Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Maternity Leave Cooking

I adore being on Maternity Leave with our beautiful son. Each day is a new adventure in growth, giggles and development. Each day I have faced new challenges and, together with my husband and little one, made it to bedtime in one piece. Each day I have felt blessed when I look upon my husband and son tucked up cosy, warm and peaceful.

I'm not about to turn this blog into a mother's forum for talking about her baby. Although, I could talk about Bertie at great length if called to do so. This blog was always a place to talk about religion and food, so I aim to keep it that way.

This was the first Ash Wednesday in my adult life that I have not marked the beginning of Lent by attending Mass. Motherhood makes church going challenging. Bertie and I marked the day quietly at home with a little bit of peace and quiet, whilst I explained what it was all about to him. Not that, at three months, he is particularly theologically adept, but that he likes the sound of me nattering on, and vocalising the significance of the day forced me to pay it due attention.

I was not fasting either. Breastfeeding a baby really does use every ounce of energy you have, and if I fast I would be inflicting that same behaviour on my baby boy. Not on, thought I. So, this morning with Bertie happily watching me from his bouncer I made peanut butter cookies. I have been baking a lot recently. I developed a very sweet tooth after Bertie was born. Mostly I send the goodies to work with G. His office colleagues are very happy about this. And, sending a few sweet treats with G help him through the day, especially if sleep has been lacking!


8 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
1 free-range egg yolk
50g/1¾oz butter, softened
icing sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 180C. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and use a knife and your fingers to bind them into a sweet dough. Knead a little until you are happy with the texture. Pull walnut sized pieces away and roll them into a ball. I then squished mine with a little star cutter, but you could use a fork. Place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown. Once cooled, dust with icing sugar.

Actually, I have been really into cooking and baking since I have been on maternity leave. I enjoy using those spare precious minutes making something that all three of us can enjoy. I'm not particularly health conscious, but eat a fairly balanced diet. My only 'food fad' is that I hate the idea of chemicals or weird additives in my food. So, cooking things from scratch is a way of ensuring that what goes into me, and then into Bertie's milk, is known to me. Sometimes, if Bertie is awake, he helps by holding a carrot or stick of celery and waving it. I put his bouncer on the worktop so he can see what is happening, and we do a little running commentary to each other about the proceedings. I've had a few little triumphs, and I hope to share with you some of the recipes in due course. I record them here to remind me of what I've been up to.

Mini Bakewells; Lemon Madelines; Plain Cakes; Oat Mincemeat Slices; Date and Orange Slices; Scones; Flapjacks; Chocolate cookies; Lemon Drizzle

Seafood Pancakes; Spaghetti Bolognese; Lasagne; Salmon en Croute; Chilli Tortillas; Chicken Crown roasted with Red Peppers and Olives; Macaroni Peas; Barley Risotto with Lamb; Steak and Kidney Pudding; Giant Cous Cous Peppers

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