Best Ever* Edible Fake Blood

* Safe for babies… unsafe for upholstery. Delicious for adults. Vegan!

I love dressing up, festivals and frippery, and most years I manage to attend a costume party or dance macabre to celebrate all that is gruesome, exciting and escapist at Halloween.

This year… not so much! I was home alone with two 7-month old babies, who are now in a fairly set routine of dinner, bath, PJs, feed to sleep (albeit with mighty protests at every transition). It’s a lot to do on one’s own and recently the monotony has been starting to get me down.

Social media was filling up with other people’s party pics, everyone and their gorgeous offspring seemed to be out Trick Or Treat-ing, and I was looking blankly into the fridge trying to plan a nutritious yet mutually-palatable meal for one adult and 2 babies… when a vacuum pack of beetroot caught my eye.

New plan!

ZOMBIE ATTACK!!! 🧟‍♀️

Featuring Sleep-Deprivation-Zombie Mummy & the Two Tiny Terrors

Zombie Mummy

No make up needed when you haven’t slept in 7 months 😉

Actually the tastiest fake blood I’ve ever made!

Ingredients:

    2 beetroots (not pickled ones!)
    Large handful frozen dark cherries
    100ml freshly boiled water
    A banana (you might only use half)
    1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)

Method

  1. Put the cherries in a blender (I have a Nutribullet Ninja which I love) and pour on the boiling water. Leave 5 minutes
  1. Add the beetroot and whizz to a smooth, sanguineous consistency
  • You now have a brilliant, vivid, semi sweet, vitamin-rich fake blood. Remember that actual blood is not bright red once out of the vein. Now think about the consistency you desire, and add the banana accordingly.
  • Consistency Options:

    1. If you want smooth, sweet liquid “blood“: whizz in the banana until smooth
    2. If you want semi-sweet blood that is starting to clot: fork-mash the banana then mix in well.
    3. If essentially what you want is a bowl of blood clots, whizz in half the banana and a tablespoon of chia seeds, then fork mash the rest on the banana and mix in. Wait 10 minutes. Stir & marvel at its disgusting gloriousness.

    Then dish it out and stand well back!

    🧟‍♀️ ❤️ Yum yum! ❤️ 🧟‍

    You’re welcome 😘

    Autumn Sunshine Smoothie

    Hello October! 🍁 The season has definitely changed here in London: after an endless-feeling hot summer, there is a chill in the air and it’s downright cold in the shade. There are still lots of bright blue skies (alternating with drizzle and gales) and we’ve had a fair bit of sunshine this week, but the foliage is turning, the evenings are shortening, and – surest sign of autumn setting in – everyone I meet seems to be fighting a cold!

    Sunset on Primrose Hill 01.10.18

    This smoothie is great for a quick cheerful blast of bright autumn sunshine on a dull grey morning, as well as being a delicious powerhouse of immune-boosting vitamin C. The warming ginger spices up the luscious, icy mango and apple, giving their classic pairing an autumnal twist.

    Ingredients:

    • 200ml fresh juice – apple & pear is wonderfully autumnal, but you could also choose fresh orange juice if you’re fighting a cold
    • Generous handful of frozen mango pieces
    • 2x cubes frozen ginger purée, or a thumbnail-sized piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced finely across the direction of the fibres (this is why purée is preferable; see pictures below if you’ve not tried it before).

    Method:

    • Blend, pour, enjoy!

    A note on convenience ingredients: I am all about convenience ingredients! I have two babies. 😬 If it’s not convenient, it’s not getting made!

    A note on frozen fruit: I like using frozen fruit for smoothies, because I think if you have a ripe fresh mango it’s best enjoyed there-and-then, unadulterated, rather than blended up with other things. Also a big bag of frozen mango pieces is about £2 in my local supermarket, keeps for ages, and is a pleasing ingredient to have on hand for smoothies, puddings, the occasional Thai massuman curry…

    1-pot 10-minute SOS Veggie Breakfast

    Save Our Stomachs! We are living on coffee and catnaps at the moment… it’s been 3 weeks now of the babies sleeping like newborns i.e. NOT A LOT AT NIGHT. When they do sleep, they take it in turns, so there’s pretty much always one baby on the go.

    Time and energy for food prep is in short supply, so I’m falling back on some old favourites. This breakfast/lunch/saviour meal takes 10 minutes, all in. It is protein packed, healthy, hearty vegetarian fare. And it tastes so good.

    One pot breakfast: maximum flavour, minimal washing up

    Ingredients:

    • 1 clove garlic
    • 1 fresh chilli / generous teaspoon chilli flakes
    • 2 Cauldron sausages
    • 4 eggs
    • 8 Mushrooms
    • 1 avocado
    • 2 tortilla wraps
    • Cream cheese
    • Large handful grated Cheddar cheese – I just buy it pre grated at the moment. If you don’t, you will need to grate it on your own time.
    • Large handful fresh coriander
    • Sriracha sauce / whatever chilli sauce you are partial to

    A note on Cauldron sausages: these are the best vege sausages on the U.K. market in my opinion. Whenever I try other brands I am generally a bit disappointed. If you prefer something else, by all means substitute it, but you are going off piste and I can’t promise it will work!

