Saturday, 26 February 2011

...great charity shop finds.

I've had a great week finding treasures in charity shops and car boot sales.  I can't believe the things I've bought this week and I wanted to share, i.e. show them off.

There's a great little charity shop next to my doctors surgery that's connected to an old folks club.  So basically most donations are from the old ladies who attend the club.  Cue...lots of gorgeous china and bric a brac.  The charity shop is a wee walk away so I don't go often, but when I do I always come out smiling.

Lookey what I got...

Royal Albert "Forget me Not" Coffee Pot £1

Royal Stafford "Olde English Garden" tea cup and saucer £1

Royal Albert "Rhododendron" tea cup 50p

Glass cake stand £1

Royal Imperial tea cup, saucer and plate £2

Silesia sugar bowl £1.50
I love tea cups and all things tea party.  Tea cups, sugar bowls, milk jugs, little silver tea spoons.  My collection is getting a wee bit out of hand.  Not that it's massive, though it is growing steadily.  There's just no where to display them.

Everytime I buy some china I always have a look online to see how old the piece is and what it's true value is. I likes me a bargain I do.  I found the coffee pot on a replacement china website for £73.10!  Can you believe it.?!  Do wonder whether I should go back to the charity shop and give them a donation though.  Seems a bit unfair if you know what I mean.

What do you think?  Should I?

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

...wheat free, egg free, Crunchy Garlic Chicken Fingers/ Goujons

I think one of the reasons the Wee Man accepts his allergies so well is because I try to make him food that is the same as what everyone else is eating.  More so now that he is at school.  Pretty soon peer pressure will rear it's ugly head and I for one will be ready for it.  (GULP!)

One of the Wee Man's favourites is Crunchy Chicken, which is an allergy free alternative to chicken nuggets.  A lot healthier than the shop bought ones and a lot tastier.  Jamie Oliver taught me that.  There's a lot of yucky things in shop bought chicken nuggets.  

One Chicken thigh deboned
Doves Farm Plain White Flour
Corn Flakes
Orgran ' No Egg'
Dried Garlic Flakes (I bought this from Lidl.  But if you can't find it a garlic clove finely chopped will do)

First put a couple of cups of cornflakes into a bag and using a rolling pin, crush the cornflakes until you get a fine crumb.  That's the Wee Man's job.

I like to keep some crushed cornflakes in the fridge for use with other recipes.  Keep in an air tight container.

Sprinkle some crushed cornflakes onto a plate and mix in some dried garlic powder to taste.  The Wee Man loves garlic so I let him put as much as he like on (within reason).

Add 1tsp of No Egg to 2tbsp of water and whisk until the mixture is frothy.

Dust the chicken pieces in the flour, dip it in the no egg and then the cornflakes.  Make sure the chicken is well covered with the crumbs to ensure a good crunch.  This is the messy bit.  Expect lots of sticky fingers and uncontrollable giggles if you have a 4yr old helping!

Bake in a preheated 180C oven for 15 to 20 mins.  Time depends on the size of the chicken pieces.  Check to see if the chicken is cooked after 15 mins.  Alternatively you can fry them on a med-high heat until the chicken is cooked.

A very quick recipe and one that the Wee Man loves making and eating.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

...a chalk painted table

Ever since Kirstie Allsop featured Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint on "Kirsties Homemade Home" I've been dying to buy a pot to try it out.  I was mighty relieved when I discovered a local stockist and I didn't have to pay the £12 p&p to have it delivered.  So off we all went to buy me a pot of paint.  Not only did I get the paint I got to browse at all the gorgeous goodies in the shop .  Drool, drool and more drool.  I was a very good girl and didn't buy anything else, afterall I could make my own version of everything in the shop, right?  (Ok I'm kidding myself but the prices were a bit steep for something I could turn my hand to creating.)

The chalk paint is a lazy persons way to paint furniture.  No stripping, no sanding, no nothing.  Just slap the paint on and voila, a gorgeous painted masterpiece.  Or so I hoped.

I have so many pieces of furniture I've collected on my car boot/ freecycle/ freegle travels that the Big Man is beginning to get decidedly more grumpy.  More so when he stubs his toes on them. Ha!  I chose a simple little table as my first project.  I picked the table up for a mere £1 at a car boot sale last summer.  It's been sitting in our living room looking out of place since then.

I packed the Wee Man off to nursery school, rolled up my sleeves, opened the french doors and started painting.  It was so much fun I can't tell you.  It's so simple.  I watched some catch up TV on the laptop as I did it.  The results were very quick.  After 2 hours I'd put on two coats of paint and it was pretty much dry by the time I had to collect the Wee Man from nursery.

