Rhubarb Rhubarb

Now this wasn’t the blog I originally wrote for this post.  That one was a little on the heavy-handed side with lots of finger-pointing and generally having a moan.  Life is too short to for that, so we’ll keep this as positive as we can….

Something new of recent years, is being asked about dietary requirements when (Noah is) attending a children’s birthday party. Naturally we respond accordingly and then also take our own food.  It’s just a lot easier to know Noah will be able to eat something and not ask questions – ‘have you got the packaging so I can check the ingredients?’. Invariably the packaging has been thrown out, meaning we have to miss out, as we have no idea what the ingredients are.  The trouble is for a 7-year-old, he just wants to fit in, he wants to be the same.  He doesn’t want to eat something wildly different, so when something different turns up – pizza delivery for example – he won’t eat his packed lunch. Understandable really.

And when it goes well? Its amazing. Our hearts do a little jump for joy, in fact it practically brings on tears.  Of course Noah will have absolutely no idea what is going on, he’s just joining in and being a 7-year-old. This has only happened twice (twice that we can remember with such an emotion).  The first time was actually a little contrived, as I had to swop out the items from a pre-made/put together lunch box and supplant with the packed lunch we had bought. To this day Noah still thinks it was specially made for him – and until he reads this, I’m not telling him. The second was at one of these soft play centres. They just made the decision to cook everything gluten free – at their expense – it was just so much easier than producing one gluten free meal and a dozen or so ‘ordinary’ meals. I don’t think the centre understood how much this meant to us as parents.  The relief that Noah could eat the same as everyone was almost too much. Noah (and us) were able to just enjoy the party.

To those of you that read this and have children or cater for children parties take heed – ask and think. It does really make a difference and in the long-term we have no idea what kind of physiological issues are at play.

So now for something of comfort, in what seems to be the verge of spring, just one step away from warmer climes…and this is an actual gluten free ‘crumble’ top 😀😀

Pre-heat the oven to gas 5, 190c, 175c fan

Chop the following into bite size chunks;

  • 250g rhubarb
  • 200g strawberries

and place into your round serving dish (I used a Pyrex dish)- roughly 20cm wide and 6cm deep then sprinkle with;

  • 50g caster sugar

Into your food mixer/blender (or you could use the tips of your fingers to get the breadcrumb effect);

  • 30g Gluten free plain flour
  • 150g Rice flour
  • 30g cornflour
  • 20g ground almonds
  • 20g gluten free oats
  • 150g butter – cut into small squares
  • 90g light brown sugar
  • 30g Demerara sugar

Blend all this together until you have fine breadcrumbs and tip onto the fruit.  Even out and place into the oven.  Bake for about 30 minutes until the surface is lovely and golden and the fruit is cooked. Cool a little before serving.

Eat with custard, cream or leave and enjoy cold.

It won’t keep very long – as it’ll all get eaten 😀


Back to baking….at last! 😀

At last!

Its been a while but finally there is some end in sight and the kitchen is very nearly finished.  We have at last filled the new cupboards, emptied the boxes and have stopped going up and down stairs to do the washing up and to fill the kettle for a cuppa.

You get to miss the simple things in life and the things you take for granted. Like cooking (and indeed baking), one can only live off pasta and stir fry for so long.  The Andrew James multi-cooker certainly came in hand and did what we asked it to do..

Now its time to put the new cooker into action. We went for a Neff oven in the end. The option of the double oven and the seemingly easy to use knobs were a couple of the deciding factors. Now of course I have to get used to a new oven and new temperature range! Which I think should be too difficult. (famous last words)

Gluten Free Blackcurrant and Almond Crumble Cake

The first bake was a little bit of fun. Quick and easy and I had all the ingredients to hand. So little planning was required…

Now I baked this at 160c for about 50 mins, so pre-heat the oven and line a deep 8″ round cake tin with a loose base.

For the crumble – and this actually worked for me;

80g Rice Flour

50g Butter

50g Caster Sugar

For the Sponge;

180g soft butter

150g caster sugar

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons almond essence

30g ground almonds

120g gluten free self raising flour

1 tin of blackcurrant pie mix (c410g)

First up make the crumble, either rub the flour and butter together to fine breadcrumbs then add and stir in the sugar. Or blend it all together in a food processor. Leave to one side – ideally in the fridge – until it’s needed.

