Summer and Ice Creams

ice cream drawing I don’t know about where you live, but in the UK as soon as the sun pops her head out everyone rushes to buy an ice cream; any day out is punctuated by stops in shops or at ice creams vans for a cone of fluffy white Mr Whippy, its like a national obsession. Even people whom you never see eating anything sweet suddenly hanker after ice creams in the sun (you note I say sun, it doesn’t even have to be warm, it could be almost minus figures but a glint of sunshine and there will be people queuing up for ice creams!) But that’s where it’s difficult for us, obviously no ice cream van will serve egg and dairy-free ice cream, so no chance of a cone like the majority of the population. You think we’d be fine with an ice lolly from the same kiosk, but no, 90% of ice lollies are may contain (usually milk, sometimes nuts) and we can’t be taking that risk on a day out at a remote beauty spot. So, sadly my daughters have learnt to put up with a cold drink when their friends are squealing with delight over their creamy ice creams. Only rarely do others think that maybe they (or their children) should abstain too, to not make my daughters feel different and out of place – they deserve and want their ice cream treat after all. We have found a few safe and reliable brands and are in absolute joy when those are for sale. I can’t begin to describe how happy we were when we found totally safe New Forest Ice Cream raspberry sorbet for sale at a local National Trust property – it was even in its own little tub with the spoon tucked into the lid – oh the joy! That was the first time little S had ever had the delight of her own little tub, and she’s 8 years old! Now I’m on the parent committee at school and I have to say they have always been outstanding in catering for my girls, but we have an event coming up with ice creams provided from an ice cream van. At the meeting I asked, if possible, we could make sure there was something available that was suitable for those on a restricted diet (and it’s not just my children). Well, I have to say I was most upset as I got totally shouted down, that it would be far too complicated to do that and I should buy my own and the ice cream van could keep them frozen for me. I was so upset, I don’t think it was too much to ask, and I’ve never requested anything before, but it just proved that people just don’t ‘get it’. My over riding aim is to make sure my girls (and others in a similar position) don’t have to be different, don’t have to have the ‘special’ food that no one else would want to eat, that they can have food which is as appealing, tasty and desirable as everyone else, or even better than! I know my children aren’t as important to others as they are to me, but I would hope it would be human kindness and compassion to ensure everyone is thought of and included….. I guess there is still a mountain to climb in terms of attitudes and perceptions, no doubt not helped by the current flurry of articles in the press about parents starving their children because they’ve ‘made up’ some food allergies due to their own needy behaviour. Sigh! I hope things are changing but I’m also sure we’ve just started on the path. I work in the legal profession and so my colleagues are all smart and well educated, but I’ve even encountered lack of consideration with them. Not with me, but a work colleague is so severely allergic to fish that even the smell of it will cause anaphylaxis. There have been warnings and notices requesting a no fish in certain areas, just to make sure it is safe for her, but still people are disparaging, going past the rules and insisting on eating and cooking fish ‘because its their right and they’re hungry’ even though they know they’re putting her at risk. It really makes me fearful for the future, when my girls have grown up and are making their own way in the world, will they too have to cope with such lack of thought and compassion too?   20150624-195413.jpg

Peach Melba Ice Lollies

Peaches aren’t very popular with my children – I think it’s maybe something to do with it being a wet juicy fruit. Anyway, I LOVE peaches, and since they love ice lollies this recipe was a great way of getting them to eat an entire peach and a good few raspberries without realising it. Sneaky huh! Look at the lovely colour it produced.

Peach Melba Ice Lollies (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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Makes 2

  • 2 peaches
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1-2 tbsps icing sugar, to taste
  • 1 handful raspberries

– Press the raspberries through a sieve to make a smooth purée. Set aside.
– Peel and stone the peaches. Whizz to a purée in a blender. Add the water.
– Taste and add the sugar if necessary.
– Half fill the ice lolly moulds with peach purée. Add 1/4 of the raspberry purée.
– Repeat, then give the mixtures a swirl with a small spoon.
– Freeze!

