It is always hard to see your child get sick. But when our younger son, Ben, was just a few months old, he developed chronic eczema and began to lose weight. At five months, he had his first allergic reaction to his first taste of formula milk. It was clear he was ‘atopic’,
his little immune system was in overdrive and he seemed to be allergic to everything.
Weaning, therefore, became an excruciatingly drawn-out and terrifying ordeal, requiring
military-style organisation. Because Ben might have an allergic reaction to any new food,
we learned early on to wait at least 48 hours after previous reactions. We had to pick
mornings when his brother was in school, in case we needed to deal with ambulances and
hospitals. We learned to touch the food to his lip first, to minimise the initial reaction. I
kept an emergency hospital overnight bag ready by the front door for years – just in case.
The hospital’s nutritional advice, was well meant and helpful. But I was frustrated when
there didn’t appear to be a comprehensive list of simple recipes I could follow, that
would suit Ben’s particular needs. So, necessity being the mother of invention, I began
experimenting with our favourite family recipes. Our elder son, Sebastian, coined the
name Hunter’s Pie, which was one of our first ‘combined’ family dishes that was
completely ‘Ben friendly’.
So it was serendipitous that Chloe was willing to help me assemble some of the recipes into a format that might help other families in the same situation. Three years, and much hard work, time and frustration later, here it is - A collection of recipes which are completely free of dairy and egg products. We have also, where possible, tried to offer alternatives for gluten and nut ingredients too.
I am proud to say that every single recipe photograph was taken by me just minutes before
the dish was served to the family. Chloe and I sincerely hope that you will enjoy the recipes
as much as we have enjoyed discovering them.