Friday, 29 April 2011

Potato Cakes

These were an improvisation after cooking an extra jacket potato in the oven thinking "I'll use that later" and then thinking "What do I use that for???"  Sorry the measurements are imprecise but trust me when I say it doesn't matter, this is an idea really rather than a recipe.  As long as the mix holds together enough to make into cakes you're fine.

This isn't a million miles away from the fishcake recipe, however easier as no frying is involved.

Probably best to use some greaseproof or baking paper with these as they might stick because of the cheese content even to an oiled tray.  The photo is of some made without spinach but he was served plenty of veg with them.  Have a go at mixing up your own recipe, finely chopped ham might be a nice addition but keep an eye on salt content; perhaps cut back a bit on the cheese.

Potato Cakes - 6 months plus if accepting finger foods (or baby led weaners) - 1 portion for my hungry horace!


1 cold jacket potato (cooked)
A handful of the cheese of your choice, grated
1dsp chopped frozen spinach, defrosted and drained (optional).
Herbs of your choice (optional) chives or garlic chives would be good


Scoop out the flesh of the potato and mash or pass through a potato ricer.  (I love potato ricers, I'm rubbish at mashed potato but they make it almost foolproof.)  Mix with the other ingredients apart from the oil.

Put some greaseproof or baking paper on a try and brush the greaseproof paper with the oil.  Form the mix into small cakes (and I mean small, think a 10p piece in diameter and about 1 cm thick).  Put on the tray and brush lightly with oil.

Store in the fridge until ready to cook.  Bake at 200 degrees C in a preheated oven for 15-20 mins (18 was perfect in my oven.)  Take out and allow to cool till at a safe temperature before serving.

Like this recipe?  Why not try Salmon and Spinach Fishcakes!

Sorry about the lack of posts

Ah the danger of nurseries.  My son had a nursery trial a week ago on Tuesday and came down with a minor stomach bug afterwards around about on Thursday but it was mild and he was better by Sunday, probably because he's still breastfed.  I then caught it, getting steadily more ill from Monday onwards.  On Tuesday I was having such bad stomach cramps I was wondering if I'd got a cyst, then the hideous upset stomach started.  I will spare you the details.  Suffice it to say I've been a bit out of action and I feel awful.  It's now Friday and, hopefully I'm on the mend.

So cooking has been a bit thin on the ground but I thought I'd let you know the info behind having a stomach bug and breastfeeding as it's not fun, it's not great for your recovery but it's great for your baby.  There's a good resource on it on Kellymom.  As the link I've posted says, if your baby didn't give you the illness in the first place, there's no point stopping breastfeeding when you're ill to avoid exposing the baby to the illness because inevitably you will have already done so and the breastfeeding may help prevent your child getting ill or at least limit the illness.

The thing I do find frustrating is the conflicting information about what is and isn't safe to take in terms of medicine.  Far to many OTC remedies seem to cover their ***es by stating you should 'contact your GP' before using their medicine which is impractical, especially on bank holiday weekends (NHS direct in my experience are very reluctant to advise anything about babies or breastfeeding).  It's that kind of thing which makes breastfeeding a pain in the bottom (if you will forgive the term in the circumstances).  The only medication I've taken in the last two years has been paracetamol.  Think about that next time you're popping an ibuprofen, immodium, even a strepsil!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

No Added Sugar Banana Muffins

This is a recipe I put together today.  Based on some I found online.  On reflection I'd probably increase the banana or maybe tone back the bicarb and sub some more baking powder; I find the saltiness from bicarb a little overpowering.  I also think a touch of acidity might help the flavour and the raising agent and perhaps a touch of vanilla wouldn't go amiss, maybe some dried fruit.  That said, my son and my husband were positive about them so it's definitely a starting point, although not as truly fantastic as the date loaf recipe.

I realised part way through that I'd only got 9 cake cases left.  D'oh!  I don't have any fancy silicone cupcake tins but I tried greasing my bog standard steel ones and it worked a treat.

No Added Sugar Banana Mini Muffins (makes approx 16)


3 Ripe Bananas - note, if you have some ripe bananas but don't feel like cooking, you can peel and freeze them and use them next time you're in the mood.
1tsp Cinnamon
1 Egg
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
175g Wholemeal Plain Flour
80g Melted Unsalted Butter


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Put the bananas, butter and egg into a food processor and puree.  Pour into a bowl.  Add the dry ingredients and mix quickly; don't overmix, apparently that's the secret with muffins.  Line a cupcake tin with cases or butter with extra melted unsalted butter.  Put a generous dsp into each case.  Bake for around 14-16 mins.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Sexism once you have a child

I'm feeling conflicted.  Less than 2 weeks till I go back to work and there is part of me that is excited to be getting back into the workplace and using my brain but the other half is concerned that other people will be looking after my little man.

