Allergy Free Cottage Pie

  
With the colder weather and darker nights drawing in a firm family favourite has appeared back on our menu…cottage pie goes down well with all of the children and this recipe makes it safe for number four too.

Allergy Free Cottage Pie

  • 1kg Minced Beef
  • 2 Chopped Onions
  • 3 Sliced Carrots
  • 2 Cloves Chopped Garlic
  • 3 tbsp Wheat Free Flour
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 850ml Wheat Free Beef Stock
  • Sprigs Of Thyme
  • 1 1/2kg Chopped Potatoes
  • 220ml Oat Milk
  • 25g Dairy Free Margarine


  1. Heat a little oil in a large pan and brown the mince.  Next add the vegetables and cook for around twenty minutes.  Add the puree, flour and garlic and cook for another few minutes.  Add the stock and herbs and cook uncovered for about 45 minutes.
  2. Place the potatoes into a pan of boiling water and cook until soft. Once ready drain and mash together with the milk and margarine.
  3. Lastly spoon the meat into a large ovenproof dish and spoon the mash potato into the top. Score all over with a fork and cook for 30 minutes in the oven at Gas Mark 7, 220C/200 Fan.
  4. Once bubbling and golden it will be ready to serve.

There is always a big debate in this house as to how it is served.  My favourite is fresh green vegetables and the the others favour baked beans.  What is your favourite accompaniment?
  

Our Very First Blogging Event

Since starting blogging just over six months ago I have been completely taken in by everything the blogging world has to offer.  I love meeting new people through social media, getting inspiration from other people’s great blogs and trying out new things that I can then review and pass on mine and the children’s thoughts to others.

As silly as I probably seem I was thrilled to receive an email the other day inviting us to a blogging event at Centrale Croydon.

On reading the email it sounded like a real fun packed day that the kids would love and I would love writing about.  Then the fear set in!  What would I wear? Would the children behave? Does this now make me a ‘real’ blogger? 

My fears we quashed as soon as I made my way to the Build A Bear Workshop where our day was starting.  I was greeted by some other lovely bloggers and their great children and just knew from then on I was going to love the day.

   
 

An exited group of children made their way inside the brightly coloured shop and were met by the super friendly, bubbly staff.  Name labels were given out and they were then sent off to pick their very own bear from a huge range that would cover any child’s taste.

  
We settled for a minion, fluffy bunny and a rainbow coloured teddy.  The children were then allowed to go up one at a time to help stuff their bears whilst taking part in lots of fun games to keep them amused.

   
       

Number three and four had a fantastic experience that I would recommend to anybody.  Number five on the other hand decided to fulfill my fear of badly behaved children and cried and moaned through the whole experience!  The staff were not fazed in the slightest and tried their best to involve him in the fun.

   
 

From here they had all worked up a good appetite so we made our way round the corner to an ice cream parlour called Gelatos.  

Again we were greeted with a smile and seated in the funky purple booths, where we chose our lunch from a vast selection of hot and cold food, hot and cold drinks and lots of supper scrummy waffles, sundaes and milkshakes.

   
     

Normally places like this are off limits to us due to number fours allergies; here they were not a problem and they catered for everything.  They managed to find a suitable lunch for him that was then finished off with a yummy sorbet.  Number two and five had a delicious panini, a big scoop of icecream and a georgous Oreo milkshake.

  

  

  

Our last port of call was to go and take a look around the beauty and photography studio Hello Georgous.  Number three who is a complete diva was thrilled with everything she saw and was looking on in awe of the girls there having their nails done and waiting for their special photo shoots.

We have been booked in for a mother and daughter manicure and can’t wait to let you all know how our day goes.

All in all apart from the tantruming toddler we all had a fantastic day and loved every minute of our experience. Any element of the day would have made a brilliant birthday party or special treat for your little ones.  The teddies have already been on a trip away with us and we will be booking in our girly day very soon, which I’m sure we will finish off with another trip to have a sneaky ice cream!

  
   
 

  

  

  

Spicy Pork And Rice

I posted a picture of my dinner on Instagram the other night and had a lot of my followers ask for the recipe.

It’s a real family favourite and actually the only meal the whole family enjoy.  It’s from the ‘Hairy Dieters Eat For Life‘ book which is full of lots of great food that is good for the waistline which is always a bonus!

