Bun in the Oven

foodie adventure though conception and beyond

Merry Christmas Daddy!

Merry Christmas to one and all! Yesterday was a very exciting day for everyone but especially for my husband as he felt our baby kick for the first time (23 weeks and 3days). I of course have been feeling baby for several weeks now, but its so lovely to be able to share our little dancer with him! And what a wonderful day for it to happen, I think it maybe one of those things he’ll remember for the rest of his life ūüôā

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20 weeks scan photo


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So today is my 30th Birthday. I feel extremely lucky, as I have my two best friends about to arrive from London, my Husband who is driving us (because its pouring with rain) to a local restaurant for a meal to celebrate. I’m rather excited as they have all chipped in for a special birthday treat in March and I finally get to find out what all the planning and plotting is about! On top of all this I have been thinking a lot about how lucky I am in general. I have a baby on the way, a fab and supportive family and amazing friends. We own our own house and have little debt and life is generally good. I look back at the bad times in life and think it was worth it for the good. I don’t mean to gloat, but I feel my life is rich, and it proves that material possessions are little compared to the feeling of love. I’m excited to bring a new life into this world, but even with the recession, and all the doom and gloom in the newspapers and on the telly, the world is still a fascinating place filled with diversity, beauty and wonder. I look forward to showing a child how exciting life can be. Life is good ūüôā

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How much can breast feeding really cost?

As a chef, I want to be feeding my baby in the best way possible. I’m dying to get started on Purees and interesting flavours which baby may like, but, as baby isn’t even born yet I thought I’d look into the big issue of breast feeding.

In this age of knowledge we all want to do the best for our baby, and breastfeeding is highly recommended for health benefits, but economically how does it work out?There is plenty of gadgets and gizmos to make  it easier/more socially acceptable/ more pleasant, but what is necessary?

So here is a list of the type of things  that are available;

Manual pump £30

Tommee Tippee – Closer to Nature – Manual Breast Pump

Electric pump £50 *

Tommee Tippee Closer To Nature Electric Breast Pump

Nursing Bras £15 each (4 = £60) *

Bottles £30 *

Philips Avent – Natural Newborn Starter Set

Steriliser £45

Philips Avent – Digital Bottle & Baby Food Warmer

Nipple cream £5.50 (x4 = £22) *

Philips AVENT SCF504/30 Moisturising Nipple Cream

Nursing pads £5.50 ( 4/day = 15 days = 12 packs= £66) *

Lansinoh – Disposable Nursing Pads 60 Count

Nursing sling £25 *

Faye & Lou – Breastfeeding Cover – Denim Cherry Blossom

Nursing pillows £41 + £12 *

Dreamgenii¬ģ Pregnancy Support & Feeding Pillow ¬£41 + cover ¬£12

Nursing chair £175

Tutti Bambini GC35 Deluxe Reclinable Glider Chair and Stool

Multi-vitamins 11p/tablet x 180 = £19.80 *

Vitabiotics Pregnacare Breast Feeding Tablets and Capsules 84 Capsules £8.95

£525.80 manual / £545.80 electric

And if you we’re to purchase all this, and breast feed for the recommended 6 months, this would work out at approximately ¬£3.00/ day.¬†

What I think is really nessasary (*); £216.50

If you keep to the basis then it will only cost £ 1.20 / day.

The Alternative; 

Formula; what is the cost?

Based on Cow and Gate

1 scoop = 4.2g

1 900g tin = 214 scoops

Suggested feeding table. Birth-12 months
Approximate age of baby Approx weight of baby Preparation for single feeds Feeds in 24 hours
Cooled, freshly boiled water
kg lb Level scoops ml fl. oz. (approx)
Birth – 2 weeks 3.5 7 3/4 3 90 3 6
2 – 4 weeks 4.2 9 1/4 4 120 4 6
2 months 4.7 10 1/4 5 150 5 5
4 months 6.5 14 1/4 7 210 7 5
6 months 7.5 16 1/2 8 240 8 4
7 – 12 months 7 210 7 3

Based on the table above, a normal baby & current prices on http://www.amazon.co.uk of Cow and Gate First Milk;

For the first 6 months of life, a baby would consume 22.5kg of powdered formula (or 5358 scoops or 25 900g tubs) which woks out at approximately £199.75

But as a minimum, you would also need; 

Steriliser £45

Philips Avent – Digital Bottle & Baby Food Warmer

Bottles £30

Total; £274.75

This works out at approximately £1.50/ day

Health benefits compared;

Why is breast best;