I think this is a conflict that every woman faces.  It does make me wonder with the changes to parental leave legislation whether men will start to face this conflict too.  It's made me realise that at the heart of sexism and pay differentials in the workplace, there is partly a choice; partly imposed upon women as the main carers of children.  It annoys me intensely that current flexible working legislation means it's very easy for an employer to say "no" to someone asking for flexible working simply because they manage people.  This means as women are the main child carers, that many women decide to change jobs rather than return full time.  So do women decide to get paid less?  Yes, in a way.  Does that make it right?  No.

Another thing which has been on my mind is that I found out a former job was advertised (before I took it) at between £5000 and £10,000 p.a. more than I was paid.  I'm a bad negotiator but I do wonder whether I'm not the only woman who is.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Spinach and Sweet Potato Mini Muffins

The online irritable nurse is still taking pot shots at me, telling me off for using butter rather than margarine.  Personally, I would always rather use butter.  Obviously everything in moderation but I don't think people realise just how artificial a product margarine is.  This might make some interesting reading for the health conscious sandal wearing types:

Why margarine is worse for us than butter
The trans fat debate
The palm oil debate

Talking about sandal wearing, my husband raised an eyebrow at this idea for a recipe but was generally impressed at the results.

I made this thinking of ideas for snack foods which were salt free; stupidly I didn't think that of course bicarb and baking powder contain sodium as well.  Mental head slap there especially considering my virtual chats regarding nutrition.  Anyway, this is adapted from a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe; he encouraged me to experiment so I have.  I've reduced the size so they're made in individual cupcake cases so that will cut down the sodium in each portion and are more baby friendly.

After making these I might add a quick spray of spray olive oil to each cup case next time (or splash out on some silicone cupcake cases) as the mix did stick to the cases a bit, probably because it's so low in (naturally produced) fat.

Spinach and Sweet Potato Mini Muffins - makes 24 cupcake size muffins


80g Unsalted Butter plus a small knob (or substitute for olive oil if the thought of animal fat offends...)
1 small onion, diced
150g Frozen chopped spinach
250g Plain Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
2 eggs
200g Full Fat Plain Yoghurt
3 tbsp Full Fat Milk
150g Sweet Potato, peeled and grated
A few grindings of nutmeg


Heat the oven 200 degrees C and line two bun tins with 24 cupcake cases.

Warm the knob of butter in a saucepan and soften the onions.  Add the spinach and a touch of water.  Cover and cook until fully melted.  Cool.

Put the flour, baking powder, bicarb and nutmeg in a bowl.  In a jug whisk together the melted butter, eggs, yoghurt and milk.  Pour into the dry ingredients and as you start to stir, add in the potato and cooled spinach mix.  Don't mix too much.  Add a generous dsp into each cake case.  Bake for around 14-16 mins until they bounce back.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Online 'Politeness'

I have a habit of winding people up.  I don't mean to but never is it more present than when I'm online.  I am a member of a couple of forums and my style is forthright and perhaps occasionally opinionated.  This sometimes leads to problems and I never mean it to.

Earlier in the week I offered a solution to someone's problem.  They had a child who would only eat biscuits and rusks.  I suggested my recipe for pancakes (thinking as they're sweet yet sugar free this might be a gentle change) and also pointed out that as someone else had suggested cheese on toast this was a bit high in salt.  I had a rant in return on how "there is nothing healthy about pancakes" (from the mother who feeds their child biscuits).  She felt the need to tell me how qualified she is to talk about nutrition as she is a nurse.

So how do you respond to this.  In fact do you respond?  Here are the different responses I considered:

"I've worked in food for 9 years and have several food and food safety qualifications.  I'm not an expert on child nutrition but then are you?"

"Look love, you may be a nurse but you feed your child biscuits!"

"Oh shut up and feed your child salt and sugar if that's what you want."

Of course I did none of the above.  I'd love to say I didn't rise to it but I did but (hopefully) in a more even tempered way.  It did make me wonder though; what is it about me which precipitates this response in people?  I can't say I don't rub people up the wrong way in 'real' life either.  Is it being opinionated?  Is it being intelligent?  Or am I just arrogant?

