We are fortunate in the Fuss Free household that neither of us has any food allergies; we do have our preferences and there are things that we would prefer not to eat – raw onion and celery both being near the top of the list – but these are dislikes and are trivial when compared to real food allergies where eating the wrong thing can make you very ill or even in the worse case kill you.
I am acutely aware of allergies – one of my friends is allergic to nuts and thus I am very careful when cooking, and to minimise cross contamination I’ll try not to use any nuts in the kitchen for a day or so before she comes over. I would never attempt to cook for someone with coeliac disease – we bake bread several times a week and however carefully we clean the kitchen I could not be confident that a speck of gluten containing flour would not get into their food.
Whenever I need to cook for someone with an allergy I somewhat paradoxically focus on the ingredient I should not be using so much I create an entire meal around it to be served at another time. If I know someone is allergic to, say mushrooms, I immediately conjurer up a dish of home made pasta flavoured with dried mushrooms, served with a creamy wild mushroom sauce and topped with truffle shavings. Certainly a delicious idea for another occasion.
The quarterly Eating Smart magazine from Woman & Home aims to show that eating Free From food need not be boring and can taste amazing. The current issue is brimming with 101 sumptuous gluten and dairy free recipes that can be ready to eat in less than 30 minutes.
What struck me with the magazine was how it focussed on what you can eat – as opposed to what you cannot – which is a very positive way to think about food allergies. I know I’d far rather be eating a delicious kipper hash, or apple soaked porridge for my breakfast rather than the usual toast.
The magazine covers all your meals and occasions, light lunches, to show case entertaining. Meals at home or on the go as well as tasty low calorie meals. I am feeling very tempted by the show stopper cake on the cover, not only gluten and dairy free but also vegan!
It was a hard task to pick a recipe to make from the magazine, I was torn between a Asian belly of pork with stir-fried vegetables from Mary Berry, or gammon steaks with mustard, or tikka masala mackerel skewers. In the end I handed the magazine to Ed to choose and he picked the pan-fired salmon with crispy fried bacon and peas, which not only was incredibly simple to make (only using one pan to minimise washing up), it was delicious, filling and satisfying. (We slightly adapted the recipe and used double the peas and beetroot)
Recipe: Salmon with peas, beetroot and bacon
- 4 rashers streaky bacon
- 2 spring onions sliced
- 225 g frozen peas
- 100 g cooked beetroot (marinated in sweet chilli, diced)
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 x 175g fillets of salmon
- Snip the bacon into pieces with a pair of scissors and fry until crisp. Remove from the pan and place on a piece of kitchen paper to absorb the fat.
- Add the spring onions and peas to the pan with a little water and steam fry until the peas are cooked. Add the beetroot and cook for another minute. Transfer to a serving dish and keep warm
- Add the oil to the pan and fry the salmon for a few minutes on each side until cooked through.
- Put the cooked salmon fillets on top of the pea mixture and serve immediately
If you think you have a food allergy please seek advice from your GP. If cooking for friends with food allergies please do ask their advice and requirements for minimising cross contamination.
This is a sponsored post for Woman & Home Eating Smart Magazine. All opinions are our own.
Love beetroot, love salmon this one’s a winner for me! Lovely recipe and photograph – I could eat the page!
It was delicious. And really very filling as there were barely any simple carbs.
Focusing on what you can eat is always the best option. Beautiful photo Helen.
I agree, feel abundance rather than deprived!
Thank you very much for sharing this. In our house we have between us allergies to gluten, dairy, potatoes (including potato starch – in a lot of gluten free products), peanuts, soya, all woody nightshades (tomatoes, aubergines, peppers) and onions. Everything has to be made from scratch and shopping and cooking take a fair bit of effort. I will definately be trying to get hold of a copy of this, and the recipe is great (minus the spring onions for DD)
That is quite a list of things to avoid Heather, and must have been a steep learning curve for creative cookery. Let me know what you think of the magazine.
Nayna Kanabar (@SIMPLYF00D)
Such a good way to promote healthy eating I know from personal experience people say to me what do you eat since you are a vegetarian. They don’t realise that by opting out of certain foods does not restrict what you eat and you can find variety from foods you can eat.
Sine we started making a conscious effort to eat less animal products we probably eat a wider variety of foods Nayna. There are so many amazing grains, lentils and beans out there that make a good staple to most meals. I try and buy a different vegetable each week too.
This looks really delicious, not a free from meal but simply a very tasty one. GG
Absolutely the right way to look at it. Focus on the tasty things you can eat.
I do have a few food allergies and I’m very aware of the dangers, although I’ve never been badly hit, because my mum did go into anaphylaxic shock from a wasp allergy. And it’s a strange thing how having to avoid one ingredient really makes you CRAVE just that. I watched my two co-cooks at today’s event adding loads of strawberries to their Greek dessert, after we realised we could each make our own flavour combination – and that was just after I’d explained I couldn’t eat them! Nice post Helen
How scary having a history of anaphylaxic shock in the family Fiona and wasps are something that you have very little control over unless you never go outside during the summer. Re your yoghurt experience I think that unless people know someone with allergies it just tends to wash over them, even when explicitly told. I think that the growing number of people claiming an intolerance when in reality they simply do not like something does no favours for those who have genuine health or life threatening alergies.
As someone Gluten intolerant it is a fab thing to consider more what you can eat – and how creative you can end up being!
There are so many naturally gluten free options too – bake with corn and nuts rather than gluten free regular products.
Franglais kitchen, Nazima
what a lovely picture and recipe. I do like the Woman and Home spinoffs they do like this one. will have to check it out
It was a really nice magazine Nazima, lots of lovely ideas that just happened to be gluten or dairy free.
What a useful guide. Having hosted supper clubs I know how tricky it can be catering for people’s varying dietary needs. Even though I don’t have any allergies or sensitivities myself, I may get a copy of this to keep on file in case of guests who do.
It is very tricky. I know that my kitchen would be safe for someone with coeliac disease as it is impossible to make bread by hand and not get specks of flour everywhere.
Bintu @ Recipes From A Pantry
I am coming more and more round to beetroot. So much so that I am asking OH to plant some this year. I reckon it would be great paired with salmon. I need to check this magazine out.
I was very impressed by the magazine Bintu. Lots of lovely ideas.
The sight of a good salmon dish makes me weak in the knees, lovely photo Helen! I do have some very weird and bad allergies and its always heartening to know thats theres a way around! Need to get my hand on this magazine NOW!
It is a lovely magazine, I do hope you find some things in there that you will enjoy.
I am trying to eat more fish and this is a great recipe