BLW: Lois’ Cheesy Balls

One of the best things we did to prep for this baby was sign up to an NCT course – we learned a lot of facts about labour and birth that were truly horrific and perfect for dinner time conversation but the best part was meeting a group of lovely lovely people who are all going through the same thing at the same time, we now have a group who we can vent to or ask advice of when the baby is being a little… darling!

Lois is one of the mums from our NCT group, pretty sure she invented these, there are lots of similar recipes floating around but these take the best bits and put them all together and they are amazing, you end up with these tasty bites that, although rather strongly flavoured, the baby really seems to love! They are the right size for him, you can make them in bulk, they are easy, they freeze, you can stick a couple in a Tupperware and take them out with you. Plus they’re vegetable based so practically good for you!

I have tweaked slightly, here is my recipe.

1 large broccoli head OR 1 cauliflower
1 slice of bread or pitta bread (whole meal if you’re being very healthy), grated or blitzed into breadcrumbs
Grated Cheese – I’m use mature or medium
1-2 eggs depending on the runnyness of the mixture
Small onion diced
Clove of garlic or garlic powder

– Steam the veg till tender, then let it dry off whilst you get the rest ready so the mixture isn’t too wet later on
– Mash / blend the veg to a textured pureé
– Mix everything together into a glorious sticky mess
– Put small balls onto a lightly greased baking tray (a couple of sprays of olive oil)
– Bake till golden at about 180 – roughly 12-15 mins depending on oven
Grown up version
– I find the onion too strong so I would saute it first, but the baby likes it so I haven’t tried this yet
– I also plan to try bacon with the cauliflower ones at some point

BLW – Pancakes

Ok, I admit – I forgot about Shrove Tuesday! And you know that nipping to the shops when you have a baby and it’s coming up to a meal time and you haven’t started on supper and you’ve not had a shower yet is oh so super convenient so all I can say is, thank you past Amy for making sure there was SR flour, Eggs and milk in the house!

– 100g Self Raising flour
– 100ml milk
– 1 egg
– oil or butter for frying
– Anything else you fancy

Base Recipe
– Put 100ml milk in a jug
– Put jug on scales and add 100g Self Raising flour
– crack in an egg and beat up (I used my hand blender that I have for making baby purees)
– You can either cook now or add other things at this stage – see below
– Heat a frying pan with spry olive oil in (or butter etc. what ever you have around)
– Cook 3 or 4 dollops into the pan for 40 seconds (ish), flip and cook for another 40 seconds
– Continue until you’ve used all the mixture or the baby screams the house down because supper in taking too long – the mixture can stand for a while, in fact it helps if it does – something to do with gluten.
– Serve – they can be hot in the middle so be careful

Savoury cheese
– Add finely chopped onions
– Add grated cheese – I preferred stronger cheese to be honest, about 30g but it’s not a science
– Grown up version – serve with soured cream and some chives

– Add 30g ish of frozen blueberries, did I defrost to start with? No, should i have done? Maybe
– Warning – your baby will look horrendous after eating blueberries! But they love it

Banana and Raisins
– Roughly mash a banana and add to the mixture
– add raisins
– a healthy pinch of cinnamon and stir
– Grown up version – I had mine with maple syrup, yum!

Pizza Toast

Pizza Toast

Another quick baby meal made from store cupboard things and what ever you have lurking in the fridge.


Harlyn loves cocktail sausages so we always have them in, it’s amazing what you can add them to!

– Turn on the grill
– Make toast
– Spread with tomatoe puree – not too thick
– Add pizza toppings, I used chopped peppers and a sliced cocktail sausage but once again this is a “what ever is in the fridge” meal
– Cover with cheese – grated or sliced
– Grill for, oo, 3 and a half minutes – you want the cheese melted enough to hold everything together but you don’t want the toast to burn
– Slice into squares or fingers,
– Let cool and enjoy!

Baked Egg, or Fridge Surprise – Baby Version

The “What the feck do I feed the baby for tea?” feeling hit around 4pm today, we’ve had a busy week and there were no left overs in the fridge for once. We had been swimming today so he needed something more than just toast but I wasn’t up for a full scale cooking or cleaning event.

When I don’t know what to cook for the grown ups I cook “fridge surprise” which is usually pasta with a sauce made up of what ever is the in the fridge – or sometimes it’s a stir fry or when things are really barren in there, it’s hat old classic – an omelette. As we’re doing baby led weaning and the baby has what we have, it waas time for baby fridge surprise!