It made me think, perhaps because I'm reading "blueeyedboy" at the moment how people create an online persona but, in fact I think I'm very similar in 'real life' to how I come across online.  I wonder if you can ever really hide your true self.

No Added Sugar Date Loaf

In my search for sweet baking recipes that are ok to give my son, I came across this.  I think we have a winner.  Now don't fool yourself that no added sugar means no sugar; dried fruit has plenty but there is also a decent amount of fibre in dried fruit and a few other nutrients so better than the empty calories and tooth risks from sugar alone.  Still, probably best to serve this as part of a meal to avoid the mouth acid peaking with your little one.

I adapted this from a recipe I found on a website which cited it was from The Organic Baby and Toddler Cookbook.  The original was a bit too sandal wearing for me being vegan and gluten free as well so I've made it more mainstream.

Date Loaf

Friday, 15 April 2011

Meatballs for the whole family

Now I'm not going to lie to you, this is based upon an adult recipe which, before my baby friendly adaptations was much better.  Sorry.  I can't pretend it wasn't and I can't pretend that once my baby is a toddler I won't be reverting to the old recipe, albeit with perhaps a little less seasoning.  That said, it's still nice and useful to have in the freezer.

The seasoning is a personal thing.  Play around with it to suit your palate, you could add a small amount of chilli for adults or older kids.  If you want to test the seasoning before you cook, fry off some of the mix until completely cooked and taste it.  Generally I would over season these by preference but obviously that's difficult with a baby.

The good thing with this is there is so many hidden vegetables.  There is courgette in the meatballs, tomato, onion, peppers and carrots in the sauce and garlic in everything so served with salad or cucumber you're getting a decent variety of vegetables into your child (or your other half...)  You can vary the mince proportions or substitute sausages for adults.  I think beef is a good idea though as it has more flavour.

You can make this in smaller quantities but it is one of those things where I like to get into a rhythm once my hands are dirty and they freeze brilliantly.

Meatballs - makes approx 6 adult portions and 6 baby portions; more if you serve with pasta.  The baby portions are generous (the photo only shows less than half a portion because with self feeding you expect some losses!  I also find he eats finger foods better if I don't overload him.)


800g Beef mince
800g Pork mince (if making just for adults or older kids, I would substitute this for some good quality, well seasoned garlicky sausages, skinned)
Herbs of your choice (I tend to use thyme, parsley, garlic chives and rosemary) chopped up fine
(Chilli - for adults only)
1 large courgette, grated
1-2 gloves garlic, grated finely
1 quantity of tomato sauce (made using 3 tins of tomatoes) - a thick batch!


Mix the courgette, minces, garlic, herbs and spices together using your hands.  Roll into small balls.  I am a believer that small is beautiful when it comes to meatballs so I roll into balls smaller than a walnut, perhaps a scant 2cm in diameter.  This is a bit of a labour of love but if you do it at a weekend, let the other half have some baby time, it can be surprisingly therapeutic.

Put the balls onto a tray or large plate.  As you finish the tray, put it in the fridge, covered and continue until you've used all the mix.

Make sure your batch of tomato sauce is a thick one, I will explain later.

Use some spray oil in a non stick pan.  Fry a few (5-6) of the balls at a time until starting to brown.  Shake the pan to make sure they don't stick (this is just for flavour and appearance as basically the rest of the cooking process is poaching).  Put a small smear of sauce in a very large saucepan or casserole which can be used on the hob.  Lay your meatballs in gently.  Continue until you have a layer, put some sauce on top and continue.  When your pan is about 1/3 to 1/2 full, put a gentle heat on underneath so the ones on the bottom start to cook (and not squash!)  Continue layering with the sauce and fried meatballs until you've used up both.  Be aware that some juices will come out of the meatballs as they cook which will thin out the sauce a little.

Put on a gentle heat covered with a lid.  Bring to a simmer.  Leave for 10 mins then have a look.  If the top ones are looking more solid, you can then give a stir.  Don't stir it until the meatballs are almost cooked as otherwise they will break up.  If the sauce is now too thin, turn up the heat and boil with the lid off.

Serve up on their own with cheese and a salad or with pasta.  Can also be made into a lovely pasta bake.

