Serves 2.5 (if the large people are greedy)
4 small floury potatoes
Tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Large handful spinach, chopped
Leaves from a sprig of mint, finely chopped
4 eggs, beaten
Handful grated parmesan
Peel and thickly slice the potatoes (to about 1cm thick), place in a pan of boiling water, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes till tender. Drain and leave them in the colander for a couple of minutes to dry.
Heat the oil in the pan and fry the potatoes till golden, adding the garlic at the last minute. Mix the eggs, spinach and mint and pour in, topping with cheese. Cook on the stove top till firm then finish off under a hot grill till the cheese is bubbling and golden.
We had ours with sausages and cherry tomatoes. To be honest, this really could have served four.
Serves 4 – me, Bert, Daddy and Ben
2 tablespoons ground hazelnuts
2 dessert spoons self raising flour
2 tablespoons golden caster sugar
Sprinkling of cinnamon
A handful of fresh or frozen raspberries
Mix all the ingredients except the berries together and grease some small tins with a little butter – I used Yorkshire pudding tins. Put a few raspberries in each then pour in the batter and cook at 180 degrees or in the middle of the Aga roasting oven for 12 minutes. Perfect for babies who’ve worked up an appetite by being pushed round in a wheelbarrow.
A bit more sun-like when they’re coated in egg wash, in fact.
There’s something very satisfying about this; using up leftovers and doing the sort of cooking that you watched your mum do when you were little – rolling out pastry, sealing pies, brushing on egg wash.
This is one of those dishes that is far greater than the sum of its parts.
Makes 16 bite sized pasties
1 sheet puff pastry
Leftover chicken stew
1 egg, beaten
Flour for rolling
Roll the puff pastry out thinly and cut into small circles – I used a tea cup. Place on a lined baking sheet, floury side up (otherwise when you egg wash you get into a claggy mess of flour and egg), and put around a teaspoon of stew into the middle of each. You need to be relatively stingy with the stew to keep them neat. Brush egg in a circle round the outside rim and seal them into half moon shaped pasties. Brush the top with egg wash and pop them in a hot oven (200 degrees) for 15 minutes, till puffed up and golden.
I had mine with a leafy green salad. I showed Bert what a salad leaf looked like for future reference.
A cheese and sweetcorn version of the pea and parmesan pancakes.
Serves 2.5 (Daddy’s home!)
100g self raising flour
150 ml whole milk
A couple of handfuls of grated strong cheddar
1 small tin sweetcorn, most of the liquid drained out
Strangely, this makes a lot more than the eight that the pea and parmesan mixture makes – I think the extra liquid from the sweetcorn and extra cheese explains it.
Combine all the ingredients and pop dessert spoons of the mixture in a hot pan that’s been greased with a smigeon of butter. They need a couple of minutes on each side till they’re golden and feel firm under a spatula – you don’t want uncooked batter in the middle, so wait till they feel a little springy under pressure.
Also lovely with a thinly sliced leek that’s been sauted in butter in place of the sweetcorn.
This is a version of a Tom Kerridge recipe. I’ve reduced the sugar and fiddled around with the quantities to make little cakes and to avoid the scales, as cups and tablespoons are a bit less fiddly when a two foot tall person is tapping at your knee. I like a pudding that’s an excuse to get a bit of protein in Bert (egg and almond here), and a lot of the sweetness comes from the orange. In a baby free life, simmering an orange for two hours would be a bit limiting, but if you’re hanging around at home anyway while someone drops small plastic balls into holes, then why not?
Makes 4 small cakes
1 cup ground almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon soft brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Cover the orange with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for about one and a half hours till it’s soft. Blend it, skin and all, into a pulp then combine with all the other ingredients. Butter four holes of a muffin tin and fill each nearly to the top. Bake at 160 degrees (or on the grid shelf on the floor of the Aga roasting oven with the cold shelf three rows down from the top) for about 20 minutes, till golden and firm.
I had mine with Greek yoghurt with some honey stirred through. Bert had his naked.
Finger arancini, because they can be gripped between a tiny, pincer-like finger and thumb.
This made 14 but it depends how much leftover risotto you have, really.
Leftover risotto – we had about 1/3 of last night’s tomato risotto
One egg, beaten
Breadcrumbs – I blitzed a thick slice of stale bread. Or just keep a packet in the freezer and grab handfuls when you need it
Mozzarella, diced. I used about a third of a ball
Form a production line of ingredients while your baby plays a tambourine at your feet like a tiny minstrel. First the bowl of leftover risotto. Then the cubed mozzarella. Beaten egg into one bowl, breadcrumbs in the next. Form small balls with the risotto, a bit smaller than a walnut. Push your finger in to make a hole, pop in a bit of mozarella, then close the hole up. Dip in egg, dip in breadcrumbs and place on a baking sheet. (A Tom Kerridge tip – have a dry hand and a wet hand, so dip in the egg with your left hand, breadcrumbs with your right.)