And so the Crust-less-quiche / omelette / fridge surprise fusion was born. And the baby liked it 🙂

Harlyn eating baked egg
Harlyn eating baked egg

– An Egg
– Cheese
– What ever else you have around, I used a slice of wafer thin ham as I wanted to up his protein for today (it was a carby lunch!)
– Pepper
– Dash of milk – not sure if this actually helped, it just felt right

EDIT: I did this again without the milk and it was fine! I added green pepper this time – that worked well, he wasn’t too sure to start with but got into it!

– Spray some cooking oil into a ramekin, or grease with butter. I didn’t do either of these things and it still worked
– Crack an egg into the ramekin and beat up a bit
– Add cheese – lumps or grated, I had some little bags of cheese cubes so threw them in
– Add ground pepper
– Tear up a slice of ham and add
– I added a dash of milk at this point, probably wont next time
– stir it all up a bit
– Microwave for about a minute and check, it may need a little more – babies should have solid eggs
– Turn out onto a plate, let cool, cut into “fingers” or chunks.

– Add what ever the hell you have in the fridge tothe egg mixturn before cooking, torn or cut into suitable sized chunks

Fluffy eggs


Yes I know, it’s been 2 years since I last blogged – I’ll get to that. But first, Fluffy Eggs. A new breakfast / brunch / I’m hungry and time no longer has any meaning….dish.

If I can whip these up in my current state, anyone can. I more or less followed this recipe – the only tip I would add was I put each egg yoke into it’s own shot glass so I could then deploy it into it’s fluffy egg white cloud directly.



Ham Pasta Recipe


WP_20130806_022A very simple and healthy pasta dish. It was cooked on an advert for I think Waistrose years ago, but I can’t find a reference to it now. Good staple, very easy and very tasty.

The Cast:
– Bow pasta
– Spring onions
– Thin ham
– Creme Fraiche
– Olive oil spray
– Black pepper (not shown)
– Parsley (Optional)
Put the pasta on to cook
Spray a wok generously with the olive oil spray
chop the spring onions and start to gently fry.
Chop the ham – as hard as it may be, do not be neat about this or it will all stick together! WP_20130806_015
Throw into the pan with the spring onions – don’t let them burn. You’re trying to fry the onions and heat the ham, not crisp it. You’ll probiably have to turn it off whilst you wait for the pasta to finish cookingMake sure the Creme Fraiche is out of the fridge! WP_20130806_017
 Drain the cooked pasta and add to the wok WP_20130806_018
 Stir it all together WP_20130806_019
 You want the ham distributed evenly.Turn off the heat, add the Creme Fraiche and stir! WP_20130806_020
Add plenty of ground black pepper and some parsley if you have it. 




Ridiculously Easy Thai Fish Curry

A few months ago Katharine The Sourceress very kindly cooked me and James B Marshall dinner, it was fab – Thai Fish Curry.

Katharine kindly told me the recipe and one day I will create it properly but not today, today involved rain, two 2-hour meetings, crazy access right problems, several changes in specification and some sort of hideous problem with setting up the development environment.

So today I made up a tribute to Katharine’s dish.

And it was GOOD!


  • Tin of coconut milk
  • Red Thai Curry Paste
  • Two frozen fish fillets – I had cod
  • Half a large potato
  • Fresh Coriander
  • Rice


  1. Put a tablespoon or so of the curry paste into a saucepan over a medium heat, let it sizzle a bit
  2. Add tin of coconut milk
  3. Get your fish fillets out of the freezer
  4. I only used half a potato but you could use more if you wanted – cut the potato into cubes
  5. Add potato to the bubbling coconut milk
  6. Give it about 7-9 minutes till the potato is softish
  7. Add the fish fillets
  8. Leave it bubbling – not too madly – for, oo, 7 ish minutes
  9. When you can’t resist it any longer poke at the pan to break up the fish a bit
  10. Give it a taste – more curry paste? I thought so too, stick it in.
  11. Stick the rice into the microwave (Yes, I use microwave rice, sticky rice would work very well with this though if you know how to do it)
  12. Pass a knife though a small bunch of coriander a couple of times to vaguely chop it
  13. Put done rice into a bowl, spoon fish and potatoes over the top then pour over the sauce
  14. Put fresh coriander on top and enjoy

Cinnamon Stars – A tale of woe

Let me just state right now, this is all Darren’s fault.

Today I had lunch with my good friends Ben and Darren and a couple of their friends. I recently discovered that these two guys – though my experimentation with The Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls (makes them and people WILL fall at your feet to worship you. always an odd experience) – are almost more passionate about all things cinnamon than they are about assorted geekery.

