Schar gluten free pretzels are THE best!

My eldest daughter is a slight pretzel addict. They’re one of her favourite evening snacks. She’s the one person in our family that has a “normal diet” and these are her pretzels of choice! Gluten free, dairy free, crunchy and tasty they tick all of the boxes for all of us. They are nicely salted and slightly more chunky than regular pretzels. Delicious!

Pasta with lentil and tomato sauce

This is a recipe I like to use on work days. I can prep the sauce the night before and leave it standing ready for a quick 30 minute cook when I get in. I use shop bought gluten free pasta. The sauce is dairy free and vegan. Delicious for everyone!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of green lentils
  • 1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes or a carton of passata depending on how smooth you want the sauce to be.
  • 1 cup of vegetable stock made with one stock cube (I use knorr vegetable cubes)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bell pepper (choose your colour or mix a few)
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 350g pasta
  • Half a cup of broccoli florets (optional)

Method

  1. Finely chop the onion and pepper and add to a large saucepan.
  2. Stir in the lentils, chopped tomatoes/passata, vegetable stock and herbs before leaving to stand for several hours.
  3. Rapidly heat the mixture until boiling then simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally (if adding broccoli add this for the final 5 mins of cooking).
  4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta, drain and return to the pan.
  5. Add the lentil sauce to the pasta and stir well ensuring all of the pasta is coated with the sauce.

Lovely lattes

Nescafé have brought out a range of Dairy free latte sachets. I find these sachets very convenient for work. I can usually find time to boil a kettle and fill a cup! They are also great to have in your bag so that if you’re out and about and fancy a coffee you don’t have to have a black coffee from somewhere that has no milk alternatives. Most places are happy to give you a cup of hot water. I was a little apprehensive about these as I do like my coffee! I was pleasantly surprised. The almond one smells a bit like an amaretto coffee – winner! The coconut one does have a coconut smell but not a strong coconut flavour. My personal preference is the almond latte – I actually really enjoy it! If you need a convenient and tasty coffee without the faff of taking cartons of Free From milk everywhere you go these are great!

Pesto perfection!

Pesto is one of those things that I love to have in the house at all times. It’s so easy to use to make a quick pesto pasta for tea when I get home from work. I love to just layer it on crusty bread for a lunch or snack too. Full of flavour and ready to go it’s great! Finding a good Free From pesto was high on the agenda when we first recognised the dairy free dietary needs of the family. We love “Le conserve Della Nona”. We first tried this at one of the free From shows and bought a few jars on the spot! We haven’t looked back since. It’s so nice!

Our favourite cheesey Free From crisps

One thing that was a favourite and was very missed when Steve first had to go dairy free was cheese and onion crisps! Many crisps have milk in and some contain wheat. Finding tasty dairy free and gluten free was a mission. Chilli cheese hummus crisps are perfect when you want a bit of crunch and jalapeño and cheddar corn puffs are yummy! These crisps by Eat Real are now our favourites as we do also like a bit of spice. The hummus crisps are also 40% less fat so are a great healthier guilt free alternative!

Tomato and lentil soup in the slow cooker

Being a full time teacher and a Mum, time is a very precious commodity! I love cooking but often get home from work and want to spend time with my family rather than in the kitchen. This soup is great as you can make it when you have the time and then reheat it when needed. The prep is a bit time consuming but once it’s done you have enough for 6 good servings. Dairy free, gluten free, vegan and delicious!

Ingredients

  • Half a cup of green lentils
  • 1kg tomotoes
  • 1.5 diced onions
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • Half a teaspoon of chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Black pepper
  • Half a cup of fresh basil (plus extra for garnish)

Method

  1. Add the lentils to a large pan of boiling water and boils for 25 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside for later.
  2. Place the tomatoes in a large bowl and cover with water for 30 seconds before draining, peeling, deseeding and chopping them.
  3. Put the slow cooker on high and add the diced onions, tomatoes, tomato purée, vegetable stock, bay leaf, chilli flakes if using and black pepper. Cover and leave to cook for 2.25 hours.
  4. Remove the bay leaf and purée the soup until smooth. Add the lentils and chopped basil before stirring and heating again.
  5. To serve add basil garnish to each bowl.

