Sunday, 3 July 2011

Upcoming experimental baking with Bob

Bob turned five a few months back and is off to school in August. I feel now is the time he needs to learn to fully appreciate his multiple food allergies, and I am going to be working with him over the next few years ( and longer) to teach him how to make foods for himself. Decided now was a good starting point as they stay over once a week, but time I pick them up after school and then mummy picks them back up next morning in time for school the next morning there is not a lot of time to spend baking. But the Scottish school holidays have started so we will have time to have fun every week.

He cant just walk into a butcher and buy a pie or a baker and buy a cake, and he already knows this, and has got to the stage where he has noticed  that he is different from his friends. At mother and toddlers his mum just provided all his snacks, at nursery the school have provided foods for him and made sure he snacked at different time from the other children to reduce any risk to him.

He has had too many anaphylactic reactions,  he knows exactly what it is and that he needs taken away in an ambulance to get treated often en-route as well as at the hospital. He knows this can be triggered by certain food groups but he also has recently been diagnosed with idiopathic anaphylaxis, and this can strike day or night for no reason what so ever. We as a family also know that any one of these reactions can technically kill him, but we cant afford to think like that

He is starting to take notice of things like Grandma uses inhalers and takes antihistamines on a daily basis, like him, and that sometimes grandma needs to take steroids and phone an ambulance to help her with her breathing like he does. 
Grandma, Mummy and Uncle S cant take dairy like him. Auntie T can't eat gluten as she is coeliac like him, though she has only been for the last 2 or 3 years.  So for all that he is different than a lot of his friends he is not all that different from his family and that these things are ( probably) with him for life.

We as a family tend to make all our own food, as we don't have a lot of choice, we don't buy pre-made food, and  I have always baked for our family. It is dead easy to make dairy free cakes, plenty of soya margarine out there, but to make stuff that is wheat, gluten, egg, dairy, and nut free is a different challenge altogether.

We use one cake recipe for Bob that is tolerable if eaten within 24 hrs of baking, but it uses banana as an egg replacer, and I am now trying to broaden my skills and his diet by trying different things, a cake that does not taste of banana will be different, and using it as a learning curve for him and his 8 year old sister. We as a family read labels very carefully both at the time of buying food and again before we use it. When we do a baking for all we know we have used x, y and z as ingredients before manufacturers do change their recipe and not tell you, we will read the list again before we start. Fifi now reads all labels before she gives anything to her brother, if she sees something in my house I am going to use in the meal preparation that she has not seen before she will check the ingredients to satisfy herself I am not going to kill her little brother and have to chuckle to myself cos Bob now turns a carton upside down and checks it is safe for him as well. I realise he cannot read, but this is standing him in good steed for when he is older and he can,  because ultimately his life is in his own hands. 

Experimenting is what we are going to be doing, most recipes adapt one ingredient, we are having to adapt eggs, dairy and gluten, which is not easy. Can you make pancakes using substitutes for all three, I dont know but we are going to try!! What cakes can we achieve with different egg substitutes? What mix of flours works best with each egg substitute? This is what we are going to be working on.

To allow me to do this I have contacted varying companies, and have been donated a mini cup cake maker and lots of different baking ingredients as well as some different milks. Another post coming up on who is supplying me with what in the next few days once my freebies turn up,  as some have agreed to send me out freebies to experiment and blog about. You will get the good and the bad, the wonderful and the total disaster. But if it helps other people cope with their multiple food allergy then it will all be worth while. 

On the basis of this I am still looking for a sponsor to donate me a yoghurt maker and an ice-cream maker so we again can experiment with different non dairy types of products, and tell the whole world about the things he can now eat. This is an ideal way of getting calcium into a non milk drinking child who takes high doses of steroids that destroy your bones. If anybody knows of anyone then please ask them to get in touch. I have tried my local freecycle and friends circle but no luck Im afraid.


  1. What a fab Gran you are! Poor Bob he really goes through it with his allergies doesn't he?

    I think it's wonderful what you are doing with him especially to teach him to cook for himself! Cannot wait to see more! :)

    another good egg replacer for cakes is; 1/2 cup of apple puree mixed with 1/2 tsp baking powder (to replace 1 egg.

  2. thanks for that one ibakewithout, another to add to my recipe book.
    he doesnt know any other life so is a happy wee boy who juts gets on with it.

  3. It must be so frightening dealing with his allergies, as they sound so life threatening to be honest. You're doing a brilliant thing getting him involved in cooking and being responsible for his own diet a little, it'll stand him in good stead when he's older. Have you tried Healthy Supplies who I've blogged for? I bet they'd be interested? Or maybe Morphy Richards (@MrLoveYourHome ?

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  5. yes it can be frightening, its also a huge responsibility as he is not mine!! unfortunately yes his allergies are life threatening and he has been brought back more than once in the ambulance. But he is here, he needs to be fed and as you say he needs to be responsible for himself eventually so that's what this is all in aid of.
    I have stuff coming out from varying companies this week, and will say who and what in my next post when I will post pictures and thank yous.

  6. I'm coeliac and my daughter is dairy intolerant. so we have 2 dietary restrictions by necessity, but I'm also vegetarian and was veggie long before i was diagnosed coeliac.
    So I can completely appreciate the problems you have trying to buy 'normal' food. It gets to be quite an art, being able to read labels. I'm at the stage now where I can spot a veggie, gluten free or dairy free sign at 100 metres :-) Good luck to you all and to Bob. Keep up the good work!

  7. yes suewilly it is an art, and not so bad when you only have one allergy....biggest problem now is so many companies mark things "may contain traces of nuts"...just cant take the risk with that one.


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