Even in the five years since Little Owl was born loads of ingenious little things have come onto the market to make parenting a small baby easier. With Little Owl I slaved over ice-cube trays of organic homemade baby food, which she promptly spat out all over the floor. Back then bought baby food came in glass jars and as she ate so little, their main purpose seemed to be to leak all over the inside of my change bag. Nowadays there are Ella’s Kitchen sachets (cue flashing neon lights) that come in foil pouches with non-leaking screw-on lids so you can squeeze out what you need directly onto a spoon and save the rest for later. They’re perfect for when you’re in the early stages of weaning and need tiny amounts of lots of different tastes. They’re also very handy for when you’ve miscalculated and end up needing to give your ravenous baby his lunch in the middle of the post office queue. Nowadays feeding Finch on them would cost a small fortune. On such occasions when I give them to him he wolfs down two large sachets in one sitting and pesters me for more.
The answer obviously, was for my dear friend to buy me the Ella’s Kitchen Big Baking Book. Oh my goodness – you must buy this book! Even if you don’t have children this is a really great cookbook. It could revolutionise your lunchbox. My only caveat is that some of the quantities do need tweaking. One example is the Chunky Oat Cookies. The mixture following the recipe is far too sloppy and ours dripped all over the oven (can you hear me cursing from there?). It worked much better with 3 tablespoons of honey and 3 tablespoons of golden syrup instead of 4 each. Also make sure the teaspoon of bicarb is level not heaped. The Special Apple Biccies could do with two apples not one.
It’s a really fun book, designed for kids to enjoy. There’s bits for them to colour and the photos are great. Each recipe has suggestions for how to get children involved. Although I think the children of the Ella’s Kitchen team are more adventurous than mine. Little Owl turned up her nose at one recipe suggestion that she might enjoy “squidging” the mixture between her fingers. That would involve getting her hands dirty!