You could do a few for your baby then season the risotto mixture and breadcrumb dip before doing your own, but I didn’t really notice the lack of salt. Bake at 180 degrees or in the middle of an Aga roasting oven for about 12 minutes. They’ll be golden brown and pleasingly professional looking.
You can also fill these with leftover bolognaise, though who has leftover bolognaise and leftover risotto knocking about at the same time?
Serve with a green salad for adults.
If you have any left, they’re good for taking out and about with a hungry baby.
Strictly speaking, clafoutis is just the word for the cherry batter pudding, not when it’s made with a different fruit. If your baby is a pedant, call this a flaugnarde. I’ve cut down on the sugar so add a little more if you’ve got a sweet tooth.
Makes 2 mini clafoutis
1 tablespoon ground almonds
1 dessert spoon self raising flour
1 dessert spoon golden caster sugar
50 ml whole milk or cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
A handful of fresh or frozen berries
Butter some small, shallow tins – I used two holes of a four hole yorkshire pudding tin. Scatter in the fruit – a few berries in each.
Combine the remaining ingredients – the easiest way is to measure the milk or cream into a measuring jug then stir in everything else – and pour over the fruit. Cook at 180 degrees or in the middle of an Aga roasting oven for around 12 minutes – till golden brown. Don’t leave it in too long – you want it on the soft side of firm.
In theory, it’s one for you, half of the other for the baby and another half for you, but it didn’t work out like that for us. I just got the one.
Cheese hob nobs, I suppose. Biscuits to throw at a baby in a panic when you want it to eat quickly and then have a lunchtime nap. It would make a pretty balanced and splash-free portable lunch if you added a couple of sticks of cheese and some fruit.
I’ll be honest – there are days when we mostly eat biscuits.
Makes around 25
100g wholemeal flour
100g butter, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon baking powder
75g grated cheese – I used half parmesan, half strong cheddar
30ml of milk
Weigh out the dry ingredients and then rub in the butter – by hand or by whizzing it in a food processor. Stir through the cheese and then the milk – it should start to clag. Gather into a ball and clingfilm, and put in the fridge for half an hour.
When it’s chilled, roll it out between two floured pieces of cling film to about 3mm thick and cut out discs with a small cutter or a champagne flute. I have no cutters – who needs them when the kitchen’s full of circular items? Bake at 180 for 11-13 minutes, or, with an Aga, on the grid shelf at the bottom of the roasting oven with the cold shelf two rows up.
These keep in an air tight container for a week or two, though I don’t think home-made biscuits ever get as far as going off.
A new category in honour of Anna and her daughter, Fearne of the evil cackle – portable finger food. This is a little nursery-food-like as it comes, though I eat it like that with Bert, but you can add crispy bacon and a poached egg and call it brunch.
100g self raising flour
150 ml whole milk
Good handful grated parmesan – about 30 or 40g
Handful or two of frozen peas – a small hand may help you carry one extra pea from the freezer to the work surface
Small knob of butter
Freshly chopped mint. I’m a new convert to dried herbs, but this needs fresh
Mix all the ingredients except the butter together with a whisk or fork. The flour needs to be incorporated but it doesn’t matter if it’s lumpy. Get a pan hot and melt the butter – brush it over the whole pan surface with a piece of kitchen roll. The pan needs to be barely greasy and very hot. Put in dessert spoons of the batter and spread into small circles. They need a couple of minutes on each side – once they start to firm up you can turn them over – they should be evenly golden on each side. You could cook half and then season the other half of the batter for you, but I think my palate’s adjusted to the salt thing and I don’t bother.
I ate 3.5, Bert ate 2.5 and there are two in the fridge for when we’re out and about tomorrow.
This is one finger food that you don’t need your baby in full Breaking Bad protective overalls for.
A digestive meets a fig roll and has a gariboldi baby.
The more indulgent version has a bit of salt, twice the sugar, no dates and the tops brushed with melted chocolate.
Makes about 25
125g wholemeal plain flour
40g soft brown sugar
40g chopped pitted dried dates
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
125 butter, cut into small pieces
30-50 ml milk
Put the dry ingredients into a food processor and pulse to blend. Add the butter and pulse till you get the ‘breadcrumbs’ look. Add the milk little by little until the breadcrumbs start to, er, clot. Bring together into a ball and put in the fridge for about half an hour.
Then roll your biscuit ball out between two floured sheets of clingfilm to about 3mm thick. Cut into small discs – a champagne flute’s about the right size. And cook on a baking sheet at 180 degrees for 11 minutes. They should be lightly golden brown.
Or, if you’ve got an Aga, on the grid shelf on the bottom of the roasting oven with the cold shelf two rows up.