my first child is now 3 ½ years old and my memories of being pregnant with her are a little hazy at best. as i write this piece, i am 33 weeks pregnant, and i definitely failed to remember how heavy and uncomfortable the last trimester of pregnancy can be. this time around i am self-employed and have a small child to run around after too. the experience is a little… different. i can’t just fall into bed for a quick nap in the day and all my check-ups need to fit around our nursery’s schedule, as does work. life feels very busy and full. one of the best benefits of writing and blogging about baby, toddler and family food is that i do cook a lot at home. so, a key feature of this pregnancy has been food -- trying to eat well and prepare nutritious meals for bump and i, but also my family.
i am always inspired by the seasons and what is good to eat now. i am lucky that where i live in west london is nearby to portobello’s fruit and veg market (i try and pop down there every friday morning). we also have some brilliant local shops: greengrocers, butchers, a fishmonger and several bakeries. i always get inspiration from shopping locally and talking to my local food suppliers about what is new and good to eat. as we go into summer there are so many delicious foods to be buying and eating: soft summer fruits are coming into their best, earthy new potatoes, a mountain of young spring/summer vegetables and vibrant bunches of herbs. if there was ever a time to eat seasonally and well, it’s now. today i am sharing two of my favourite family recipes, both of which i am enjoying for a healthy pregnancy, and each are quick and easy to prepare. as a busy mum, i don’t have time for long lists of ingredients or complicated recipes; during my second pregnancy this has become even more important.
first up, is my easy to make pregnancy recipe for summer gazpacho. just weigh all the ingredients into a bowl and blend until smooth, then chill for 4 hours. it is cool and refreshing and is great in a thermos for picnics. food tastes better outdoors and despite living in central london, my daughter and i have hidden a stash of picnic blankets by the front door. if the weather is good we will often take our dinner to the nearest garden square, or park, and enjoy it there. i am mindful that these last few weeks of it just being the two of us and eating together is our time to connect. my second recipe is a family classic roast chicken. at the moment am i roasting chicken with summer herbs and lemon. this is absolutely delicious and requires 5 minutes prep and some cooking time in the oven, so you can go and get on with other things. i shred any leftovers into salads, soups and sandwiches.
so, if you’re pregnant now and waiting for your little one to arrive, dive into some homemade food for a healthy pregnancy diet without the fuss. you deserve it.
summer gazpacho recipe for 2 adults – or 4 smaller portions
ingredients + 500g ripened vine tomatoes + 25g extra virgin olive oil + 20g red white wine vinegar + 25g green pepper + 20g onion + 1/2 garlic clove + 100g water + 20g bread, stale bread is fine too
to make 1. weigh all ingredients for this recipe into a bowl 2. blend together all the ingredients, for 3-4 minutes at full speed; the end result should be smooth and creamy. blend for a further 2 minutes if needed 3. chill for at least 4 hours and stir well before serving. you can add more water, if too thick 4. serve chilled with finely chopped cucumber, halved cherry tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and a drizzle of olive oil
lemon and tarragon roast chicken for 4 people
ingredients + 1 whole organic chicken + 1 onion + 2-3 unwaxed lemons, halved + 6 whole garlic cloves, unpeeled + 15g fresh tarragon (fresh thyme is also delicious if you cannot get fresh tarragon) + olive oil + black pepper + sea salt + 5 carrots, washed, peeled and cut into large chunks + 5 parsnips, washed, peeled and cut into large chunks
to cook 1. preheat the oven to 180c (fan) 2. to prep the chicken: remove from the fridge, place on a baking tray and bring up to room temperature (30 mins) 3. meanwhile peel the onion and cut into quarters, place in the chicken’s cavity with 1 lemon halved and 6 garlic cloves 4. create two pockets, under the chicken’s skin, and push the fresh tarragon into the pockets (under the skin and above the chicken breasts). be careful not to break the skin; this will give the chicken meat wonderful flavour 5. generously rub the skin of the chicken with olive oil and season with black pepper and sea salt 6. for a small-medium size chicken: place in the oven to cook for an initial 35 mins 7. prep the vegetables and place in a bowl with the remaining lemons (halved): toss in olive oil and season with black pepper 8. remove the chicken from the oven, add the root vegetable chunks and lemon halves to the bottom of the tray, then place the chicken on top. return the chicken and vegetables to the oven, for a further 35 mins (this way the vegetables won’t overcook) 9. cooking time does depend on the size of the chicken. to ensure the chicken is cooked pierce the chicken and ensure the juices run clear. if not return the chicken to the oven for some extra cooking time 10. rest the chicken for 20 minutes, then serve the chicken alongside the delicious vegetables, with the juice of the roasted lemons