Wednesday, 19 March 2014

An introduction to Mamacook

Hi All!  I'm on the scrounge again.  The Britmum's nomination process has started again meaning I'd really, really, like your help in trying to be nominated in the food category.

I know for non bloggers (and even some bloggers) the blogging awards thing seems like a waste of time.  It is really, you get nothing if you win apart from the honour of a little statuette and the ability to say you won.  That's it!  It seems kind of pointless apart from the fact it's not.  I put hours into my blog.  Blooming hours!  I don't make any money from it, I keep wondering if I should try but nowadays blogging is no sure way to make sufficient money for a career and anyway, I really enjoy my day job.

For those of you who don't know, I have a PhD and work in food safety so why I do Mamacook is to have a bit of a creative outlet in my life.  I keep going mainly because I keep having ideas!

Anyway, enough about me and onto why I think you should please nominate me!  If you don't ask, you don't get (and I did say please!)

I thought I'd do a bit of a tour around Mamacook and introduce you to some of the recipes I've posted in the last year, some of the photography I'm proud of and why I wrote each recipe.  I little insight into my mind.

My sugar free raspberry mousse was a return to the sugar free, baby friendly recipes I started with on my blog.

As I often write, the ingredients are 'no junk'.  I'm often shocked that nurseries serve artificially sweetened mousses for kids, there is no need to give kids artificial sweeteners, I'd rather give my son sugar but in the same way, if you can make a recipe from all natural ingredients, naturally sweetened with fruit juice, why not avoid both?  I also love the colour on my photo!

I went through a real period of experimenting with frittatas this year.  I don't really know why I didn't do it earlier.  It's a great way to include hidden vegetables in your child's diet and a great finger food.  This goats cheese frittata is my favourite but my son really likes the broccoli and bacon one.

My dairy free bran loaf is a recipe I have adapted from one my mum used to make.  The reason I'm proud of this is twofold.  It was one of the first recipes I changed and developed and my adaptations make it dairy free and lower in sugar.  Sure it's still a cake but it's probably one of the healthiest cakes you could make.

I've been trying to find ways to increase my own and my son's intake of oily fish.  I love mackerel freshly caught and barbecued but I'm in a landlocked county and my chances of finding a still wriggling mackerel are zero.  Frozen mackerel fillets aren't bad though but the strong taste can be a difficult sell to adults and kids alike.  I've written two recipes though I'm really proud of, one is the healthy fish and chips where the mackerel is made into mustard spiked goujons but the other is my spicy mackerel, which, if you excuse the chip in the plate (how embarrassing I didn't notice that), is one of my favourite food photos I've ever taken.  I don't think it's the best one but it has some awesome bokeh in the background (fancy pants photographer word for those aesthetic out of focus lights in the background) and it's taken in artificial light.  It is soooo hard to photograph food in artificial light.  Also take a look at my tuna meatballs as they're a great source of Omega 3 too.

I've always been one for making an adult recipe child friendly.  Even I was surprised though at how well my prawn laksa went down with my son.  My philosophy is you don't need to avoid spice and strong flavours with kids, perhaps tone down the chilli a bit but no need to avoid it completely.

For those of you who read me regularly you will also know I'm a fan of not wasting food.  This chicken and mushroom pie was a way to use up leftovers and I also love the photo.  It's the leaves on top of the pie!  I'm going to make something similar tonight with some leftover roast I froze in stock. One of my leftover pie recipes is even featured on the Love Food Hate Waste website.

Another old family recipe, this one for ginger biscuits, and again, one I'm proud of the photography on.  My son asked me when I picked him up from nursery one day "please can I have a biscuit when we get home?"  We had no biscuits in and, me being me, as I was driving him back, realised I could cook biscuits in less time than it would take for me to walk to the corner shop and buy some.  He'd had a difficult day, had a bit of a cold so I was feeling a bit soft and made him these in about 15 minutes from start to cool enough to eat time.  Awesome parenting!

As I mentioned earlier, with the stories in the media and every household feeling squeezed, including mine, food thrift has been on my mind.  I talked over five days about my response to Jamie Oliver's comments (you can see the posts here, here and here) but after then had more of a focus on thrift.  You will often now find on my recipes that there are ways to make them thriftier, either with changing ingredients or with the cooking method at the end.  My first post I introduced this with was porridge because you can make it in a microwave (incredibly low energy way of cooking) and have toppings and it only costs 15p a portion.

If there is one last recipe I've cooked again and again this year, it's sweetcorn fritters.  Again massively cheap to make but as at home in my work lunchbox with sweet chilli sauce for dunking as on my son's dinner plate with vegetables.

My final post I'd like to highlight is one not about food but about being a good enough parent.  For those of you who know me in 'real' life, you will know I've not always found being a parent easy.  I don't think anyone does and this is a post I wrote about it and about easing up on myself.  Also it's got a photo of me after about 3 hours of broken sleep.  You have been warned.

If you would like to nominate the Britmums Nomination form is here (just click on the words, it should open in a new window) and my blog URL is my twitter handle is @mamacook_blog and my email address for this or if you want to get in touch is

Thank you. x

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