The only issue was the top seemed pink and streaky.  Bit strange since the paint was white and the rest of the painted table was white.  See what I mean?

All very strange and despite three coats, the pink stayed.  I quickly fired an email to the email address on Annie Sloan's website and the lady herself replied within an hour.  How's that for customer service?!  Apparently it's a very rare issue that happens with some old furniture, something to do with the stain that was used.  She advised a coat of shellac (knotting solution) over the top and a couple more coats of chalk paint would solve the issue.  Unfortunately a quick search on t'internet told me a tin of shellac would cost about £9. Obviously not going to shell out £9 for a little table top.  So I did this instead.

Some leftover Cath Kidston wallpaper (scrounged from a good friend), some Mod Podge and I got me a shabby little table!

So what do I think of the chalk paint?  Love it.  It really is so simple to use, no faffing about with stripper and sand paper required.  It's low odour so there really was no need for me to freeze in the gale blowing through the open french doors.  A little of the paint goes a very long way so it's economical.  The results are instantaneous and looks gorgeous.

"Hello my name is Madison and I am a chalk paint addict!"

Friday, 18 February 2011

...a life with allergies

I thought it would be a good idea to talk about where we're at with the Wee Man's allergies.  It's difficult to write about it, not because it's a depressing or an emotional topic but because I don't want the allergies to define the Wee Man.  I want him to be defined by the person he is and not by the allergies he has.  Does that make sense?

More often than not when people find out about the Wee Man's allergies a wave of sympathy and pity hits me square in the gut.  I often then dismiss the allergies and quickly change the topic of conversation.  The Wee Man's allergies are just there, they don't define him, they don't make him the perfect little boy that he is, they are just there.  The Wee Man is the Wee Man and not the boy with allergies.  I hope at school he will become known as the boy who won the most medals at sports day or the boy who is top of his class or the boy who is anything but "the boy with the allergies".  (Though of course being the naughtiest boy in class is not an option!)

The Wee Man has a lot of allergies: wheat; dairy; egg; nuts; soya; beef; citrus; berries; spinach and; latex.  The list is actually growing as he undergoes more skin prick testing.  But is life a challenge?  Well no.  He is a normal healthy little boy who enjoys playing outside, beating Mum and Dad at board games and playing with his trains.  He LOVES trains.  In fact, in all likelihood he will be and is "the boy who loves trains".

The Wee Man is in a fantastic school whose staff have exceeded all my expectations of them.  They have been supportive, proactive and most importantly of all understanding.  They understand the severity of his allergies, they understand the life threatening potential a simple crumb has, they understand and act to eliminate those threats to his life.  I am truly, truly grateful to each and everyone of the staff at the school.

The past three years have been an education for both the Wee Man and me (maybe the Big Man also but since I do 99.99% of the cooking it's mostly me).  Together we've found recipes, alternative ingredients and just tried things out.  A couple of weeks ago the Wee Man and I wandered into our local Holland and Barrett and found a dairy free and soya free cheese.  I was elated!  The Wee Man actually danced in the aisle and shouted "Yay!"  He's now well known amongst the staff at Holland and Barrett!  I've found that involving him in the preparation of his food and making alternatives to the foods his friends are eating has helped with the Wee Man's acceptance and understanding of his allergies.

He loves to cook and I love to cook with him.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

...wheat free, dairy free, egg free, soy free pancakes

What's more satisfying for a child than having freshly made pancakes for breakfast?  The Wee Man loves making pancakes with me at the weekends and the great thing is, I can make a big batch and freeze the leftovers for another day.  The best thing about the pancakes I make?  The shapes of course.  No more boring round pancakes in our house.  How about triangles, houses, planes and trains?  The only limit is your imagination.

Here's what you'll need.

1 tbsp Baking Powder (Wheat free)
Pinch of Salt 
1 tsp Caster Sugar
2 tsp Orgran No Egg (Egg Replacer)  mixed with 4 tbsp of water
30g melted Pure Sunflower Spread 
Pure Sunflower Spread  for frying

Simply put all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk until you have a thick but runny consistency.  Whisking is the Wee Man's job.  

Pour the mixture into a squeezy bottle.  I picked this bottle up at our local Chinese Supermarket.  It's a vinegar bottle that's used in fish and chip shops  Any squeezy bottle will do, as long as it is suitable for food use.

Heat a frying pan on a medium high heat and grease the bottom with some Pure Sunflower spread and start drawing.  Draw an outline of whatever shape you want.  Make sure that the ends meet.  Then fill in the inside.  

The Wee Man and I have a pancake game whereby he challenges me to make whatever pancake shape takes his fancy.  It can become interesting to say the least.

Here's some examples of shapes we made during our last pancake making session.  Can you guess what they are?  

