Last year I was lucky enough to win tickets to The Baby Show and so I went along, ready to be inspired, having just started writing this blog. I saw lots of things that day, but the one thing I took a photo of, and oohed and aahed over, was really nothing much to do with babies. It was on the Oxo Tot stand that I came across this wonderful product, from parent company Oxo (nothing to do with stock cubes) – a company I knew previously for its fantastic salad spinner…
Oxo kindly sent me some of these fantastic POP storage containers – as they are called – to test out, and they are so brilliant, I had to share with you here. They are the perfect storage container for the one-handed cook – you simply pop the top to release the airtight seal, use the button as a handle to lift off the lid, and you’re away. You can make a cup of tea one-handed, you can pour granola on your yogurt one-handed, you can get the spaghetti out one-handed… perfect for the multi-tasking mum (or dad)!
They stack neatly, so you can keep them on the side or in your cupboard, they are BPA-free, and because you can see inside, you can keep tabs on supplies. So whether, you’re storing Cheerios, Lego or teabags, these are so easy to use, easy to clean and easy on the eye, they make it into The One-Handed Cook’s list of top kitchen equipment! Check out my Pinterest kitchen gadgets board, where I’ve pinned a few photos I found – they really do look lovely.
And, what’s more, Oxo have given me five 0.9 litre POP containers to give away to you my lovely blog readers. (In the photo at the top, this is the size of container with the Lego in.) Yay!
To be in with a chance of winning a 0.9L POP container, you have to a) follow @onehandedcook on Twitter AND b) RT my tweet about the giveaway!
04.02.13 THE ENTRY DEADLINE HAS PASSED – THANKS FOR ALL YOUR ENTRIES AND THE WINNERS WILL BE NOTIFIED SHORTLY!
The small print:
All the views here on the blog are my own.
1. Entry in to the prize draw will be deemed as acceptance of these rules.
2. The prize draw is open to any UK resident, aged 18 or over, who follows the @onehandedcook Twitter account AND retweets the tweet about the prize draw referencing the prize of an Oxo 0.9 litre POP container
3. The competition starts at 10pm UK time on Tuesday 29 January 2013 and ends at 09:00am on 4 February 2013.
4. One winner will be drawn at random from all valid entries.
5. One entry per person.
6. The prize is one Oxo 0.9 litre POP container.
7. The prize is non-negotiable, non-transferable, and there is no cash alternative.
8. The draw will be made by random selection within seven days of the competition ending and the prize posted to the winner’s home address within 30 days.
9. The winner will be notified by direct message on Twitter if they have won.
10. If a response is not received by the winner within 30 days they will forfeit their right to the prize.
11. No purchase necessary.
12. This prize draw is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Twitter and Twitter shall not be liable in any way whatsoever to the Users.
All week it’s time to Shake Up Your Wake Up with Farmhouse Breakfast Week which is an annual celebration championing the importance of breakfast and aims to get the nation to Shake Up Their Wake Up! 47% of people regularly skip breakfast during the week so their aim is to encourage people to enjoy a healthy breakfast more regularly, think about the wonderful breakfast produce available in this country, and get out of the boring breakfast rut! For inspiration, look at www.shakeupyourwakeup.com/breakfastrecipes
I was lucky enough to be sent Denhay Farms’ Ultimate Breakfast Box to try out on the family, which included their award-winning bacon, spoiltpig sausages, Clarence Court’s Burford Brown eggs, Tracklements tomato sauce and smoked chipotle salsa. Nice.
I am a big believer in breakfast, but like most busy mums, don’t always have time during the week to make a real effort with breakfast. I usually have plain yogurt with some sort of granola (Rude Health is a favourite) and the children have cereal or porridge, fruit and sometimes bagels or rice cakes with peanut butter. However at the weekend we usually have scrambled eggs, porridge, fruit salad, American-style pancakes and sometimes a cooked breakfast, which is a real treat.
We had never tried Denhay bacon, and I have to say, it was absolutely delicious. I was very pleased to see that both it and the sausages have the Freedom Food label – something which is important to me. The sausages had a lovely flavour, and I was really quite taken with the ketchup (although, you guessed it, the kids prefer ‘the normal one’) but the eggs stole the show – I have never seen such gorgeous vibrant yolks before (if you’re into Pantones, think Spectra Yellow). Which inspired me to make scrambled eggs – one of the few dishes that really can be made one-handed – assuming you can crack an egg one-handed!
Scrambled eggs are great for older babies (make sure they are cooked through), toddlers, big kids, and even bigger kids. Eggs pack a great protein punch, plus the yolks are high in lecithin, which helps memory and concentration – so they’re an important brain food. They really are the perfect breakfast food, and what’s more, you could add some spinach for an iron kick. A great healthy start to the day for the family!
Scrambled eggs with spinach
Keeping the heat fairly LOW is the key to good scrambled eggs; it may take a wee bit longer, but you will be rewarded with delicious, creamy eggs that taste sooo good.
3 free-range eggs
Dash of full-fat milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Small knob of butter
Handful of washed, chopped spinach
- Gently beat the eggs together in a small bowl or a mug with a fork and add a dash of full-fat milk if you have some, don’t worry if you don’t. Don’t overbeat, just make sure the eggs are combined. Season lightly
- Melt the butter in a non-stick saucepan or frying pan, and once it’s gently bubbling, add your egg mixture, keeping the heat low
- Stir the eggs using a wooden spoon, or even better, a wooden fork, if you have one
- Once the eggs have started to scramble after a few minutes, add the chopped spinach and continue stirring for another minute
- Grate some nutmeg into the pan and give it a final stir
Enjoy your breakfast this week. (And why not tweet a picture, using the hashtag #breakfastwatch!)
