Thursday, 9 December 2010

Cinnamon Banana Cake, alternative Christmas cake?

One of my followers (@adelinekeirle) sent me this lactose free recipe for a cinnamon and banana cake, which I think could make a lovely alternative Christmas cake, and here's a picture of Adeline's cake, looks moist and delicious!:

The recipe is from Harry Eastwood's Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache cake book. There are loads of recipes in there that are lactose and wheat free as she replaces most butter and extra sugars with vegetables and plain flour with rice flour.
  • 140g banana (peeled weight)
  • 2 medium free-range eggs
  • 140g golden caster sugar
  • 150g topped, tailed, peeled and finely grated courgettes/zucchinis
  • 150g rice flour (which makes the cake wheat free, but you can use plain flour also)
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 50g finely chopped brazil/pecan/walnuts (I used 25g pecans and 25g walnuts)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Brush the inside of a loaf tin (I didn't have one, so used a circular cake tin) with some vegetable oil
  2. Mash the banana thoroughly
  3. Whisk the eggs and sugar for a full 3 mins until pale and light. Whisk in the mashed-up banana until completely incorporated, then add the courgette and beat again.
  4. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla extract, cinnamon and mixed spice, and whisk again until completely blended.
  5. Mix in most of the nuts and pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Sprinkle the remaining nuts over the top and bake in the middle of the oven for 45 mins.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven and leave it to cool in the tin for 10 minutes.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010


Hello! I haven't posted for a while, been rather busy with this, and that. I can't say I've got to the bottom of this, and honestly haven't even started on that!

I posted a while back about live yoghurt being tolerable for me. Well, it seems I might have to retract that post! I've eaten some over the past few days, including two servings today, and while my symptoms aren't as bad as if I'd consumed the same amount of plain milk, they're not quite as minimal as they have been. There may be other factors at work here, as 'this' thing I'm trying to get to the bottom of could be causing similar GI symptoms to lactose intolerance. I definitely noticed adverse symptoms when I ate ice cream the other night!

In other news, I have discovered a previously untapped talent for making soup! Here's my recipe for a lovely seasonal apple and parsnip soup. It's so creamy tasting and smooth textured that you'd think it had dairy in, but it doesn't! But, if you like your soup even more creamy then you could add some Lactofree milk once it's blended. Here goes:

Ingredients: (serves 5 good portions)

2 medium/large parsnips
2 medium red onions (they give a sweeter flavour)
2 medium sized baking potatoes
1 large clove of garlic (feel free to add a little more if you like)
1 and a half cooking apples (put the whole two in if you like apples!)
Handful of fresh sage
Handful of fresh thyme

6 rashers of bacon (optional, to serve)


In a large saucepan gently sweat the chopped onions in a little olive oil.

Meanwhile, peel and roughly chop the parsnips and potatoes.

Add the garlic to the onions and let it sweat for a few minutes.

Add the potatoes and parsnips to the onions and let them gently fry for a few minutes, stirring so they are well coated in the oil.

Add boiling water to the pan so it covers the vegetables well and let it simmer.

Roughly chop the sage and pull the thyme leaves from the stems, then add to the saucepan while it's simmering away.

Peel and chop the apples and add them to the saucepan about 10 minutes before the end of cooking (which is when the potatoes and parsnips are soft).

Take the pan off the heat and blend the contents using a handblender.

Return the pan to the heat and warm through gently. Add some lactose free milk at this stage if you like a creamier soup.

While the soup is warming through, grill some bacon until it's nice a crispy then chop the cooked bacon.

Serve the soup with crusty bread and bacon bits sprinkled on the top.


Friday, 22 October 2010

Photo shoot!

The company I work for is really into healthcare and we're working on some exciting projects in the sphere of healthcare and allowing people with conditions to take charge of their own health. Because I'm lactose intolerant I've become the go-to person for lactose intolerance, which is one of the conditions we're working around. My @Lacto_X twitter feed is getting plenty of attention which is great!

Part of the work we're doing involves getting people with conditions such as lactose intolerance, or who are in the process of finding out about their health and taking charge to come forward and tell us their story. And have their photo taken. So I've just been shot (in the photographic sense) for my part in the exercise, and I've got to write around 150 words about my experience with lactose intolerance.

I'll post up a link to the people-stories when it's done!

