Nearly Bird’s custard


Mine and Bert’s relationship came as close as it’s ever come to crisis point when he refused to try this. It’s home made! It’s creamy and custardy! It’s a nursery classic! I was genuinely really annoyed.

But I’m over it now – at least enough to note down the recipe to force on him at a future date. It basically tastes just like a really, really nice version of packet custard.

Serves 3-4

2 cups of milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

4 egg yolks

1 tablespoon of cornflour

1/2 cup of golden caster sugar

I’m friends with the mother of the girl Bert loves most in the world. Fearne treats him with a firm hand, shares his love of dinosaurs, is up for most things and has loaned him spotty socks. Maybe those are the secrets to a lasting relationship right there. Anyway, her mum suggested stewed apple and custard as a toddler friendly pudding and I thought, that sounds bloody lovely. And it was, even though the toddler in question wasn’t friendly about it in the slightest.

Whisk cornflour with the eggs in a foodmixer (or by hand) till thick, add the sugar and beat till thick and pale. Bring the milk and vanilla to a simmer then add to the egg mixture slowly, whisking all the time. Return it all to a clean pan and heat gently, constantly stirring, till thick. Eat the lot yourself if necessary.

Banana pancakes


Serves 4.5

This is a bastardisation and bananaisation of a Nigella recipe, with the salt and sugar removed and banana and cinnamon added.

2 tablespoons melted butter

225g self raising flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs

300ml whole milk

3 crushed bananas

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Put the butter in a pan to melt, then combine the flour, baking powder, eggs and milk in a bowl. It doesn’t need to be a really smooth batter,  just make sure there are no pockets of flour. Stir in the banana, cinnamon and melted butter.

Use a piece of kitchen towel to rub any vestiges of melted butter onto a hot frying pan and put dessert spoons of the batter in. When they start to bubble turn them over. It’ll take a couple of minutes on each side to get them golden.

Yours are nice with maple syrup. Sorry Bert.

Croissant and butter pudding

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…except there’s no butter.

Serves 1.5 very generously

2 stale croissants

About 80ml double cream and 120ml whole milk – you can fiddle around with the quantities so long as you end up with 200ml of liquid

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 egg

Good pinch of cinnamon

Grating of nutmeg

Handful soft apricots (some supermarkets sell them – they’re darker brown and much softer), cut into smallish pieces

Slice the croissants into thick slices and lie them in an ovenproof dish that they’ll fit in reasonably snugly. I used a 20cm cake tin. Sprinkle over the apricots. Combine the other ingredients and pour over, leaving the croissants to sit in the custard for a good 10 minutes before turning over for another 10 minute soak.

Cook at 180 for 20-25 minutes, till the custard’s set and the pudding’s golden brown.

Fruity clafoutis


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

1 egg

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.

Eggy bread


Serves 1.5

2 slices of bread, the airier the better – sour dough’s good or white sliced

2 eggs

60 ml whole milk

Knob of butter

Sprinkle of cinnamon

Mix together the eggs and milk and decrust the bread. Soak the bread in the milk and egg mixture, one slice at a time, turning after a minute or so. Melt the butter in a reasonably hot pan – you want the bread to cook fairly quickly but not to burn before it cooks through – and pop in the first slice. You can start soaking the second as you cook, turning the soaking one as you turn the one in the pan. Cook till golden brown on both sides. It should feel reasonably firm under the pressure of a spatula, meaning the egg’s cooked through. Sprinkle with cinnamon or serve  your own with crispy bacon and maple syrup and watch your baby’s little face contort with jealousy.

Old fashioned vanilla rice pudding


You can get away with less sugar because the vanilla’s sweet. Bert loved it. I suppose it’s pretty much 3D formula, but don’t let that put you off.

Serves 1.5 – 2.5 depending on how greedy you are your baby is

60 g short grain rice

400 ml whole milk

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

1 dessert spoon brown sugar

Grating of nutmeg

Just pop everything in an oven proof dish or pan, bring to the boil on the top of the stove, then put in a low oven (150 degrees or an Aga simmering oven) for about an  hour and a half to two hours till the rice is soft and milk’s absorbed.

Cinnamon and raisin porridge

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I used to eat porridge with double cream and brown sugar, but this is how me and Bert eat it now. Well, I eat it with a spoon, he grabs handfuls of it from the table and shoves it in his mouth.

Serves 1.5

1 cup porridge oats

1.5 cups whole milk

Large handful raisins

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all the ingredients and cook over a reasonably low heat, stirring, until it’s thick and creamy. Stop at the consistency of softly scrambled eggs point.