Clapham duo Ellie Lux and Fiona Heggie are refusing to let allergies get in the way of fun, creative food with their new book, The Allergy Free Family Cookbook
Words: Madeleine Howell
Back in March, London’s first allergy-free café, Yorica, opened up on Soho’s Wardour Street. But this isn’t just the latest foodie fad. According to Clapham resident Ellie Lux, who co-authored The Allergy Free Family Cookbook with best friend Fiona Heggie, allergies are on the increase.
It’s a phenomenon they experienced first-hand when Fiona’s son Caspar and Ellie’s daughter Izzy were diagnosed. ‘It was really daunting,’ Lux says. ‘You think it will change your life completely, and you feel overwhelmed.’
A few years on, and the pair have a positive outlook. Having supported each other by sharing recipes, they put together a ‘handbook’ packed full of tips, recipes and advice from their nutritionist, Dr Cox, to take the fear and fuss out of allergy-free eating.
‘An allergy is defined as when your immune system reacts,’ Lux, who also contributes to a blog for Jamie Oliver, explains. ‘There are also people who are developing intolerances, and wheat and gluten might not agree with them.’
The recipes themselves are appealing whether you have allergies or not, and are nutritionally balanced as well as being adventurous. There’s butternut and courgette risotto, a Spanish-inspired paella, sushi, a Thai green curry, and lots of alternative options – as well as sweet treats.
The idea is that if you’re hosting, your guests won’t even notice the food is allergy-free
‘It’s very important to eat cake,’ Heggie, who trained as a chef at Leith’s School of Food and Wine, laughs. ‘The idea is that if you’re hosting, your guests won’t even notice the food is allergy-free. It doesn’t have to dominate your life.’ We can’t get enough of their ‘really chocolatey’ chocolate cake, moreish banana bread and homemade ice lollies for summer days.
How has the book been received so far? ‘So positively,’ both Lux and Heggie nod enthusiastically. ‘We had a lovely message from someone who said we’d changed their life.’
The pair also have lots of tips for eating out, and you’ll often find Lux and her daughters at Oddono’s gelateria on the Northcote Road tucking into sorbets after school, enjoying a plate of spaghetti at Buonasera, or stocking up on Cocoa Libre chocolate at Wholefoods. Bon appétit!
Find out more at foodallergymums.co.uk