Monthly Archives: January 2011

  • It's Friday, I have wine, happ...

    It's Friday, I have wine, happy Fridays

  • First proof of my book

    Feeling very emotional and tearful.  I've just received the first proof of my new book '500 Baby and Toddler Recipes' with the photos and it's wonderful.  It's suddenly made it all feel real, the photos are lovely.  Feels a little like giving birth without the pain, still with the blood, sweat, tears and shedloads of very late nights and not actually the same as having a real baby but I do feel very proud of my new addition.

    So I have a weekend of proof reading ahead of me and trying to figure out what on earth 'rutabaga' is, figure it may be turnip, any help here would be gratefully received.  Hah, my new baby's first words and I've no idea what on earth they are, actually that's pretty true to life.

    I'm very excited now, the deadline is Monday to have all the editing done so my new baby can be in the Dutch office to be translated, should be interesting.  Can't wait for August when it hits the book shops, yeay

  • 9pm and small boy has just tol...

    9pm and small boy has just told me he has to go into school tomorrow dressed as a Viking - i'll just go and raid my wardrobe then!

  • omg this is brilliant, if you ...

    omg this is brilliant, if you change your language on facebook to Pirate it comes out in pirate speak, it's fab, i think we all do this now!

  • Off to Art Jericho in Oxford t...

    Off to Art Jericho in Oxford to see my mate Nick White's photography exhibition check his website out

  • Cafe Twit and Mrs Dahl's Jam

    We're regulars at Cafe Twit in the Roald Dahl Museum for what used to be Tiffany's lovely scones and bogtrotters cake. This was to fill in time between picking my younger children up from school and hanging around to collect Big Girl from her Japanese lesson.  Japanese lessons have changed time but we still go to Cafe Twit, Dave makes a great skinny cappuccino.

    Tiffany went back to Australia at Christmas and Kate took over the cafe.  We were nervous, what were her scones going to be like, were her cakes going to be able to live to our expectation?  Well, they did, in fact her version of bogtotters chocolate cake was, according to Medium Sized Girl, way, way better than before, scones pretty good too, Dave's skinny cap up to usual standards but even better..........need drum roll here...................the fizzy lifting drink has morphed from being a real lemonade ice cream float with chocolate sprinkles to, wait for it......a cola version.  Ooooh that was it, Medium Sized Girl and Small Boy were in heaven, they could barely contain their excitment.  When Medium Sized Girl goes to Big School in September I think the ice cream van in the bus park will have a lot to live up to.

    The best bit, for me anyway, was the jam.  Dave brought me over my scone and instead of the little jar of jam it was in a small ramekin. Dave proudly announced that this was Mrs Dahl's jam, homemade, and they were using it in the cafe until it ran out.  Well Mrs Dahl, you make excellent jam, it was heavenly, not sure what flavour but it seemed to be a mixture of blackcurrant and raspberry, please, please make some more.  I feel rather honoured to eat Mrs Dahl's homemade jam.  Hope there's some left for next week.

  • Chocolate con churros at cooki...

    Chocolate con churros at cooking club, mega yum, healthy bit is the antioxidents in dark choc - the rest is very bad for you, so eat quick

  • Book almost done - 500 Baby and Toddler Foods

    oooh this is really scary, I've just sent back my final editorial comments on my new book, 500 Baby and Toddler Foods, so that could be it, has the fat lady sung?   I'm not sure, but it does feel a little odd not waiting for another chapter full of editorial comments to sort, or to translate into American-speak.

    I didn't really appreciate just how different a language American is to English, it could be Japanese really.  Trying to translate all the measurements to cups - why can't you lovely Americans use scales? Even is you do use scales then it's back to old fashioned pounds and ounces.  I've spent the past 10 years converting myself to grams.  My brain hurts with this.

    I must admit I did have a bit of a rant over email with my lovely American Editor, Cary, as she changed my wording of 'how to check if the muffins are done by inserting a skewer into the centre, if it comes out clean then they are ready.' to 'check for "doneness"' is that a word?  It's the sort of word i'd pull my children up pdq, but is that an acceptable Americanism?  I'm really not sure.  Poor Cary, she had an earful for that one and my rant on the use of proper English, she won though after all she is American and ought to be able to speak the lingo.