We were in the excellent Bill’s cafe, where on display there are various gourmet wonders you can buy and take home. As we were waiting to be seated Darren noticed bags of cinnamon star cookies. His eyes lit up like the metaphorical Christmas tree.

Let me pause there for a moment to expound a pet theory of mine – imagine me in a leather, winged back chair, wearing  a smoking jacket, swirling a glass of brandy by an open fire.

Developers are trained to have an inbuilt desire to see how things work. Show a geek a cool do-hicky and after the initial reaction of ‘oh that cool’ they immediately want to know how it’s made.

Never leave a geek with a screwdriver unattended near anything you own because I guarantee they will try and take it apart.

Now imagine what you get when you combine a classic developer with a foodie. You end up with someone who will try and re-create and improve on almost everything they taste.

Back to Bill’s.

As we sat down and starting looking at the menu I started mulling. surely I could make those cinnamon star cookies? How hard could it be?

I should have known.

I turned to my trusty iPod – gateway to the world – and powered up safari. Alas I had obviously left my baby unattended near a microsofty at some point as the default search engine has been changed to Bing, oh well. Five minutes later I had a recipe. My afternoon plans were set.

A quick store cupboard check later and shock-horror, I was out of ground almonds! Darn!

I had used almost all of them up last week making a chicken korma (a BBC recipe, rather good). But no, I was a geek on a mission – a mission to make cinnamon stars and nothing would get in my way! I would just go and buy some ground almonds, twitter came to my aid, @teamawnty2012 told me where the nearest shop that sold ground almonds was, a 10 minute nip to Oxford Road and I had possibley the largest bag of ground almonds I’ve ever owned.

The baking could commence.

I decided to use this as my base recipe – – I stuck to it pretty well, except I didn’t have any lemon zest and I put some lemon juice in the icing to thin it a bit.

Creating the ‘dough’ went well enough, it was quite sloppy but, who was I to argue with what someone I’ve never met said on the internet? Onto the rolling out..

This is where it all started to fall apart. I ended up with a squishy paste between two bits of grease proof paper. I pealed back the top layer and knew this would end in tears. It did not look appetising. Oh well, maybe there was some magic that I wasn’t aware of that would make it all better, time to attempt cutting out.

There wasn’t. Magic that it.

That’s it. The recipe was a failure, I should just go and eat the raw dough and watch a chick flick I thought – but then! Inspiration hit! My cookie press! That is designed to pump out cookies from sloppy dough right? How could it go wrong?

Well it did. lets just draw a veil over those few minutes.

Back to the just-eating-the-evidence-plan.

But no, I have never be beaten by a recipe yet I cried! To which my mind instantly bought forth the memory of my first (and currently only) attempt at macaroons. or my Little Pony Droppings as my beloved tasting panel nicknamed them. The macaroons did not go well either.

So. I brought out more icing sugar, I scraped together the ball of almond smelling cement and LIBERALLY sprinkled the work surface. Who am I kidding? I carpet bombed the thing. Slapped down the warm handful of goo and considered the state of proceedings.

“What I really need right now, is a glass of wine.”

Thank you for that thought brain, but no, I have cookies to make. Star shaped cookies.

I got the paste into a sort of flattish round with my hands, no more rolling pin for me and added another half inch of icing sugar to the top, flattened it down and started to cut out in earnest.

Things started to get better, dipping the cutter in water between each cut helped, gently pushing it out by each point produced a nicely “home make look” star (read wonky), ok, fantastic, yes! Take THAT crazy internet recipe!

3 trays later, 10 minutes baking. I got the cookies out of the oven and it was worse than you can imagine.

Yep. I had created MUTANT COOKIES OF DOOM. But I was committed now, I just need to ice these monstrosities, stick them back in the oven for the icing to harden in a baked Alaska type way and I’m done.

Just look at this one.

What IS that?

You think these look hideous in the photos, you should see them in real life. This must be how a parent feels when they realise their offspring doesn’t know the difference between star trek and star wars, and more importantly DOESN’T CARE.

Last few minutes of baking and the horror is complete

So, my kitchen looks like a bomb has hit it, my cooling rack is full of little mutated globs of almondness and to cap it all! They don’t even smell of cinnamon.

This could have gone better.

In conclusion, at least for the time being, this geek is happy not to know exactly how to make everything she sees.

Although. how hard can it be? I’m going back to the kitchen.

Post Script

It’s 23:35pm, I’m on my 4th Glass of wine and I have just taken THESE out of the oven…

Ha! Take THAT crazy cookies. My work here is done. @deepwire et al x

Oh yes. It turns out I do, indeed rock. Details at a later date but for now, I’m going to bed!

