When I was pregnant, I was very blessed to have my freezer crammed full of delicious home cooked meals.
They didn't appear one day by magic, I had been asked what we wanted for the new baby and in scandalous tilt at British humility, I answered the question squarely: I wanted things that would give me more time to enjoy my new baby.
Knowing what an amazing impact it had on our lives, I have tried to pay forward the love and cook up a freezer stash for some of my pregnant friends.
After searching for recipes, and remembering the trauma of eating in the early days, I have come up with a list of ideas for anyone wanting to gift a meal to a new parent.
I'm not joking about the trauma by the way; feeding a newborn at mealtime – and my babies always needed to be fed at mealtimes, it was a frickin gift of theirs – usually involved staring at plates of rapidly cooling food that needed more hands than I had free.
These ideas are one hand friendly and cover the major food groups recommended by the all knowing interwebs. Actually they are just tasty recipes that are designed to be eaten while balancing a saggy newborn, the nutrition is just a bonus.
1. The StewThe grandpappy of spoon food is the stew, so my first share is Asian beef shin by the queen of decadence, Nigella. There are a ton of traditional stew recipes so I shared one that's tasty enough to punch through the haze of near exhaustion.
2. Healthy Spring RollsLamb pastilla look a lot like a Royal Ascot version of the humble spring roll. Made with Filo pastry and baked these little puppies are big on iron but easy on the frying which is great because mama just got done fixing her heart.
|(c) Jamie Oliver|
3. RisottoFight back against the fog of Baby Brain with smoked fish risotto. This one has the added bonus that it is flavoured with vodka instead of wine. If, like me, it has been a few months since vodka has passed your lips, I'm sure you’ll be overjoyed at having a guilt free reminder of how you got into your current position.
4. The Healthy BurgerHaving spent the best part of a year jumping through culinary hoops, I want a bit of junk food indulgence. If you listen to the master of veggie burgers it becomes easy to turn an indulgence into a health food. These sweet potato burgers are actually filling enough to be a meal in themselves but for ease of eating, a few part baked rolls might make welcome company.
5. Not Forgetting BreakfastYou don’t have to be a new mum to think breakfast burritos are an outstanding contribution to the world of convenience food. It’s an entire breakfast. In one hand! That kind of simplistic genius is to be applauded, and then consumed like a rabid wolverine in the thirty seconds before your newborn next fills their nappy.
If you feel inspired to cook for a new mum, I would suggest you Google something sensible like “new foods for mums” to get more ideas but I’ll be honest, the people who have drawn up those pages seem to think that French trimming a rack of lamb makes it finger food.
Instead, my suggestion is simple: cook anything. As long as it’s made with love it will feel like a feast to a new parent. Even if you turn up with a round of peanut butter sandwiches, I can guarantee you’ll be welcomed with open arms. Except to a house with nut allergies, then you should probably just bring a pizza.