Numerous events have occurred lately that have made me take stock and have a serious think about mine and my family’s diet. Two of which I’m going to tell you about today, hopefully without boring you too much! Firstly there’s Jacques. The boy with a terrible phlegmy night-time cough that he’s had all too regularly from the tender age of 8 months, keeping us awake for many an hour and many a night, sometimes for several months at a time. Numerous trips to the doctors when he was younger confirmed nothing. Then a few weeks ago, at a particularly sleep deprived time around his 3rd birthday we started to do lots of reading around the issue, and to my surprise discovered the cough may be down to a cow’s milk allergy. I have to confess to being a little sceptical as allergies, fortunately, don’t run in either of our families. But I thought I’d give it a go, immediately cutting out all cows milk, yogurts and cheeses. And do you know what, the cough dramatically stopped that very first night! Bearing in mind he’d been coughing every night for at least an hour for the previous few weeks this was a bit of a breakthrough. To say the least.
And since then I’ve on the whole been sticking to it, not regimentally as he obviously doesn’t have a severe allergy, but definitely making sure there’s no (cow’s) dairy in the late afternoons and evenings. And for a boy that adores his after-dinner yogurts (clearly where the problem lay!) this meant switching to sheep’s milk ones instead, which interestingly happen to be far tastier and handily readily available in yogurt-loving France. Luckily he’s never been a milk fan. And he’s barely coughed since. How wonderful is that?!. The (somewhat bitter) downside of his better nights of sleep are the ever-earlier wake ups, but that’s another story!
Now the second event was a chance viewing of ITV’s DayBreak show (actually a friend called me up to watch it) and an interview with a young chappie, Kal Parmar, who claimed his father’s Alzheimer’s had dramatically reversed as a result of taking a regular dose of Coconut Oil. Following the show I turned to google and found quite a few people in the States were making similar claims. And Kal, being a budding film maker, is making a film about his dad, which I’ll be most excited to see. My own father has Alzheimer’s and was diagnosed a year and a half ago. So naturally he’s on strict instructions to take his Coconut Oil! And Coconut Oil being the wonder fat and food that it is, it strikes me he’s absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain.
But more on the wonders of Coconut Oil in a later blog (of which I have quite a few baked and planned!), but for now I’ll crack on with today’s recipe. A very low-sugar, low-fat, cow’s milk-free and pretty darned healthy Carrot & Pineapple Traybake Cake in honour of both Jacques and my dear Dad, who happen to share a very special bond. It uses Coconut Oil and Yogurt (Sheep’s in my case) in replacement of the usually large measure of Sunflower Oil, which make the cake a good deal healthier as well as being exceptionally moist. Despite it’s healthy line-up of ingredients this cake is impressively high in the taste stakes and we all loved it. And I know my Dad will too, nudge nudge Mum….
If you can’t source or don’t want to use coconut oil, just replace with sunflower. And if you want to naughty things up somewhat this would be sublime with a cream cheese frosting…
Carrot & Pineapple Traybake Cake
Great for toddlers, bigger kids, grown ups, dieters, healthy eaters, baking with kids, elevensies, lunch boxes, afternoon tea, after school treats, carrot cake fiends
Makes 20 – 25 small pieces
300g of Plain Flour
2 heaped teaspoons of ground Cinnamon
a heaped teaspoon of Baking Powder
½ a teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda
150g of dark Soft Brown Sugar
4 medium Free Range Eggs
180ml of Plain Yogurt, Sheeps or Cows
60ml of Coconut Oil (softened) or Sunflower Oil
zest of an Orange
zest of a Lemon
220g of finely grated Carrots
120g of Sultanas
227g tin of Pineapple pieces, in natural juice, drained
Special Equipment: a 20cm by 20cm square baking tin, or similar
Pre-heat your oven to 150°c and line a small baking tin (about 20cm by 20cm) with baking paper.
Sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and bicarb into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar.
In another bowl lightly beat the eggs with a whisk, then whisk in the yogurt, coconut oil and orange and lemon zest. Employ a whisker and a stirrer (i.e. small child) if you have one.
Pour the egg and yogurt mix into the flour and sugar and stir well with a wooden spoon. Then mix in the carrots and sultanas. Cut the pineapple pieces into small chunks and stir these in too.
