Baby Led Weaning

Growing healthy babies with healthy appetites

Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Almost No-Knead Bread Recipe

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

So we were talking about flour on the Facebook page (as you do) and it came up that we make most of our own bread. I posted a photo (partly to substantiate the claim, partly to BOAST) then had to admit that it’s actually my husband who does most of the work. Think of me as a consumer rather than a manufacturer. 

Over to the baker…

My almost no-knead bread is really just an even more simplified version of the Jim Lahey No-Knead Bread that was popularised by The New York Times in 2006. I’ve linked to the recipes and clips below.

However, I think the basic recipe can be improved further because the one drawback with the original recipe is that the very wet dough is tricky to work with and especially to shape. The way to improve that is with a slight trade off. That is, a bit less water and a little bit of kneading.

Here is what I do instead:


3 Cups of strong bread flour of your choice (450g).

¼ teaspoon quick yeast (such as Dove Farm bright orange packet) (1g).

1 ¼ teaspoon salt (8g) Fiddle around with this if you’re avoiding salt, but we think it does need some.

1 mug water (250g) (you may want slightly less or more, it is a bit trial and error. But try this amount first time).

A bit of flour for dusting

An egg and a spot of milk in a cup to create a nice wash with a shiny finish (optional)


Mixing bowl (or two)

Spatula or wooden spoon

Casserole dish or oven proof pot either ceramic or metal is fine. The key issue is that it has a lid and can be preheated in the oven.

A chopping board or preferably a silicon baking tray.

Oven gloves or similar… you seriously do NOT want to burn yourself on the scalding pot/dish.



Add the flour, yeast, salt and water into a large mixing bowl.

Combine by hand or with a spatula or wooden spoon if you have an aversion to getting messy hands.

Recently, I have added in a stage of kneading the dough for five minutes rather than simply combining it all together but it is strictly my preference. Besides if the dough is too wet you probably won’t be able to do that kneading anyway.

At this stage when you have a nicely combined dough (after a couple of minutes) you might want to transfer the dough to a second mixing bowl coated with olive oil. Alternatively, stick with what you have if the messy bowl doesn’t bother you much and your preference is to save on the washing up.

In either case, cover your bowl with the dough with cling film for a minimum of 10 hours and ideally 12 hours at room temperature , say on a work surface in your kitchen.

A few hours into the waiting process, you can remove the cling film and work the dough around a bit in the bowl for five minutes by hand or with the spatula. Fold the edges in towards the centre as you turn the dough around. That should give you something resembling a ball shape. The idea with this stage is that you can work some of the airholes out of the bread so you get a denser bread that is better for sandwiches and spreading (precisely because there are no holes in it). Again though, this is a personal preference for me and you can again miss this stage out.

I also miss out the very messy stage with the dish towel covering the dough for two hours as having tried it I could neither see nor taste a notable difference in my bread.

After the dough has been covered for your around a minimum of four hours (but around 8 hours for best results) you are ready to bake it.

At this stage, turn your oven on to heat up to 250 degrees centigrade and put your cold casserole dish or lidded pot into the oven to heat up.

While this is happening, get your dough out off the bowl and transfer it onto a floured/oiled board or work surface. Actually, if you have a silicone traybake tray, put it on that, the flexible sides are great. 

Work the bread around for a few minutes shaping it as you go into the final shape you want for your loaf.

Once the oven and casserole/pot are heated to 250 degrees than take out your pot (with oven gloves!), remove the lid and place your shaped dough into the pot. Sprinkle the top of the loaf with a dusting of flour and/or brush the egg and milk mixture onto the top with a pastry brush. Put the lid back on and place in the oven.

Set your timer to 25 minutes.

After 25 minutes take the lid of the pot and brown the top of your loaf to your preferred hue (I tend to cook it uncovered for three to five minutes).


After that your loaf is done, tip it onto a wire rack to cool.



You can find Jim Lahey’s original recipe here:


The very useful video demonstration here:


And the original NY Times article here:

Yay! And this is what it looks like in the casserole dish we have. Some people have asked for timings etc, so I can say that he normally makes up the dough before going to bed, then leaves it and bakes it the next morning. If he’s in for the day, he does the middley bit of faffing, if he’s asleep, he doesn’t.

