Wednesday, 27 March 2013

No added sugar mini fruit cakes for babies and toddlers

Lovely fruity cakes without added sugar.  My son happily ate two after nursery.  This is made a little like one of my Mum's recipes from my youth by boiling the fruit with the liquid first.  Might sound crazy but it makes the fruit juicier.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Garlic and Herb Roast Chicken for the whole family

I'm not one for prinking with a roast.  Chicken roasted with some salt and pepper on the skin is probably as good as it gets but man cannot live by plain poultry alone!  In search of some variety and because my two year old likes garlic, I gave this a go.  It gave a subtle garlicky taste which wasn't overpowering (despite the number of cloves) and a lovely gravy.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Why I would like to win a Britmums Award

Is it rude to ask or stupid not to?  I've spent so much of my life thinking it's rude but as I get older, I'm starting to come round to another way of thinking.  What if the other adage is true that if you don't ask, you don't get...


So, figuring there's nothing wrong with occasionally bigging yourself up, I'm going to ask and hope that some of you might be good enough to consider nominating me for a Britmums award in the Food category.  (My URL is and my Twitter username is @Mamacook_blog if you would like to nominate.)

Last year, I was hugely lucky and very proud to make it to the finals of Britmums in the 'Tasty' category.  My life started to change from this point.  Not in the ways that you might expect either.  I had never been one to boast of my achievements in life but I found myself talking to the Leicester Mercury, the Melton Times, Great Food Magazine and BBC Radio Leicester (with the lovely Holly Bell) in a live interview.  Crazy, scary and yes I did it!  Not at all typical for the girl who used to hide in the back of the class if any reading out loud was being requested.  Basically, Britmums and the local media recognised that what I was writing was worth reading and that felt great, I even did a guest post for Britmums later on in the year.

So why?  I do all this for no money at all.  I'm not sponsored, I'm not paid, I don't even offset ingredients against tax, it's all for the joy of it and the passion I have for food and feeding kids something decent.  That's what I'm all about.  I'm that passionate about it that I've even kept things going despite illness, >400 mile a week of commuting, running three times a week and my wee toddler who's nearly three.  (I don't know how she does it?  Erm, neither do I sometimes!)

So here are some of my favourite posts that I think are worth a read.  Some new, some old but all great in my humble opinion.

The first has to be one of my posts just before the ceremony last year.  The prize for winning being a gold man statuette, here are my little gold men in tribute.  A great snack for growing kids.

I love the picture, so cute, although the temptation to bite off the toes is strong...

The second post I'd love you to read is my most popular.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Lemon and Tangerine Curd

This recipe is due to a shopping mix up I had too many eggs the other day.  I should explain.  After years of moaning about internet food shopping, I have succumbed.  Although I still say that it's no quicker, at least it's time I'm sat on the lap top ordering food intermittently sorting out a lego emergency with my son rather than time I'm walking round a supermarket with a podcast on trying to ignore the awfulness of it all.  And let's face it, we all hate supermarkets.  Sorry supermarkets, and shooting myself in the foot for any future sponsorship opportunities but yes, it's true.  We hate you.  We hate walking round you, we hate the crowds, we hate the fact you always seem to have run out of something we need, we hate the rising prices but mostly we hate ourselves for not having the time, money nor energy to go and shop from little local stores who lovingly hand craft each loaf of bread with their hands.  Ok, that's not true, I do often buy bread from Hambleton Bakery because it's excellent and when I get the chance I buy sausages from Grasmere Farm.

It annoys me though the pictures of TV chefs complete with basket walking into their local butchers, fishmongers, greengrocers, embracing the proprietors with open arms like long lost friends.  Balls.  Who has the time?  I very much think we need to support local producers who produce good food but for one, not all high street food shops are all that good (a particular failing of fishmongers in my opinion) but if the opening hours coincide with my working hours, sorry, it's not an option.

So, I have embraced the devil supermarkets out of necessity like 90% of the population and, even more so now, I've embraced internet supermarket shopping.  Why?  Well I work four days a week.  I currently commute 400-450 miles a week.  I blog, I try to exercise 3-4 times a week and in all this I also try and spend time with my son and occasionally open a book.  It's tough and something has to give.

So my latest internet shop arrived with eggs which were two days after their display until date.  So I needed a recipe to use eggs.  I still had some lemons in the fridge from when I'd been really ill a few weeks before (emergency honey and lemon) and some tangerines in the fruit bowl.  A fruit curd seemed like the obvious choice.  Not sugar free, not healthy but very tasty.

Quick tips, use a bowl which fits into your pan a bit.  You need a good contact with the steam and the bowl.  I didn't to start with and it took quite a long time to thicken.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Mini Pea and Feta Frittatas for Babies and Toddlers

My little one has had a recent aversion to peas.  Used to love them, perhaps he had them too often.  Anyway, my view is always fussiness gets reinforced by parents.  Stop offering and you're guaranteed your child won't eat that item, keep offering and there's a chance they will.  But there's no reason not to mix it up, offer the item as part of a food like this, cut it up differently (which worked with strawberries here) or cook it differently (a great idea is roasting rather than boiling root vegetables.)

So this was the result.  Mummy liked a lot.  Wee man was ok about it all, perhaps he's getting wise to my ways but still he polished off a couple with some green beans.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Low Sugar Parsnip Cake, Great for the Whole Family

I'd been thinking about making a parsnip cake for a while.  After all parsnips aren't a million miles away from carrots so why not?

I looked around on the internet and the recipe I liked the look of here was far too full of sugar and syrup.  Whole nuts too aren't the best idea for young kids so I needed to start from scratch.

Here's what I came up with.  Not sugar free but bearing in mind you can cut this into 20-24 squares, you're looking at less than two tsp added sugar per serving.  Not bad and certainly better than most commercial baking and even some products aimed at babies.   Not that I'd count any cake as part of your five a day but this has a good boost of fibre too.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Mushroom Pasta Bake for Babies and Toddlers

A slight variation on a previous recipe but something I'd been meaning to try for a while, including eggs in a milk based sauce for a pasta bake.  I felt it made the dish seem more substantial.  Eggs are no bad thing nutrition wise either, a bit more protein and one of the rare sources of vitamin D in food.  A big hit with the wee man this.  Certainly older babies could have a go at it and it would be a great baby led weaning dish, just let it cool a bit before serving.