Scrape the cake mix into the lined tin.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Turn out of the tin and allow to cool a little on a cooling rack. It’s truly wonderful eaten fresh out-of-the-oven-warm. With a cuppa for the grown up folk.
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June 5th, 2013 at 8:36 pm
I have heard that about milk allergies too, so glad that Jacques has improved. There are so many wonderful products that can be subbed for dairy and they produce a wonderful dish. Your cakes sounds (and looks) amazing. I love that it’s low sugar and dairy free. I can’t wait to read your post about coconut oil, amazing about Alzheimers. I also read something about mega doses of fish oil helping.
June 5th, 2013 at 8:44 pm
To be honest I feel pretty terrible it took me so long to figure out the coughing could be allergy, especially as they run in neither of our families. But at least we’re there now. The more I read about Coconut Oil the more amazing it is!. And to cook and bake with. Hey that’s interesting about fish oil – off to search on Google!
June 5th, 2013 at 8:57 pm
Crikey – well done Lou! I must mention this to my Mother in Law who has had a cough for ages too with no Dr knowing why… And who knew the wonders of coconut oil – certainly not me! This post was in no way boring, it was all just brilliant and I applaud you my lovely xxx
June 6th, 2013 at 11:13 am
Ah thanks lovely! There’s certainly some strange reactions possible from dairy products, and am still a bit amazed that’s where the problem lay with Jacques. And I’m so loving experimenting with coconut oil, not only supremely healthy, but supremely tasty!.
June 5th, 2013 at 10:03 pm
Great post! Glad Jacques cough improved so quickly, quite miraculous! I’m a big fan of coconut oil and have been using it for a few months. I do hope it helps with Alzheimer’s! Your cake sounds delicious and about as healthy as a cake can be, my favourite kind!
June 6th, 2013 at 11:20 am
Thanks Jayne, don’t suppose you have any blogged coconut oil recipes do you? I couldn’t find a search button to see. Fascinated by it’s versatility as well as it’s healthiness.
June 5th, 2013 at 11:08 pm
What a great cake for Jacques and his Grandpa – and for the rest of us too, it looks so tasty as well as healthy, will definitely be giving it a go. I remember being very keen on coconut oil after seeing it used so much in cooking (and as a hair and body moisturiser) in Kerala. Well done reminding us all of its health benefits.
June 6th, 2013 at 11:23 am
Thanks Andrea! Coconut oil is amazing stuff, I think I’m getting pretty hooked on it. Have just smothered myself in it too and smells divine! I’ve seen lots of Keralan recipes that use it, and keen to try some out….
June 5th, 2013 at 11:17 pm
OK Louisa – you did ask!! 😉
It looks absolutely delicious, but from a health point of view it seems a shame to use plain flour – either wholemeal wheat or spelt would work perfectly in a cake like this and spelt would add a extra ‘nutty’ flavour. Plain flour hits the system too quickly as unrefined carbohydrate and can cause insulin to spike (which wholemeal or spelt wouldn’t). It’s also devoid of nutrients (again, whole wheat or spelt are far more interesting from this standpoint). I would probably have used either agave syrup or yacon syrup, both of which are much healthier options than sugar. Fresh pineapple possibly?
I like the fact you’ve used (my beloved) coconut oil (I’m slathering it on my sunburn – yay! – as I type ;-)) It lends a wonderful flavour and is so healthy. Have you read a book called ‘The coconut oil miracle’ – if not, well worth a read – it has so many wonderful benefits…
So glad to hear you’ve ‘cured’ Jacque’s cough – cow’s milk is an absolute shocker for producing phlegm.
June 6th, 2013 at 11:35 am
Ha ha, I’d only meant for you to read it from the Coconut Oil and Dairy intolerance perspective!. Obviously I know wholemeal flour (or Spelt if I could get it) would be wonderfully healthy and I should probably have used instead….next time!. I’ve just smothered myself in coconut oil too, delightful stuff. I haven’t read the book The Coconut Oil Miracle (only several articles and sites on the web), but have just added it my wish list, thanks for the tip off.
June 6th, 2013 at 11:43 am
June 6th, 2013 at 3:18 pm
A healthy cake that you should eat for it’s medical benefits – brilliant! And good to hear that cutting out cows milk has helped Jacques cough, you did well to work that out.