If you have a food allergy, eating in can be just as challenging as eating out
If you have a food allergy, eating in can be just as challenging as eating out - although you can control exactly what you are eating. Having friends over to dinner is always an interesting experience because you imagine they must be worried as to what you will serve up. Previously, I always explained each dish as I served it as "dairy and wheat free" - especially desserts and everyone would always opt for the "normal" dish and only Ray and I would end up eating the wheat and dairy free dish. So I learnt over the years not to say anything. Just serve up everything normally and hope they enjoy it.
What I found it that guests ate the wheat and dairy versions without any qualms and were amazed to later discover that yes they had indeed eaten custard made with soya milk, while yes the gravy was wheat-free.
So when we had friends over on Saturday night, I served up dairy free fish pate (Ray's creation made with goats' butter) as a starter. For the main course, I adapted one of Gordon Ramsay's lamb cobbler dishes substituting wheat-free flour and alcohol-free wine. I sometimes think these chefs would be appalled if they knew how I used alternative ingredients, but actually the finished course tasted excellent. To end up, I served an apple and ground almond dessert recipe from Delia Smith, using Pure soya margarine instead of butter accompanied by soya milk custard.
And you know what? Our friends enjoyed it - all the plates were empty anyway. Of course I know what you're going to say - that they were being polite, but I don't think so!
Imagine my delight when I chanced upon Nigella Lawson's gluten free and dairy free Venetian carrot cake in the Mail on Sunday's YOU magazine. It's in her new book "Nigella Kitchen". Immediately I made up the recipe and it is truly scrumptious! If only more celebrity chefs would publish "free from" recipes.