Christmassy cooking with small elves

Gingerbread stars

I wish I could record the spicy scent of baking gingerbread and post it – a picture doesn’t really do it justice.

As it’s got colder, damper and darker and generally more Dickensian out there, I’ve been looking for more ways to bake with the kids. And ways to eat more sweet, spicy warming things.

My boys are really a bit young to be doing any very involved cooking but here are a couple of Christmassy (how do you spell that?) recipes that they could join in with and enjoy. Continue reading “Christmassy cooking with small elves”

Fritters are the answer…

…to all of the following questions, and probably many more (warning, both baby and toddler have bad nighttime coughs, and if my extra-sleep-deprived state continues I’m likely to come up with lists even more ridiculous than this in future… watch this space, if the obsessive list-making has not already driven you away).

  • What is the easiest way to get veg and protein into a finger-food loving baby?
  • What can I make by sticking everything into a food processor without measuring it, and just adding eggs or flour until it sort of looks right?
  • What healthy finger food can I batch cook, freeze, defrost one at a time when I need it and reheat in the toaster?
  • What makes a family meal with salad and dips, but can also be spread with plain yoghurt and given to a 9-month-old for breakfast?

You get the idea. Fritters are a super-convenient food for babies, especially if you’re going the baby-led weaning route, or your mite is into finger foods. They are also great for toddlers. And adults.

I am a terrible recipe writer because I don’t measure anything (and do most of my cooking with a 2.5 year old eating the ingredients or sticking a spatula in my eye) so this is more an ideas post for you, in case you have not yet become a fritter convert.

Sweetcorn fritters with spring onions

Continue reading “Fritters are the answer…”

Sugar-free ‘Owl Ice Cream’

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My toddler is convinced this is proper ice cream (and yes, he has had the real thing!). He likes it so much he’s named it in tribute to The Gruffalo…

It’s super simple to make, basically a frozen smoothie made with a pre-frozen banana or some ice cubes so that you don’t have to wait around while it freezes. Continue reading “Sugar-free ‘Owl Ice Cream’”

‘Can I do making?’

We made these!

My granny was a proper granny. She had the finest collection of hats known to humanity and a startling number of shoes accrued over seven decades or so.

By night, she wore plastic curlers in her hair and slept with a stick under her bed, ready to fight off assailants. By day, she sat in her rocking chair, knitting and watching black and white war films – that’s if she wasn’t gardening, decorating, cooking, baking, sewing, pressing flowers, making cards or entertaining her grandchildren with infinite patience.

I spent many happy Sunday afternoons perched on a stool by her side in the kitchen baking. We made butterfly cakes, coconut madeleines, melting moments, oat crunchies, eve puddings, apple tarts, jam tarts, toffee, jellies, doughnuts… I could go on, but my mouth’s watering already. My granny used heart-stopping quantities of golden syrup, treacle, sugar and Stork margarine, assuring me they were all good ingredients.

With such sunny memories, you’d have thought I’d have been delighted when my toddler started pulling up a stool of her own, standing alongside me in the kitchen and demanding to ‘do making’. But I’m ashamed to admit the opposite was true. Continue reading “‘Can I do making?’”

Spelt & Apple Stars

2015-12-16 14.11.20This recipe is slightly adapted from the River Cottage Baby & Toddler Cookbook by Nikki Duffy. I added the spices and lemon zest because I wanted these to be my toddler’s version of the grown up gingerbread I made the same day, and he loves strong flavours. Duffy’s original has no spices, just the apple juice to sweeten, which would work better perhaps for a younger baby.


Ingredients Continue reading “Spelt & Apple Stars”