Archive for December, 2009

Gluten Free Play Dough

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Gluten Free Play Doh.

I found a recipe for gluten free play dough a couple of years ago and decided to give it a go.

It used cornflour and rice flour in place of wheat flour. The rest of the ingredients were the same as for usual play dough.

I have to say it was awful. The cornflour made it really starchy. It reminded me of silly putty. After rolling it in your hands for a minute it started to get really sticky so you had to stop using it.

So I made another batch using maize flour instead. This came out the same as usual homemade play dough using wheat flour.

If you’re worried about your children eating shop bought play dough (which normally contains flour), try this recipe:

2 cups (about 290g) maize flour (Infinity Foods call this corn flour as it is called in America)
1 cup (about 300g) salt
4 tsp cream of tartar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups (500ml) water
food colouring
vanilla or other flavouring- to make it smell nice

Place all of the ingredients together in a saucepan and stir over a low heat until the mixture combines and becomes thick.

Pour the mixture on top and knead until smooth.

Store the play dough in a freezer bag to stop it drying out.

I will make a note of how long it lasts and update this post. You can store it in the fridge or freezer to make it last longer.

Stopping for a Cup of Tea and Slice of Cake in Brighton and Hove, Sussex

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

Pleased to see more cafes offering a gluten free choice of cake. Here are a few I have sampled in Brighton and Hove, Sussex.

The Small Batch Coffee Company, Hove

This a small coffee shop close to Hove Station. It sells a small selection of packaged cookies made by the Byron Bay Cookie Company and one of these was gluten free.

I tried the White choc chunk and macadamia nut cookie. Gluten free.

You can really taste the white chocolate in this cookie. It wasn’t gritty at all as it contained ground macadamia nuts.

Pret a Manger, Brighton

I tried gluten free orange cake. Quite a dense moist cake. It has a sharp orange flavour probably because it is made with whole oranges. It doesn’t contain any fat so quite good for you if you are on a diet!

Treacle and Co, Brighton

This is a small company in Brighton which sells cakes at local farmers markets. I saw them in a farmers market in Churchill Square Shopping Centre, Brighton and was pleased to see a gluten free option.

I tried wheat and gluten free orange polenta cake. This was a nice citrusy cake, a tiny bit gritty from the polenta but the syrup it is soaked in made this hard to notice.

Marks and Spencers Restaurant, Brighton

Gluten free rich fruit cake.

This had a lovely moist flavour. Contained lots of fruit. It was not gritty at all. You wouldn’t know it was gluten free.

Riverside Cafe, Lewes

Kate’s Cakes gluten free chocolate brownie.

I was disappointed to find this brownie quite dry and gritty to eat.

Special Diets Advice in Debenhams Restaurant

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Well done to Debenhams!

I was pleasantly surprised to find Debenhams restaurant provides allergen advice about every dish on their menu.

Just by the entrance to the restaurant in Debenhams in Churchill Square, Brighton, there is an A4 flip chart with details of every dish on the menu and a tick chart to show the allergens each dish contains. Maybe other restaurants will follow.

How To Make a Paper Piping Bag

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

For decorating cakes or biscuits you may need a paper piping bag to pipe the icing.

Here is a useful video instruction.

Dairy Free / Vegan Chocolate

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

Did you know you can buy dairy free white and milk chocolate?

 Vegan white and milk chocolate contains rice milk as a milk replacement which works really well.

My favourite vegan white chocolate is made by Organica. You can buy it as a 100g bar.

Quite a sweet chocolate with a strong vanilla flavour, it can be used exactly the same as conventional chocolate in baking. For example, melting and moulding into chocolate moulds, making chocolate fondant for covering cakes, making sugar cake decorations and making dairy free truffles (see my recipes).Organica also produce a milk and plain chocolate bar made with rice milk which can be used in baking.

Their website is

Plamil Dairy Free Chocolate Chips.If you can’t eat dairy and have missed ‘proper’ chocolate chips in your cookies then get excited as you can now buy Plamil dairy free chocolate drops which are also gluten free and nut free.

I was so pleased to find this product. Before I was chopping up dairy free chocolate to add to cakes and biscuits which took ages and ended up with chocolate crumbs everywhere.

They are made of real chocolate and taste really good.

Their website is

Whipped Soya Cream

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Organic CremoVita.I really liked this dairy and gluten free whipping cream. It is widely available. I found it in Infinity Foods.

Grano Vita. Organic Cremo Vita. (

Instructions state to store in the fridge for 5 hours before whipping. After 5 hours I found it didn’t need whipping as it was already thick. I was able to pipe the cream using a star shaped piping nozzle. It had still kept its shape by the next day stored in the fridge and stored at room temperature – although at room temperature it doesn’t taste as nice.

It has a nice sweet flavour a bit like a Mr Whippy ice cream and I tried freezing it to see if I could eat it as a quick ice cream. Take out of the freezer half an hour before serving to soften slightly. It does split if frozen and defrosted.

Alternatively you could make a ‘mock’ cream by beating together 200g white vegetable fat with 400g icing sugar and a few drops of vanilla extract. Once beaten add water, a drop at a time and keep beating until it is soft and easy to pipe.

On a recent trip to Sainsbury’s…

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

I picked up –

Doves Farm Hazelnut Cookies

Wheat, gluten and dairy free.

They had a nice flavour just a bit gritty.

Free To Enjoy Mini breadsticks.

Wheat, gluten and dairy free.

They have a good texture and nice flavour at first. If you leave them in your mouth too long they become almost gummy and hard to swallow. Leaves a bit of an aftertaste which you wouldn’t notice if eating with a dip.

Sainsbury’s Free From Shortcake fingers.

Dairy and gluten free.

I could really taste the potato flour in these biscuits. They have a strong vanilla flavour. I didn’t really like them because I don’t like the taste of potato flour.

Mrs Crimbles fresh white gluten free bread.

Had a lovely moist flavour. It didn’t leave that dry feeling in your mouth like some others do. It was really nice toasted, reminded me a little of toasted crumpets.

Sainsbury’s Free From Rich Tea biscuits.

Gluten and dairy free.

Crunchier than usual Rich Tea biscuits. They have a nice flavour. Not at all gritty, quite sweet. It doesn’t leave a funny taste in your mouth like some.