day all round!
The Saturday after her birthday, we had a small tea party for family and friends. Unlike her first birthday I wanted to make sure that everything foodwise little one could eat. We had ham and tuna sandwiches with the crusts cut off, cocktail sausages, hummus and crudités, scones, cake, biscuits, dairy free pizza twists, jelly, chocolate mousse and crisps. The centre piece was a watermelon cat filled with fruit, which little one’s uncle made. He made an amazing one for her first birthday too- a dinosaur!


Birthday Cake
I’ve never had great success at making a dairy and egg free chocolate cake however this time I used a recipe from the Pure FreeFrom website. You can find the recipe here. It worked brilliantly and will definitely be my go to recipe when making cakes from now on. I used Oatly rather than soy milk and left out the cherries. The chocolate frosting was yummy too! I made two batches of the cake to give a four layered finish but only one batch of icing as I wanted a ‘naked’ look to it. Decorated with a ring of sprinkles. Job done! Little one seemed to enjoy it too.


I did a test run of the party cake a couple of days before her birthday. This one I cut into the number two and covered with a plain version of the Pure buttercream. I then swirled some Sweet Freedom Choc Shot through the icing for a marbled effect. It worked quite well.


Herby Scones and a Cream Tea

As well as the sandwiches, I made two different types of scone. The savoury herb version you can find here. I made a sweet ‘cream tea’ version as well. I followed the same recipe as the herby one except I left out the herbs (obviously) and added a tbsp of honey. For the cream tea filling I mixed a couple of tbsp of Violife creamy with a tbsp of icing sugar until smooth and then topped with jam. I always make my cream teas with the cream first followed by the jam. Not sure whether that is the Cornish or Devonshire way to do it.


Accompanying the savoury options I made puff pastry pizza twists (I’ll post the recipe for those soon) and hummus with crudités.


Dairy free chocolate mousse

I made a range of sweet treats from jelly to chocolate mousse. The chocolate mousse was super easy and relatively healthy with a hidden ingredient! I’ve posted the recipe for chocolate avocado mousse a few times on my Instagram page but I’ll pop it here as well.

Only three ingredients!!

1 ripe avocado

2 tbsp cocoa powder or raw cacao

2 tbsp honey or agave nectar (no honey under one)

Blitz it all together in a food processor and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

Will keep in the fridge for up to three days.


Dairy Free Crispy Cakes

We used up some leftover dairy free Easter egg chocolate to make chocolate crispy cakes. I used Moo Free Cheeky Orange Chocolate egg. Their range is not only dairy free, but is also free from soya, gluten, wheat and eggs. It’s organic and vegan! Winner!! I simply melted the broken up chocolate in a bowl over some boiling water. Once melted, I stirred the handfuls of corn flakes and crushed shreddies into the mix until there is an even balance between the chocolate and cereal. I then spooned some of the mix into cupcake cases and popped into the fridge to set.

Dairy Free Chocolate Biscuits

To finish the sweet treats I made some chocolate biscuits using one of my old recipes. I topped some with a disc of ready to roll red coloured icing from Tesco. It is free from most things apart from sugar! Funnily enough little one wasn’t overly keen on the icing and peeled it off! I used a cute icing stamp tool which I received as a Christmas present from a friend to decorate the icing with two.


Looking back over the pictures now I realise quite how much chocolate played a part in the birthday tea. I tried to offer a range of sweet treats and healthy options. As much as possible I used healthier alternatives however life is all about moderation. So little one mainly ate crisps, jelly and chocolate mousse that day (and a few that followed). That isn’t her diet every day or week. I really want her to grow up enjoying her food, being able to make the right options whilst having treats now and then. It’s about balance. With a diet goverened so much by what she can’t eat I was so happy to provide her with a birthday party tea which meant she didn’t miss out and I didn’t have to worry about what she was eating either!

 

Free From

Farmhouse

Chicken Kievs

I will quite happily watch any programme that’s food related. Well, to be honest, all I really want to watch now is anything that isn’t on cBeebies!! Masterchef has to be my fave so I have been loving the new celebrity series. It’s finals week this week so here’s hoping the Jimmy Osmond wins! They made chicken kievs a couple of episodes ago and it made realise that we hadn’t had them in ages. I’ve never made them before and seeing as butter is a no go I thought that I would make them myself. They’re fairly simple to make but you need to prepare them ahead of cooking, so maybe not a last minute meal idea.

