Tuesday, 25 January 2011

It's a lactose-free birthday!!

I'm in a foodie mood lately, partly due to the fact that I've been having health issues the past few months so my sewing/jewellery crafting has taken a back seat, and partly due to the fact that Mr "lactose-free" Loops has requested that I make him some lactose-free (hereby known as LF!) goodies recently as it's incredibly difficult to find LF items in the supermarket unless you go for specialist items!

So for his birthday last week he requested LF chicken kievs, and a LF coffee cake for dessert (as we're both coffee addicts).  Mind you the coffee cake was also eaten for breakfast... we have a tradition of eating birthday cake for breakfast... only on our birthdays mind, else it would just be weird.... :-\

Cooking stage (sorry, no piccies of the creation)

Rather a large meal of LF chicken kiev, roast new potatoes and cabbage, yuuuum!

And now for the coffee cake, for which I followed this recipe but replaced the milk with LF whole milk, and the mascarpone with LF soft cheese.

Awaiting the oven!!

Cooling and testing our willpower....


You might be wondering why It doesn't look quite like the one in the recipe.... this is because due to using LF soft cheese instead of mascarpone, and due to running out of icing sugar and so having used half caster sugar it came out more like a coffee sauce instead of the coffee cream cheese frosting it was supposed to be!  So it became a drizzle cake - popped some holes throughout the cake and drizzled the "sauce" over the top to sink in and marinade it.

Not quite as planned but delicious nevertheless!! 


Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Lactose-free lasagne

Time for a foodie post I think!!

After a long time of stomach issues Mr Loops has finally discovered it's because he is lactose intolerant!  Alas he adores cheese, and foods like lasagne, pizza, beans and cheese on toast :-(  He tried lactase tablets but they cost so much for the dose he needed to be able to eat dairy foods so now I'm working on adapting at least some of his favourite foods so he can have a treat now and again hopefully without changing the flavour too much!!

The finished product!!

I don't tend to use measurements or recipes when I cook, if there's something I want to make and don't know how to, then I'll trawl through online recipes or cooking magazines to get the general gist and pick my favourite!!  I'm clearly not a chef and I like food that's easy to make and remember.  So here are the basics of my lactose-free lasagne (for roughly 4 people) with in-progress piccies, adapt as necessary to make your own or just look at the piccies :-)

  • Soften onions/garlic/mushrooms in some oil (I use Carotino - cholesterol-free and vitamin-high oil) in a large deep frying pan
  • Remove the base veg to a plate, and add your choice of mince to the same pan you did the veg in, adding more oil if required (beef mince is usually good as is, but for turkey mince for instance I add extra)
  • If you break up the mince too early it will release water and start to steam but we're looking to brown the mince for flavour first, so try and keep it in one big block until it's browned on the first side, then turn it to brown the other side
  • Now break up the mince and when it has all coloured add a little plain flour and stir to soak up the juices, and then re-add the base veg
  • Add a tub of chopped tomatoes and the same again of water with a couple of stock cubes (pre-made stock instead), and add any other veg
  • Add any dried herbs you fancy (or if you prefer fresh herbs then put these in just before forming in the lasagne dish), I favour oregano and parsley and black pepper, or else just some italian or plain mixed herbs.  Add a slug of worcestershire sauce and/or soy sauce, chilli flakes, whatever suits your tastes, but don't go too over the top as you can always add more later when you've tasted it!!
  • Pop a lid on the frying pan and simmer for about an hour (really for beef mince the longer you cook it the more tender it becomes), stirring now and again and taste towards the end to check the level of seasoning/herbs/spiciness etc and check how tender the mince is.

Personally I like to pad out my lasagne with veg for extra [hidden] fruit and veg portions!!  In this lasagne I used onions, garlic, mushrooms, carrots and peas (not sure I'd use peas again tho as they go a very unappetising colour!).  This tends to depend upon what I have in the fridge, I have also used leeks, sweet potato, anything to increase Mr Loops' veg count for the day!

As the mince is nearing completion, grab your lasagne dish, lasagne pasta sheets, lactose-free cheese and cheese sauce (and milk if required to make the sauce).  I used Arla Lactofree milk and cheese, and Free & Easy dairy-free cheese sauce.  Grate up the cheese, and prepare your cheese sauce.  For the sauce I used I had to make a paste with the sauce powder and some milk, then add the rest of the milk and pop it on the hob to thicken, I also added a little grated cheese to this.

Now build your lasagne!!  For mine - meat --> pasta --> cheese sauce --> meat --> pasta --> cheese sauce --> grated cheeeeese.

I like to add a little paprika and black pepper to the top :-)  Now pop this on a baking tray (to catch any overflow!) and pop in the oven at around 200C and leave for about 30-40 mins or until the cheese has melted and is all scrummy and bubbly!!

Serve with salad and/or wedges and/or some garlic bread (made with fresh garlic and a dairy-free spread like Vitalite)  Yum!!


Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year to all!!!

I hope everyone had a fab NYE, whether chilling at home or gadding about town! :-D

I should start by saying I'm not normally one for New Years resolutions.... but this year I resolve to be more regular with my blog posts  o_O

Sooooo, following on from that.... here is post #1 of 2011... written in my pjs whilst watching Big on the tv.... hum ho.....

I had hoped to make all my Xmas presents this year, but alas illness and time constraints worked against me.... but here is the journey of one of my handmade gifts this year, a stuffie of Stewie Griffin from Family Guy for my mate Sammy's boyfriend :-D

Stewie in design format with initial sketch

All the pattern pieces prepared for cutting out in felt

In progress shot of Stewie's clothes

Clothes complete, addition of head and hands!

Features completed, ready to sew back and front together

Stuffing in progress

And the unveiling of the completed Stewie stuffie:

Completed Stewie (front)

Completed Stewie (back)


In hindsight he's a bit lanky and I should have made his head muuuch bigger, but I think the recipient was happy with his gift and I certainly enjoyed making him :-D