One of the things I will be offering on my blog is interviews with other busy parents, to help you feel inspired, give you an exclusive behind-the-scenes peek at how other mums do things and to offer tips and advice across a range of issues and topics that will (I hope!) interest you.
So, without further ado, I’d like to invite you to settle down for five minutes – snuggle baby in your arm, put your toddler down for his nap, or send your older one upstairs to play Lego – and read my first interview with Brigid Moss, Health Director of Red magazine, who shares some wonderful foodie tips below (oh, and I can vouch for Nigella’s Chocolate Guinness Cake – it’s to die for!)
Passionate about health, nutrition and wellbeing, Brigid has worked as a journalist across a range of women’s magazines, including Grazia and Zest. She is also the author of IVF: An Emotional Companion (Collins, £12.99), which features real fertility stories. In her free time she imagines her perfect house, shops at markets and cooks. She has a son who is five.
Q: As a busy mum, how have you adapted the way you cook since having your son?
When my son was younger, I found I couldn’t really cook at all when he was awake, there were too many interruptions and I like the relaxed side of cooking. Now I pretty much only do one-pot dishes; I’m very lazy! If it can’t go into the same casserole dish or oven dish, I’m not doing it. I like to chop, put in the oven, forget it for a bit. My husband, Adam, is the one who does elaborate three-dish curries or Thai food.
Q: I know you are into healthy eating and nutrition – can you share some of the quick, healthy snacks you and your son enjoy eating?
He loves popcorn, although it did take me a while to learn to make it without burning it – now I use the microwave. If I think he’s low on his five a day, I make him a fruit salad; kids seem much keener on fruit when it’s chopped up.
I also serve veggies first – that tip came from US author Jessica Seinfeld (see www.doitdelicious.com). I put chopped avocado with dressing, carrot and cucumber sticks, cherry tomatoes on the table before the main course, and it works really well.
The other things I rely on apart from fruit are: dried fruit, Nairn’s cheese oatcakes and Marks & Spencer multi popcorn packs. Of course, he has less healthy stuff too. Given the choice, he’d go for cheese and onion crisps, Haribo and a sugary juice drink in a flash.
Q: Breakfast is often cited as the most important meal of the day, particularly for growing children – what sorts of things do you and your family like to eat for breakfast?
The perfect breakfast for me is a boiled egg, but my son doesn’t agree. However, scrambled eggs often get eaten when boiled don’t. And I have to confess I gave him quail’s eggs when he was younger and in an egg-refusing stage, to make him start eating all eggs again. Extravagant, perhaps, but it worked!
He often has mushrooms with toast during the week, or Rice Krispies with chopped dried figs and desiccated coconut (his choice!). Our weekend treat is pancakes with bacon and maple syrup.
Q: What kitchen gadget could you not live without?
My hand blender, for making soups, banana milkshakes (I do just milk and bananas) and smoothies.
Q: Who are your favourite cookery writers? Where do you find recipes?
I always go back to Delia and Nigella for cakes – Nigella’s Chocolate Guinness Cake looks impressive and tastes amazing, and Delia’s Carrot Cake is the best. Otherwise, I cut out recipes from magazines, especially Red. We recently featured Margot Henderson and I’m going to buy her new book, You’re All Invited.
Q: I am all about embracing shortcuts in the kitchen – what shortcuts do you do to make life run that little bit smoother as a working mum? Any tips you’d like to share?
Not cooking! I eat something-on-rye-toast for supper at least twice a week (my son gets fed earlier). And we get a takeaway probably once a week. That’s three nights a week less washing up. I freeze anything leftover, even if it’ll only make a meal for one. I did used to buy ready made soups, until my husband and I got terrible food poisoning from one.
Q: How do you carve out time for your own personal writing projects?
A very obliging mum.
Q: And lastly, what’s the weirdest thing you learned to do one-handed when your son was a baby?
I hope you all enjoyed reading my interview with Brigid and picked up a few ideas! Look out for more interviews with other interesting mums coming soon. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog, so you don’t miss out.
The One-Handed Cook