Spicy Pork And Rice

  • 2 tsp olive oil 
  • 1 medium onion sliced into wedges
  • 500g pork tenderloin cut into 1cm slices
  • 50g chorizo sausage cut into 5mm slices
  • 2cloves thinly sliced garlic
  • 100g green beans trimmed and cut into small pieces
  • 1tsp ground cumin 
  • 1 tsp ground ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 red and orange pepper deseeded and sliced
  • 750ml chicken stock

In a large frying pan fry the onions until softened and lightly browned.  Stirring regularly.

Add the pork to the pan and fry for another 2 mins until browned. Add the chorizo, garlic, peppers, and beans and stir fry together for another 2mins.  Sprinkle over the spices and stir in the rice, pour over the stock and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20mins, stirring regularly until the rice has been absorbed and the pork is tender.

We serve ours with a small green salad and sometimes some crusty bread if the children are really hungry.

 

   

  

End Of Term Pressies

At the end of term we always like to say a big thank you to the teachers by making them something homemade.

This year I used a recipe from Life Currents that I had originally set aside for number four as it is allergy free; but it seemed something nice and easy for number three to prepare herself.

Coconut Bites

  • 200g Shredded Coconut
  • 230ml Coconut Oil
  • 2tbsp Maple Syrup
  • Half tsp Vanilla Extract
  1. In a saucepan mix together the coconut, coconut oil and the syrup and heat for about 5mins until some oil is absorbed.
  2. Remove from the heat and pack firmly into a 9 by 5 inch loaf tin and refrigerate for around an hour.
  3. Once hardened remove from the tin and cut into 21 small pieces.

  

I found some lovely jam jars in our local kitchen suppliers The Art Of Living which were perfect to home our handmade gifts.

  
Number three then cut a gift tag from some coloured paper and added her own message.

To finish the gift off she tied her gift tag to the jar with some string.

   
 

Hopefully her teachers will be pleased with the gifts and have a great summer holiday.

What gifts do you normally chose for your children’s teachers?

  

Chocolate Bowl Recipe Fail

  
As many of you know number four has multiple allergies and because of this I always try to find different things to make for him to make up for all the yummy things he misses out on.

Ice cream is always a no no when we are out and he only has the option of ice lollies.

This summer I have made it my mission to create some different ice cream recipes for him.

Ice cream cones always contain wheat, so as he is a chocolate lover I thought I could make a chocolate bowl covered with sprinkles to put his favourite mango sorbet in.

   
 

I greased a small bowl and spread melted chocolate over the inside and covered in sprinkles.  Whilst the kids were licking out the bowl I put it into the fridge to set.

   
   

I removed the bowl from the fridge with every hope that I was going to be able to easily remove the chocolate shell from the bowl.

How wrong could I be!  It was welded in with no hope of moving!  I still served the sorbet and fruit and number four was occupied for ages trying to gouge the chocolate out of the bowl.  

So my image of this delicate chocolate bowl covered with sprinkles was shattered; but the fact it took so long to remove the chocolate gave me a bit of peace and quiet to tidy up!!

Allergy Free Chocolate Plops

  

With Fathers Day celebrations happening this weekend I knew there would be lots of treats flying around that number four would not be able to join in with; so whilst the older children made chocolate muffins for their Dad we set to making some super easy chocolate plops.

All that is need is a large bar of dairy free chocolate and some cake decoration sprinkles.  There are lots available so you can be as creative as you like with your decoration.

Firstly get a chopping board that will be able to lay flat in your fridge and cover with a layer a cling film.

Then melt your chocolate in a bowl I’ve some boiling water, take a teaspoon and put a 5cm drop of chocolate onto your covered board.  Then add your sprinkles to each plop.

     
 

One all the chocolate has been used up place them into the fridge to set.  This takes about 10mins depending on the thickness of the plops.

Whilst they were hardening number four enjoyed licking the bowl!!

   
   

When they were ready we easily removed them from the board and placed them in a box to be taken out as and when we wanted.

  

  

  

Bread Painting Treat

After school my children are always both bored and hungry; so to avoid sticking them in front of the TV with a snack tonight we killed two birds with one stone and prepared our own snacks.

Painting bread is super easy and loads of fun.  It also requires very little equipment so I’m sure you will all have the bits indoors to get started.

  
Firstly get yourself some small pots and mix together some milk with a few drops of food colouring to create the colour that you would like.

We used oat milk so it would be ok for number fours allergies, but any milk would work.