Handy hint: If you’ve got kids get them involved in peeling and deseeding the tomatoes, they’ll love getting messy and because it’s all going to be a purée it doesn’t matter if the tomatoes get a bit “scrunched”.

Rich Chocolate Orange Cake

This is very rich and indulgent but delicious! It’s dairy free and gluten free so ticks all of the boxes for us. The cake it makes is big enough to serve 8-10 people comfortably as you only need a small slice. Ellie loves making it with me and Steve gives it a solid “10 out of 5“ hahaha!

Ingredients

  • 100g dairy free spread (I use vitalite)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g gluten free plain flour
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 200g dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa solids)
  • 2 Oranges

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  2. Grease and line a 9 inch cake tin (loose bottomed is best).
  3. Cream the sugar and spread together in a bowl until pale and fluffy.
  4. Lightly beat 2 of the eggs before adding them to the sugar and spread mixture bit-by-bit mixing as you go.
  5. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder together before folding half into the egg mixture. Fold in the remaining flour mixture.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and level the surface.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes until risen and firm.
  8. Leave in the tin to completely cool.
  9. Melt the chocolate over simmering water before leaving to cool.
  10. Grate the rind off the two oranges and add to the cooled chocolate.
  11. Juice one of the oranges and add the juice to the chocolate mix.
  12. Separate the remaining 4 eggs and add the yolks to the chocolate mix. Stir well.
  13. Whisk the 4 egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold half of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remaining egg white.
  14. Put the chocolate mixture on the top of the cooled cake and refrigerate until set. Decorate with sliced orange rind.

Handy hint: a loose bottomed tin is best as you can leave the sides on the tin when you pour your chocolate mousse onto the cake. This gives a more “professional look” to the finished cake.

Salmon fingers with wedges

These are tasty but are a little bit time consuming to make when you consider that supermarkets now stock gluten free fish fingers. They are nice as a “posh fish finger” for a change though.

Ingredients

  • 150g polenta
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 400g salmon fillet
  • 1 egg
  • Sunflower oil for frying
  • 500g potatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Half a tsp paprika
  • Salt

Method for Wedges

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C. Cut the washed potatoes into thick wedges and pat dry with a clean tea towel.
  2. Add the olive oil to a roasting tin and put in the oven to warm the oil.
  3. Toss the potatoes in the oil before sprinkling with paprika and salt.
  4. Roast for 30 minutes, turning halfway through.

Method for Salmon Fingers

  1. Mix the polenta and paprika together on a plate.
  2. Lightly beat the egg in a bowl.
  3. Skin and cut the salmon into chunky fingers.
  4. Dip each salmon finger into the beaten egg before rolling in the polenta mixture until evenly coated.
  5. Heat the sunflower oil in a large pan on a medium heat.
  6. Place the salmon fingers into the pan and cook for 6 minutes, turning half way through cooking time.

A good dairy and gluten free squirty cream!

This dairy free squirty cream has been a bit of a game changer for us. It’s quick and convenient, has a good shelf life and tastes yummy. The only down side we’ve found is that it does go a bit runny quite quickly after being squirted onto your pudding. We always have a can in the fridge to go with puddings or put onto a “posh coffee”. It can be found in ASDA, Morrison’s and Tesco and isn’t always in the free from section, we’ve found it by the regular squirty cream a few times. Get a can in your fridge for those cheeky sweet treats!

Our dairy free milk preferences

We have tried many different dairy free milk alternatives and I know that people do have their own personal preferences. When you look at all that’s on offer it can be a little overwhelming where to start! We’ve been through almond, soy, oat, coconut…… after all of that trying and testing here’s our thoughts! Our favourites are Koko original for tea, coffee and baking. Oatly original milk for cereal. Lactose free milk for Ellie who is lactose intolerant rather than dairy intolerant and the yummy Alpro chocolate milk. It’s worth pointing out that when it comes to lactose free milk we haven’t found any taste difference between the shops own brand and the likes of Arla branded milk. We just see what’s on offer at the time.

The winners for us!