Sunday, 23 December 2012

Dessert - Making Trifle Safe

As you can imagine, the amount of jelly (and sometimes fruit) in a regular trifle renders it poisonous to those with a citric acid intolerance.

But, fear not! With a little work, and a few recipe tweaks, you can still enjoy a trifle this holiday.

Ok, so your whipped cream and custard are fine to stay, it is the jelly, the fruit and possibly the cake that need addressing here.

The jelly: you cannot (to my knowledge) buy any ready-made jelly without it has citric acid in. So, we have to make our own. You will need:

  • squash (see the post on drinks)
  • gelatin sachet (you can get these in the home baking isle of most supermarkets)
  • hot and cold water
then you just make it up as per the instructions on the gelatin packet sachet. Do not forget to dilute the squash, though! Alternatively, you might be able to use apple juice, but I haven't tried with this.

The fruit: You can either leave it out, or a straight swap for apple/pear/blueberry chunks works well

The cake: You can either go around the shops checking packets until you find a plain victoria sponge that is safe, or you can make your own and ensure you use a butter that is safe. I always opt for make your own the day before you make the trifle, but that is just because I like the be 100% sure everything is edible.

Combine ingredients as per the usual order et voila!

I Want to Eat Crisps


Like iced buns, I never really understood why crisps were so good. They are basically potatoes in fat and salt.

Think I may have cracked it there...

Anyways, crisps are now another minefield. Fear not, though, because there are several options left open. A couple are even the 'healthy' ones!

If plain, ready salted crisps of almost any variety are your thing you're good to go and can stop reading here, because the reason crisps are off the menu at all (apart from the sodium content) is that they put citric acid in when they add a lot of the flavourings. I'm not sure why, someone told me it might help the flavours bind or something? Not that it matters, to be honest.

So, as I've just said, 'ready salted' (plain) are good.

Further than that you are very, very limited.

Although they are still the relatively plain variety, you CAN have:



if you are so inclined

Thursday, 1 November 2012

"Help, we're eating out!" - Chinese food

This is a tricky one, although not impossible.

As usual, I can only tell you my own findings. This list only applies to takeout or restaurant food. If you are using this to buy Chinese food from a store then remember to always check to packet!

So, the definitely safe list:


  • Prawn toast
  • Vegetable spring rolls (probably the meant ones too) but NOT the dip!!
  • Prawn crackers
  • Duck and pancakes, although not the veg or the sauce that usually comes with them.
  • All varieties of rice (fried and boiled), unless you know it is going to have a veg with citric acid in it. In general they don't.
  • Noodles (depending in the sauce!)
  • Sweet chilli beef
  • *insert favourite meat* and cashew nut
  • *insert favourite meat* in black bean sauce
  • Chicken satay 
There are probably several others that are edible - stay away from anything red coloured or lemon-y! Sweet and sour is a definite no-go, here.

Incidentally, you can also drink Chinese tea (I don't like it myself, but other people rave about it, so...)

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Making a Sandwich 101

Making a sandwich is such a simple thing, right?

Yeah, right.

That is to say, it is easy once you have the right ingredients. Initially finding them, however...

Let's start from the top. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you:

The Bread

You would think bread would be a pretty safe thing to eat. In general you would be right, and both white and brown loaves are edible.

Exceptions are: anything with lemon or tomato (obvious, but it is good to state the obvious sometimes, especially where allergies are concerned!), sourdough or rye (citric acid is produced or used in the making process somewhere) and some of the very, very cheapest supermarket loaves, which contain citric acid in the ingredients list.

The Spread

As I think I have said elsewhere, many margarine varieties contain citric acid. If you have the choice, stick with butter, as these are usually safe.

If in doubt, just leave it out! I generally eat my sandwiches without the spread anyway.

The Filling

This is a HUGE topic, so I'm going to gloss.

If you are putting your fillings together yourself from scratch then just use your common and you'll be away. If, however, you want to buy sandwich fillers from the supermarket or elsewhere you're in for a tougher time. Don't assume that anything is edible until you have thoroughly checked the label. A lot of things add lemon juice (which you cant taste, and most people wouldn't even notice. I know I never used to.). There are SOME ones you can eat, but as I said; check, check, check!

Oh, and beware ye the mayonnaise - citric acid is often a preservative. If you are a mayonnaise fan I know Heinz mayo is safe enough.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Drinks - Milk and Milkshakes

Plain milk we have no problem with. Wonderful stuff, and we all know what happens to little girls that don't get their calcium, don't we?

So, sometimes your milk needs jazzing up a bit.

Roll-on milkshake powder.

