Unexpected acts of kindness are so lovely, aren’t they? Yesterday, via email, I received a recipe for dairy-free brownies from a friend who had just heard about Child 2’s lactose intolerance.
I admit that I used to be one of those harsh souls who believe a lot of diet troubles are fads. ‘We never had all these epi-pens and strawberry-shunners in my day’, I have been known to mutter like some particularly mean-spirited old hag. I remember the mother of one of Child One’s friends once telling me, when dropping her daughter off for a sleepover, that I’d have to run full-pelt at her daughter and stab her in the thigh with various medicaments if she showed the least sign of distress at any time. I’m afraid I rolled my eyes just a little bit. After my night of vigilance, I was worn out. A sweet child, you couldn’t call her a relaxing guest.
I suppose it was inevitable that the universe would make one of my own children suffer a dietary problem, just to serve me right. To my dismay, Child Two has struggled with dairy products since she was weaned, and developed eczema and perpetual flu-like symptoms, which were eventually diagnosed as a full-blown milk allergy. For years she had nothing but soya milk. Then, as she grew, her tolerance for things like ice cream increased (maybe not a surprise) and she seemed to have grown out of the problem. Now, with adolescence, it has come back.
At first, I was sceptical. Did all these stomach aches really have anything to do with cheese and butter? Or were they just another manifestation of teen angst? I’m afraid I was a bit sneaky and tested, by occasionally adding a bit of milk to a sauce. Poor Child Two always complained of stomach pains afterwards, so she’s back on the soya and sunflower, and cheese, milk and chocolate are out.
Obviously, in a household which pretty much revolves around regular doses of chocolate, this is problemmatic. It’s not so bad at the moment, as Child One has given up chocs for Lent. But, once that has passed, the brownie recipe is going to be a lifesaver. A very big thank you to my friend. And, in case your child is lactose intolerant too, here’s the recipe:
200ml vegetable oil
150g golden granulated sugar
100g dark brown soft sugar
2 tsps vanilla extract
3 medium eggs
60g cocoa powder
100g self-raising flour
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp sodium bicarbonate
100g chopped hazelnuts or walnuts (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180C (165C fan-assisted) 350F, gas mark 4. Prepare a 20 x 25 cm (or 23 cm square) baking tin. Put all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and beat well together. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes, depending on how chewy you like your brownies. Let the brownies cool in the tin, then turn out and decorate.