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It’s Pancake Day! My Old Grandmother’s Recipe for Scottish (Scotch) Pancakes

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

We love pancakes in this house, ESPECIALLY if we remember to open the windows before DH gets to work on the griddle. Scottish pancakes have more in common with American ones than French crepes; fat, thick little things that are perfect for little babies to get their carbohydrate fix on. I’ve never been completely clear as to what the English call them… used to be drop scones, now everyone probably follows the Yanks on this.

Here’s the recipe, as per my auld grannie mother’s instructions… i have NO IDEA about conversions I’m afraid.

4oz Self Raising Flour
Pinch of salt
2oz Caster Sugar
1 Egg (I don’t bother about the size, I bet my Grandma used medium but they are fine with a large. Just don’t stress over much if the kids lose some down the side of the bowl if it’s a large, the recipe can handle less egg).
4 tablespoons-ish of milk

I do this in a food processor/mixer/whatnot but it’s really just a batter so a whisk will be fine, if tiring.

Mix dry ingredients a bit, then egg and then the milk, gradually. Ta-Dah!

Honest, that’s it. It’ll be a nice drippy, dropping batter. At this point, the women in my family leave it for an hour. All of them apart from me, who never has time. But I am told it improves the batter, so do it if you can.

If you have a flat griddle or frying pan, get it out and grease it a bit. Nowadays people seem to use veg oil or whatever but I actually still save up my old butter wrappers and rub them on the surface. A teensy bit of oil, like, MINISCULE rubbed in as well will stop the milk in the butter from burning too much.

Slap on heat, wait until it’s preeetty hot, almost smoking, then test a drop of batter in the middle. You want bubbles appearing on the top fairly quickly, that’s when you know it’s at the right temp. Plus, you’ll see how brown it is on the bottom, some like golden, some like darker. My DH likes burned.

Discard tester into the mouth of waiting child.

Then go for it. Drop a loaded dessert spoon-ish of batter onto the pan, three or four at a time. Wait for bubbles, then turn. Repeat, repeat, repeat, fiddling about with temp occasionally, and carefully rubbing a bit more butter on (remember that thing is HOT) and serve with raspberry jam, butter, cream, those sorts of things.

Also, can I just say if you are thinking of doing crepes… Delia’s recipe is Far Too Eggy. Avoid. There, I have done you a good turn.

PS Hey I’ll tell you what we used to do when we were kids, with the end of the batter and the griddle switched off. Me and my little sister would do our initials with the last drips off the spatula and for some reason they were always the tastiest…

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Siobhan’s Salmon-Flaked Mash

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Is the BLW community ready for this gourmet creation?

Peel three medium sized potatoes. Cut into large chunks and boil until soft.
When potatoes are draining, wrap a small boneless salmon fillet in tin foil (not too tightly) and bake for 20mins on 200c until salmon starts to brown.
Tip potatoes back into the saucepan and mash adding a splash of milk to soften. Leave mash to cool in saucepan.
Take cooked salmon and flake into the mash – the mash will be cold by now but the hot salmon should warm mash up to the right temperature.
Season with black pepper (for adults or kids who like black pepper) and serve OR spoon mash into a ramekin, sprinkle with grated cheese and cook in oven until cheese turns golden.
Attempt to cut into fingers or serve in large lumps when cool.

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Recipe of the Week: Stock. Come ON, make yer own.

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Click here to see what the guid folk of the forum said about stock…

And here’s how I do it. For chicken, do substitute roast bones of whatever.

1. If you have an extractor fan in the kitchen, for God’s sake switch it on. Stock is lovely, of course it is, but has a tendency to turn the house into a chicken-y sauna if you forget about it.

2. I think Nigella does a whole bit where she SAVES UP the bones of her roast chickens and does a stock from about six of them at a time. That’s what it’s like to be married to a bazillionaire, folks. I grab whatever is left on people’s plates (sooked or not, we’re family) and, having taken what meat is left off the carcass, whack it into a soup pot with a couple of bay leaves, a carrot, onion, coupla bits of garlic, stick of celery and an onion. Whether or not I bother to peel any of these things will depend on my mood. If I have leek tops unused I’ll stick them in too, they’d only get chucked otherwise.

