Lucy's Friendly Foods

Raspberry and Chocolate Chip Sablé Biscuits, failed challenges and a fresh start.


Recently I’ve felt that my blog has gone off the boil, that my recipes were dull and not very inspiring, the photos were so-so and better resources could be found elsewhere. Maybe I needed a break, just to give it up or a fresh approach? These have been tough times in working out whether to invest any time and effort into creating and posting for my blog.

I think having a baked milk challenge approaching for both girls made me think that maybe it was becoming less relevant for myself too. Perhaps we had got to another stage of our journey that needed a new approach?

To be honest, we were rather surprised when the Doctor suggested a baked milk challenge at our most recent appointment – it seemed out of the blue since they both had sizeable wheals from the skin prick results and we have certainly never been on the cusp of any ‘advances’ before. Actually, although we’ve always been lucky enough to have had fantastic care from our allergy specialists, this year was different. The doctor was new and had a surprising approach, she wanted to discharge big S as she claimed that the appointments weren’t necessary and there was unlikely to be any further change at this stage. As most people who have tried know, it’s so hard to get under the care of a specialist that we really weren’t keen to lose this support. This particular doctor also said that skin prick tests were worthless and they should both have a baked milk challenge as it was the only way to really diagnose an allergy. I get her point to some extent, but those are not particularly helpful comments for the girls who have spent their entire lives having yearly skin prick tests!

Anyway she requested blood tests, about which Little S was rather nervous and tearful, hardly surprisingly as she’s previously had a difficult experience with a cannula involving lots of blood and bruises! I have to say that I was rather shocked by her response. She offered no compassion, despite being a paediatric doctor and said it was up to us if we had bloods taken, but if we did’t she’d write down that we refused her advice. I was dumbfounded, should a children’s doctor not have some understanding over the anxiety involved? Anyway, we did the bloods and Little S fainted as she stood up afterwards – it certainly was an eventful day.

Well the food challenge itself was the other week and in short: both girls failed. It was upsetting and a setback, but not unexpected either. Since the challenge my thoughts have turned back to my blog and why I started it in the first place, why I felt the desire to help others in a similar position, and how hard I’ve found it myself. I’ve also had some wonderful recent (and past) comments from readers, really lovely thoughts that have made me feel that all my experiments and recipes are of use. I feel reinvigorated and excited about creating and blogging! Expect a flurry of innovation (I hope) to follow.

I really think I’ve found the holy grail for egg and dairy free biscuits with this recipe. They’re the perfect combination of crisp crunch, turning to ‘buttery’ melt and chew. You couldn’t ask for much more from a biscuit texture.

The combination of raspberry and chocolate is always one that works, it’s tried and tested. Do try using freeze-dried fruits in your baking, they add so much of the flavour and character without any ‘sogginess’ that fresh fruit can bring.

It really is essential to chill the dough before baking – an hour will do, at a push 15 minutes in the freezer will suffice. But if at all possible, chill for as long as possible for the very best textured biscuits.

Raspberry and Chocolate Chip Sable Biscuits

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, can be soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes about 12-15

90-100g chocolate, chopped

2 tbsp chopped freeze dried raspberries

100g plain flour

pinch of bicarbonate of soda

75g dairyfree margarine

85g caster sugar

1/2 tsp good quality flaky salt, such as fleur de sel

  1. Cream together the margarine, sugars and salt.
  2. Gently mix in the flour and bicarbonate and combine to form a soft dough. Stir in the chocolate pieces and freeze dried raspberries.
  3. Form into a sausage shape and wrap in cling film. Place in the fridge to chill, you want it to be as cold as possible.
  4. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees centigrade.
  5. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Slice the cookie dough into 1cm slices and place well apart on the baking sheets.
  6. Bake for 11-12 minutes. They should have spread out nicely.
  7. Cool briefly on the sheets so they are stiff enough to move and then transfer to a wire rack.