  1. Breast milk is made up of the exact mix of proteins and nutrients your baby needs
  2. It’s full of antibodies giving added protection against infection
  3. It reduces the risk of asthma, eczema and other allergies
  4. It’s sterile
  5. It’s easy to digest
  6. It’s available on demand at exactly the right temperature

Formula compared;

Most infant formulas are based on cows’ milk protein but with some major changes:

  1. The protein content is reduced
  2. Whey/casein ratio in First milks is increased
  3. Milk fat is replaced by vegetable oils
  4. Carbohydrate (usually lactose) is added so it’s at similar levels to breast milk
  5. Levels of other minerals, vitamins and trace elements are adjusted
  6. Additional substances found in breast milk are added (e.g. nucleotides and omega 3 & 6 long-chain polyunsaturates (LCPs))

When it comes to breastfeeding you are giving your child so much more then nutrition. It also is a crucial bonding experience. But if for whatever reason you can’t or decided for whatever reason not to then it is important to have the bonding experience , so feed your baby in the same position you would if you were breast feeding. Baby has a vision field of approximately 20cm which by no coincidence is the same as the distance from your nipple to eye, which I’m sure is no coincidence.

So my conclusion is that although breast feeding is not as cost free as it is made out, it doesn’t need to cost as much as some of the big companies out there would want. Also, if you for what ever reason feel formula is your only option, rest assured it is not much difference in price.

As featured on www.talkmum.com



If you haven’t picked up my news on Twitter, I thought I should let you all in on my exciting news that me and my husband are expecting our first child! Our little bundle of joy is expected on the 20th April 2013! Our second scan is happening soon, and I will fill you all in on my progress soon!¬†

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Rocky road brownies


Now whether you are trying to conceive or actually pregnant, some times you just need a treat. And if you are gonna do it, do it properly. At work last week we were part of Macmillan’s World’s Largest Coffee Morning. For this all the staff were asked to bake cakes to be given away for a donation. These were the most indulant thing I could think of, and went down a storm!


120 g 70% dark chocolate, snapped into small pieces

113 g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

200g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean extract

2 lg eggs

95 g plain flour, sieved

1/4 tsp salt


85 grams dark chocolate chips

250 ml miniature marshmallows

3 hobnob biscuits


Preheat oven to 165C and place rack in centre of oven. Butter a 20 cm square baking pan. 

Melt the chocolate and butter in a large stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar.

Next, whisk in the vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Finally, stir in the flour and salt.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle the brownies with the chocolate chips, miniature marshmallows and crumbled biscuits.

Return the brownies to the oven and bake for about 5 minutes, or just until the marshmallows start to melt. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. 

Makes 9 large brownies or 18 small.

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Breakfast Burrito:

I find it difficult to get excited about breakfast which is dry and comes in a box. I do have a wonderful Super fruit granola that I have on a regular basis, but sometime you just need a hot breakfast to kick start your day.

What you need;

Wholewheat tortilla wrap

3 eggs

splash of skimmed milk

1/4 red onion

5 cherry tomatoes

1/4 red or yellow pepper

1 tsp sweet paprika

Salt and pepper

Slice the onion and peeper, and quarter the tomatoes. Add to a hot dry pan, and “fry” until tomatoes and onions a start to soften.

Add the paprika, and “fry” until it seems ready, (It should be gooey and soft).

Meanwhile make your scrambled eggs, I do this with a splash of milk in with the whisked eggs. Into a warm pan, and keep it moving until it is a loose consistency. Take off heat, and season. Put tortilla in the microwave for 20 seconds to warm.

Place the tomato and onion mix on the tortilla, and then the eggs, fold into a pocket and serve!

This is such a satisfying breakfast and takes about 5 minutes to prepare!


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Creamy Blackberry and Bilberry Tart

For those times when you just need a desert, whether it is a family gathering, or a special meal for you and your spouse, this pie is a simple and tasty desert which is full of bilberries (you may know them as blueberries, which are high in antioxidents whiich are fantastic for women who are trying to conciece, or are already pregnant. I got this recipe from a friend who moved to Canada last year and has found that she loves to bake. I have reduced the size of the pie from her original recipe, and added a few little twists to make it mine, but I would like to thank her, as I think this is a true gem of a recipe, which is why I am sharing it with you!


Infued Sugar;

10g fennel  seeds

10g dried juniper berries

zest of 1 lemon

160g caster sugar.