Disclaimer: I was sent the Ultimate Breakfast Box as a gift. All the views here are my own.
Christmas is always a big deal in our house because it’s my son’s birthday on Boxing Day, and so we enter a New Year with him a year older, which always makes me feel older. My daughter is growing fast, too, and starting to exhibit a new level of enterprise and cunning; her latest trick of an evening is getting out of her Grobag and catapulting herself out of the cot with a wicked cackle of glee. I am in denial – she’s my baby – she can’t grow up. I won’t allow it.
So, anyway, 2013 has been quite busy for me already, what with one thing and another, and I haven’t had as much time to cook as I would like. Thankfully, the good old weekly Riverford box has come into its own, and I have been throwing together such things as aubergine curry, minestrone soup and cauliflower cheese. It’s amazing what you can rustle up without having to leave the house, if your store cupboard is fairly well stocked and you have some cheese knocking about (one of my store-cupboard faves is this Gia Sundried Tomato Purée, incidentally – it’s brilliant in so many dishes).
One thing I seem to have had a glut of is bananas. And so I made my quick and very tasty banana bread this week, and thought I’d share the recipe here. Not strictly one-handed, although some bits could be done with a baby perched on your hip, it can be whipped up in no time at all. It is really delicious, and what with snow allegedly coming, I can’t think of anything nicer than sitting inside, all cosy, eating a slice of this warm from the oven with a dab of butter, while the snow falls outside. Yum.
Nutty Banana Bread
Mashing bananas to make this always reminds of mashing bananas for the babies when I was weaning them: plate, fork, ripe bananas, tiny spoons, puckered lips, flat refusal, banana on the floor, banana in their hair, banana in my hair, banana absolutely everywhere – ah, happy days.
This is dead simple, so it’s perfect if you have a few overripe bananas lying around that you can’t bear to see going to waste and someone is coming for tea. If you don’t have walnuts, macadamia nuts are good too. Chopped medjool dates are nice stirred in, although they are very sweet so you could reduce the sugar a little if adding those. You could also try sprinkling poppyseeds on top.
3 ripe bananas, mashed up
75g soft butter (get it out the fridge in advance or soften in microwave)
160g soft brown sugar (100g soft brown + 60g dark brown sugar also works well)
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt
170g wholemeal flour (50:50 wholemeal & plain flour works well, too)
small pinch ground cloves
50g walnut halves, chopped, and save a few halves to go on top
What to do
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C/160˚C Fan/Gas mark 4 and grease a small loaf tin (7½” x 3½”), or use some Lakeland quick release spray.
- To a mixing bowl add: the mashed bananas, butter, sugar, egg and vanilla extract and mix.
- Mix in the baking powder, the salt, the ground cloves and finally the flour. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and decorate with a couple of walnut halves.
- Bake for 45 mins and check. Insert a skewer; if it comes out clean, it’s done. If not, return to the oven for another 10 minutes.
- Allow to cool in the tin a little, and then… dig in!
Now, I realise it’s January, and lots of you are abstaining, but you can’t ALL be dry, and, anyway, let’s face it, as a parent, a glass of wine (on a Friday night in particular) is a welcome treat.
Several Fridays ago I tweeted an *extra Friday night tip*, on top of my usual daily tip for mums and dads, which said when you choose wine, make sure you go for ones with a screwcap because they’re easy to open one-handed – just grip the bottle between your knees. Which quite a few parents seem to have identified with…
Until today, wine guru, blogger and all-round good egg Helen McGinn (see www.knackeredmotherswineclub.com) has provided the tasting notes for my Friday night screwcap wine. Today, for the first time, I’m going it alone (eek). I don’t have any wine qualifications, other than I like drinking the stuff. Oh, and I did a WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) evening class about 10 years ago. So you’re just going to have to trust me on this one! Here goes:
Asda Extra Special Falanghina, 2011 (£6.98, currently on offer at the bargain price of £5). Falanghina grapes are grown in Puglia, which is in the heel of Italy’s boot. A very very drinkable white wine. Dry, with a lovely nectarine aroma and a faint whiff of sherbet, it is, as the label says, ‘like sunshine in a glass’. With just the right level of acidity, it is smooth and oh-so moreish. Would make a great aperitif, perhaps with some pâté on toast.
‘The world is never ready
for the birth of a child’
These lines are from a poem called A Tale Began by Polish poet and Nobel Prize winner Wislawa Szymborska, who sadly died in February 2012. In the poem, she describes how all the practical things that need to be done in life that make having a child seem impossible, and yet, the child will still come, and so she goes on to hope that
‘May delivery be easy,
may our child grow and be well.
Let him be happy from time to time
and leap over abysses.
Let his heart have strength to endure
and his mind be awake and reach far.’
When you have small children there are always practical chores that need to be done. There is always a dishwasher to empty, a washing machine to put on, a pile of washing to sort, endless stuff to put away, an email to be written, a meal to cook. I am as guilty as the next mum of saying ‘In a minute’ or ‘Yes, I am coming’ or ‘Just give me a moment’ but I am going to try, in 2013, to pause, to give my children my attention and to embrace their funny, sweet and crazy little projects, games and words. In order to do this, I am going to carry on developing and writing quick, easy recipes in an effort to give myself more time with them, I am going to try to get organised in my home and work life so I don’t feel pressured, I am going to stop trying to do three things at once. But if I can’t always do this, then I am not going to feel guilty either. I am going to press the pause button and enjoy the moment. The dishwasher can wait, that recipe can be written when they’re asleep, work will still be there tomorrow; my children are here now and I want to be ready for them.
Happy New Year to you and your children and wishing you good times together,
More recipes, gadgets and tips soon.