    A note on proportions: you know how hungry you are; increase portion sizes accordingly. Twice the sausages is good if you have a large enough pan, or you could make fewer eggs if you’re that way inclined.

    Method:

    • 12:00 Get out in ingredients and a big non-stick frying pan
    • 12:01 Slosh of olive oil in the pan, medium heat, add sausages, shake to coat them in oil. Note: these cook in 8 minutes, turning regularly.
    • 12:02 Mince the garlic, slice the chilli, add to the pan. Stir & shake.
    • 12:03 Chop the mushrooms. Chop the coriander.
    • 12:04 Sweep the sausages to one side of the pan. Add mushrooms to other side of pan and stir to coat in oil. Stir half the coriander into the mushrooms.
    • 12:05 Get out 2 plates and put a tortilla on each. Spread with cream cheese.
    • 12:06 Turn sausages, stir mushrooms, make room in the pan. Carefully crack in the eggs.
    • 12:07 Chop the avocado and scoop out half onto each tortilla
    • 12:08 Turn the sausages, gently stir mushrooms if you think they need it. Everything should be almost cooked; if not, consider turning up the heat for a minute
    • 12:09 Divide the contents of the pan between the two tortillas. Put the pan in the sink and make sure the stove is off
    • 12:10 Scatter on the grated cheese, the remaining coriander leaves, and a generous dash sriracha. Eat!

    Do you have any trusty SOS meals you fall back on in times of crisis? Let me know in the comments – we can virtual comfort-eat together 😉

    Do they sleep?

    Why yes: but only on me. 😬

    It wasn’t always like this. They are now 22 weeks old, which puts them right in the middle of the tricky (hellish) period known as the “4-month sleep regression”.

    Until I had babies I’d never heard of sleep regressions; until a fortnight ago I wasn’t sure if I believed in them. Now? I’m pretty convinced!

    It’s not that they no longer sleep at all, but rather that they like to sleep in our arms. For short periods. And very lightly. From an evolutionary perspective, I get it: they want to be safe from jaguars. Very sensible baby behaviour, frankly!

    They’re gaining new skills daily (chief amongst them: flipping over and getting stuck) and I guess their accelerating metabolisms and growing brains have stimulated their appetites again. So we’re back to hourly feeding, which is fine, except for when it’s not, which is whenever I want to do anything else. Like SLEEP.

    Anyway. There comes a point in rolling sleep deprivation where you admit defeat and live on coffee… This is my fave at the moment.

    Cold milk on ice, a dash of maple syrup, and a double espresso. ☕️ #survivalmode

    Ingredients

    • Half a glass of milk
    • Large handful ice cubes
    • 25ml maple syrup
    • 50ml espresso

    Method

    Everything in the glass

    Stir

    Down in one! 😉

    Double-G Granola

    There comes a time when a person stops feeling comfortable eating a tray of flapjack every week (or does there?).

    And now that time has come for me, this is what I’ve started making instead: similarly tasty, but lower fat and altogether more wholesome, homemade granola.

    Ingredients :

      2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
      2 tbsp maple syrup
      1 tbsp raw honey
      1 tbsp cocoa
      300g oats
      100g chopped almonds
      100g chopped dried apricots
      50g sultanas
      50g chopped hazelnuts (optional, but cocoa + toasted hazelnuts = Nutella vibes, so why wouldn’t you?)
      50g pumpkin seeds
      50g golden linseed

    Note: if pushed for time, you can substitute all the dry ingredients for 500g your favourite muesli, plus a handful of any extra nuts or dried fruit you fancy.

    Note on ingredients: oats, almonds, apricots and golden linseed have a reputation for stimulating milk supply, however there is no convincing scientific evidence for this. But the tasty, slow-release energy they provide does not go amiss when one is up all hours of the day and night sustaining two small humans!

    One of my small humans. Obviously use whatever cocoa you like, but I’m partial to this one. 😉

    Method

    In a big bowl or pan, mix the oats, oil, syrup, honey and cocoa until all the oats are coated. Then stir in everything else. This should smell really good.

    Scoop loosely onto 2 lined baking trays; don’t press down, as you want to toast all the individual pieces evenly.

    Bake for 10 mins at 150’C. By now it should smell insanely good!

    Allow to cool, then stir to break up any large clumps.

    Somehow get it into a mason jar (other jars are available). I do this by using the baking parchment as a funnel and pouring it into the jar, which is quick but some inevitably spills…

    Consume by the bowlful with milk of your choice, with yoghurt & fruit, scattered over ice cream, or – my fave – dry, by the desert spoonful, whilst waiting for the kettle to boil.