Having always been passionate about cooking good, hearty and scrummy food for the family, I was determined to make sure that Callum was able to eat the same as us as much as possible. My goal was to try to work around everything he couldn't have, to find a solution that he could have. It was important to me that we could still have a family dinner, so I've spent close to 18 months working through a large number of the regular recipes I make, tweaking, changing and learning how to recreate them with ingredients that were safe for Callum. I've also come up with a whole host of new recipes specifically created to cater for Callum's needs, that the whole family can enjoy.
I have to be honest, there was a lot of trial and error, well, many many trials were errors to start off with that ended up in the bin! It was quite comical in the early days, trying to get new recipes to work. It was also incredibly frustrating, but I was determined it would work. I hate being beaten, and it's just not in my nature to admit defeat!
Callum prefers 'Oatly' milk compared to any of the others that are suitable for him, but it doesn't have a very good tolerance when being boiled and splits very easily - not great when you are trying to make an alternative bechamel sauce or custard. Equally, 'vitalite' or 'sunflower spread' isn't as strong as butter when trying to bake cakes (it curdles easily!). Add the fact that you can't use eggs, and you pretty much have a recipe for disaster!!
Along with his dairy and egg allergies, Callum also has a strong allergy to tomato, and 'nomato sauce' is a great substitute, but I had to learn the correct balance of seasoning, and additional ingredients required to counteract the strong flavour of beetroot used in it.
It could have been so easy to give up, but it just wasn't an option!
After many tears of frustration, and finally elation at getting something to taste more than just half decent, eventually reaching triumph, I am now the proud owner of a large collection of recipes. They incorporate as many of the key food groups as possible, or at least ensuring that any alternatives used were full of added vitamins and calcium.
And the most important thing about this part of our never-ending journey, Callum isn't being left out. If he's happy, then I'm happy, it's as simple as that!