Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Possible vaccine for peanut allergy ?

Last week on the 7.30 Report on the ABC there was a segment on allergies. This link takes you to a transcript and the segment itself (although I'm not sure how long the video on demand is archived). Not much in the show was news, it was mainly concerned with awareness raising, however I something that I was unaware of, reasearchers from Melbourne's very own Alfred Hospital "are leading the world in developing a peanut vaccine they hope could be available within five to 10 years". Neat stuff.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Happy Birthday to me... afternoon tea sandwiches

I recently had an afternoon tea party to celebrate reaching 40. Mostly it was for me, though naturally I catered carefully for Hannah. She was particularly excited to make and decorate a cake for me (chocolate cake with pink icing, dinosaurs and jelly beans - very sweet!) and she helped me blow out the candles.

I did make a few things that were not Hannah-safe. Partly because I adore fancy cake making and decided that my birthday treat to myself was to take a day off work and cook up a storm. And partly because I felt I've been very overprotective of what my girl encounters and feel that now that she is old enough to understand she can't eat everything. I'm unsure it's the right thing to do though. Poor mite look so crestfallen when she saw the chocolate hazelnut dacquoise put on the table and could see it wasn't for her. Of course when the fairy bread appeared she forgot all about it, but I felt a bit mean. Any thoughts...

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
salt and pepper
white wine vinegar
light wholemeal bread sliced very thinly and lightly buttered

Peel the cucumber and slice into very thin slices. Sprinkle with a little of the vinegar and a little salt and allow to drain in a seive for about 1/2 hour. Pat dry with a paper towel and place 2 layers of cucumber on the bread, sprinkling light with some black pepper, then topping with anoth er slice of bread. Trim off the crusts and cut into small triangles.

Goat Cheese and Watercress Tea Sandwiches
Soft fresh goat cheese
watercress leaves washed and chopped finely
salt and pepper
sliced lightly buttered white bread

Spread the goat cheese on the bread, season and add a watercress. I like a lot, but this does impact on the structural integrity of the sandwich. Mixing the cheese and watercress beforehand may help. Top with another slice of bread. Trim off the crusts and cut into small triangles.

Smoked Salmon Sandwiches
cream cheese
smoked salmon
salt and pepper
lemon juice
freshly chopped dill and chives
sliced lightly buttered white bread

Spread cream cheese on the bread, season and cover in salmon. Squeeze on a little lemon juice and sprinkle dill and chives to taste. Top with another slice of bread. Trim off the crusts and cut into small triangles.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Allergy Awareness time

Ria from Check my tag left a comment pointing out that next week in the USA it is Allergy Awareness Week. In Australia this week is Anaphylaxis Awareness Week. We've been very lucky in not having first hand knowledge of an Anaphylaxis reaction, but under the advice of Hannah's allergy doctor we always have an Epipen at hand.

Hannah's allergies were diagnosed when she was a breast-feeding baby (she reacted to the eggs and nut proteins in my breast milk from what I was eating), and so far we have been able been able to avoid her ingesting either allergan. I have a sense of what we're up against by her reaction to sesame seeds, which according to the prick tests and the advice of the doctor are not a serious reaction. If Hannah ends up eating a one or two seeds her face almost instantly goes a blotchy itchy red for the rest of the day.

Now that Hannah's nearly four I feel that I can say we are managing really well. Cooking for her has stopped being a problem. She goes to a childcare centre a couple of days a week. The centre has a nut-free policy, and are committed to making sure it is a safe environment (Hannah is one of a number of kids in this small centre with allergy issues). Eating out is never going to be stress free but I'm good at always carrying safe snacks with me and am ever appreciative with the friends and family who take the issue seriously and cater for her. However in February 2009 my girl will start primary school and I must say that the thought fills me with a certain amount of terror. But we will face that when we need to.