Meet Lisa Munro from Happy Tummies, a website specialising in food allergies that makes it easy to find natural, organic and allergy free food your family will love.
She is sharing her tips on learning to cook with new foods, which is something parents with kids that have food allergies need to master. Take it away Lisa………….
When my son was first diagnosed with food allergies aged three and half we needed to remove dairy, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts and soy from his diet. I wasn’t so worried about the rest but no dairy was another story! That’s what my food phobic boy lived on. I can remember saying to the doctor “What am I going to feed him?” and said unsympathetically “I don’t know, feed him rice milk. I’ll see you in 6 weeks”. We had a really tough few weeks while we were adjusting to this new diet and the fact that my 3 year old was really, really stubborn about what he would eat made life very difficult for me. The difference in our miserable little boy however was evident within 3 days – it was like a miracle! After a positive diagnosis to eosinophilic oesophagitis following an endoscopy I had to remove more food and then he also couldn’t have wheat, rice, fish / shellfish and beef. Things just went to a whole new level of hard!
I’ve learnt a lot about allergy free cooking over the last few years and I wanted to share what I’ve learnt with anyone new to allergy free or gluten free cooking.
- Keep your cooking simple to start with while you get used to it.
- Once you get more confident it’s important that you start with a great recipe. When you’re new to allergy free or gluten free cooking it’s difficult to modify your old favourite recipes. I recommend you buy a couple of good allergy free cookbooks or scour the internet for a few good websites with recipes that suit your family.
- Take your time when you bake or cook. Read the recipe fully and don’t hurry. Sounds simple I know but when I first started allergy free cooking I wasn’t doing this and trust it really makes a difference.
- The first time you make a recipe follow it closely. In allergy free cooking, especially baking, the quantities used can make a really big difference to the final product. I usually make a recipe as it is the first time to ensure success, and then I modify to suit my needs on subsequent attempts. Invest in a good set of kitchen scales if you don’t have some so that you can weigh ingredients.
- If you modify a recipe, make sure what you write down what you did so that if it works you can make it again and if it doesn’t you know not to do that again next time.
- Start with recipes you know your family will like. There is no point making things they’re not used to. Make the transition easy and try and cook things they’re more likely to enjoy to start with.
- Plan ahead to make sure you have all of the ingredients you will need. This is really important if you are just starting out because you may not have some of the ingredients you will need.
- Be really careful of contamination. If you use potential allergens in your home for other members of the family ensure when you are cooking for family members with allergies that you work in a clean area with clean utensils.
- Accept that you will have failures from time to time. Use the failure to learn and try to use a failure to make something else so you don’t waste expensive ingredients. You can turn a failed cake into cake pops, failed biscuits into a crumble topping on stewed fruit etc.
- Have fun! Embrace that you have lots to learn and see it as a challenge.
Allergy Free Chocolate Cake
Free from gluten, wheat, dairy, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, can be egg free.
What you’ll need:
– 150g sorghum flour
– 80g potato starch
– 70g sunflower seeds
– 70g raw cacao powder
– 200g rapadura (or sugar)
– 1 tsp bi-carb soda
– 2 tsp baking powder
– pinch of salt
– 1 1/2 tsp xanthan or guar gum (you can leave this out if you prefer but the texture will be more crumbly)
– 2 tsp vanilla extract
– 250g coconut oil
– 250mls dairy free milk
– 2 eggs
Note: For no eggs make a “chia egg”. Add 2 tablespoons chia seeds to 120mls water and let it sit until it gels.
Add as you would normal eggs.
1. Pre-heat oven to 180 celcius and line pan with baking paper
2. Mix together all dry ingredients in food processor until sunflower seeds are ground fine (TM speed 9/20 secs)
3. Add remaining wet ingredients and mix until smooth (TM speed 4/10 secs, scrape down speed 4/5 secs)
4. Pour into prepared pan
5. Place into pre-warmed oven for approx. 40 minutes – test to make sure it’s cooked through
6. After 5 minutes, turn out and leave to cool on wire rack
7. Ice as desired
8. EAT. SHARE. ENJOY!
For more fantastic tips on all things allergies including delicious recipes, inspiring information and an online shop full of allergy friendly foods and products
Go and pay a visit to the Happy Tummies Website
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Let us know in the comments what new ingredients you have mastered in the kitchen and which ones you are still yet to try.