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Mixed Berry and Elderflower Ice Lollies

I’ve mentioned before the problems we have in buying ice lollies. Some own brand supermarket options are OK for us, but on the whole we can rarely buy ice lollies from ice cream vans or shops, due to them possibly containing nut or milk traces. This can be particularly painful on sticky hot days, especially when we’re out with friends and other children are tucking into refreshing ice creams, and my girls have to sit and watch empty handed 😦

These stunning homemade lollies don’t solve that problem, but they make a fab treat or summer pudding, and a great way for children to eat masses of fruit without realising it! The texture is soft and more like a set sorbet than an icy lolly, making these perfect for all family members.

Mixed Berry and Elderflower Ice Lollies (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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Makes 4

  • 200g strawberries
  • 100g raspberries
  • 1-3 tbsps icing sugar, to taste depending on the sharpness of the berries
  • 1 cup apple and elderflower pressed juice, or elderflower cordial (diluted)

– Whizz or mash the berries and pass through a sieve
– Taste and add sugar as desired
– Stir in the juice
– Pour into ice lolly moulds and freeze

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Sainsbury’s, this time you did impress (ice lollies part II)

As I’ve mentioned before, Sainsbury’s is normally a complete nightmare to shop in if you are dairy, egg and nut-free, with a complete lack of (or even non existence of) choice in a lot of areas, notably breads, biscuits, crackers, sweet and savoury snacks.

I have to admit there are a couple of things they do well – most notably the Free From Mint Crisps which are delightful but also incredibly expensive (hence the need for homemade Mint Thins!), but all in all it’s a rather depressing experience to shop there.

However, today to continue my ice lolly research I visited my local large Sainbury’s and I was totally overjoyed about the range of ice lollies available that were dairy and nut free. Sadly out freezer is rather iced up and crammed full so I didn’t buy any, but there was a choice! These were all suitable:

Ice Lollies (UK brands and why Tesco come out on top again)

As I mentioned, summer has suddenly arrived in the UK – at last, some might say! So thoughts turn to ice lollies, especially if you’re a child and especially if most ice creams are out of the question.

I know the girls will be hot and need cooling off when they get home from school today, so I spent ages looking around the frozen foods aisle in Tesco’s for suitable ice lollies (popsicles if you’re American). It was all rather depressing…. the ONLY ice lollies that I found which my girls could eat were some of the Tesco own brand range, including:

  • Tesco Rainbow Lollies
  • Tesco Valencia Orange Juice Lollies
  • Tesco Helter Skelter Lollies
  • Tesco Rocket Lollies

Out of ALL the other lollies I looked at they either contained milk protein, warned ‘may contain’ milk or ‘may contain’ nuts. The ‘may contain’ I understand as it’s a legal protection when the same production line is used for different products. But the “contains milk protein” tag – and I’m looking at you Del Monte 100% Juice – how on earth can a 100% fruit juice ice lolly contain milk protein? It’s been a while since I studied maths but my understanding of 100% means that there is nothing else in it?

So, ice lollies to avoid:

Ice lollies that contain milk protein or ‘may contain traces of milk’

Ice Lollies that may contain nuts

Obviously there are other brands out there that I didn’t come across today, and I will update this list.

UPDATE: Although not available in Tesco’s, the New Forest Ice Cream Brand is available in a lot of places where you might like to buy an ice lolly in the South of England. Of their ice lollies, the safe ones for us (no milk or nuts) are:-

  • Yeti Mountain (cola and lemonade flavour)
  • Super 5 (five fruit flavours)
The Chilly Billy Brand is also allergen free and is available in the following flavours from Nando’s and Goodness Direct as well as some smaller independent shops (although due to the natural quality of these lollies they are rather icy rather than sugary!)
  • apple and blackcurrant
  • apple and mango
  • apple and raspberry
  • apple and strawberry
  • orange and apples
UPDATE 2: Sainsbury’s also proved to be rather good at providing allergen-free ice lollies in their own brand range. The following were all suitable:-

In the meantime, once again well done Tesco‘s for making the only ice lollies we can buy – I do hope they are nice!