Unfortunately I have yet to find a milkshake POWDER that isn't freeze-dried death (at least to the citric-intolerant)

And don't you be fooled by that sneaky toffee flavour that Crusha brought out. Guess what other ingredient they added? No, I'm not bitter. YOU'RE sulking.

Moving swiftly on...

Ok, so common sense tells you that chocolate and strawberry milkshakes are out here.

Banana milkshake is usually ok. Unlucky for me that I dont LIKE banana milkshake.

Which means there are three options:

  • Just drink your milk plain

  • Create your own milkshake experiments. If what goes in is good, what comes out is usually better! Toffee and apple (yes, apple again...), or white chocolate and blueberry have always proven popular.

  • Buy the more obscure milkshakes!! 
In this category we have...

'White chocolate flavoured milk' from Morrisons. This is good, this is very good! It is exactly what it says on the bottle. Sorry about the dreadful picture quality, I'm just trying to let you get an idea of the packaging in case you go hunting for it.
'Sticky toffee pudding flavour' milk from Tesco.If you like toffee (and milkshake!) this is worth a go. Very, very sweet - you have been warned!
And the more well-known brand:

These are relatively expensive, but worth it for a treat. Since they're limited edition I'm not sure how long they will be on the shelves, bu I'm hoping a long time:

some people have complained this is too plain, especially those who do not like to drink milk on its own. I like it, but agree there is not a lot of additional flavour from the vanilla.
Yeah, I said I didn't like banana milkshake, and if you really hate banana flavour then give this one a miss, but teamed with the toffee it is definitely worth a try. It really does taste like banoffee pie, but without the crust (obviously!)
This is simply delicious, if very sweet. Milkshakes are meant to be sweet, though, aren't they?

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Drinks - Juice and Dilutable

The apple is your friend here.

In fact, apart from apples, I'm not certain there is anything else IN this category that is safe to drink.

And by no means are all apple juices/squashes safe either

I'm just saying that apart from apple (and pear - please tell me if you find safe pear or blueberry juice!) it isn't really even worth looking at the ingredients list because the fruit itself has citric acid in it, before you get to the added stuff.

Blueberry juice may appear ok on the scan, BUT 100% of the cartons I've checked have added citric acid to help shelf life. Sucks, I know.

So, for pure fruit juices you are stuck with apple, and always check the carton. If the actual phrase 'citric acid' or 'E330' aren't present then you're good to take a swig (although not before you've paid for it....)

Dilutables-wise, apple again. Are you sensing a theme here?

As usual, always check the label, but I can vouch for both this 'High Juice' from Tesco, and the equivalent drink sold at the co-op

(Although they are both packed full of sugar, and you might be best off just drinking your water plain. Still, it is nice to have options)

N.B. Homemade fruit juices (of apple, pear, blueberry) will be drinkable UNLESS the maker has added orange/lemon (as they often do). If you press fruit yourself the fruit juice will be perfectly fine (and delicious!)

Saturday, 20 October 2012

"Help, we're eating out!" - Coffee House 101

Ok, picture the scene: you're out with friends, you're getting tired. Time for a sit down and a drink. You enter the coffee house.

What CAN I drink?

You're tired, you're starting to get hungry...

 Is there anything I can eat? 

Let's start with the basics:

All the coffees are out (caffeine) as are the hot chocolates (cocoa powder). However, if you are lucky enough to not be allergic to caffeine or cocoa, I can tell you that neither contain citric acid. Even decaff coffee still has some caffeine in it.

You may be able to drink the apple juice most of these places sell in bottles. Check the label, but the careful - citric acid is tricksy and has been know to hide under the name E330.

If they serve white hot chocolate that is an option.

Banana, toffee or white chocolate milkshakes are USUALLY ok, depending on the ice-cream they are using. Ask to see the packet, especially in countries other then England, because I can't vouch for what other places use as standard. Be careful of apple milkshakes (they may use apple sauce, and the preservative in that is...)

Do not assume you can eat the blueberry muffins. Some places add lemon juice.
As far as food goes, it is sandwiches (check no salad, which butter, no cheese, mayonnaise brand) or things in a packet listing the ingredients, I'm afraid.

I can now vouch for the Starbucks blueberry muffin.That is the regular one, not the skinny.Who knows, skinny one might be alright as well - but I cannot vouch for it.

I'll report back if I find other things in my wanderings, because I love coffee shops.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Hot Drink Ideas for the Caffeine and Cocoa Intolerant

'No Caf' is a beautiful thing.

An alternative hot drink, by the time you get milk and sugar in with it it is a very acceptable coffee alternative. If all you need is a hot drink that isn't going to kill you, you just found it.

They sell it at Holland and Barrett, and I am definitely not doing it justice!