3. Just cover with cold water, and add some peppercorns. Eight, if you want to be exact, which I do not.

4. Simmer for, oh I dunno, 40 mins? Some people like to do it for yonks but their extractor fans must be better than mine.Do remember to switch it off, it is hell on wheels to get out of a pan if you forget.

5. Let it cool and pour through a colander into a tupperware. DO NOT, as I have done too many times, get distracted and pour the liquid down the sink, while treating the smushy veg and bones as if they were the Crown Jewels.

6. Some people will go on about skimming any blech-y bits off the liquid as it cooks, which would be nice if you can be bothered. I can’t. I stick the tub in the fridge to cool and take excess fat (yellowy, gloopy schmaltz) off the next day with a spoon, putting it into an old non-recyclable in the bin.

And then I make soup. Or risotto. Or pilaff… or… *goes all chicken-dreamy*

P.S. If you are asking about veggie stock, allow yourself a moment’s well-deserved smugness and simply follow the same recipe while ignoring all mention of chicken, bones, carcasses and blech.

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Thursday, December 28th, 2006

The Husband and I went to a restaurant in Rome where we had a carbonara-y thing made with roast boar and peas, so I quite often make carbonara with frozen peas now to go some way to alleviating the guilt that I feel from eating a meal made up of 98% pasta with a squidge of protein and fat. And it's authentic-ish.

Pancetta or smoked bacon, about 150g. Or half a packet of the pancetta I buy.
Couple of eggs.
Some parmesan. About 100g, or as much as you like.
A slug of white wine if there's any in the fridge.
And a slug of cream if you've any knocking about.
Pasta of some description, however much you need for however many you are. These amounts of bacon etc would feed 3-4.
Frozen peas, a handful thereof.

Boil the kettle for your pasta, meanwhile grate your parmesan into a jug, crack in your eggs (and fling in your cream if you have any). Put in the pasta. You now have 8-12 mins to get everything else together. Easy.

Cook off your chopped pancetta or bacon in a deep frying pan until it picks up quite a bit of colour. Once it is nice and caramelly, chuck in your wine if you have it so that the alcohol boils off. The peas do in now as well, they only take a couple of minutes.

Your pasta should be ready, hopefully, so you can drain it quickly and put into the frying pan. I tend to keep back a bit of the pasta water in case the sauce needs a bit of loosening. Then put in the cheese and egg mixture, stirring it well. The heat of the pasta cooks the egg in the sauce, but as it happens I always use very fresh lion-marked eggs so I reckon we're alright. If it gets a bit tight just throw in a couple of spoonfuls of pasta water.

Anyway, we like this a lot and as long as we stick to penne or fusilli rather than the more traditional spaghetti then Babybear can eat it until the cows (or indeed boar) come home.

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Bunny's Studenty Toasty Pizza

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

This recipe has reminded me of the fact that when I was at university I thought it was genuinely witty that we had a sign above the toaster in our student flat that bore the legend 'Make Toast, Not War'… <Aitch wipes tears of  thirtysomething mirth from eyes>.

Thought you might like this uber easy recipe (using the word loosely!). It
requires no doughmaking, ideal for lazy types like me. This is how we used to
make pizza at uni when we'd spent all our food money on beer

Toast Pizza (aka
Cheese on toast with vegetables)
1 slice of
Cheese of
Lightly toast your
bread so the bottom won't be soggy. Spread a thin layer of tomato puree over the
top (you can make it yourself, but we use Organic Tomato Puree from Waitrose –
no added salt, hurrah). Cover with cheese – The Weeble is partial to mozzarella
and cheddar. Bung under the grill until the cheese is melted and bubbling. ALLOW
TO COOL! Molten cheese has thermonuclear properties!
If you are like me
and a bit slapdash with the cheese, you'll probably have burnt crusts, so cut
those off. Cut your “pizza” into strips (for bubbas; leave whole for older
children and mummies) and serve! Weebs really likes this, especially the way the
mozzarella can be made to stretch for miles when cool and
It occurs to me that
if you substitute another veg puree for the tomato, that would use up some of
that leftover puree we all seem to have… and also sneak in some vegetables
should you need to do so!
We're going to try
it again tomorrow with some small bits of cooked chicken embedded in the