I was thinking about baby led weaning today.  It was something I intended to do but didn't as it just wasn't right for us.  One thing which a friend said to me did make me think "I didn't want a 6 month old deciding their nutritional intake" and I fundamentally agree with that.  I also got a bit concerned by the mantra baby led weaners seem to say "food is for fun before 1".  I have no problems with food being fun but this phrase gets trotted out whenever any concerns about nutritional content of the baby's diet or weight gain are expressed.  Having said that, I do see the upsides.  Having a baby who feeds themselves is easier in a lot of ways and the argument is that the diet could be more varied.  But I also have more concerns.  Although my diet doesn't contain a lot of salt (I eat very little processed foods and add little during cooking and eating), I do like cured meats, anchovies and other non friendly foods like chilli.  All this means that a lot of my food isn't suitable for my son which takes away some of the 'easier' argument and as I said this recipe is a compromise which is to the detriment of the original dish.  

I am on a tight budget as anyone would be on their final months of maternity pay.  My son is good with finger foods but he didn't used to be and he still has days when everything goes on the floor.  I don't buy the argument either that you can put something clean underneath and reuse the food.  My food safety training will not allow me to take anything off the floor and reuse it, however cleanly it has lain there.

Now this might get a response and I hope it does, because it's something I've wondered about a fair bit.  My son has a decent amount of meat and fish in his diet which kids need at this age.  How do baby led weaners get their kids (especially younger babies) to eat this and in what form?  I remember lying in bed thinking "well if I do baby led weaning, I feel like he'll be eating sandwiches and pasta all the time and far too much cheese".  I honestly don't know if this is true but my gut feel is that the diet could potentially be a bit restrictive.  Please prove me wrong and post ideas I've not thought of!  I also don't buy Gill Rapley's assertion that babies can get a lot of nutrients from sucking on a piece of meat.  Hmmm.

Anyway, my last objection is it's one of those "black and white" techniques and actually there is nothing wrong with doing what people have done for years and having a bit of finger foods, a bit of purees or spoon feeding and adapting to what your child needs and wants (surely that's truly baby-led?)   I think there is far too much unnecessary restriction in child rearing circles; the "you must do it like this" and "you're not supposed to do that" brigade.  Some of it I'm sure is sensible and useful advice, others is just creating rules for rules sake in my opinion.

That all said, the reason I started thinking about it is the above recipe would probably be a good one for baby led weaners.  So I've probably offended you all; if I have, I apologise but I do like a good debate... 

No Added Sugar Jelly - 6 months plus

I'd seen jelly recipes in some baby books but despite the UK government recommendation, these all seemed to contain sugar and I wanted to make a sugar free jelly recipe without sweeteners.  I had a go at making some jelly from a juice which was already sweet.  Obviously bear in mind that natural sugars are still sugars and sweet foods should ideally be kept to mealtimes (to limit tooth damage) and not in large quantities.  Still, to my mind, foods containing no added sugar are surely going to be a better idea than sugary cakes and I'd also prefer at this age not to expose my baby to artificial sweeteners.

No Added Sugar Jellies - made 2 baby sized portions


Approx 220 mL Fruit Juice (I used "not from concentrate" grape juice; fresh or not from concentrate will have a better flavour)
2 leaves of gelatine (check the pack for how much you need, I've since been told gelatine leaves can vary in strength.  You want enough to set half a pint.)


Soak the geletine in water for 4-5 mins.  Microwave 100ml of the juice for about a minute or until boiling (I do this in a jug for ease).  Pick out the softened gelatine sheets and put into the hot juice.  Allow to dissolve for a minute or so then give a stir.  Then make up the juice to the 220ml mark. Stir and pour into moulds and refrigerate.  Will keep in the fridge I suspect for a couple of days (if the juice is ok for that time, the pack should give some indication of how long it's ok to keep once open.)

Use a 'sweeter' juice for this as there is no added sugar (orange or grapefruit are probably not a good plan).  Avoid using pineapple as apparently this won't allow the gelatine to set.

Update:  Used some not from concentrate apple juice for this and I have to admit both me and my baby loved it.  I've decided next time I make this, I'm making a Mummy sized portion too!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Chicken and Tomato Sauce - suitable for 6 months plus

This started out as a robust stew idea which, when I realised what ingredients I had and the quantities, changed into a sauce (especially when I overblended the chicken.  Hey, we all have off days.)  As it happens he loved it with pasta and it really seemed to work, he loved it and as you can see was happily feeding himself, even if the high chair tray is currently in the dishwasher it got so messy.  Sometimes we have happy accidents!

