Baby in one hand, wooden spoon in the other

Category Archives: Blogging

Thank you all, loyal blog readers for your support over the past couple of years. Every time a new follower signs up, or I get a comment or a ‘like’ I know that writing this is worthwhile! Looking ahead, I have decided to start to grow The One-Handed Cook into a website and my blog will form part of the new site. You can read it here: www.theonehandedcook.com

You will find lots of recipes, gadgets and advice for busy people juggling babies, work, family and life – as well as some new strands and, of course, this blog!

Please do check it out and spread the love for my fledgling brand.

You can also find me on Twitter @onehandedcook and Pinterest

Come and follow me anew on the website!

TOHC x

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Celebrate, good times, come on!

Celebrate, good times, come on!

I thought it would be fun to pull together some of the photos I’ve taken for this blog over the past 18 months or so. As you can see, I try to illustrate my recipes and gadget reviews in a fun way! I love taking these photos, and have built up quite a collection of my own Playmobil and Lego figures, in addition to those upstairs in the toy box… You can see ALL my photos on my Pinterest page, The One-Handed Cook.

This blog is a fun place to come and find simple yet tasty recipes, and reviews of cool cookware and other kitchen-related things that might be of interest to any busy parent. My aim is to share easy recipes, shortcuts and tips – I know what it’s like juggling baby on your hip, or toddler at your feet, or whining 3-year-old, or older child with the appetite of a grown man, with LIFE!

I write as regularly as I can – being a busy working mum of two means it’s not always as often as I’d like – but I love the process of thinking about the post, planning and taking the photo, and then sharing with you. I also love being part of the wider parent- and food-blogger communities and have discovered some great blogs and met some great bloggers, which has been amazing.

So, if you enjoy reading my blog, please do spread the word! And do give me feedback on any of the recipes you try.

As long as you keep reading, I’ll keep writing.

Just wanted to share a bit of blogging love this Sunday evening 🙂

The One-Handed Cook x


Stop! Police! Step away from the mince pies.

Stop! Police! Step away from the mince pies.

We hosted Christmas this year. Cor, it’s hard work. And I didn’t even cook the Christmas Day lunch; my lovely husband was in charge of proceedings! But before we even reached the dizzy heights of Christmas Day itself, about three hundred other things happened: the turkey was duly ordered, the tree was lavishly decorated (the children’s help meant we had a lot of bauble clustering), the presents were chosen, bought and wrapped, a Belgian Christmas market was visited, and various Christmas ‘do’s’ were attended and staggered home from. All quite knackering, but great fun. Ho ho ho.

With Christmas over, my thoughts turn to 2014. What’s in store for the blog? Well, 2013 has been quite incredible on that front, with lots of new readers, followers, supporters and comments. Meeting new blogger friends and catching up with old ones at Mumsnet BlogFest was a highlight. All these things really spur me on, and so I intend to carry on sharing useful tidbits of advice, anecdotes, recipes, gadgets and kitchen equipment all designed to help make life in the kitchen a bit easier when you have small people to tend to at the same time. It’s not always easy. It’s not always fun. But we’re all in it together, and I hope you enjoy what you read here and on Twitter and see on my Pinterest boards.

So, in a bid to actually achieve something beyond eating 4 mince pies a day during this funny ‘in between Christmas and New Year’ period, I wanted to share 6 things I’ve learned this Christmas:

  1. You can never have too many mince pies (see above)
  2. Leaving out a mince pie and a glass of sherry for Father Christmas and a carrot for the reindeer is a wonderful Christmas moment for children
  3. When it comes to the turkey, go Rolls Royce*
  4. Family matters
  5. TV doesn’t (what actually happened in that Downton episode anyway?)
  6. Packet bread sauce is for wimps

*We had a Kelly Bronze which came in a special box with a meat thermometer (!); wasn’t cheap, tasted delicious.

Season’s Greetings, folks!

TOHC X


Mama loves you

For an 18-year window, it’s ALL about being a mummy…

Loved Mumsnet Blogfest. I was so lucky to win a ticket! Thank you, Mumsnet.

I came away inspired – inspired to write, inspired to keep up my blog, inspired to read more blogs, inspired to be funny (it’s all about the LOLZ), inspired to be a positive role model for my children, inspired to wear pink wellies, and inspired to make my blog the best I can (in the time I have available!).

Join me. Get inspired. Go to http://www.mumsnet.com/bloggers-network and get reading. You will be opening a door onto a whole new world of brilliant blogs…

TOHC x


Kidney beans are super for you!

Kidney beans are super for you!

This week’s highlight was winning a ticket to the 2013 Mumsnet BlogFest (for more details, click here)! I really was in shock! I went last year when my blog was but a month old, and was bowled over by the amazing group of bloggers I met, and the quality of the panels for the various topics up for discussion, so I am thrilled to be going again this year. I am looking forward to catching up with blogging friends, and meeting some more lovely people (if you are going, let me know, so I can say hi!) and hearing speakers such as Tanya Byron, the inspirational Jack Monroe from A Girl Called Jack and a whole host of fellow bloggers. Yippee!

