Leeds mum devises ‘Can I eat it?’ cookbook that’s inspired by son

Kate Hardie with her son William, four.
Kate Hardie with her son William, four.
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When Kate Hardie’s son was diagnosed with coeliac disease when just a toddler, she worried about how he was going to cope with his new strict diet.

William had been invited to a birthday party and she was concerned as he needed to avoid all wheat, barley, oats and rye.

So the mum-of-three came up with a solution – she devised recipes herself.

Now she has used her inventions in her own e-book, which she has written, photographed and designed herself.

“There wasn’t much out there in terms of recipes aimed at children or families,” she said.

“I thought there was a niche in the market.”

William, now four, had been sick once a day for over three months before doctors realised it was the illness.

Kate, from Pudsey, Leeds, said she was repeatedly told it was a bug but knew the cause was more serious than that.

A blood test eventually showed he was likely to have coeliac disease, which is an intolerance to gluten which causes symptoms including bloating, diarrhoea, nausea, constipation, tiredness, headaches, anaemia and osteoporosis. A biopsy is used to confirm the diagnosis.

Sufferers must follow a strict diet for life, but Kate was concerned about how William would cope as his friends tucked into special foods on occasions like birthdays.

“Birthdays, Christmas and Easter are major occasions for little ones.

“I started building up recipes and photographing them, even though I’d never picked up a camera.”

Kate, a graphic designer who runs a design and marketing firm with husband Jamie, aimed to create meals for the whole family, rather than separate ones.

The book includes recipes for food with friends, main meals, desserts and lunchbox ideas.

And the book’s title evolved from William himself.

“From the moment my son could talk he has asked at least once a day ‘can I eat it?’ and that is how the title of the book evolved,” she said.

The 38-year-old said she’d had a very good response to the book, including from America, and was now hoping that a publisher might pick it up to be created into a paper version.

To buy a copy of Can I Eat It? or for more information, log on to www.happyigloo.com.


Heavenly Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Makes: 8 Squares

This cheeky chocolate fudge brownie recipe uses beetroot to give it a moist fudgy texture and a deep colour as well as adding hidden vitamins.


110g / 4oz gluten-free dark chocolate (many brands are gluten-free)

110g / 4oz butter

140g / 5oz caster sugar

3 medium eggs, beaten

75g / 3oz gluten-free cocoa powder

1 medium beetroot, cooked and finely grated

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C / Fan 160°C / 350F / Gas 4


Grease and line an 8”, (20cm) square cake tin and set to one side.

Place the gluten-free chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until melted, then remove from the heat to cool.

Add the caster sugar, eggs, cocoa powder, grated beetroot and vanilla extract and whisk until evenly combined. Pour into the cake tin and bake in the oven for approximately 25-30 minutes or until firm on top.

Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and slice. Sprinkle with icing sugar if desired.

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