Next grab some white bread and paint brushes and get to creating whatever design you wish.

   
          

Once they have created their master piece then allow to dry a little before toasting.

   
 

As you can see number four was not to happy with waiting!!

We simply buttered ours but you could add any topping you like.  We also saved a few slices to make colourful sandwiches for tomorrow’s lunch boxes.

   
 

  

Image Of The Week:Telling A Story

We found out that number four had multiple food allergies when he was six months old.  Since then we had a real struggle trying to find foods that he can eat so that he doesn’t feel left out from the rest of the family.

Most of the time we can find alternatives, but naughty foods like pizza and nuggets have been a no no as nothing has come close to the real thing.

Today we found some nuggets and as you can tell by the look on his face, he is completely over the moon!

To most people this may seem like nothing, but for us this was a really big thing and his face says it all.

   
 

Allergy Free Rice Krispie Lolly Pops

  

I saw this recipe on the side of a cereal packet years ago but it’s something I have never used.  As you know if you have seen my blog before, my fourth child has multiple allergies and I like to try to find different things for him as a treat.  

When trying to convert recipes this does not always go to plan but lucky for us this was a hit.

  • 150g Rice Krispies
  • 3tbsp dairy free spread
  • 320g Marshmallows
  • 1 large bar of dairy free chocolate
  • Sprinkles
  • 16 lolly sticks

Over a low heat melt the spread and marshmallows until they are all melted together.  Then add to the Rice Krispies and mix until they are all coated.

  
In a large, greased baking tray press the mixture in tightly and leave to cool.

   
  

 

Once cooked cut into 16 reclangular shapes and insert the lolly sticks into the bottom.

In a small bowl over some boiling water melt the chocolate.  Once melted dip the top of the lolly in the lay on some grease proof paper and coat the chocolaty end in sprinkles.

Once the chocolate has hardened they are all ready to pick up and enjoy.

  

  

  

  

Making Your Picnic A Little Special

  One of my favourite parts of summer is being able to eat alfresco.  Just pack yourself up lots of tasty goodies and head off to some open space and take in the beautiful weather whilst having your own outdoor feast. Another reason why I love picnicing so much is the fact that there is no washing up and clearing the floor of all the mess the children have created. Last year we probably had a picnic two or three times a week and towards the end of the summer I had got really bored of the usual sandwich, crisps and a biscuit combo.  So with our first festival planned I decided to make a bit more effort and start the picnicing season with something a little special. My sister had a traditional hamper that I borrowed and I popped into my local Tiger store and picked up some fantastic picnic ware.  I had a bit of a green and blue theme going on with a new blanket for £7, some very pretty paper plates and snack trays for £2 a packet and my favourite item were some fab jam jars with straws for a bargain of £2 each.  The kids absolutely loved them! Now was time to get the food ready.  Having to cater for seven people I wanted things that were quick, easy, transportable but most of all tasty. First up were your traditional rolls.  I made salmon and cucumber and grated mozerella with onion chutney.  Instead of them sweating in a sandwich bag I wrapped them in brown paper and tied them with string.    Number three loves to get involved so I let her prepare some skewers that she placed alternate ham, mozerella balls, olives and sundried tomatoes on.  So easy but taste lovely.          I make some chicken skewers that a simply marinated in some jerk seasoning with a little oil and then grilled for around 15 mins turning occasionally.    Number three also prepared a tasty summer fruit salad of chopped strawberries, grapes, blueberries and raspberries.  This was then drizzled with the juice of one lime and a squeeze of honey plus a few mint leaves.            My favourite part is the naughty sweet part!! I found a fantastic idea on Instagram that capturebylucy had posted.  She took a Barney bear that can be bought at any supermarket and just inserted a lolly stick into the bottom.  Number five thought they were great.   So that number four was not left out due to his allergies I made some super easy Rice Krispie lolly pops.  That I had adapted off of a recipe on the packet I had seen a while ago.            Finally our favourite on the house is a Malteser cake that I have been making for years; but we only had that a couple of weeks ago so I found a bit of a twist on what I normally make on Bake.Play.Smile.  Here I found the biscuity base of this Malteser traybake similar but they had added a layer of white chocolate with whole Maltesers to decorate.    To finish off the basket we added a couple of bottles of fizzy, flavoured water and some vegetable crisps and headed off to enjoy our feast while taking on the festival atmosphere.  It was a hit all round.