Sunday, 15 April 2012

Kitty's Jersey Royal hash

I have, many times, been in bad relationships. Relationships where the boy just flat out didn't like me and treated me badly and made me miserable. But I never left because I used to be one of those people who secretly loved the drama of it all and because when you are with someone who gets you accustomed to being treated badly, when they do something nice you are ten times more overjoyed than you should be. You nurse little scraps of affection. I'm not proud of it.

I have been thinking about this a lot because Kitty is being a bit of a pain in the arse at the moment. She is 14 months old and still can't walk and her molars are coming through and she's got a cold and she's just being unusually unbearable.

She wants EVERYTHING. She wants to be picked up, no put down, she wants to sit on this narrow windowsill and play with the catflap. She wants the cat - SHE WANTS THE CAT! PLEASE I WANT THE CAT. Now she wants to get down and walk, walk, stumble, walk walk. Now she wants to stand at this cupboard and open and close the door. Open, close, open, close, open, close. Open. Close. Now she wants to take out and smash the china PLEASE LET ME SMASH THE CHINA I WANT TO SMASH THE CHINA. Now she wants to be picked up! Down! Up! Down. She wants to run after the ball and kick it but she can't run or really kick. Now she wants to screw and unscrew the lid on this tube of moisturiser but she doesn't understand how the screw mechanism works. RAGE! Now I want to be picked up and go somewhere to do something but I CANNOT EXPLAIN WHAT IT IS SO I AM JUST GOING TO GO RED AND GO "EEEEEEEHHRH? MMMMMMOOOO?! EHHH EHHH EHHHHHHH?!"

And that represents probably less than five minutes in the life of Kitty Coren at the moment. It's pretty dementing. My friend R encapsulated the same experience that she is having with her otherwise impeccably-behaved toddler, who is 16 months old. "It drives me a bit mad. Endless pointing, pointing, pointing. Ehhh, ehhhh, ehhh. Never happy. Thank god for bedtime," she says. Another friend, L, who has three children, says "Yes it's that angry Japanese tourist thing that toddlers do. It's miserable."

And while all this made me feel a lot better - my child is not peculiarly awful, she is just entering the famously nightmarish toddler stage - it has brought back to me the experience of having a really shitty boyfriend.

As with a bad boyfriend, I continue to coo at her and say "come on then, pumpkin, what's up with you?" in the hope that she will be mollified by my dote. And, as with a bad boyfriend, when she does something - anything - nice: crawls on my lap to bash her snotty face against my cheek in the parody of a kiss, or decides after two months of spitting Calpol out that she is going to sip it nicely from the spoon and say "num num" afterwards - I am beside myself with joy.

"What a good girl you are!" I shriek. And I feel such a fool.

Anyway I made this for her lunch today - not that she would suffer to eat more than a few spoonfuls of it, the ingrate - and it was terrific and a great thing to do with the new Jersey Royals that are coming through at the moment.

Babies like this (she did eat quite a lot in the end) or it's a brilliant starter or brunch.

Kitty's potato hash

However many new potatoes you want per person
1 egg pp
handful peas pp
handful cheese pp
double cream, just to slop over
salt and pepper

Pre-heat your oven to 200C

1 Boil your Jersey Royals for 20 mins then tip into a baking dish and lightly crush with a fork.

2 Defrost some peas in the bowl with boiling water for a few minutes and add to the pan.

3 Scatter over cheese and drizzle over some cream until things are wet but not soaking. Season and stir together.

5 Crack in your eggs and bake in the oven for about 10-15 mins or until the eggs are set.

The sky's the limit in terms of ingredients, here. Chop in some bacon if you like, or mint, or chorizo or mushrooms or anything. Then make an appointment to get yourself sterilised.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Sounds yummy! I will give it a go!

  3. It's what children do .... Maybe that's why so many people only have the one?

  4. Wow your daughter has refined impeccable taste. You must be doing something right!

  5. Oh Esther, I sympathise I really do. I remember those days well - my boys were born 19 months apart and so when T was 14 months old I was pregnant with O and suffering from endless morning sickness plus debilitating sciatica which meant that I spent most of my time crying and pleading with T to please eat, let me change your nappy, go to bed and so on and so on.

    I know it's a cliche and please don't hate me for saying it - but it will pass and you'll get through it. My "baby" T is 17 tomorrow - he'll be setting of to 6th form on his 125 motorbike and doesn't want to eat with us now either - he'd rather be burning up the neighbourhood on his new mean machine.

    So I'm off to try and model a blue Yamaha 125 XTR out of modelling fondant and plonk it atop a chocolate cake in the hope that it will stop him in his tracks long enough for me to grab a quick kiss and a hug as I wish him Happy Birthday.

    Always love reading your blogs - and the hash looks yummy too!


