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Super moist banana bread…

Callum is a big fan of cake! What child isn’t! :)

The problem with this, he doesn’t tolerate egg in any form particularly well, truth be told, he reacts quite a bit to it. So, what ever cake I do make for him, it has to be dairy and egg free as a minimum!

Sounds simple in principle, reality is quite different. The basic science behind a cake dictates that it’s the egg that helps it to rise and go all light and fluffy, instead of being dense and stodgy!

It’s taken quite a few attempts to get this recipe right, and it has now become a firm favourite in our household.

It’s a simple recipe, that can be jazzed up with an extra handful of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, raisins, or even dairy-free choc chips at the very end!

You will need:

  • 135g golden caster sugar
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 70g dairy-free spread
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarb of soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons dairy-free milk

Method:

Add all the ingredients apart from the milk to a large bowl, and stir until well combined.

Add the milk, and gently stir into the cake mix.

Then add any ‘extras’ to the cake mix.

Turn out into a prepared loaf tin, and bake in a preheated oven at 180c/ 350f/ Gas 4 for around 35-40 minutes or until the cake is golden in colour and a skewer comes out clean when the middle is checked.

Leave to cool slightly before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Enjoy!

Super moist banana bread

2

Courgette, Kale & Pea souper…

As the nights draw in sooner, the air turns cooler and thoughts move to autumn, there’s nothing more comforting than a warming soup. Callum absolutely loves soup. He’s always found them easier on his tummy than ‘true’ solids, which I’ve always put down to his numerous allergies. The beauty of soups is that they are packed full of vitamins and nutrients, as well as flavoursome, and if it means Callum is getting his 5 a day comfortably, then who am I to say no.

One of his all time favourites is courgette, kale and pea soup, so I thought I’d share the recipe and see what you all think!

The beauty of this recipe lies in its simplicity!

You will need:

  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium sized courgettes, washed and chopped
  • 2 handfuls curly kale
  • 1 handful peas
  • 850ml vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove

Method:

Add the olive oil and chopped onion to a large saucepan and gently fry for around 5 minutes until softened, stirring frequently. Crush the garlic clove and add to the onion, and continue frying for a further 2 minutes.

Add the courgettes to the saucepan and cook for 6-8 minutes, again stirring frequently to ensure they don’t stick or burn.

Pour the vegetable stock into the saucepan, add the kale and peas and simmer over a medium heat for 10 minutes.

Check the vegetables are all cooked, remove from the heat, season and then blend until smooth.

Enjoy!

Courgette, Kale & Pea souper

3

Troublesome twos, or something more…

The summer holidays is a fabulous time to regroup as a family, and simply spend some good quality time together. If we’re all honest, it’s something that is usually lacking in ‘normal’ every day life. It’s not through any fault of ours, life just kind of gets in the way doesn’t it.

There’s always the mad rush of the morning, trying to get everyone washed, dressed, fed and bags packed for the day ahead. The inevitable sprint back to the house for the item you almost always forget (and usually when you’re already running 5 minutes late!!) when you’re trying to balance 2 kids, a laptop, more bags than you actually probably know what to do with, little toys that the children ‘have to have’ with them…..!

Add to that, the perfectly timed filling of a nappy, and the ensuing ‘mummy, mine done a big poo, need mine nappy changed….!!’

You may laugh, but we’ve all been there, and if you’re anything like me, it’s at least twice a week, if not more!

On top of all this, Jonny works shift, and is either out at stupid-o-clock in the morning if on the early shift, or not back til late into the night if on the late shift. And he also has to work a lot of weekends.

It really doesn’t leave much time for family life!

So, I really do cherish the time we get as a family, very much!!

I use the time to not just try to get back some energy levels, but also to catch up with the whole family, do things together, and enjoy spending as much time as possible together.

Over the course of the past couple of weeks, Callum has loved having us around more. He’s really blossomed into a cheeky, adorable, affectionate little boy.

He’s become quite clingy to me too, and wasn’t too happy with me going back to work at the start of the week.

But we’ve also noticed that he’s become very angry on occasion.

All toddlers go through a phase of showing anger/ displeasure when they’re told off for doing something they shouldn’t. Tears of frustration if they don’t like being stopped from doing something they’re clearly enjoying. Screams to vent their build up of emotions.

Chloe went through this, she was quite a handful while we negotiated this part of her toddler journey, and we did struggle sometimes. It was hard work, bloody hard work as I’m sure you can all appreciate, sympathise with!

Callum is going the same way, no change that, gone the same way.