Shortcrust Pastry;

190 g plain white flour

2 pinches of salt

115 g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

90 ml ice water


Blackberry syrup;

100g blackberries

10g infused sugar

20ml water


200 g fresh blueberries

 9 inch loose based cake or pie tin

For the Custard:

100 g infused sugar

20 g white flour

pinch of salt 

1 egg, beaten

60 g sour cream

For the Topping:

50 g infused sugar

30 g plain flour

30 g unsalted butter

Infused Sugar;

I usually have a box of this sat on my baking shelf, it keeps really well and is a lovely addition to many cakes and pastries. It is very simple. Zest 1 lemon into a motor, and add the fennel seeds and dried juniper berried. Grind up, and once it is a fine power, add a teaspoon of sugar, continue to grind, this should soak up the oils that they have produced. Then mix with the rest of the sugar and store in a jar or airtight container at least overnight before use.

Shortcrust pastry.

I love making pastry, but I understand that not everyone can  or wants to. So if you want to buy pre-made pastry, please make sure it is all butter variety.

The first thing with shortcrust pastry is to make sure the butter is properly chilled, along with the water needed. Weigh out the ingredients, and Sift the flour into a large bowl.  Take the butter and cut into small pieces and coat each in the flour. Handle the butter as little as possible. You do not want it to melt.

So now you have little pieces of butter coated in flour. With both hands, take the pieces and squeeze and drop back into the flour. Do this until the mixture starts to look like breadcrumbs. It should be a fine crumb, and this is the point you can start adding the water. Do it a little at a time until it forms a smooth paste. Do not over work it. As soon as it looks right, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for  an hour.

Melt a small amount of butter, an using a pastry brush, butter the tin and chill for 10 minutes. When the pastry is ready, take out of the cling film, and warm slightly with your hands, this stops the edges splitting when you roll is out. Dust a flat surface lightly with flour, and with a rolling pin,  roll it out to about 1/2cm thickness. To make sure it is large enough place your tin on top, and make sure the is at least 7cm all the way around. roll it up on the rolling pin, and unroll it over the cake tin. Carefully push the pastry around the tin, making sure there are no cracks or splits. If this does happen, wet the edge of the crack with water, and using some of the excess pastry patch it, and smooth. Once the tin is lined put back in the fridge of 30 minutes.

Making the blackberry syrup;

I’m very lucky, I have wild blackberries in my garden, which grow over form my neighbours garden. So I am able to go outside and pick these bad boys ūüôā

But most grocers, markets and supermarkets will stock them in August – October if you can’t get them wild.

To make the syrup, heat the water in a pan, and desolve the sugar into it. Add the blackberries, and heat until it is all gooey and and soft. Press through a sieve, so that you have a smooth syrup. If you think it is to thick, thin it with a little boiling water.

With a pastry brush, spread this evenly over the pastry base.

Next sprinkle the bilberries in a single layer over the base and place back into the fridge.

To make the custard;

Sieve the flour and sugar into a bowl. Add  The salt. Whisk you egg and add to bowl with the sour cream. Fold all together until you have a smooth custard. Pour this over the bilberries until totally covered.

To make the topping;

This is quite simalar to the method used to make the pastry. Sieve the flour and infused sugar, add chilled butter cut into small pieces, and make into the a bread crumb like consistency. Sprinkle onto the top of the tart, and if you want, carefully draw patterns in the crumbs.

Place into a preheated oven at 175c for 55minutes or until the crumbs are browned.

Place on cooling rack. When cool, trim edges with a knife and carefully remove from the tin. Let completely cool before putting in an air tight container in fridge until needed.

Serve with frozen yogurt, or my favourite, Alpro Blackberry yogurt!

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Cheesy Aubergine Bake

My Cheesy Aubergine bake, is great as an easy lunch, or as a side dish to your evening meal. It is tasty and very very easy.

All you need is an¬†aubergine, an onion, some garlic (I’m using smoked as I love the taste), some cheddar and a bit of margarine to sweat the onions in.

First, slice your onions and place them in a preheated pan to sweat for about 5 minutes. Then add in two cloves of crushed garlic and friy for about a minute.

While the onion is sweating, slice the aubergine into disks (about 1/2cm thick) and layer into a dish.

This is also a good time to grate your cheddar ready for the bake. I used 50g.

Season, and scatter 1/2 of the onions and garlic over the first layer you have made. Now scatter some of the cheddar over this layer.

Repeat this for the next layer. MAke sure the top layer is neat, as once the cheese melts it will be visable.

Place in a preheated oven at 180c for about 25 minutes.

This could be spiced up to go with a nice lamb chop by adding apricots and a pinch of  each ground coriander, cumin, paprika, cinnamon and brown sugar.

Or it could be on the side of one of your two fish portions for the week.

I personally like it with an egg on top (not runny of course) as an easy lunch ūüôā

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Blog of the Week; Local kitchen

bruschetta risotto


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