Chicken and Tomato Sauce - made approx 5 portions for 11 month old (to serve with pasta)


500g Carton of passata
1/2 red, yellow or orange pepper, chopped into 3-5mm cubes
1 small courgette chopped into 3-5 mm cubes
1 chicken breast chopped into chunks
1 clove garlic
Olive oil


Fry the chicken breast in the oil until starting to brown.  Add the garlic and other vegetables then add the passata.  Cook until the chicken breast is cooked through and the vegetables are done.  Blend the chicken in a blender with a small amount of the sauce.  Serve with pasta.

If the flavour is a bit strong for your little one, you could always mix in a bit of cream cheese to tone it down.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Fish Cakes - babies on finger foods

Hmm, maybe I will step into the 21st century and actually post a photo...  Bear with me.

I've not tried reheating and serving these yet but I'm intending to do so by defrosting them from the freezer in the fridge then reheating in the oven.  My gut feel is they'd reheat better this way as they are a bit soft.  Despite that, my 11 month old still managed to eat them well.  I served them with some sweetcorn and followed up with some fresh fruit and yoghurt which made it almost a complete finger food meal.  

Salmon Fish Cakes (makes about 4 portions)


2 potatoes boiled or baked and mashed
Approx 100g of tinned salmon (or other fish, see below)
Soft herbs, chopped (I used a few sprigs of garlic chives and herb fennel but parsley, dill or normal chives would work well)
Wholemeal flour
Unsalted butter


Heat oven to 200 degrees C.  Mix the mashed potato, fish and herbs (get your hands in).  Form into little balls, slightly smaller than a walnut and squish a little.  Dip into the flour to dust lightly.  Fry each side in the oil and butter and put into a baking dish.  Bake for around 15 mins until hot through.

The joy with tinned salmon is that it still contains Omega 3; tuna for some reason doesn't, although you could always use other tinned fish or poached fresh or frozen fish.  I can't quite bring myself to crunch up the bones and serve them to him but they are soft(er) than fresh fish bones and a good source of calcium, however they fail my "would I eat it?" test.  I mean, I have a guilty pleasure of quite liking pilchards in tomato sauce but I still bone them before eating them.  I know, I know.


I tried reheating some today.  I defrosted at room temperature for about 90 mins to 2 hours (they were still cold but defrosted.  If you have time defrost them in the fridge.)  I then reheated in a 200oC oven for 15-20 mins as I was also cooking him some sweet potato wedges.  The fishcakes reheated really nicely, crisping on the outside and he loved them with the wedges. 

Sweet Potato Wedges

1/2 - 1/4 Sweet Potato, depending on size (orange fleshed variety)
Olive Oil
Herbs (optional)
Spices (optional, sweet paprika could be good)


Peel the sweet potato and cut up into wedges the size of british chips (approx 5cm by 1.5cm by 1.5cm).  Coat in the olive oil, add herbs or spices if wanted.  Roast in a 200oC oven for 35 minutes.

Like this recipe?  Why not try the Salmon and Spinach Fishcake recipe

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Baby "chilli"

Ok, no actual "chilli" in this but it is a dish inspired by chilli and not actually that far away.  Feel free to customise it, change vegetables or even make it completely vegetarian.  I can imagine making this and gradually adding a little heat to it as he gets older.  Next time though I will probably add pinto beans rather than red kidney beans as pinto beans are softer, the red kidney beans I used were a bit too firm.

Baby "chilli" - Good for babies on mashed / chopped food.  Could puree or part puree for younger babies, I wouldn't feed it to babies who are only just starting solids as the flavours are robust, probably 9 months plus.  Made about 6 portions for my 11 month old.  Could stretch this further by reheating the portion and serving with rice mixed in.


Approx 200g beef mince
1 tin of red kidney beans or pinto beans drained (see above)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1/2 red pepper, chopped finely
1 small courgette, chopped finely
1 onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp smoked paprika (sweet smoked paprika, not spicy. See my comments on the pork stew or use more normal paprika.)
1 tsp paprika (ie sweet not spicy paprika)
Handful butternut squash, diced (optional)
A few sprigs thyme, chopped
A few sprigs oregano, chopped


Fry the beef until browned.  Add to a slow cooker or put into a saucepan.  Fry the onion until translucent and add the courgette and garlic.  Add to the pan or slow cooker.  Add all of the remaining ingredients.

Cook on high for a couple of hours then reduce to low for a further 4 hours or so until everything is soft and well cooked.  If cooking on a hob, it will probably take no longer than an hour, you will probably need to add some water and keep an eye on it to prevent burning and the mince will not be as soft and you may still need to puree.  (Just buy a slow cooker, they're brilliant!)

