Top Tips for a gluten free bonfire night

With Halloween out of the way, it’s time for some top tips for a gluten free bonfire night and how to be ready. We’ve had an extra hour in bed since the clocks have gone back, we’re heading into winter, darker nights in the search for the best gluten free hotdogs.

Not my favourite time of year, I’m much more a summer girl, but as long as you’re wrapped up well and you get to see and hear some fabulous sparkling fireworks, it’s not so bad.

Whilst watching the fireworks, what will your child be eating? Will you be at a family event or a public one, where, lets face it, it’s less likely that there’ll be someone who is catering for a gluten free diet. But you never know & I forever hold out hope!!

So what will you do?

Bonfire Night Food

When it is cold, and you are outside, you want easy, fun food that is pleasing to eat and definitely warming.

As a child on Bonfire night, we had sausages, baked beans, chilli & baked potatoes. But typically, my GF child doesn’t like baked potatoes. If its not a potato disguised as a chip or a crisp, she isn’t going to eat it!

So it will be about hotdogs for us. As she loves a hotdog. But what about the buns? Gluten free bread is so hit and miss. So here are our top tips for a gluten free bonfire night so you are ready and prepared.

Top suggestions

Now hot dog buns are currently few and far between I find. It’s a limited choice.

Gluten Free Bread is very divisive at best. But here are some that I’ve found suitable in our search for the best gluten free hotdogs.

Promise Sourdough Rolls.

£3.30 from Sainsburys for a pack of two. They’re a good option if you are looking for a hot dog roll. If they’ve a small appetite, you can half them.

Tesco white hotdog rolls.

Now £2.45 for a pack of four. They are best warmed, so it softens the dense bread. Heat for max of 15-30 seconds depending on the strength of your microwave. They are slightly smaller than the Promise ones. I’m sure with all the trimmings and some ketchup they’ll do the job.

Schar Baguette Rolls

Schar do make hotdog rolls – they are yet to be available over here in the UK. I saw them on an Instagram post from the USA. Hopefully they’ll be available one day!! I’ve not seen the baguettes about recently, but they don’t need cooking, just maybe a reheat/refresh in the microwave & you’re good to go.

Hot dog sausages

But what sausages are you going to use? Proper butcher sausages with a high meat content or more processed meat ones?

Again, it’s down to preference. I prefer a high meat content but my daughter’s favourite ones are from the Co-Op.

We’ve tried lots of sausages over the past 3 years looking for the best gluten free hotdogs. The Co-op ones are a good value, as are the bulk packet from Tesco which are now labelled as gluten free BUT still in the regular freezer section. If you like fresh ready to cook sausages, then these Tesco pork ones are good too.

Many of the processed frankfurter type hotdogs have wheat in them so you need to always read the labels. If you’re looking for a frankfurter type, Aldi have some in the fridge section that are like the Herta frankfurters (which are not GF) & they’ve no gluten containing ingredients.

Dessert

Now, when you’ve had your fill of hotdogs, what will you have for dessert? If you’re short on time, I highly recommend the gluten free chocolate cake from either the Co-op or M&S. Either go well with some vanilla ice-cream & if the cake is warmed for 20s or so in the microwave, well, delicious. Or make some cupcakes then decorate them as mini bonfires – details here

Here’s hoping that my top tips for a gluten free bonfire night make the right spark with you. for more info, follow me on Instagram or Facebook.

Nicky

Gluten Free Little Cook

How could I make fun, educational gluten free baking kits for kids?

Baking Kits for Coeliac Kids?

Baking Kits for Coeliac Kids?  Could it be possible?

This thought popped into my head one Saturday morning early in 2021 having been bombarded by Facebook ads after clicking on a random advert.  You know, you click on one, and then suddenly the powers that be read your mind and you are inundated with every bake box that is currently available online. But they aren’t suitable for my family or maybe even yours, as I have a child with Coeliac Disease.  

I know how hard it is on a day by day basis, just wanting to be ‘normal’.  I never wanted her to miss out so I had started a Gluten Free cake business in 2020 but, it took up too much time, cleaning down a family kitchen twice before starting. How hard could it be…..

With a coeliac child myself, I know what must be done, what must be excluded (items that contain barley, rye, oats* or wheat/gluten). Regular baking boxes just aren’t suitable for us as an option or a treat.  *Oats can be suitable for Coeliacs, but need to be specifically stated as gluten free.  7-10% of Coeliacs still can’t tolerate oats in their diet. 

You need something specific for your child’s needs, those diagnosed with Coeliac Disease & those dairy free.  We want our children to have special treats, as they typically miss out on having that cake at a birthday party or when in a restaurant.  On normal everyday things.