    Different types of sugar is another one, apparently you can't get Demerara or Muscovado sugar in the US and raspberries are very hard to get hold of and extremely expensive, what else?  Ah yes, the 6 email debate on what sort of oats to use for oatcakes.  We use oatmeal, apparently oatmeal in America is our rolled oats.  Anyway after lots of emails I gave up and changed the recipe to:

    'quick oats, place in a food processor and process to a powder' it was either than or give up and take out the recipe, I refuse to give up.

    The idea with these recipes is that they are all written to make life easy for a new Mum, no phaffing around, no measuring how much pepper, it's either one pepper or half a pepper and making sufficient to either feed the family the same food or freeze the rest for another meal.

    The other thing is - giant veg.  Apparently they have massive butternut squash that make ours look like baby vegetables, these squash would win the big veg prize at every country fair so that was interesting trying to make butternut squash quantities easy to work out.

    Scones - so cheesy scone pizza, scones don't exist over the pond, they are called biscuits, biscuits are called cookies and they are soft, if they are hard it is assumed that they are stale and are thrown away, out went my Oat Crunchies recipes, home made Hob Nobs are obviously inedible.  Crisps are Chips, boy that was confusing, homemade chicken nuggets with oven baked chips bashed up on the outside, hmm, not really the concept I was trying to get at.

    Please don't be offended if you are American reading this, I'm just trying to get the point across that we seem to speak the same language but really it's very, very different.  One thing I'm really impressed about, Americans call spring onions by the proper name, Scallions.  We call them scallions in the North East and no one down South has a clue what I'm on about, that's one part of the language I come together with the US - YES!

    Turnips too, down South they're called Swedes, sorry chaps, Swedes are people who live in Sweden and it's really mean to call them vegetables.  Turnips are the purple skinned orange fleshed root vegetable, I used to make turnip lanterns out of these at Halloween, pumpkins were foreign in North Yorkshire and i didn't even see one until I moved to London, always thought they were an invention of Disney. Down here you guys refer to turnips as being the little miniature rot veg that are white and green on the outside with white flesh - these are called Snowballs.  You can't make turnip lanterns out of those, they are way too small.

    So getting back to the point, I think the books done, just waiting to see the photos, very exciting, roll on August.

  • Recipes on Ocado's new website

    Ocado have just launched their new super duper shiny website, as their Children's Cookery Queen I've attached a link to a whole host of my recipes for you to try out at home.  The recipes use fresh ingredients and there are tips on how to encourage children to help you cook each one, try them and let me know what you think.

    There are recipes for breakfast, lunch, supper and snacks and super photos by my lovely friend and fabulous photographer Nick White

  • Gingerbread Rhubarb Muffins

    This is lovely made with half wholemeal and half white self raising flour, it makes it a little more healthy, you can also add chopped hazelnuts to the topping if you wish

    Rhubarb is the only vegetable we eat as a fruit.  A fruit contains the seeds of the plant, so peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes and aubergines are all fruit we eat as vegetables; if we eat the leaves, roots or stalk of the plant these are classed as vegetables.  We eat the stalk of the rhubarb plant so it’s a vegetable.

    Ingredients: for 12 muffins

    225g self raising flour

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    2 teaspoons ground ginger

    100g soft dark brown sugar

    75g butter, melted

    1 egg

    2 tablespoons black treacle or molasses

    175ml milk

    200g rhubarb, cut into 1cm chunks


    50g demerara sugar

    25g soft butter

    50g chopped roasted hazelnuts*

    How to make Rhubarb Muffins... WASH YOUR HANDS

    1. Ask an adult to turn the oven onto 200oc/400oF/Gas Mark 6 and put a shelf onto the centre runner (Aga Roasting oven - shelf on oven floor).
    2. Mix together all the ingredients for the muffin mix except the rhubarb and beat until most of the lumps have gone.
    3. Add the rhubarb and stir gently to mix.  Fill the muffin cases evenly with the mixture.
    4. Mix together the sugar, soft butter and hazelnuts for the topping and place heaped teaspoonfuls on top of the muffins.
    5. Ask an adult to put the bun tray into the centre of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and firm to the touch. Ask an adult to take the muffins out of the oven and leave to cool or eat warm.

    *Not suitable for people with nut allergies or children under 5 years old, omit.

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