It’s to be expected!

I’d be worried if he didn’t have the same transition!

But…..

He seems almost more angry than Chloe was. And if someone has caused his anger, he wants to retaliate and vent his anger by doing something he really shouldn’t.

Pulling up Grandpa’s beautiful flowers…

Pouring almost a full bottle of blackcurrant squash all over our new kitchen floor and island unit…

Squirting cetraben into his brand new carpet….

When you tell him off, you can see he understands what’s happened. He knows what he’s done. Of course he does. He gets the whole consequences thing.

And sometimes he smirks.

Oh yes, this kid is smart, way too smart.

He outsmarts us regularly!

I’m now wondering if it’s all the frustration of what he’s gone through, and is still experiencing during his short life. The more I think about it, the more it seems to make sense.

Let’s face it, the poor little dude has suffered so much, and been so poorly, and it’s still this way. He’s not reached a point where he’s not suffering any more, we’re still learning to control all his allergies and eczema. It’s a constantly changing and evolving journey.

It’s almost inevitable that it will eventually come out in some way or another. And I do think it is now starting to come out.

I just hope that he’s not been too scarred or traumatised by what he’s gone through, and hope and pray that life becomes just that little bit easier for him as life goes on.

After all, a mothers role is to protect their little ones for life, and it doesn’t seem as if he’s been very protected so far, no matter how hard I fight for him!

Have you experienced something similar? How did you cope with this? How can I help Callum any more than we do already?

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Summer holidays…

Over the past few days, as a family, we have taken things a bit easy. Lets face it, you can’t run on autopilot forever, and we go through more than our fair share of stresses and strains on a daily basis. Besides which, this was the first proper couple of days off in I can’t remember when.

With Chloe on summer holidays, F1 on summer shut down, and me on a week off from the NHS, we decided to go and stay with my father-in-law for a few days, and explore some of the sites close by.

On one of the days, we had the most wonderful time visiting Cheddar Gorge! A real family day out, with so much to do, you almost need more than a day to take it all in. The children were in awe over the caves, the mystical jewels, the hundreds of steps that you can climb to the cliff walk, which they ran up as fast as their little legs would take them, and delighted in the wonderful sights at the very top. Chloe was very proud to beat us all to the top!

Callum got very excited with the open top bus tour that runs through the gorge, and thoroughly enjoyed visiting the cheese factory to see how it was made (even if he couldn’t taste any of it!).

We thoroughly recommend it, definitely well worth a visit!

We also visited a very windy Weston-Super-Mare, and in spite of the cool conditions of the sea, Chloe and Callum were insistent on going for a paddle. Fair play to them, it was damn chilly, but they had a wonderful time splashing about!

Windy Weston-Super-Mare

To give me a bit of a break from cooking, my lovely father-in-law took us out for lunch on one of the days we were there.

For anyone who follows this blog, you will know that we have had some very different experiences when visiting Harvester.

As we had had such a good experience with Harvester in Kidlington, we decided to give the one in Gloucester a try…..

I initially didn’t say anything at all about Callum, as I know the menu quite well now, and I’m fully up to speed with their training and know what they are capable of.

My father-in-law was the one who set the ball rolling, warning our waitress (Tocana) as to the fact that Callum is ‘allergic to the world and his wife’, and even mentioned about having had a good response in Kidlington.

Tocana was immediately on alert, and I have to say, she did a wonderful job! Callum had asked for the children’s fish dish, but when checked with the chef, it became apparent that it contained milk and egg, so unsuitable for Callum. We decided on the usual grilled chicken that we order when at Harvester, and Tocana promised to make sure that the grill would be washed down so there would be absolutely no cross-contamination.

While waiting for our food, Chloe needed the toilet, so off we went, leaving Callum with Jonny and my father-in-law. During the time we were away from the table, the food arrived. Callum asked Jonny if he could have some of his corn-on-the-cob. Jonny initially was about to, but Tocana questioned whether it was safe because of the ingredients on Jonny’s plate. She was right, it wasn’t safe!

Fair play Tocana, that seriously impressed me!!

Overall, we had a really great experience, well done Harvester, you are totally delivering on what you set out to achieve. And I will now happily recommend you to the allergy community as a safe place to eat!

I’m slightly suspicious though, knowing we were going to Harvester, I checked my blog stats before leaving, and then when we got back, and there was significant activity on my previous blog posts on Harvester……! ;)

Maybe Callum should become the face of an allergy safe menu for Harvester….! Give me a call head office, you have my number, I’d be more than happy to talk about it!

Callum - harvester