Category Archives: Dairy-Free

It’s Not As Easy As Giving Up Milk…

I’m on lots of “mommy” groups on Facebook, and most of them are also to do with breastfeeding. There’s always someone talking about being asked “when are you switching to formula?” which invariably inspires people to say how cow’s milk (and that’s what most formula is made of) is for baby cows, not for people.

At the moment there is an horrific video going around these groups that shows how badly dairy cows are treated. It’s awful…it really is. Most women are commenting saying that they couldn’t watch the whole thing, and I cried while I was watching it. Unsurprisingly, it is inspiring an awful lot of my fellow group members to say that they’re going to stop drinking milk. They all start discussing alternative milks and how to make your own nut milk and how much better they’re going to feel.


…but it’s not that simple.

I don’t want to be Polly Partypooper about it, because the dairy industry IS barbaric, and going dairy-free is MUCH healthier, and wanting to stop drinking milk is VERY admirable, but bottles of milk aren’t a stand-alone product.

Milk is in absolutely everything.

Cutting out milk means foregoing butter, it means no cheese, it means reading the ingredients for every processed food you buy (milk in sausages and ham is totally a thing), it means asking to see the allergen folders in supermarket bakeries and delis, it means going to a restaurant and only having one or two dishes that are safe for you to eat, it means endlessly googling “restaurant name + allergen info” before you go out or having to rely on waiters to know their stuff…it usually means no dessert (next time you’re eating out try to find one that isn’t made with butter or milk or cream or cheese).

I don’t mean to make it sound like it’s a massive chore but it’s a MASSIVE chore.

I have to be overly cautious because eating dairy will mean pain for George to deal with, and lots of screaming and horrible poop for me to deal with. It perhaps wouldn’t be so difficult for you if you didn’t have to avoid milk so stringently…

The trouble is that now the dairy is out of my system, I also get sick if I eat anything with milk in it. It’s a common problem. When your body stops dealing with lactose it stops being able to process it, so reintroducing it can be problematic.

Life is harder for us in some ways because we can’t have soya either and lots of dairy-free stuff (like chocolate, spreads, ice-creams) is made with soya, but there’s people who have it a lot worse than me. I can’t imagine how difficult eating (especially eating out) is when you can’t have eggs, nuts, coconuts, fruits…

I don’t want to put people off because I think that removing milk (and related products) from your diet is a great thing to do. It is also a difficult thing to do, and often a demoralising one too – especially when you are watching people eat pizzas and creamy desserts.  If it weren’t for the fact that eating milk would hurt my son, I’m not sure if I would have had the will to keep going this long.

We’ve only been dairy/soya-free for about eleven weeks, but I’m immeasurably proud of myself for every day that I keep going, and I might even take it past breastfeeding…

…it might just become a way of life.


Posted by on February 5, 2016 in Baby, Breastfeeding, Dairy-Free, Food, Life


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Dairy-Free Cream Tea…

Being dairy-free is a pain in the arse at the best of times (because cheese), especially if you love cake (and cheese). Unfortunately, most cheese alternatives seem pretty awful (I’m sure they’re not as bad as I’m imagining, but cashew cheese just doesn’t do it for me on a theoretical level…I’m not going to waste my time making it just to find out that it is, in fact, terrible) but DF baked goods can be just as good as their buttery, milky counterparts. In fact, most cakes you buy from shops are made with margarine or oil, but they invariably have milk based stabilisers or use soya products (and George is intolerant to them too).

We’ve recently become the proud owners of a kitchen mixer, so I decided to start some baking experiments. I have an awful lot of weight to lose, but I like to bake so sod it. I’m going to bake!

One of the things I’ve been missing the most is cream teas, so this is where I started!…


You might be thinking that a “cream” tea is pretty hard to do without cream, yes? Well no, not really…not when there’s such a thing as coconut milk (and therefore, coconut cream).

I’m not talking about the “coconut milk drink” that you can buy to put in tea/over cereal here, I’m talking about the canned stuff that settles into two layers (cream and water) if you leave it to stand. I got mine from Aldi because it’s quite inexpensive and I already knew it settles into two layers.

Some websites suggest that you chill your cans of coconut milk overnight but I hadn’t realised this til 5 minutes before I wanted to make it. Whoops.

First I opened two cans and scooped out the cream…


…saving the water (and a few splotches of cream) for porridge (oats and coconut water are supposed to be great for breastfeeding mothers to increase milk supply).

I added two tablespoons of sifted icing sugar and about a tsp of vanilla extract before beating it with the mixer’s whisk attachment.

I had visions of it turning into softly peaking clouds of cream, but no…it just crumbled up and looked like cottage cheese in the bowl. Sad face.


I switched to the beater attachment and had a little more luck, but it started to separate a bit and I now had semi-fluffy clouds amidst an off-white puddle. Nice.

On the verge of admitting defeat, I popped the bowl into the fridge to chill it all while I regrouped and thought about making scones.


I found a recipe that called for:

250g plain flour
40g caster sugar
2tsp baking powder
45g butter
1 medium egg (beaten)
75ml whole milk
100g sultanas

…and I substituted Tesco baking fat in place of butter and Koko Dairy-Free instead of the cow’s milk. I always have Koko around because I drink it in tea, but I went with it (over other type of alt milks that I have) because my friend, Sarah (who does lots of vegan cooking) says that, in her experience, it behaves similarly to cow’s milk in cooking and baking.