I didn’t want to be ‘oh, you can’t have that, lets read the label, lets see or check’.  I want to be safe for both my daughter and your sons and daughters too.

We’re 6 months in.  I’ve worked out the solution, I’ve refined the boxes, they’ve become fun, creative boxes that make tasty treats as well as combining a learning fun facts about seasonal UK vegetables, along with an activity to undertake each month; colouring/word search/dot to dot.  Activities to get their fingers and brains working.  And yes, I did train as a nursery nurse so its finally harnessing that knowledge too.

Whilst the ingredients are provided, your child is learning to bake from scratch, read a recipe, follow steps.  Key life skill, especially if you want your child to be independent when older.

Baking lessons for big and small are coming too – when I feel confident enough – as everything is new, a huge learning curve & little steps before big scary leaps.  Watch the website for details.

Baking is just science in another form, and at least with these experiments you get to eat the outcomes!  And they are very tasty!!

Benefits of homemade chicken broth – gluten free of course

It’s winter, what are the benefits of homemade chicken broth? Helping to boost your immune system & ward off those colds and flu symptoms?

And the best bit?

If you’ve had a roast chicken, it’s effectively ‘free’ from what you’ve already purchased. You can use any type of bone (simply Google) but I tend to mainly use the leftovers from a roast chicken that we’ve had.

It couldn’t be simpler.

Remove all the chicken meat from the carcass, break up the bones (yes, I know it doesn’t sound great but needs must) and pop that into a slow cooker. The trick to a good broth is a long, low and slow cooking time. 24hrs or more.

A slow cooker is a big winner for winter, you can pick them up reasonably cheaply and their cost effective. Based on reports from September 2022, it costs between 73p – £1.33 for 8hrs. So for less than a fiver you can make some broth to add to soups, sauces and more.

We use ours as it is. Once cooked for 24hrs, its dark golden qualities not only make the house smell delicious but it’s a handy go to for lunch adding other ingredients, including gluten free spaghetti or rice noodles, vegetables and some of the shredded chicken.

How to make it

There are lots of recipes out there. Everyone has their own signature dish for homemade chicken broth. Mine includes the following: fresh ginger & turmeric, garlic, peppercorns, fresh herbs, onion & carrot. Often it’s what’s left at the bottom of the fridge. Put it all in the slow cooker, bring it back to a boil and then simmer slowly for the next 24hrs.

I’ve my ‘recipe’ as a download which you can grab here FREE if that helps for you to work your way through to making your own basic broth. You could add fresh chilli too – I add it after cooking, for an individual choice. Wouldn’t want to make the kids run for the milk as it was too spicy!!

What are the health benefits of homemade chicken broth?

Need a reason to make it? There are many health benefits and knowing makes a difference to doing it!

Apple Cider Vinegar – helps drawer out the valuable nutrients from the bones into the water that you’ll drink

Cloves – antioxidant, anti-inflammatory & anti cough properties (I add a clove to hot honey & lemon drinks – just don’t eat it!)

Garlic – Immune boosting, anti-fungal & anti-bacterial. Contains potassium, phosphorous zinc & lots more!

Onion – anti-oxidant with Vit C & B vitamins

Carrot – Vit A (beta carotenes)

Ginger – Great for colds & fevers. Contains over 400 natural compounds!

Turmeric – Anti-oxidant, may help fight infections, may help inflammation

From less than a fiver, with bones that you were going to throw out, you can make the basis of a soup, meal or hot drink to help improve the health of your family – for free!. That’s something definitely to consider. For me, it will be going into a sauce to make chicken pie too (gotta use up that leftover chicken too!) and all the goodness I can get into it will be all the better for.

Grab your free download here & if you make it, well, tag me in on Instagram or Facebook as I’d love to see what you create.

Looking to keep your kids entertained in the run up to Halloween over half term?

With kids activities, a recipe for the easiest gluten free cupcakes or cookies, as well as my top tips to survive Trick or Treating without any stress you need my Halloween download. Only £5.99. Click here to purchase your copy today.

Best Gluten Free Pancakes

Don’t miss out on pancake day even if you’re gluten free!

Gluten Free Pancakes with Nutella and Ice Cream

My child loves pancakes. But when she was diagnosed with coeliac disease 4 years ago, just before pancake day, we all panicked as to what we would use, how we would make them. Would they taste ok.

I searched & googled like crazy. What was the best recipe. I don’t remember where I found this one on Facebook, I’ve never seen page again much to my disappointment & I didn’t screenshot it as I normally do. But whoever it was, thank you. Because it works.

And it’s the one recipe we’ve used ever since.

