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Us and the kids

About this blog

Mealtimes can be quite a challenge in our house. First up, I have to cater for myself, who could stand to lose a few pounds (or even stone), and Hubby, who is thin as a rake with an annoyingly fast metabolism and is prone to headaches if his blood sugar drops too low. Then there's Dearest Son, aged nearly five, who sees eating as a chore rather than a pleasure, unless of course it's junk food with zero nutritional value. Add to the mix Darling Daughter, who is six months old and getting started with weaning, and you can probably see how hard it can be to cook a meal that the whole family can (and will) eat.

I'm sure there must be other families out there facing a similar challenge, which is why I decided to start blogging a few of my favourite recipes and hacks, in the hope that other mummies (and daddies) may find them useful.

Baby stir-fry

Recipes Posted on Thu, September 15, 2016 21:39:07

Now that Darling Daughter is 7 months old and is getting confident with picking food up and bringing it to her mouth, I’m starting to deviate a little from her usual chip-shaped finger foods to allow her to experiment with a greater range of tastes and textures. Today I tried her on noodles for the first time, and she had some lovely messy fun holding and slurping them!

They seemed to go down well, as it wasn’t long before she was stuffing them into her mouth as fast as she could!
Although this is the first time I’ve given her noodles, I cook stir-fries pretty frequently as they’re so quick and easy to make. Although stir-fry sauces tend to be pretty high in salt and sugar, as well as often containing honey (which is unsuitable for babies under a year old), it’s pretty simple to throw a few bits into a smaller pan for Darling Daughter. Here are some of the things I’ve found to work best:

– Steamed chicken/pork strips (tenderer than stir-fried meat) – add these at the end so they don’t get tough
– Carrot batons
– Spring onions
– Thick slices of mushroom
– Pepper strips
– Small broccoli florets, or halved/quartered larger ones
– Courgette batons

Once the veg has fried for a minute or two, I add a few sauce ingredients and let it simmer for a little to further soften the veg. Amoy does a reduced-salt soy sauce, and though I still wouldn’t recommend using too much, a couple of drops is sufficient to give it that Chinese-y flavour. A little fruit juice can add some natural sweetness, and garlic, ginger or Chinese five-spice can provide babies with plenty of new flavours to explore.

For today’s meal, I used a little bit of smooth, no-added-salt-or-sugar peanut butter to make a satay sauce, and it seemed to go down well. I’ve experimented with different sauces on different occasions to give her as close as possible to what the rest of us are having.

Satay sauce
1 tsp smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp apple juice
Few drops reduced-salt soy sauce
Pinch of garlic powder

Sweet and sour sauce
1 tbsp pineapple juice
1 tsp tomato puree
Few drops reduced-salt soy sauce
Pinch of garlic powder

Cantonese sauce
2 tsp orange juice
Few drops of reduced-salt soy sauce
Pinch of ground ginger
Pinch of garlic powder

Of course, the quantities could be increased to make sauces for the whole family’s meal, but I confess to liking my own stir-fries a little more strongly-flavoured, and I also have a weakness for honey in this sort of dish. If anyone wants my adult sauce recipes, please let me know! In the meantime, I shall carry on experimenting as Darling Daughter continues her weaning journey, and I’ll update the blog with any more recipes that seem to be successful.

Cheese scones

Recipes Posted on Thu, September 15, 2016 20:40:24

These are a favourite with the whole family. Dearest Son enjoys helping me to make them, and de to their melt-in-the-mouth texture, Darling Daughter can eat them easily despite having no teeth yet. Any that don’t get gobbled within 24 hours get put in a sandwich bag and chucked in the freezer.

(makes around 8)

225g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
40g butter or buttery margarine
100g mature cheddar, grated
150ml milk


1) Put a large baking tray/sheet in the oven and preheat to 220 C.
2) Mix together the flour and baking powder, then rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
3) Stir in around 2/3 of the grated cheese.
4) Make a well in the centre and mix in the milk to make a dough that is soft but not sticky; add a little more flour if necessary.
5) For regularly-shaped scones, roll out the dough on a floured surface to around 1 inch thick and cut out circles. Personally, I prefer to make more ‘rustic’ and irregular scones as there’s less cleaning up afterwards! To do this, roll balls of the mixture between floured hands, then flatten a little and shape into rounds.
6) Take a large pinch of the remaining grated cheese and press onto the top of one of the scones. Repeat with the others.
7) Remove the baking tray from the oven and arrange the scones on it, well spread out; the baking tray should be hot enough that the scones hiss and shrink a little as they come into contact with the surface.
8) Bake at 220 C for around 10 minutes until well risen. Remove from the oven and immediately place on a rack to cool.