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Some Bloke Called Andrew's Carrot Muffins

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

Probably noooot really called Andrew, in fact, but this email wasn't signed so Andrew is the only nominative detail I can glean from our correspondence. For the record, I think that if you want to make your own buttermilk you just mix equal amounts of natural yoghurt and semi-skimmed milk. I think

Says 'Andrew':

“I reckon you could swop carrot for courgette, pepper, onion, etc, though probably fry them a bit first.

Also use any different cheese and herbs, and I'm sure normal milk would work, if you can't get buttermilk.

1 carrot, grated
15 stalks parsley, chopped
60g cheddar, grated
220g self-raising flour
1 egg
3/4 cup buttermilk (about 150ml, I think?)
1/2 cup vegetable oil

1. Preheat oven to 180c.
2. Mix carrot, parsley, cheese and flour.
3. In another bowl, whisk egg, buttermilk and oil.
4. Add this to dry ingredients and mix.
5. Spoon into muffin cases (makes 12) and bake for 20-25 mins.”

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Chloe and Nigel (Slater)'s Yorkshire Puddings

Saturday, December 2nd, 2006

Short and sweet, just how we like a recipe.

2 eggs, 125g plain flour, 150ml milk mixed with
150ml water, 1 level tbsp wholegrain mustard (optional, I haven't
actually tried this with notsotall, but I can't think why she wouldn't
like it), good grinding of black pepper, all mixed up together and left
to stand for 15 mins.

Nice drop of lard/dripping in the pudding tin(s), and 20-25mins at 220C. This makes them really quite crispy on the bottom.

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Enid's Minced Chicken Nuggets

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

'Enid' you say? Surely not the same Enid who was recently saying on Mumsnet that life is to short to make a porridge pancake? Yup, the same one, my friends. Seems like her little seven-month-old Pixie has read that thread and been won over by my dazzling debating style and sheer force of argument, and is now refusing spoons. <insert your own smug smile here>

Anyway, Enid is nothing if not utterly gracious about Pixie's new finger food-only regime and has sent in this recipe for which we are most grateful.

Enid's Chicken Nuggets

750g minced chicken
175g breadcrumbs

175g grated cheddar
1 tbsp mayo to bind
1 clove garlic
salt and
beaten egg and some fine toasted breadcrumbs to coat the nuggets

Preheat oven to 180C. Mix all ingredients up to and including salt and
pepper together. Form into whatever sized nuggets (its up to you, mine are sort
of walnut sized) and roll them in beaten egg and then in toasted breadcrumbs.
You can freeze them now if you want to.

Place on greased baking sheet
and cook for about 20 minutes (45 if frozen). Voila!

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Spanish Omelette (with peas, because everything Babybear eats Must Contain Peas)

Thursday, November 23rd, 2006

The thing I hate about making A Proper Spanish Omelette is getting the damned potatoes fried without burning the onions. Yes, you should do it separately but honestly, who has the time?

So I stick the potato in the microwave and bake it. Heresy, obviously. (Should I expect the Spanish Omelette Inquisition?)

Meanwhile, cut your onion into attractive segments and fry it gently in olive oil or, as Moomin would say, 'the grease of your choice'. Mix up a couple of eggs. Chop up your cooked potato (who can be bothered peeling it, by the way? Not I.) Throw it in with the onions and fry for a while until the potatoes take on a bit of colour. Shouldn't take more than a few minutes.

Pour over your egg and staunchly resist the temptation to faff around with it. You might have wanted to add a bit more before putting the egg in, by the way. Drop some frozen peas onto the uncooked egg, as popping something green into the recipe will make you feel like A Better Parent. Cook for a few minutes and then flip it or if you are too much of a coward you could finish it under the grill.

This makes enough for Babybear and myself for lunch, she loves it and it's pretty healthy all told, so long as you aren't avoiding eggs for allergy-style reasons.

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