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

British Cheese Week

British Cheese Week is upon us, which would have made me very happy since I love cheese, but since I became lactose intolerant, this is not such a happy event, in fact, it just serves to remind me that I can't eat (much) cheese.

However, I have been known to make the odd exception for cheeses that I love, and cheeses that are low in lactose (or virtually lactose free, such as hard aged cheeses).

Here's my top list of good British cheeses (but for cooking I almost always use Grana Padano, an Italian cheese very similar to parmesan with a strong flavour and hard texture):

- Black Bomber: A very very very strong Welsh cow's milk cheese with a black rind. Great for cheese sauces so you get the flavour without having too much fat or too stringy a sauce
- Cornish Yarg: A westcountry traditional cow's milk cheese covered in stinging nettles. I recently tried Yarg with wild garlic, accompanied by cider, which was just the most amazing taste combination, really complimentary. Although not as low in lactose as Black Bomber, I love it so much I allow myself a couple of small pieces and deal with minimal symptoms
- Applewood smoked cheddar: As it's a cheddar cheese, this is low in lactose and the tastiest smoked cheese ever! Perfect with crackers, but again, in moderation
- Lactofree cheeses: Semi-hard and soft (spreadable) cheeses with no lactose in, perfect for baking, sandwiches, topping pasta and pizza, with crackers, with cider, on toast, everywhere! The best thing about the Lactofree cheeses is that I don't have to limit myself!

I've also found lactose free versions of emmenthal and gouda in Europe, but that'll have to wait until European Cheese week ;) (By the way, Belgian cheeses are among the best in Europe, better even than French cheeses. If you ever get the chance, try them!)

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Festival food again - the outcome

I'm back from Waveform and glad to say it didn't rain much. I had been looking forward to being pleasantly surprised by the food choices available to me (lactose intolerant, soy protein intolerant, allergic to nuts) but unfortunately this was not the case. There was actually only one place suitable for me to eat at, Tibetan Kitchen, which was delicious, filling and really good value. I ate there every day and even got some food to take home for post-festy dinner! I did get a bacon roll from the tea tent one day, but the entire festival ran out of bacon on the second day :(

It was only a small festival so there wasn't much in the way of food places. There was a Thai stall which looked good but I didn't trust the open kitchen to be safe enough in terms of cross-contamination from nut ingredients. The other food places were overwhelmingly vegan (apart from the cheese toastie wagon), so I couldn't have the soy pancakes, or vegan cakes as they all had soy ingredients in. By the last day there was only vegan breakfasts available, and I thought £6 for onions and mushrooms was a bit steep as I wouldn't be having the vegan protein options.

So, to sum up, this festival was great for vegans and lactose-intolerant folk with plenty of variety and interesting options, but when you add a nut allergy and intolerance to soy protein into the mix it becomes a minefield again.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Festival food again

The last festival of the summer season is on the horizon (starts tomorrow in fact!) and once again I'm looking forward to being pleasantly surprised, and relieved to find food stalls catering for my lactose/dairy free diet.

The festival I'm going to is Waveform which is an eco-friendly sustainable festival (yes, lots of hippy vibes!) which aims to use no new energy in the staging of the event and insists that all food traders use local produce wherever possible, and that all food packaging is compostable or recyclable. They even have people going through the bins at the end of the weekend to pull out anything which didn't get put in the recycling/composting bin!

It's largely because of this hippy vibe that I know I'll be in safe hands food-wise all weekend as there tends to be a brilliant provision for vegans at these smaller, hippy-ish festivals.

I am still going to take some food with me for convenience, where else am I going to get a hobnob and dairy-free chocolate spread sandwich at 5am except my tent?!

I hope anyone else going to either Waveform, Bestival or any other event this weekend has similar happy experiences :)

Monday, 6 September 2010


I made these cupcakes from Happy Sugar Funtime last night but substituted the milk/soy milk in the frosting for the juice of half a lemon and the zest of a whole lemon, then grated Green and Blacks Maya Gold over the top for a choc/citrus cake.

They're going down very well in the office, it's a combination I can recommend! The cake mixture is excellent - gives a very light moist sponge which you can make fudgier by using more brown sugar than caster (I used light muscovado sugar as it really makes a difference).

I think next I'm going to try substituting the hot water/cocoa mix with hot chocolate Oatly/cocoa as I've found Oatly makes cakes really moist and spongy...