FOOD allergies can cause a world of misery in a family – even if you’re not the sufferer, but the one having to get creative at mealtimes day after day.
Negotiating the mine-field of what constitutes truly wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free and nut-free will very soon become, well, fun-free.
It does help to have an arsenal of fool-proof recipes to rely on – and a pantry stocked with ingredients that have been given the all clear.
Tammi Forman, who herself suffers from food allergies, has a new cookery book titled Cooking for an Allergy-Free Lifestyle.
In it she not only suggests suitable substitutes for allergy- inducing ingredients, but provides a host of recipes, including for breakfasts, salads, soups, mains, desserts and baked goods like cakes, breads and biscuits.
The recipes are every bit as yummy as those containing dairy, wheat or egg and, most of the time, just as affordable. The recipes are mostly also quick and easy to prepare.
In addition, Tammi offers a host of practical tips on “normalising” meal times when one or more family members are plagued by allergy.
Scroll down on The Global Table blog below as we test one of Tammi’s recipes for an Asian-style beef and noodle soup that is light but nourishing, and is sure to become a firm family favourite.
* Cooking for an Allergy-Free Lifestyle, by Tammi Forman, is published by Struik Lifestyle and costs R180.
Recipe: Asian Beef and Noodle Soup
Tammi says you can substitute cooked chicken for the beef as well.
250g minute/tenderised steak, thinly sliced into strips; 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock; 3 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari (wheat-free soy sauce); 2 Tbsp chilli sauce or regular tomato sauce (we used sweet chilli sauce); 1 Tbsp ground ginger; 1 Tbsp crushed garlic; a pinch of cayenne pepper, 2 1/2 cups thinly-sliced red or green cabbage (we used green); 3 carrots, peeled and sliced into strips; 1 cup sliced button mushrooms; 1/2 frozen corn kernels; 4 spring onions, thinly sliced; 2 tsp sesame oil (optional); 1 x 250g packet rice noodles, broken up
Stir-fry the beef strips in a little oil over a high heat. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Mix the stock, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and cayenne pepper in a large pot, bring to a simmer.
Add the cabbage and carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and corn, and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the beef and spring onions, heat through and then stir in the sesame oil (if using).
A couple of minutes before serving, throw in the broken-up rice noodles and mix well.
The Global Table Verdict
This is a lovely, healthy recipe that has some nice flavours to it and yes, we would most definitely make it again! We did do a few substitutions though – instead of ground ginger we used fresh for better flavour; and we did use the sesame oil as per Tammi’s suggestion, which definitely benefited the dish. We replaced the button mushrooms with a punnet of Woolworths’ exotic mushrooms, as this seemed to add a more authentic (and attractive) Asian touch, but obviously there is a cost factor to that. We do recommend frying the mushrooms ever so lightly though before adding them to the soup as their flavours are released better that way. Lastly, we used buckwheat noodles instead of rice noodles simply because we didn’t have any rice noodles in stock! This dish is something you should make and serve right away, so the veggies retain their crunch. The veggies will be quite soggy the next day, as will the noodles – if you nevertheless want to keep a bit for lunch you could cook the noodles separately and serve them in the individually-plated soups, so that they don’t end up absorbing all the liquid from the soup by the next day.