The New Zealand Food Allergy Cookbook, by Allergy New Zealand
(Hachette Livre, $39.99)
If your child is lactose-intolerant, allergic to nuts, or needs to follow a gluten-free diet, you know the torture of reading food labels in the supermarket and trying to find recipes for meals the whole family can eat, rather than cooking separate food for your child. This cookbook aims to change all that, with over 20 recipes with wheat, gluten, dairy, egg, soy and nut-free options.
The cookbook was written by Ros Campbell and Jill Macfarlane for Allergy New Zealand, so not only are these recipes tailored for ingredients readily available in New Zealand, they're also inclusive of Kiwi favourites like pikelets (four different varieties, at that) and Anzac biscuits (that are wheat, dairy, egg, soy and nut-free).
The cookbook starts off with excellent suggestions for adapting recipes, avoiding cross-contamination in the kitchen, and general cooking advice. Then comes the fun part -- the recipes. It covers breakfast; snack meals and school lunches; pastry, pizza, and pasta; breads; loaves; muffins, scones, and gems; cakes; biscuits and slices; cold and frozen desserts; sauces, spreads, creams, and milks; kids' parties; and Christmas. There's a handy guide to the different types of non-wheat flours available, as well as setting agents, fats, sweeteners, seasonings and flavourings. Also, at the front of each section, there's a handy guide telling you the names of the recipes and what they're "free" from, so if you're looking for something in a hurry, you don't have to page through the whole book. Basically, it's a gold mine.
My own little girl gets eczema, so I was keen to test drive some of the dairy-free and wheat-free recipes as those foods seem to worsen the flare-ups. Let me tell you, the banana-oatmeal cookies are awesome, and the apricot whip (a bit like a frozen custard) isn't too bad either. And after making up some of the wheat-free muesli, I don't think I'll even bother going back to the other stuff. A must-have for any kitchen.