Next up the sponge base. Beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy, beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a little flour if required to stop it curdling. Add in the almond essence, then stir in the gluten free flour and ground almonds. Mix well and pour into the prepared cake tin. Spoon the Blackcurrant pie mix onto the sponge batter, this can be gently stirred into the surface of the sponge, but not too much. Let it sit  on the top and some will gently sink into the top of the sponge whilst cooking. Sprinkle over the Crumble mix and spread evenly.

Bake! For approximately 45 – 50 mins, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Allow to completely cool before removing from the tin and serving, perhaps with a dollop of cream.

Noah’s Annual Coeliac Check-up

It that time of year again – Noah’s annual check up. For a boy of 6 it has fastly become his worst time of year. By association Hospital = injections = pain. But with some bribery we got through it.

This year University Hospital of North Staffordshire  – who have been utterly brilliant since and from Noah’s diagnosis – sent us a note to book in for a blood test.  The blood test was a week before the actual appointment.  Meaning that when the appointment came round, we could discuss the results and next steps.  Previously we had the blood test and appointment on the same day, we would then have Noah’s result by post a week or more later.  This new way made way more sense.

It also made for 2 trips to the Hospital – an easy one and a not so easy one.  Two trips that we needed to prepare Noah for, trips that he is becoming to understand and also necessary. But still the questions – Will I need to go every year? When will I be normal free? Why cant I be like my friend?  Not easy ones to answer, but at least now I can assure him with the fact that I now have to have an annual blood test.  I have recently been diagnosed with an under active thyroid.  It has given him some comfort, daddy has to have some pain too.

The blood test day came and went, we tried to make nothing of it (and I was 3 packets of Pokémon cards light) and almost passed without too much bother.  And then the wait…

Although we know we are doing everything right, that we are providing a gluten free household (it’s so much easier for us all to eat with Noah, rather than provide different meals) there is still that nervous caution.  We can’t control the school meals, but again we have some trust with them as we have not seen any adverse reactions. Oddly the only time recently we have noticed a reaction was after a trip to Pizza Express – which was very disappointing.

Appointment day arrives – Noah gets to leave school in the middle of the day, which he really liked.  The results were great. All good and a ‘well done Mum & Dad’.  Blood count was below the limit, so we continue to manage Noah’s diet (and ours), although now and after the team there were able to analyse the blood result, Noah needs to eat more protein, as his iron level was a little low – increase his meat intake.  Eating his own body weight in green vegetables was not going to be an option!

And so the journey continues, as Noah gets older, so will his tastes and so will this blog (hopefully) continue to provide an insight into Noah’s world.  There will be an interesting time coming up – and an opportunity to try foods he will have never seen before – more on that later in the year.

So onto a new recipe, soft, sweet and crunchy with a little bitterness from the berries

Line a small 20x10x3cm baking tray with greaseproof for the cake and line a shallow tray with greaseproof for the crumble mix and preheat the oven to Gas 4/180c


For the sponge-

120g very soft butter

120g light brown sugar

3 eggs lightly beaten

80g gluten free self raising flour

30g Cocoa

10g Ground Almonds

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

60g sour cream

The Jam –

200g Blackcurrant Jam (or make your own – see below)

The Crumble –

100g Gluten free plain flour

70g butter

70g caster sugar

To begin with put the crumble ingredients into a food mixer and blend until you have ‘breadcrumbs’. A few short bursts on pulse should do it. Then spread the crumble mix in the shallow tray and bake for about 10 – 12 minutes or until the mix is lightly browned. And as it’s gluten free it will have all merged into one ‘biscuit’. Fear not, just leave it to go cold and break it up to form nice crispy bits . Leave to one side for now.

To make the sponge, pop all the ingredients (not the jam) into your mixer (I used a kitchen aid mixer with a beater attachment) and beat for about 3 – 4 minutes until all the ingredients are fully blended and mixed together. Pour into the 3cm deep tray and bake for about 20 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool before removing from the tray.

Spread with the Blackcurrant jam and sprinkle over with the cooled Crumble … Slice and enjoy

Now I did have some Blackcurrant in the freezer and made my own quick jam. 250g of fresh (defrosted) Blackcurrants and 150g granulated sugar.  Pop them into a saucepan and bring to a slow boil, stirring and boil for about 15 minutes. Leave to cool before using.

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