It also gave me a chance to try out using the new(ish) Flora Freedom spread in cooking. I tasted it a few weeks ago at the Allergy Show (I haven’t forgotten that I haven’t posted about it yet, it’s on my list of things to blog!) and really liked it. Before switching our family’s meals to dairy free we used to use flora light and it reminds me very much of that. I also like that you can buy it from the mini versions of supermarkets in town which is always handy. FYI: I am not being paid to post about Flora Freedom, hahaha!


Ingredients

2 tbsps. dairy free spread ( I used Flora Freedom)

3 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

4 chicken breasts

1 slice of bread, whizzed into bread crumbs mixed with a handful of panko breadcrumbs

100ml dairy free milk, I used Oatly

4 tbsp. wholemeal flour, seasoned with onion granules and paprika

Method

Garlic Butter

  1. It’s best to make the garlic butter ahead of time so that it has time to firm up in the fridge/ freezer. In a bowl mash the butter, garlic and parsley together until smooth. spoon onto cling film and wrap the butter tightly into a sausage shape. Twist the ends to make a cylinder and pop into the fridge/ freezer until firm.


Assembling the chicken kievs.

  1. Remove the garlic butter from the fridge and cling film. Slice into eight rounds and set aside.
  2. Make a small slit in the side of each chicken breast, being careful not to go through to the other side. With your finger, gently stretch the cavity. Place two butter rounds into the cavity and pull the chicken breast over to cover the slit. Repeat with the remaining three.
  3. Set up your breading station- flour, milk, breadcrumbs in separate bowls.
  4. Take a chicken breast and carefully dip into the flour, dusting off the excess, then the milk and finally roll in the breadcrumbs. In order to create a fully covered chicken kiev you could repeat this step and double coat! Repeat with the three remaining chicken breasts and place on a plate. Pop the chicken kievs into the fridge to firm up for an hour or so.

Cooking

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 5, 180 degrees and remove the chilled kievs from the fridge.
  2. In a frying pan, heat a tbsp. of oil until hot. Place the kievs into the frying pan (seam side down) and gently fry the kievs until lightly brown. A couple of minutes each side should be fine. Carefully remove from the pan and place on a lined baking tray.
  3. Pop the baking tray into the oven and cook for 30 to 40 minutes. Cut into the thickest part of the kiev to check it is cooked through with no pink showing.
  4. Remove from the oven and serve being careful of the filling, it will be hot!


Important Bits

Makes 4

Dairy, egg, nut and soya free. (Could be gluten free depending on the flour and breadcrumbs used)

Freezable, the kievs can be frozen once assembled and before cooking.

Free From

Farmhouse

 

 

 

Free Tickets for the Allergy & Free From Show


Just a quick post to let you know that the fantastic Allergy & Free From show returns to London Olympia this week. The show runs from Friday 8th to Sunday 10th July 2016. You can get more info about what’s on and how to get there on the Allergy & Free From Show website. I went last year and had an amazing day. You can see my blog post from last year here

I would definitely recommend popping by and the best news is that you can still get FREE tickets by following the link below. Tickets sold on the door will cost £10, so don’t forget to get yours now. 

http://www.allergyshow.co.uk/go/bakeddairyfreeThis year I am attending on the Saturday morning and would love to say hi, so give me shout if you’re there!

Vegan Nachos #manfoodtagalong

Last weekend I took part in another food tag along on Instagram. We had such fun participating in the #picnicfoodtagalong (you can find my contribution here) that I was excited to take part in the next one. The theme for this one was man food. Dishes and recipes inspired by/for the significant men in your life, just in time for Father’s Day this Sunday 19th June 2016. I had a think about meals which are seen as stereotypically manly and settled on… Nachos. Why? Well because I love them mainly. They would be my death row last meal. However they’re not particularly friendly for a dairy free diet. I had a play around with the core components of what, I think, makes a successful plate of nachos.
1. Tortilla chips

2. Chilli

3. Salsa

4. Sour cream

5. Cheese

My aim was to make something that resembled nachos whilst being healthier (slightly), allergy friendly and toddler friendly. I was pretty pleased with the outcome. You get the same overall texture and experience, yet I wasn’t left with the full, heavy feeling. Little one seemed to enjoy it too.