Whole Earth Organic - No Caf Coffee

Another option is white hot chocolate. Be warned, this stuff is very sweet. 'Options' do a low calorie one, although I find you have to add about four times the amount they say to get it to taste of much. By which point you could have gone to Whittard and got some of this...

Thursday, 18 October 2012

"Help, we're eating out!" - The Chip Shop

Seeing as takeout and restaurant food generally doesn't come with ingredient lists, you have to be pretty careful when you order. the chippy.

  • You can order fish and chips without worrying. Oh, but in and eat-in situation you may need to specify that you don't want lemon on/with it. Salt and vinegar are both safe (vinegar has...ascorbic acid? Mallic? Either way it isn't citric, and that makes all the difference here)

  • Beef burgers are ok, (including the battered ones) as long as you don't get salad on it (yes, lettuce contains citric acid!). I am not sure about gherkins, so I'd play it safe. No ketchup (tomatoes!), so I'm afraid if you are getting this option you'll probably be eating it plain.

  • Beware the sausages!! They might be ok, they might not. Best to steer clear.

  • Pies and puddings: There are so, so many different issues factors here, What butter was used in the pastry? Are the pies fresh? If not, did they have citric acid added to make them keep? What kind of gravy was used inside them? To me it isn't worth the hassle.

  • Sides.... well, curry sauce is almost certain to contain citric acid. Mushy peas are probably ok. Gravy is a chance; which brand do they use? If you ask they might have a package with an ingredients list you can study.

Protein Sources 101: Meat, Eggs and Tofu


Not a lot to say about eggs. Totally safe. Convenient for the allergy restricted vegetarian.

If you are a fan of butter in your scrambled egg, remember to check the packet.


Again, tofu itself is ok. Watch out for what it is packaged in. I know that the 'cauldron' brand is ok (you can get it in Tesco, Morrisons, and probably other supermarkets).

Soy sauce is good on this. I recommend this recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie as absolutely delicious!

And, last but not least...

As you may have gathered from other places, most fresh meat is edible to someone even with the list of intolerances in my header!

As a rule, tinned meat is also ok. I can vouch for tinned tuna, spam, and that potted ham stuff.

One thing you do have to be careful of, though, is if you were ever a fan of those tinned/jarred hot-dogs that are basically plastic. Some brands are fine, while others contain (you guessed it!) citric acid.

I'm not sure what else there is to say on that one. If it is fresh you know you're safe.

If you are buying fish, though, be careful they have not already added garlic butter to it (some brands of margarine and butter contain citric acid) and that they have not added lemon!

Extra note: be careful of your gravy! The red and yellow bisto are safe, but you really need to check the packets as many are not.

And if you're serving up a joint, the cranberry sauce is out I'm afraid, as is anything lemon (obviously). I'm unsure about bread sauce, as I never liked the stuff. Apple sauce is ok if you made it yourself  but many supermarket brands add citric acid to help it keep longer. As I said, check the label.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Coca-Cola and Pepsi - which are safe?

Technically (caffeine being off the menu) these should not be consumed, but... well, sometimes you NEED a caffeine hit. Even when you're not meant to (If you're me, especially when you're not meant to!)

If you have ever glanced at the ingredients in a bottle of cola, you'll probably be horrified by the amount of ingredients. Including citric acid.

But all is not lost!

For some strange reason, even though pretty much every other type of cola has the dreaded citric acid in it,

  Coca-Cola zero


have been left unscathed. That only includes the original sugar-packed Pepsi, but considering all the shouting being done about artificial sweeteners, you might be better off with the sugar.

Are there ANY safe fizzy drinks?

Ok, so you're now faced with the dilemma of trying to find something fizzy to drink. You could take the high road and say,

"Well, fizzy drinks were bad for me anyway. I'm better off without."

Unfortunately, I have never been a campaigner for that approach. I like to keep the options open!

As far as fizzy goes, you're pretty limited, I'm afraid. Thankfully (because there is always a bright side!) what there is seems to be sold pretty widely, so you won't have to go to outer Mongolia for your carbonated fix.

So, I present to you...

Tango apple

Both the bottles and cans of this are safe to drink. Convenient, as I always thought it was the best one, anyway!

Sparkling Rubicon Mango
(N.B. Check you are getting the sparkling Rubicon Mango NOT the still one. The still one contains citric acid. Don't ask me why.)

Again, both the can and bottle are safe to drink.

"If only Ferrero Roche came in white..."

Apparently they do!

Although these are not the classic hazelnut flavour, they remain amazing.

"Well, what are they like?"

Shredded coconut covering over a crisp shell. This is filled with a praline cream and a crunchy central almond.


I've seen them available in Morrisons for sure, but other places may carry them. Plus, not you know about them, you can poach the white ones when anyone else gets the mixed ferrero box!