When posted my pancake post in a few groups & the video on the GFLC Instagram page. I was asked if it would work with cornflour and recipes for that are at the bottom of the post. I tested mine against the current measurements & I’d adjust it to 150g GF SR flour & 200 milk. A couple of of other suggestions came in from two ladies who use different recipes & I’ve posted their recipes at the bottom.

If you have a go, tag me using #glutenfreelittlecook into your Facebook or Instagram posts. Definitely not missing out on this event!

250ml Milk – your preferred dietary choice

125g GF SR Flour

1 egg

1 tbsp melted butter or oil

It makes around 4-6 medium sized pancakes.

It makes around 4-6 medium sized pancakes. Double the mixture for more (we do!!)

Method

  • Weigh the flour in a large bowl
  • Add half the milk and egg.
  • Whisk until combined. Add remaining milk.
  • Continue to whisk until smooth, no lumpss and the consistency of single cream.
  • Heat your frying or crepe pan. I picked up a new crepe pan last year to give it a go but a regular frying pan works just as well.
  • Lightly brush with melted butter/oil when hot. You aren’t frying it so it doesn’t need to be swimming in oil. Wipe on, wipe off!
  • I use an American 1/2 cup measuring cup to pour the mixture into the centre of the pan. Use a ladle, jug or a small cup for a similar amount.
  • Lifting the pan, rotate it to spread out the mixture evenly.
  • Put back onto the heat & cook. The edges will change colour first from less opaque to a more solid pale white/cream. Takes 1-2 minutes.
  • Loosen the edges with a palette knife, spatula working your way into the middle
  • Flip the pancake if you are feeling brave or use the palette knife to turn it.
  • Cook for a further 1-2m until the second side is golden brown.
  • Serve whilst warm, cover with lemon & sugar, nutella, fruit, whatever takes your fancy
  • And repeat……. and enjoy your gluten free pancakes!

Gluten and Dairy Free Pancakes

200g GF SR Flour

200ml Cashew Milk (your dietary preference)

4 tbsp apple sauce.

Gluten Free Cornflour Pancakes

100g Cornflour

300ml Milk

2 eggs

If you have a go, let me know how you get on.

Nicky

*The crepe pan links to Amazon where if you do purchase I will gain a small commision.

Life with a Coeliac Child

Like any other illness in life, you don’t choose to have it, be ill or have a member of your family be sick. At least with Coeliac Disease you can manage it by diet alone. You can help your body heal and watch the person in front of you turn from being a poorly individual to one that is full of health.

Seeing the difference in my daughter took a while; in fact 3-6 months before there were real signs she was improving. Her system had to go through what felt like a detox. She craved the very foods that made her ill. Her taste buds had to adapt to new flavours. Yes, there is a different taste to some gluten free foods – especially bread. If you’ve been eating normally for a long time, then you and your body adapt & accept those tastes and textures. Going gluten free means that you have to get used to new tastes.

Gluten Free Bread

She was never big on bread, but I tried to find something that she could have as an alternative if she wanted something. Her diagnosis had just come when she finally liked having a homemade hamburger… typical! So we tried various gluten free buns and sandwich slices. Warburtons GF squares won her over for a short time, but they were soon discarded. We tried other types in other supermarkets, some were liked, some were given a quick “no, I’m not eating that”.

Schar have been our go to for the longest. Their hamburger buns (McDonalds use them in Europe – I won’t go into the why can’t we have them over here debate…. yet..) and they are a top favourite in our house. They are hard to find, but well worth it. Asda seem to have them in the most. Their other bread rolls in the freezer are worth a look too. They remind me of continental rolls. Morrisons & Sainsburys stock them regularly & I actually prefer them now to regular bread rolls if we are having burgers. That way, I don’t have to worry about cross contamination, constantly washing my hands, remembering what I have & haven’t touched. It makes life easier!

Getting ahead – make your own garlic bread

Our latest bread that she likes is garlic bread to serve alongside her regular gluten free pasta and homemade chicken soup. I buy Schar ciabatta rolls, slice & fill them with garlic butter made from softened butter, crushed garlic & chopped parsley, maybe a little salt to bring out the flavour. Wrap each individual one up in silver foil, pop in a bag & freeze. Then when she does have pasta & requests a garlic bread, I can grab one straight from the freezer, pop into the oven & 10-15m later, one warm garlic bread to go. Simple & easy.

If only everything in life was as easy as that. There’s a ‘How to’ post on our Instagram account under Top Tips which (I think) is about to be renamed Hints & Tips…. something tips anyway!

Head on over & follow us there to see what we get up to, what I’m making next and what is in our next box.

The October box countdown begins at the end of the week. It’s all about having spooky fun, making chocolate spider cupcakes complete with googly eyes, legs and crunchy bodies. All totally gluten free and edible! Head over to our website to subscribe.