Child-friendly meal ideas

As a family of four, one child having multiple allergies (peanuts, tree nuts, chickpeas, lentils, all peas and beans) we have adapted our menu to avoid these foods.

I'm sharing these weekday meal ideas in case anyone else finds it useful. Even if you're not navigating food allergies, but have little ones at home, you may find it useful!

What do we eat?

Spaghetti Bolognese
A firm favourite in our house. It's also my favourite way of sneaking a lot of vegetables into a meal that they thoroughly enjoy. I actually blend the veg into a sauce using the wonderful Secret Veg Sauce recipe. I like using Quorn mince, because I'm not a fan of meat, and even my carnivorous husband likes it. Schwartz and Colemans make handy packet mixes which you can add to your tinned tomatoes (or secret veg sauce) and saves time (we are fine with these but always check the packet for your own allergens).

Macaroni Cheese 
My eldest is always requesting this! I boil the pasta with some broccoli and sm…

List of Legumes!

Here's a list of foods in the legume group:

AlfalfaAsparagus beanAsparagus peaBaby lima beanBlack beanBlack-eyed peaBlack turtle beanBoston beanBoston navy beanBroad beanCannellini beanChickpeas Chili beanCranberry bean (not cranberries themselves)Dwarf beanEgyptian beanEgyptian white broad beanEnglish beanFava beanFava coceiraField peaFrench green beanFrijol bola rojaFrijole negroGram flour (from chickpeas)Great northern beanGreen and yellow peasHoumous (from chickpeas)Kidney beanLentilsLespedezaLicoriceLima beanLocust bean (carob)LupinMadagascar beanMexican black beanMexican red beanMolasses face beanMung beanMung peaMungo beanNavy beanPea beanPeanutPeruvian beanPinto beanRed beanRed cloverRed eye beanRed kidney beanRice beanRunner beanScarlet runner beanSmall red beanSnow peaSouthern peaSugar snap peaSoybeanWax beanWhite vloverWhite kidney beanWhite pea bean Please note that you could be allergic to some, none or all. Being allergic to one item in a food group is not necessarily …

Secret Veg Sauce

I wanted to post the [someone else's] link again to spread this fantastic recipe, but alas the internet states 'it no longer exists'.

So here's my own take on this fantastically versatile recipe which even my three year old will willingly eat, and which my husband raves about also!

I cook a vat and then freeze it in 400g portions so that when I want to make an easy, tasty pasta sauce, a base for lasagne, spaghetti Bolognese, or use it as a jacket potato topping with a sprinkle of cheese, I have some readily available.

Secret Veg Sauce


1 aubergine (eggplant)
Half a courgette
Red and yellow pepper
6 small cherry tomatoes
Olive oil
1tbsp dried oregano
4 cloves garlic
4 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes

(Note -  you don't have to match these ingredients too closely. Avoid starchy veg like sweet potato, parsnips and swede; otherwise you really can be quite liberal with the veg you use depending on what you have in the fridge or can find in the shops. I've jus…

Letter to my MP about the #epipenshortage

Dear MP

I would be extremely grateful if you could assist with a matter of urgency; a matter that affects many people, not just my own family.  
There is currently a shortage of the adrenaline auto injectors made by Mylan known as Epipens. As they have approximately 70% share of the market in respect of these products the other alternatives, Jext and Emerade have a much smaller share of the market. As the Epipens have been in very short supply for some months now, the demand for the alternate auto-injectors have increased so much that they cannot keep up with the demand.  
This is leaving many people unable to obtain Epipens or even the other alternative injector brands. The emergency adrenaline is used during Anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction). Without this medication and emergency medical assistance a person could die.  
This applies to our five year old son who has allergies to peanuts, all nuts, lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas. He is very aware of his allergies and is sensibl…

10 Reasons Allergy Parents Make Great Friends

We may not be able to casually saunter in to whichever café you like, or accept a party invite without a good few questions. But we make up for it in other ways...

1. We always carry extra snacks.
The need to carry safe alternatives to placate a child who's desperate to have what his friends are having means we'll usually have a decent bag of tricks at the ready wherever we go.

2. We bake. Oh, do we bake. We've had to learn to make our own, because we can't always rely on shop bought or other people's kitchens being allergen-free. Bon appetit!

3. We'll probably invite your kid over for dinner, and probably won't expect a return invitation...

4. But if you do invite us, we are likely to supply some of the goods...

5. Or, if you've managed to cater for the allergy completely, we'll be over the moon.

6. We're always prepared for an emergency. If your kid has a hidden allergy to wasp stings or suffers an insect bite, we'll be ready with an EpiPe…

Notting Hill Carnival, with the children?

My husband's heritage is half-Caribbean, and he's attended Notting Hill Carnival for years, playing in the procession for several years before he met me. We've visited Carnival almost every year since we met, and so it seemed only right we take our children along, even though they are only little. I consider it part of their culture.

Despite Notting Hill Carnival's reputation (as far as some are concerned), the Sunday is actually the children's day, when you'll find lots of children in the procession, as well as spectating. It's mud-mas day, so expect to get at least splashed with a mix (often spa clays) resembling actual mud, if you get right near the procession itself, or know someone who's in one of the mud bands.
Find a quieter area to hang out and watch the Carnival go by, with a little space to dance in the pavement. Ladbroke Grove is the busiest, with more people per square metre than you've ever seen in your life. Avoid it if you're with…

Bad Press

If you were trying to break into an industry, or raise your profile, what tactic would you employ? Perhaps you'd do something amazing, unusual or bizarre, to how you were different and special. Unfortunately, some people don't quite have that talent and therefore they troll and seek attention by upsetting the likes of us on social media. It's getting a bit predictable.

I'm not naming names, because I don't want to give them the bad publicity they're so clearly after, but some quarter-celebrities, or 'journalists' you've never heard of, will be posting some useless, poorly-written, badly-justified text right now, probably targeting a vulnerable community of people who will bite back (the allergy community being one of these, and of course, not protected by anti-discrimination laws like some other groups are).

Let's not respond by spraying their social media pages with facts. Clearly, we're more clued up than they are. We only make ourselves mor…