So, from BlogFest to, er, mince! (nice segue there…) I recently discovered that there are recipe books devoted entirely to mince. I kid you not. From Favourite Mince Recipes and Marvellous Meals with Mince (by cookery doyenne Josceline Dimbleby no less) to the imaginatively titled Mince! it would appear that us Brits genuinely love the stuff.  Certainly, it’s versatile, and children do tend to love it. So is there life beyond spaghetti bolognaise, which I make quite often (i.e. all the time)? I felt compelled to try something different… and so, I bring you chile con carne! It is so easy to make, I hope this will fast become a tea-time hit in your house, too.

I was particularly keen to try chile on the children, because kidney beans are a great source of fibre, protein and B vitamins and provide slow-releasing energy – perfect for active kids (and super heroes…), and I want them to eat more pulses. But I was conscious that adding chilli would make it instantly spicy, and hence a risky option, so I just use cumin and coriander.

So, don’t panic, it’s not spicy – it just has a lovely rich, warming flavour, primarily from the cumin, which gives it that Mexican chile-style hit. Initially I was a bit nervous about the reaction I’d get to the kidney beans, so rather than serving the chile with rice, I served it in tortilla wraps to hide the kidney beans (I know, I know), with a bit of rice, grated cheese, cut-up avocado and a dollop of sour cream. No complaints about kidney beans. In no fact complaints about anything – they loved it. And, alongside the good old faithful spag bol, this has become a family favourite.

You do need time to make it – while it’s dead easy to throw together, and hence the perfect recipe for a busy parent, it needs 1½ hours in the oven so make sure you have a window of time available. You also need a decent pan which will transfer from the hob to the oven. It freezes really well and makes an easy meal when friends come to play.

Perfect for bonfire night, served with jacket potatoes, or boiled rice (with a dollop of sour cream and some grated cheddar), or go the whole hog and do the tortilla wrap option – it’s delicious, I promise. Oh, and for the grown-ups, add a nice glass of red. In fact, I even asked lovely Helen from The Knackered Mother’s Wine Club what wine she’d recommend, and she suggests La Posta Argentinian Malbec from Majestic or Tesco Finest Chilean Carmenere.

Don’t say I’m not good to you.

TOHC

x

Chile con Carne

Makes 8–10 child-sized portions

You will need:

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 small red pepper, chopped*

400g beef mince

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp whole cumin seeds

1 x 400g tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 x 400g tin of tomatoes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

250ml water

What to do:

  • Preheat the oven to 160C/140C Fan/320F
  1. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed oven proof pan (I use my Le Creuset) and sauté  the onions, peppers and mince allowing the meat to brown a little.
  2. Add the cumin and coriander and stir well.
  3. Add the kidney beans, tomatoes and water, season well, and bring to a gentle simmer.
  4. Cover with a lid and put in the oven for 1½ hours, stirring every 30 minutes or so.
  5. Skim off any excess fat before serving.

* Note, if you don’t have a red pepper, I’ve also used courgette and carrot in its place, and it still worked a treat.

Enjoy round the bonfire 🙂


There are few things that can’t be solved in life with a glass of wine, a friend’s ear and a family-sized box of Maltesers. Also, blogging helps 🙂

Maltesers


Good old Bridget

Good old Bridget

Too many st (but intend to start juicing kale v v soon), alcohol units 2½, cigarettes – stopped that nonsense years ago, calories 2,280, kids 2 (v.g.)

Is it really 17 years since Bridget Jones’s Diary was published? 17 years!? I can’t believe it. Back then I was a naïve 21-year-old, still at university, living a life of very little responsibility – basically all I really had to do was get myself up and out of the house to go to lectures (and even then I didn’t always manage it). OH HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED. I’ve changed, Bridget’s changed, Mark Darcy is apparently dead – which sent Twitter into meltdown – whatever next?

I for one can’t wait to read Mad About the Boy. There was an interview with author Helen Fielding in the Independent a few months ago, in which she said (speaking of the 14-year gap between the last Bridget Jones novel she wrote and this new one) ‘I sort of lost my voice with Bridget for a long time after the unexpected success when it first came out. It was very easy to write and be honest, then I got all self-conscious.’

I think this is interesting from a blogging perspective. It takes time, but you will find your voice. And once you’ve found it, stay true it. Be authentic. Be yourself. Write from the heart. Tell it like it is. Be like Bridget. Or maybe not…

‘Since leaving work I have nearly slipped a disc wheezing through a step aerobics class, scratched my naked body for seven minutes with a stiff brush; cleaned the flat; filled the fridge, plucked my eyebrows, skimmed the papers and the Ultimate Sex Guide, put the washing in and waxed my own legs.’

From Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

Here’s hoping Helen Fielding is back on form – I have every confidence. I need a good laugh!

Thanks for reading.

TOHC

x



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