If you’d like to join in with the next food tag along on Instagram then pop @thelittleredhendiaries a message!

Vegan Nachos

Three Bean Chilli (original recipe here)

Ingredients

Olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely sliced

1 stick of celery, finely sliced

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp tomato purée

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp hot chilli powder or 1 tsp crushed chilli flakes or 1 red chilli finely chopped (it is all up to your personal taste)

400g chopped tomatoes (1 tin)

400g mixed beans (a combination of your favourite tinned beans, 1 tin, rinsed and drained)
Method

1. In a large pan sweat the onion in the olive oil for about 10 minutes until soft. Add the garlic, carrot and celery and cook for a further 10 minutes until the vegetables start to soften.

2. Add the tomato purée and stir through. Then add the cumin, smoked paprika and chilli. Stir the vegetables and spices together for a few minutes.

3. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and fill the empty can half way with water, add that to the pan too. Bring to a simmer and cover. Stir occasionally, cooking for 10 minutes over a low heat.

4. Tip in all the beans and stir through. Bring to a simmer again and cover. Cook on a low heat for 15-20 minutes. Add splashes of water to the chilli if it starts to look too dry and season to taste.

Extras:
If you’re adding extra vegetables you can add them in a couple of steps. If you want a softer bite (for example peppers) add them with the carrots and celery. If you’re adding aubergine or mushrooms you could add them when you add the tomatoes.
Tortilla Chips
2 wholewheat flour tortilla wraps
Preheat the oven to 160c. Cut the wraps into crisp size triangles. Spread out onto a lined baking tray and pop into the oven for 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don’t catch and burn. You could lightly oil the wraps and season before cooking to give a crunchier texture.
Dairy Free Sour Cream
1 tin of coconut milk (400g)

Juice of half a lemon
Chill the tin of coconut milk for a few hours until the milk begins to solidify. Then separate the milk from the coconut water. Add the lemon juice to the milk and mix until smooth. Pop into the fridge to firm up. Stir before serving.
Roasted Corn Salsa
Large handful of frozen sweetcorn

Half a red onion, finely chopped

6/8 cherry tomatoes, finely chopped

Squeeze of lime juice

Seasoning to taste
Roast the sweetcorn until golden. Mix with the rest of the ingredients and serve!
Extras

Sliced avocado

Grated dairy free cheese, I used Violife

Wedges of lime


Important Bits

Dairy, egg, nut, soya and gluten free
Vegan

Freezable

Makes 4 servings

Total make time under an hour and a half

 

Free From Farmhouse

Bolognese Sauce

I can’t believe that mummybakesdairyfree is over a year old and yet I haven’t posted my bolognese sauce recipe. It is one of little one’s favourite meals and we have it most weeks. I definitely don’t claim this to be a classic bolognese sauce, but it is a hit with my little one and is an easy way to get lots of veggies into her meal. It’s also cheap, easy to make and pretty healthy. There are a lot of jarred sauces on the market but I’d really recommend you check out the labels. The majority of the ready made sauces contain a high level of salt and sugar. My recipe contains no added sugar, very little salt (I use a low salt stock- Kallo) and I honestly don’t think it misses it. 
 

A go to dinner!
 
What I also love about this recipe is how versatile it is. The version I posted below is my bog standard bolognese sauce, however I always end up chucking in whatever veg I have left in the fridge that needs using up. This helps it from getting a little stale as well. I also find that you can present it in a number of ways- lasagne, cannelloni, pasta bake, on a jacket potato, with plain old spaghetti or penne pasta. I’ve even spread it on a tortilla wrap and made a meat feast style pizza. 

Honestly don’t underestimate how amazing a good bolognese sauce can be!
Ingredients 
500g mince, I used beef 

Olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, sliced

2 carrots, diced

1 celery stalk, diced

150g mushrooms, chopped

1 tbsp tomato purée

1 tsp each of basil and oregano

2 tins of chopped tomatoes (800g)

200/300ml hot vegetable stock (I used kallo very low salt) or just boiled water

6/8 cherry tomatoes 

Handful of frozen peas and sweetcorn (optional)
Method
1. Over a medium heat brown the mince in a large saucepan. Once browned remove the mince and drain the fat away. Keep the move to one side 

2. Next add the onion, garlic, celery and carrot and cook until starting to soften, about 8-10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and return the mince to the pan, cooking for a couple of minutes. 