You’d be amazed what you can do with a frozen banana

Humans are wonderful creatures, almost any issue you have, someone else will have had it before you – and now thanks to the internet, you can find these people and read blog posts about how they dealt with it, you can message them on twitter and talk to them about it. Sometimes we forget just how amazing this is.

This is amazing, even when we’re talking about the rather bizarre problem of what to do with frozen bananas.

We are all familiar with the concept of testers, these are wonderfully honest people that go though your applications and find all the bugs, niggles and irks for you to fix. They can be frustrating people but oh-so-useful. I am lucky enough have my own panel of testers -  dedicated, hard working people that, for the sake of friendship and honour, allow me to try out new recipes on them. I love each and every one of them. The "mmmm, that’s not bad" from them is the highest accolade a cook can have, it’s like an addiction – alas this is something I have given up for the moment…

My good friend Ben is currently taking part in a very worthwhile challenge – Lay off the Cake – he and his colleague are competing to see who can lose the most weight. Out of respect and in support of this I have refrained from baking fat laden goodies when I know he will be around – it’s been surprisingly hard – but last week I discovered something rather wonderful…

For reasons too mundane to go into here I had shoved some rather ripe bananas into my freezer before going away for the weekend. The natural consequence of this is that last Monday found me googling (Yes, Googling….) the phrase "Frozen banana recipes". What I found was rather remarkable.

How To Make Creamy Ice Cream with Just One Ingredient! – from

It turns out that if you blend a Frozen Banana and nothing else it turns into something with the texture and taste of ice cream.

I know… that’s the exact expression of incredulity I had.

After this expedition into the crazier side of the internet I met up with Katherine “The Sorceress” Robinson and told her this tale. She also instantly screwed her face into the classic ‘You can’t make ice cream from frozen bananas’ expression but we thought it was worth a try. Home we went and – as all good scientists must do before an experiment – made tea.

With the comforting wafts and warmth of Yorkshire Tea to bolster us we went for it. The first thing we learnt – pealing a frozen banana is not an easy task.


Eventually the chopped frozen banana was in the plastic prison of my Kenwood Mini Chopper, lid in place. We shared the by-now familiar expression of ‘You can’t make ice cream from frozen bananas’ and pressed the button…


We got chopped banana. We were significantly underwhelmed.

But we had gone too far to give up now. After the effort that went into peeling the thing it was personal. So, more blending… This time we got finer chopped banana. The cause was lost, we were just making a mess now. We silently vowed to never believe anything the harpy that is the internet said ever again. That purveyor of broken promises and dreams was dead to us.

Without any hope in my heart I gave it just one final blast of the blender and the magic happened. Suddenly. Peacefully. The chopped banana collapsed in on itself and turned creamy with barely a sigh as it let go if it’s solid form and relaxed into creamy goodness.


We had ice cream.

Teaspoons. Tasting. Raised eyebrows. Incredulity. This was ice cream! This was Fat-Free ice cream. This was Ice Cream with all the nutritional merits of a banana and nothing else. In that one taste we forgave the internet and let it back into our hearts.

Then the best bit. Ben arrived. Once again I got to do something I love – feed something yummy to someone who loves their food and suddenly, all was right with the world once more.


Gingerbread Men

Sometimes there is only one thing that will do – dunking a gingerbread man in a hot cup of tea.

This recipe is adapted from my mother’s recipe. Like all my cooking it can be open to interpretatin depending on your mood – the last batch I made included Allspice as well as cinnamon and ginger.

Making Gingerbread Men

12oz plain flour
1 level teaspoon bicarb of soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger – I always double this though to 4
4oz Butter – regular, make sure it’s a bit soft
6oz soft brown sugar – this is important, this is what makes it taste good and unlike other gingerbread, change to golden caster for a lighter one, soft dark brown sugar or soft light sugar also give different results – all good.
4 tablespoons golden syrup
1 egg

1. Sift flour, bicarb and ginger together – if you want to add other spices (cinnemon, all spice, nutmeg) do this now too – be creative people. your kitchen should smell of Christmas at this point

Making Gingerbread Men

2. Rub in butter, add sugar

3. Warm the syrup / put hte can in a pan of hot water and add with the egg to make a dough

Making Gingerbread Men

4. Shape! Makes about 20 cookies or one gingerbread house

5. Cook for 10-12 minutes at 190C on greased baking sheets

Making Gingerbread Men

If they end up too hard that’s because they were a tad thin, but these are perfect for eating with a cup of tea!