  6. Maybe it's because I was in need of a laugh, but reading this blog had me sputtering over my al desco lunch. Perhaps not the best for workplace reading, but I can't help myself. Loving your work. Snort.

  7. Everything you say is true, and very funny. I have something I can offer you in return: a suggestion that you should get one of those needle-less syringes for the Calpol instead of using spoons, as it's much harder for them to spit it out with those.

  8. I, too, compare my baby to a bad relationship, and I thought I was the only one. I'm scared he will grow up to be like Don Giovanni, but perhaps it's just normal for toddlers, and they'll turn out quite nice.

    I made Kitty's Hash for lunch. It was the only thing that really worked today (it was one of those days that I will really struggle to blog about). Thank you.

    Please consider writing a baby food cook book. I would totally trust you (but don't be making Annabel Karmel's mistakes: deep fried recipes, and a cover pic of a toddler eating lunch while dressed in mohair).

  9. God, did I used to love Calpol. I regularly feigned illness just to get a spoonful.

  10. Making this for dinner tonight. Perfect Monday night supper. Thank you Esther!

  11. Elizabeth Medovnik17 April 2012 at 00:32

    Oh, that sounds familiar! Mimi is also 14 months and when she wants something she points at it, then glares at me and shouts "AAAAAHHH" at ear-splitting volume. I'm hoping she'll learn to talk really soon so she can start asking nicely. Have you read the book Wonder Weeks? Apparently babies go through phases of brain development and while that's happening they're particularly cranky. One of those phases is in the run up to about 64 weeks so it should pass fairly soon...fingers crossed...

    1. Thanks for the recommendation! Downloaded it on my Kindle and it is fascinating xx

  12. Have you watched that show 'Up All Night'? Maya Rudolph, Christina Applegate, Will funny. Everytime I watch it I think of you and Giles.

  13. Take her swimming. Physical exhaustion really helps (her not you). Mine was also unbearable at the end of the somewhat immobile stage.

  14. Definitely recommend the needless syringe for giving the calpol, ibuprofen or whatever. worth buying a bottle of infant Neurofen as they come with it!

  15. God yes, I'd never get any medicine into Lily if it wasn't for the syringes. I make the pharmacy stick one in any prescriptions I get.

    Anyway, thanks for the recipe! Made it today for L with broccoli, bacon, and cheese and she ate the lot. I'd love to see a RR baby cookery book.

  16. Toddlers are SCARY.

    They clearly want things, and they want quite specific things, but they have very limited means of communication.

    Babies just want to be warm and clean and fed (and to sleep, which apparently they don't know how to do even if they are tired).

    Bigger children can *tell* you what they want (and you can tell them no).

    Toddlers want something but they can't tell you what. It's worrying.

  17. I think the period between 9 and 18 months is the hardest. Horrendous. I remember with my first walking down the street crying and nearly flagging down a passing police car to tell them to take my daughter away! My youngest is 6 months and I'm trying to eek out as much enjoyment out of her as possible before she too turns into a shrieking banshee.

    Quite fancy the hash myself. Oh and please don't do a baby cookbook, don't turn into a smug parenting expert a la Annabel. x

  18. Definitely fancy the hash. Adore the relationship analogy. Thoroughly recommend the baby "dropper" to get calpol /liquid vitamins in (my paranoia is malnutrition for our fussy eater so the poor child is dosed daily with considerable protest). We use the dropper you get with Abidec vitamins.

  19. All that you say is really funny because it is absolutely true! I will try the Kitty's potato hash. Thank you for the idea.

  20. I think this is when you start to develop the ability (and desire) to tune them out a bit and not respond to every delightful or not so delightful vocalization. You kind of split a bit, one part of you is vaguely saying "mm-hmm, mm-hmm" to keep them pacified while you concentrate on something else, while at the same time another part of your brain is still on hyperalert for any real sign of need or danger.

  21. Nice article, thanks for the information.

  22. The #jerseyroyal blog made me laugh so much that I even read it to my husband which I never do. The recipe is brilliantly simple and yummy and my boy loved it the first and second time I gave it to him but then got suspicious about the (hidden) egg and refused it last week. I added spring onion and cherry toms too and used creme fraiche instead of cream in a delia smith fashion. My boy is 11 months and since last week he is showing toddler tendencies already by screaming when things don't go his way. He showed us right up in Peter Jones this weekend. Something also to do with his late-start teething. He is currently a teetha and calpol junky and claps when he sees the orange nurofen syringe. Not to sound like stalker or nuffin but was bemused by the attack of your husband on twitter by some 'barren old hag' for writing an article mentioning your daughter's eating habits? As you can see by your blog there are people out there who are interested in what babies eat, they are humans too I sometimes need to remind myself! Anyway good luck with your pregnancy (am I correct?) and if you want to see real botox/ filler amusement horror then watch Annabel Karmel's cooking show on CITV. Such a control freak, sorry.