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

...wheat free, dairy free, egg free, soy free banana raisin cupcakes

The Wee Man has a birthday party to attend today so yesterday we spent the afternoon making cupcakes for him.  It's always nerve wracking when the Wee Man attends parties, all that food and latex balloons means a very high chance of allergic reactions.  I always make him food for the party and all the parents are always very understanding and have always asked if there are any precautions they should take.  So far so good.  He did have a wheeze when he left the last party he attended but it was only minor.

Anyway, back to the cupcakes.  The Wee Man always helps in the making of these, which tells you how simple they are to make.  He's become a real dab hand at measuring and mixing.

2oz Doves Farm Self Raising Flour
2oz Pure Sunflower spread
2oz Caster sugar
Orgran No Egg (Egg Replacer)
1 ripe banana
Handful raisins

Cream the sugar and Pure Sunflower spread.  To make really fluffy cupcakes that rise well, mix, mix and mix some more.  You can't mix too much.

Whisk 1tsp of Orgran No Egg with 2 tbsp of watter until the mixture is frothy. 

Slowly add the No Egg to the creamed sugar and spread until you have a runny consistency.

Mash the banana and add to the mixture.  At this stage you can add the raisins but these are optional.  You could also add a handful of chocolate chips as a special treat.  Of course check the chocolate is suitable for your diet.

Add the flour and give the whole mixture a good old  mix until all is well combined.

Spoon into 6 cupcake cases and bake in a preheated 220C oven for 12 mins.
They should be well risen and golden brown.
Decorate as desired.

A simple child friendly recipe that makes cakes just like the other kids have.

handmade projects

Monday, 14 February 2011

...a Freegle find

I love Freegle.  In my town it use to be Freecycle and now it's Freegle, though Freecycle is still in operation.  It's all very confusing.  I've had so many great things from there and this weekend I snagged myself another great find.

It's a solid mahogany occasional table.  It has a drawer and a shelf and lots of mug marks on the top.  Why do people not use coasters?!

I'm going to paint it with Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint in Old White.  I saw the paint on Kirstie's Homemade Home and thought it was the perfect paint for someone as cack handed as me.  I'm going to have to build up the courage to use it though.  I don't want to ruin it without first having a trial run with the paint.  So whilst I build up the courage, the table is sitting in my hall taking up space.  Another reason for the Big Man to be grumpy.  Oh well.  Happy Valentine's Day.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

...a charity shop find

Lookey what I found in a charity shop for a mere £2.  Bargain!

It's a glass cake dome.  The plate at the bottom is stainless steel though and I'm thinking it's a bit too "professional caterers" style for my liking.  The dome itself is fabby though, don't you think?

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

...wheat free, dairy free, soy free chapatis

I thought I would share some of my allergy free recipes in this blog.  As I mentioned previously the Wee Man has many, many allergies; wheat; dairy; egg; soya; nuts; beef; berries; citrus; spinach; latex...etc.  I could go on but won't bore you with the details.

I discovered his allergies when he was just over a year old, about three years ago.  So I've had three years of finding and adapting recipes to suit him.  One of his favourite things for lunch are chapatis, or "chapati hole" as he calls them.  The reason will become apparent later.  They are very quick and easy to make and can be made any size you like.  I make them child size for the Wee Man to hold and eat easily.  

So here goes with my first recipe post.


Olive Oil

  1. Measure out 1/2 cup of flour and put in a bowl
  2. Measure out 1/4 cup of oatmilk and warm.  It's important the milk is warmed to ensure the chapatis puff up.  Many batches of chapatis has taught me this(!)
  3. Mix together the flour and milk until a soft pliable dough is formed.
  4. Warm a frying pan over a med-high heat. 
  5. Oil your palms with some olive oil and pull off a walnut size piece of dough. 
  6. Now the fun bit, place the dough on one palm and slap it with the other palm.  You get a disc of dough.  Continue slapping until dough is about half a centimetre thick.  
  7. Put on the dry, warm frying pan and make as many more as your frying pan can hold.
  8. When the edges of the chapati look dry, turn them over.  You need to keep an eye on them as they cook to ensure they don't burn.  
  9. When you turn them over again, give it a little press, any bits that seem "wet" aren't cooked so pay particular attention to those areas.  As your chapatis cook they should start to puff up.  Put aside and continue until all your dough has been used. 
  10. Using a sharp knife cut a slit on the edge of a chapati and you will see a pocket is formed where the chapati has puffed.  Fill the chapati with whatever filling you desire and enjoy. 

A quick, easy lunch alternative to the sandwich.  And this is what happens when you give a four year old the job of spreading houmous inside the pockets! 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...