Tuesday, 15 January 2008


Every time a new series of Masterchef starts, I do a lot more cooking and baking. For many years I was incredibly passionate about cooking and loved to try new recipes. I can't quite explain it but that stopped when I had my first miscarriage. I mostly only do family meals now and am not as adventurous as I used to be. It is difficult to find the time to get the spark back when I'm chasing around after a toddler.

I thought I'd start with some simple baking so I made some soured cream soda bread yesterday (with half the salt that the recipe called for) and an old-fashioned cherry cake today. The cherry cake isn't out of the oven yet but the smell is heavenly. Unfortunately, I won't be able to eat it because the stupid glacé cherry manufacturers put E127 (Red #3) into the ingredients. This colour is considered unsafe in pregnancy in the amounts commonly consumed so I can't have any. I decided to make a cherry cake because I have a lot of ingredients left over from Christmas. I'll probably make a bread and butter pudding sooner or later to use up all the currants, raisins and sultanas.

I love cooking for Phil because he appreciates practically everything I cook. I say practically because in the eight years I have been cooking for him, he has disliked only one dish. I can't blame him, it was a vegetarian dish that called for large chunks of fennel. You either like the flavour of anise or you don't. Phil doesn't.

Michael has also developed a healthy appreciation for food. He'll eat anything, and if he can steal it from my plate then so much the better. I am so pleased about this because he was still eating fully puréed foods at 13 months. I began to wonder if he would ever be able to cope with a coarser texture. Almost overnight, it seems, he turned into a mini gourmand. I watched him eat an incredibly stinky piece of cheese that was offered as a taster in a shop a few weeks ago. He ate every crumb, but unfortunately smelled like his Daddy's feet for the rest of the trip. Whiffy doesn't cover it!

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