3. Stir in the tomato purée, basil and oregano, cooking for a few minutes. 

4. Pour in the tinned tomatoes, veg stock (or just boiled water), cherry tomatoes and stir until well combined. Add seasoning if using. 

5. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 35-40 mins until reduced and the sauce is thicker. Stir regularly and if it gets too thick add a splash more water. At about ten minutes before finishing the sauce, add the frozen peas and sweetcorn and stir through. This would also be a great time to add any left over cooked veg. 

6. Serve with the pasta of your choice and some yummy dairy free garlic bread!
Important Bits
Dairy, egg, nut, soya and gluten free

Freezable

Total make time less than an hour and a half

Makes 6 (adult) servings

  

Free From
Farmhouse

Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Sauce

A great alternative to tomato or creamy pasta sauces. I love this butternut squash and sweet potato sauce. It is so versatile and could be used in a variety of ways. It has a yummy, creamy texture yet is dairy free, is a great way to get veggies into little one’s meal and can be adapted to suit a range of diets. I used a Kallo low salt chicken stock cube yet you could use a vegetable one to make it vegan. Pair the sauce with a gluten free pasta to make the dish gluten free too. Add cumin and fresh chilli to give the sauce a kick or even cinnamon to make it sweeter.

Depending on how much stock you add and how much you blend it, this would make a good weaning purée (omitting any salt). You could also thin the sauce out with more stock to make a delicious soup. I may do this with the leftovers I froze. I left mine fairly think and served it with spaghetti, peas and chunks of roast chicken but you could really experiment and use whatever you have in the fridge.


Ingredients
Olive oil

500g mix of butternut squash and sweet potato, peeled and chopped

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp rosemary

500ml hot stock, I used Kallo low salt chicken stock cubes

Seasoning (optional)
Method
1. Pre heat the oven to 200c. Drizzle the butternut squash and sweet potato in a little olive oil and pop on a baking tray in the oven to roast.

2. Whilst the veg is in the oven, heat a splash of olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and garlic and cook on a medium heat until soft, about 8-10 minutes.

3. Remove the veg from the oven and add to the onions and garlic. Sprinkle in the rosemary and stir until combined.

4. Pour in the hot stock and increase the heat. Once the liquid is boiling turn the heat down to a simmer and allow to reduce by half. This may take 10-15 minutes.

5. When the veg is soft and the liquid has reduced remove the pan from the heat. Using a stick blender blend the liquid until smooth. Taste and add any additional seasoning to your liking.

6. Stir through cooked pasta and add your choice of vegetables and/ or meat. I used half of the sauce for three portions and froze the rest.
Important bits
Dairy, egg, nut, soya and gluten free

Total make time less than 45 minutes

Freezable

 

Free From Farmhouse
TOTS100 - UK Parent Blogs
TOTS100

Sausage and Pearl Barley 

I love one pot meals. Not just because it means less washing up, but because generally they don’t require too much input. Technically this also needs a baking tray but I won’t tell if you don’t. This dish has a risotto feel about it however it’s a bit less labour intensive as you add the liquid all at once. It also has a different texture to risotto rice which makes it a tasty alternative. 

 

Sausage and Pearl Barley Risotto
 
I used sausages however you could use a meat of your choice or leave it out for a meat free meal. It would be a great way to use up leftover roast meat. The sausages I like to use are Tesco’s Organic Free Range Pork (see picture at bottom). They are dairy, egg, nut and soya free. They also are free from sodium metabisulphite which is also an allergen. However they do contain wheat. 

Ingredients 
Olive oil

6/8 sausages

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced

1 large carrot, diced

2 celery stalks, finely sliced 

200g pearl barley, rinsed

400g chopped tomatoes (1 tin)

300ml hot stock/ hot water (I use very low salt chicken Kallo stock cubes)

A couple of tsp of thyme and rosemary

A large handful of sliced greens (you could use cabbage or kale)

Method 
1. Pre heat the oven to 200c. In a large pan heat the oil over a medium heat, then brown the sausages all over. Remove the sausages and place on a baking tray and pop into the oven to cook through. 