12 Responses

  1. I’m so pleased you have decided to continue your blog. I’ve had such success with your recipes and have been inspired to bake all sorts of things I’d thought were not possible ‘free from’. I’m delighted whenever a new recipe pops up in my inbox. Always a treat to read them and add them to my long list of things I must bake!

  2. Lucy you basically saved me when I realised I had a breastfed child with a dairy, soya, egg and nut allergy at 4/5 months. I was basically desperate for some tasty baking and saw your blog recommended on Mumsnet. I have made a lot of things, and am delighted to see a new post. I have suggested your blog every time I see a new mum stressing about going dairy plus anything else free. You might not think you’ve done very much but you’ve been brilliant for me, and I intend to make many of your recipes if the sprog ever passes a dairy challenge. So don’t be downhearted, thank you very much.
    PS. Dietician always on at us for more challenges, then we fail…

    1. Awww thank you so much Sara, what lovely comments, it makes it all seem worthwhile. I’m so happy my little blog has been of help to you x

  3. So sorry to hear your experiences with the milk challenge, but don’t be disheartened. Your girls are experiencing lots of new flavours, and having opportunities in food that a lot of children nowadays will never experience. We love to see your recipes, and always look forward to trying something new. Keep inspiring us x

    1. Thanks you so much Andrea, and yes I guess that’s true that they do try things others won’t, but it is sad to think they’ll always be a bit different. I’ll do my best to keep coming up with interesting recipes! thanks so much for reading x

  4. I’m so glad you’re blogging! I adore your blog, it’s my favourite vegan baking blog for sure. Being a New Zealander, it’s hard to find the traditional UK style of baking I grew up with, that’s also vegan. You’ve allowed me to recreate childhood classics with ingredients like golden syrup that just aren’t found in other vegan blogs. Thank you so much for all your work, and your gorgeous pictures and recipes….. I appreciate it so much.

    1. Hi Sophie, thank you so much for your comments. It’s lovely to hear tat you like my recipes and that it’s useful as a vegan baking blog as well as a allergy based one. Do let me know if there is a particular dish from your childhood that you wish you had a recipe for – i love a challenge! x

  5. Hi Lucy – It sounds like you have had a rough ride with the new Dr. It must have been pretty upsetting. I have type 1 diabetes, and so have some understanding about the importance of relationships and trust with your consultants. i hope you get a different consultant (can you request one?), or your consultant gets a better attitude. Anyway, I also wanted to say that I have loved the resource of your blog for baking for my nephew who has egg and dairy allergies. I don’t have a lot of vegan baking books so its really helpful for baking for his occasional visits. The golden syrup cake is a big favourite. If you want a challenge, how about some baking recipes that don’t use non-dairy spread/fat, but vegetable oil instead. I find that baking is the only thing i use the spread for, and a lot goes to waste. I’m looking forward to new recipes!

    1. Thanks Lucy, i’m so pleased my recipes have been of use for you. You are right that the relationship with a Dr is crucial, you know, i think that we should get the wallpaper for sasha’s room only to the care you get but also the emotions surrounding any health issue. I will certainly take on board your suggestion about oil. Generally is a recipe calls for melted margarine, oil can simply be subbed for it, but it’s a good point to try and use more readily available ingredients. Thanks so much for reading x

  6. I bake a lot . I have 2 adult daughters , 1 has bad dairy and yeast intolerances and severe alcohol allergy and the other is vegan . I am vegetarian. A mixed bunch in the world of baking , not catered for by the average tea room. Finding your recipes means that everyone can enjoy cake together , which in our family is in our genes . We are happy , thank you ! Oh and by the way , I made your sponge cake into a lemon one filled and topped with lemon ‘buttercream’ for an NGS open garden tea room and it was first to go and the recipe was requested . I’ve been asked to make it again for this weekend too. You hard work is much appreciated.

    1. Hi Kate, how wonderful to hear from someone with as tricky a family as me! I’m so happy that your family can enjoy cake together too! It makes me sad when everyone has to eat different things because sharing food is such an important part of family life. Your lemon cake sounds delicious and I’m so pleased it was enjoyed. Thank you for reading x

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: