Cooking for an Allergy–Free Lifestyle is a book with a difference. It is written by a person with allergies, for people with allergies, but the recipes in its pages are as delicious as any dairy-laden, wheat-ridden, egg-loaded dish. Most importantly, this book is for easy cooking. It is not an exercise in paint by numbers: it offers outlines for you to add and take away, mix and match to create your original. My aims are that you don’t spend hours in the kitchen cooking, yet still produce allergy-friendly, delicious foods and to help you to alter your own ‘family favourite’ recipes to make them ‘allergy safe’.
If you or someone close to you suffers from allergies – this book is a must have.
My name is Tammi. I’m 40, married (to Larry) and have 3 great sons: Joey, 13, Lennie, 11 and Sam who is 8. My career journey began as an artist and fashion designer. Marriage, and then children, shifted my focus and I was no longer drawn to fashion-design. I decided to take some time off to be a mom. During this period, we immigrated to Seattle, USA and emigrated back to Cape Town, South Africa. I taught preschool, ran summer camps and, in between, encountered some major allergy issues.
I have a sensitivity to wheat, gluten and sugar. Then along came my first-born, Joey, who was breastfed but still managed to suffer from wheat and dairy issues (with some mould and dust mite sensitivities thrown in too). Lennie, who came second, had to avoid gluten and dairy … ok add (actually take away) orange, pineapple, kiwi, strawberry, white potato (no chips!), tomato, peppers, aubergine…and anything including these items. A few years on came Sam … egg, soya, dairy, wheat, nuts, peanuts (don’t worry we’re doing better – he can now have wheat and soy)…and all of these with the threat of anaphylactic shock hanging over our heads. Heavens, you say, what did they eat??? Good question, because with all the processed food around, they still manage to eat a ton of wonderful food.
I want to share our family secrets and recipes with you because I know how hard it is to be ‘alone’ with allergies – your own or your children’s: to not be able to eat what other people are eating; to be afraid to send your children to places where they might encounter a substance which seems so innocuous to others, but which could be fatal to them; to be judged ‘difficult’ or ‘weird’ by others who don’t understand why you can’t just do what everyone else is doing. Well, there are ways to be able to have your cake (even if it is wheat/gluten/ egg/ dairy-free) and eat it too. This book makes it easy, and shows how my family, with all with our weird and wonderful allergies, live a normal life. People often stare at me in disbelief and pity: you can’t have x and y and z and more? Well, this book is filled with yummy foods which are yummy regardless of allergies, and it gives alternatives which are easy and delicious.
Food is the very first pleasure we experience. The preparation of food is an act of love – the sharing of it with family and friends, its consummation. The main ingredients for successful cooking are enthusiasm, perseverance, a spirit of adventure and the anticipation of joy. These ingredients are essential to every recipe. Having said this, you need a well organized and well stocked pantry too!
I am a firm believer in being organized. When you’re baking a batch, bake two, freeze one for those last minute play-dates, school lunches etc. Have a few extra casseroles and soups in the freezer. Wheat-free breads freeze well and save the schlep when you can’t just pop in to your local café to buy a loaf – I know it saves my sanity over and over again!
In the book I include a shopping list for stocking your pantry to use as a guideline for making your own master list. I keep mine on computer and print it out each month. Having a stock of items is insurance against having to rush out and buy an exorbitantly expensive ready-made item (like gluten-free biscuits), and allows you to always have an alternative at hand for those one or two children who can’t have x y or z.
Cooking for an Allergy- Free Lifestyle is a highly practical book, with emphasis on convenience and quality of cooking. We live in the age of information. Despite its many benefits, we sometimes find it difficult to distinguish the practical, useful ideas amidst the flood with which we are constantly bombarded. I hope that this book provides clarity in the ‘how to’ of living a balanced and affordable allergy-friendly lifestyle! By returning to the basics, and simplifying our choices (and our recipes), we can eat delicious food that maintains our good health…and not go broke or crazy in the process!!!
CHOCOLATE CHIP & ORANGE CUT OUT COOKIES
Makes 25 – 30 cookies
¾ cups Butter or Margarine (at room temperature)
¼ cups Icing sugar (sieved)
1 cups self raising flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ - 1 teaspoon grated orange zest (peel, not rind of orange)
60g (2oz) plain chocolate chips
1. Place all the ingredients (except the chocolate chips) in a medium sized bowl and mix until just blended. Sprinkle over the chocolate chips and mix them in. On a lightly floured surface knead the dough until pliable and – form it into a ball and cover it with cling wrap. Chill dough in the fridge for an hour or until you are ready to bake.
2. Heat oven to 350°F (180°C) . Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface till it is about ½ cm thick. Cut into shapes using a variety of cookie cutters. Place on either a sheet of ungreased baking parchment or a baking tray sprayed with a non stick spray.
3. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, keep watch as these cookies burn easily. Remove from oven and allow to cool while next batch is baking. Enjoy!
Tip: Double the recipe and freeze a batch!
EASY YUMMY BROWNIES
Egg Free; Wheat Free; Nut Free; Dairy Free alt Gluten Free; Soy Free
1 cup Barley flour (for Gluten Free use Rice or Soy flour)
1 cup Rice flour
1 cup rye flour (for Gluten Free use almond meal or millet flour)
1 cup ordinary Maize meal/ flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 ½ cup sugar OR 1 ¼ cup fructose/ xylitol
1 cup soy milk + ¼ cup (for soy-free – use Rice milk)
¼ cup sunflower oil
2 teaspoon vanilla essence
4 teaspoon baking powder
2 cup black coffee
Approx ½ cup black chocolate chunks or chips
* gluten free flours respond better to using real egg, if possible, to bind.
1. Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C).
2. Combine flours, cocoa, sugar, no egg (powder only, don’t mix) and baking powder in a large bowl and whisk dry ingredients together.
3. In a separate bowl combine 1 cup soy milk, oil, water and vanilla essence and mix. If using fresh eggs lightly whisk and then blend into ‘wet mix’ before adding to dry. Make a well in centre of dry ingredients and pour in wet mixture. Stir with a whisk until just blended. The consistency is that of a thick batter.
4. Pour into a greased lined rectangular casserole dish or two brownie pans lined (with baking parchment).
5. Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and mixture pulls away from the sides. Leave to stand for 10 minutes. Invert cake out onto a serving platter and carefully remove parchment. With a kebab stick or toothpick poke about 20 holes in the cake. This will allow the sauce to seep into the brownies.
Sauce: place chocolate and soy milk in a small pot over low heat or in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds on high. Stir and return to micro for a further 30 seconds. Stir mixture to blend and spoon over warm cake smoothing with a spatula or back of a spoon. Cut into squares and sift over a little icing sugar just before serving.
ASIAN BEEF & NOODLE SOUP
Dairy Free; Nut Free; Egg Free
This soup is light but, filling and has an interesting combination of flavours:
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 tablespoon soy sauce or Tamari (wheat free soy sauce)
2 tablespoon chili sauce or regular tomato sauce
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 packet rice noodle sticks
2½ cups red or green cabbage - thinly sliced
3 carrots, peeled - cut in slices
1 cup button mushrooms - sliced
½ cup frozen corn kernels
250g minute steak/ tenderized steak - thinly sliced into strips and stir fried
4 spring onions - thinly sliced
2 tsp sesame oil (optional)
1. Stir fry sliced beef in a little oil over high heat. Remove from pan and set aside.
2. Mix stock, soy sauce, chili sauce, ginger, garlic and pepper in a large pot.
3. Bring to a simmer; add cabbage and carrot; cook 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, corn and noodles; simmer 3 minutes. Add beef and green onion. Heat through. Stir in sesame oil. Two minutes before serving throw in the broken up rice noodles.
Note: cooked, chopped chicken may be used instead of beef.
for more allergy friendly recipes.