2. In the same pan add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery. Cook until soft for 5-10 minutes. 

3. Once the veg is soft add the pearl barley and stir to coat in the vegetables. Pour in the chopped tomatoes, hot stock and the herbs. Bring to the boil, then stir, reduce the heat and cover. Leave to cook on a simmer, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes. Add some more hot stock/ water if the barley starts to stick. 

4. Ten minutes before the end of cooking add the sliced greens to the pan and remove the sausages from the oven. I slice the sausages into rounds and add them to the barley but you could leave them whole. 

5. Serve in bowls with warm, crusty bread. 

Important bits
Dairy, egg, nut and soya free

Makes 3 adult portions and a toddler portion

Total make time one hour

Freezable 

Tesco Organic Free Range Sausages
Free From
Farmhouse

 

Rainbow Spring Rolls #rainbowfoodtagalong

On Saturday I took part in a food challenge on Instagram. I’ve often seen the challenges thinking how fun they looked but never taken part. This time I decided to get in contact and ask if I could be involved in the next one. A tagalong is a great way to see a diverse range of foods all based from the same starting point. It is also a fantastic chance to discover new people on Instagram. The theme for this tagalong was rainbow foods! How brilliant and perfect for creating exciting food for children. Also with the weather being so beautiful it really was a fun challenge. I decided to do rainbow spring rolls (inspired by Pinterest). 
  
These are really simple to make. There is no cooking required so it’s more of an assembly kinda dish. This makes it a great way to involve children in the kitchen as well. It is also a perfect opportunity to introduce new tastes. 

Although there is no cooking there is a fair bit of chopping. I used a combination of pre cut vegetables (courgette noodles) and the rest I cut by hand, but if you have a kitchen gadget which thinly slices then now maybe the time to dig it out. 

I made two types of roll; a sweet, fruit one and a savoury, vegetable one. The wrappers I used were rice paper ones as they become transparent when softened with water. You can serve them fresh (as I did) or deep fry them (although I’ve heard mixed reviews about that). They’re pretty versatile so you could easily add a protein and noodles to make them more substantial. One of the best things about them is how allergy friendly they are; dairy free, nut free, egg free, soya free and gluten free. They’re also vegan! This of course does depend on the fillings you use. 

I served mine with hummus and pear purée. Weird combination I know, but little one is going through a hummus stage at the moment. Also, we tend to avoid Asian sauces (which would have been the obvious choice) due to the allergens which are usually present. To make the fruit rolls into a desert you could always melt some dairy free chocolate…

They seemed to go down well with little one. She picked out the filling and ate it that way but I think she liked it as she had a few!
Ingredients 

6 rice spring roll wrappers
A handful of thinly sliced colourful vegetables (I used baby sweetcorn, courgette noodles, red and orange peppers, sugar snap peas)

A handful of thinly sliced colourful fruit (I used mango, pineapple, plum, strawberries, cucumber)

A tbsp of chia seeds

A tbsp of sesame seeds
Method

1. Submerge the rice spring roll wrapper in warm water for a few seconds and place on a dry plate to continue to soften for a minute or so. I soften each wrapper just before making each roll rather than all at once. 

2. Place your fillings onto the wrapper. I sprinkled sesame seeds over the vegetable filling and chia seeds over the fruit ones. 

3. Then fold as you would a burrito, wrapping tightly. 

  
4. I halved the rolls to make them more manageable for little one, plus you get to see the full rainbow-ness (yes that is a word 😂). 

5. Serve with a dipping sauce of your choice. 
Important bits

Dairy, egg, nut, soya and gluten free. Vegan
Makes 6 rainbow spring rolls 

Total make time less than 30 minutes

You can prepare these ahead of time but they’re best served fresh. 

  

Make sure you head over to my Instagram page and check out what everyone else made! Why not contact @thelittleredhendiaries if you’d like to take part in the next one?