I put all the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl along with the (cold and cubed) baking fat before trying to mix it.

I got flour everywhere.

I soon gave up and rubbed the fat in with my fingers like I should have done to start with, chiding myself for being lazy.

Then I added the sultanas, egg and milk, beat it until it turned to dough, rolled it out and cut it into squares before baking at 220°c. The recipe said to bake for 15-20 minutes but after 12 I noticed that they were burning (golden brown scones with black sultanas)…it was then I realised that the temperature was for regular ovens and not fan assisted. Whoops.

They were also a little dry and crumbly…possibly because the omission of full fat milk meant that they were lacking in fat content. Next time I make them I’ll use a little more baking fat and a drop more “milk”. I’ll also only cook them at about 200° to try and avoid the charcoal-tanas.

I then left them – in all their black-studded and crumbly glory – to cool…


I got the cream back out of the fridge (it had hardened off now) and set about whipping the life out of it with the beater. Even though the beater had worked the first time I just got cottage cheese again (no matter how long or fast I had the mixer working). In frustration I switched back to the whisk head, just to see what would happen, and BOOM! Whipped cream. Ish.

It took a while and it was still a little separated, but I poured the watery stuff into another bowl (again, saved for porridge) and was left with something that didn’t look too dissimilar to whipped cream…and it tasted bloody fantastic!


It was sweet and rich with a hint of vanilla and it was AMAZING with raspberry jam, even though the scones were exceedingly crappy.

It was a cream tea!

I haven’t had anything even vaguely like clotted cream in over 10 weeks so I wasn’t sure if my taste buds were lying to me, but my sister (who had been all “I’ll just have a small scone” skeptical-face about it) asked for a second helping, and Luke (who had been all “I’m not eating that” mocking-face) was lured into joining us. They both agreed that coconut cream is a lovely alternative to clotted cream, and that it more than made up for the rubbish quality of my scones.

Note…I stored the leftover cream in the fridge overnight and it hardened off quite a bit. I had scones again yesterday and had to scrape the cream and kind of modge it onto the scone. It still tasted just as good but it wasn’t as spreadable as it had been the day before.


…apparently it softens up after being re-whipped but I wasn’t going to get the mixer out for just that so I settled for modging.


Dairy-free scones were NOT a win on this occasion, but with a bit of tweaking (or a better recipe) I’m sure that they could be great. I’d like to have a go at an egg-free version too so that I can see if a vegan cream tea is within my capabilities.

Whipped coconut cream TASTED great, but was a bit of a challenge to make. I think I need to work on this part too.

…my next challenge is going to be a dairy-free chocolate torte. I’m planning on using amaretti biscuits for the base, so it’s going to be quite an involved make! Watch this space.


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Vegan “Baileys” and a Very Merry Christmas…

I’m still struggling with blogging at the moment, but wanted to take a minute to express my hope that you all had a lovely Christmas and that you look ahead to a happy new year.

George’s first Christmas was quite overwhelming for him, what with having a cold and not sleeping well. Being presented with lots of toys, clothes and books was also quite a task for him to take on so we suffered a couple of festive meltdowns and haven’t had  much sleep ourselves over the past few days. Despite all that (and, to be honest, we were expecting it) it has been so SO wonderful to spend our first Christmas together as a family. We’ve had a fantastic time.

We’re still doing the dairy/soya free thing (it’ll be 5 weeks tomorrow and it seems to be having a positive impact on George so is most likely going to become a way of life), so I’ve had a restrained Christmas with no cheese or “regular” chocolate. Rest assured I’ve MORE than made up for it by eating a megatonne of DF/SF mince pies, a box of Booja Booja chocolates (and I’ve got another box to go), and several tubs of pâté with a jar or two of plum ploughman’s chutney. Restrained.

One of the things I was missing the most was a nice glass of Bailey’s Irish Cream. The ladies on my “Breastfeeding with CMPA and Other Food Allergies” facebook group had given me the idea of making my own vegan version like this one from and I was totally going to make some but, as usual, it got to Christmas day and I had completely failed to buy coconut milk, agave syrup and Irish whiskey. Cue much sadness.

What I did have however, was a litre of Oatly Chocolate Oat Drink, and a nice bottle of Jack Daniels (well, truth be told it’s Luke’s bottle of JD but we’re married so technically it’s half mine…and there’s only half of it left so it belongs to me now)…


…so, desperate for a dairy-free version of one of my favourite drinks, I decided to experiment. It worked. It was creamy and wonderful.

…and it’s so simple you don’t even need a “proper” recipe…

Just take a tumbler…pour in a measure of Jack Daniels (other whiskeys are available), and top up with Oatly Chocolate Oat Drink to taste (I used about 220mls)…

…and enjoy!

I’m guessing that it tastes more like chocolate Bailey’s than the regular kind (well duh) but I’ve not had any in a year so I can’t quite remember exactly how the regular Bailey’s tastes. All I know is it was thick and rich and boozy and delicious. It was also SUPER easy, which is always a bonus when you’re as lazy pushed-for-time as I am!

Happy New Year to you all, from me and Mini Moss…



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