As the kidney beans were a bit firm, I crushed them a little but apart from that my son was happy to eat it without pureeing or mashing.  He eats whole haricot beans so would have been fine with pinto beans.  From experience though pinto beans do break down a little on cooking so you may need to add some water.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

No added sugar Biscuits - attempt No 3

Hmm, a slightly better result but we're talking by small degrees.  I think there's a step change somewhere.  These last for around 2-3 days in an airtight tin.  They are quite soft in comparison to the last attempt.

No added sugar Biscuits - attempt No 3


4oz Sultanas
2oz Unsalted Butter
4oz Plain Flour (not wholemeal this time)
1oz Porridge Oats


Put the sultanas in a pan with boiling water to cover, bring to the boil and then leave to cool.  Put the remaining ingredients in a food processor with a metal blade.  Process until fine crumbs appear and then take out the sultanas with a slotted spoon.  Process adding enough of the reserved soaking water to make a dough.  Turn out of the machine, roll out and cut out shapes.  Cook in an oven at 200 degrees for about 13 mins until starting to brown.

Again, I can't say 'delicious' but my boy liked them and my husband declared them to be 'slightly' better than the previous batch and 'nothing that some sugar wouldn't fix'.  Hmm.  Damned with faint praise again.  I'll keep on my quest for the sugar free biscuit...

Saturday, 2 April 2011

No added sugar Oat Biscuits - attempt No 2

I've still not got there but I've been trying to come up with a recipe to make biscuits for my son which contain no added sugar; not actually sugar free as there will be natural sugars but getting there and of course there's no salt.

This is the best so far and unfortunately is kind of damned with faint praise in that regard because my attempts so far have not been good.  That said, my son seems to like them (strange boy) but I will continue my efforts and report back.  You can see how bad attempt 1 was that I didn't even post!

No added sugar Oat Biscuits


1oz Porridge oats
4oz Wholemeal flour
2oz Sultanas
2 tbsp Apple and raisin puree (I would imagine any fruit puree containing dried fruit would work here.  It needs to be sweet as there isn't any sugar in the recipe.)
2oz Unsalted butter


Use a food processor with a plastic blade and process all of the ingredients until a dough forms.  Take out and roll out using a rolling pin.  Cut out shapes then bake on baking paper for around 13-15 mins at 200 oC until starting to brown.  Cool.  Keeps in a tin for a few days.


Grrrr.  Just when you think “ah, blackout, well at least the laptop has some charge” then realize the broadband router needs power to work.  Hmmm.  So reliant are we on electricity.

So I’m currently sat in my lounge, baby is playing with his shape sorter, thinking “I’ve got precious little fuel in my car, if the power cut is widespread and affecting local petrol stations, I’m not only stuck without a cup of tea, I’m stuck”.

Fortunately I have legs and a pram and I breastfeed so we’re ok.

It got me thinking about food in a blackout.  You might be surprised just how long things can be ok, even with a baby if you follow some simple instructions:

  1. Keep the fridge door shut.
  2. Keep the freezer door shut
  3. Eat and drink ideally without using either of the above appliances if you can
  4. The hob will still work if it’s gas (you might need to use matches to light it depending on the model)
  5. Use cold water sterilisation if you’re bottle-feeding.  You can buy sterilizing tablets in supermarkets and some corner shops.
  6. Be aware that formula feeding not using boiled water is not safe.  Continue to boil water if you can or use ready to use formula.
  7. Your baby (if weaned) can eat cold food.  Sandwiches are fine but depending on the length of the blackout, might not be the best idea for every meal, both bread and fillings can be high in salt.  Now is probably the time to use the jar you’ve been holding in for an emergency.
  8. Once the power comes back on, check the fridge temperature if you have a fridge thermometer and the freezer temperature if you can.  Above 8 is when you really need to worry with fridges and the freezer should be ok if the power has only been down for a few hours without the door being opened.  Check the food is still hard and frozen.
  9. Be particularly cautious with any expressed breastmilk or food for your baby, particularly if chilled.  Don’t take risks, throw it away if you’re unsure.
  10. Chest freezers are likely to ‘cope’ better with a power outage than uprights (as cold air sinks.)
  11. Check it’s not your fuse box!
  12. Assume, especially if there has been bad weather that once the power has returned that it will fail again.  Set the fridge and freezer onto the coldest settings to help them recover (you might lose some lettuce to being frozen but if that's all you lose that's no bad thing.)