  

Free From
Farmhouse

CMPA article for the NCT

After little one was born I started volunteering for our local branch of the NCT (National Childbirth Trust) charity. Sylvia and I helped to run a weekly Bumps, Babes and Toddlers group. We did this until recently when we moved and we thoroughly enjoyed it. I have met some lovely families through doing the NCT antenatal classes and volunteering and would recommend it to any first time parents or those with small children. I also attended monthly branch meetings which was a great excuse to have an evening out of the house! Check out the NCT website to find your local branch. There are often lots of events going on that you can attend even if you’re not a member!

 

Little one helping to set up the toddler area
 
The branch publishes a newsletter every quarter and myself and the branch coordinator (a fellow allergy mummy!) were asked if we would like to contribute to an article about allergies and reflux. I found the experience of writing down our journey really useful. It helped me to see how far we have come and the improvements that have happened with little one’s skin and diet. I have published my section of the article below as I hope it maybe helpful to someone who is just starting out on the allergy journey.  I know that I found hearing other families stories useful.

Little one’s allergy story (so far) first written November 2015

When we were expecting our daughter my husband and I were very aware of the chances that she may develop allergies. Both my husband and his father have nut allergies and with a history of lactose intolerance, eczema and hay fever on both sides, we were looking out for the signs. Our daughter’s Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA) was officially confirmed by a skin prick test when she was six months old, however by 12 weeks I had already discussed with our GP my suspicions. Sylvia had constipation from six weeks when she switched fully to a cow’s milk based formula. This was coupled with periods of discomfort when feeding, slight reflux and bad eczema. 

 

At 8 weeks old when little one’s eczema started to worsen
 
The eczema was addressed first by the GP and we were referred to a community dermatologist. After being prescribed a course of steroid cream and a variety of eczema ointments, none of which really helped, I pushed for Sylvia to be referred to the paediatrician. I believe we were fortunate to see practitioners who were understanding and because of our family history, took our concerns seriously. When we saw the paediatrician at 5 months Sylvia was prescribed a formula which breaks down the cow’s milk protein to make it more easily digested. He also referred us to an allergy nurse, dietitian and a consultant dermatologist.
It was a year last December since Sylvia was officially confirmed with CMPA. In that year we have seen countless professionals, picked up some other food intolerances, started weaning, failed another milk allergy test and got her CMPA under control. Whilst we have found support through a number of healthcare professionals, waiting times meant that we were weaning Sylvia for six months before we saw the dietitian. In that time social media was a great support network and a way to get ideas about introducing allergy friendly foods. We introduced new foods slowly, one at a time and avoided high risk allergy foods. I kept a food diary so I could keep track of reactions and started to share the recipes I used and created with other allergy families. This developed into a blog of healthy dairy, egg and nut free recipes suitable for the whole family. My husband and I now have dairy free dinners so that Sylvia can eat the same, and I find making meals from scratch a good way to make sure her food is safe and healthy. It also works out cheaper to make in bulk and freeze, as free from foods are often more expensive partly due to the manufacturing process. Sylvia enjoys a wide range of foods and I make sure she doesn’t miss out on the benefits of dairy by offering other calcium rich food.

Although we have Sylvia’s CMPA and eczema under control it is always a concern, especially when we are out. I spend a lot of time planning ahead to make sure that she always has a healthy, safe food option. It is our hope that she grows out of it as she gets older and before she goes to school.

 

Little one enjoying an allergy friendly chocolate mousse
 

Update April 2016:

Since writing the article we haven’t seen any improvement on the milk allergy front. After accidental contact reactions  with milk on a couple of occasions, we discussed with the dietitian next steps, as  the reactions appeared more severe. In the end we have been referred back to the paediatrician for blood tests to see the extent of the allergy. This will also mean we can see exactly what else she is allergic to. In particular it will be interesting to see the severity of allergy/ intolerance to eggs and soya. In the past we have had failed attempts at getting past the first few rungs of the egg and soya challenges. 

As little one is getting older and understands a lot more, we are talking to her about foods that will make her poorly. Although I’m sure she will come into contact with allergens in the future, it doesn’t hurt to make her aware now that there are foods she shouldn’t touch or eat. Getting her involved in the daily routing of applying eczema creams has really helped, even if it means a few of her teddies are now covered in emollients and steroid ointments!

  
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