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Forty weeks came, and forty weeks went with no sign of our all too comfortable-in-there son. By now Anni had been off work for three weeks and was thoroughly bored. We were both on edge, as from pretty much 36-weeks we had been acting as if our son could come at any minute. Anni’s bag was packed, and by bag I mean two carry-on suitcases full of clothes for each of us, a bag of clothes for our son, a bag of nappies, wet wipes, towels, a bag of snacks, pillows, bed sheets, dressing gown, sleeping bag (for me, not her), yoga mat, large camera, video camera, back up batteries, phone chargers, back-up chargers and maternity exercise ball. The corner of our bedroom looked like we were either going on a really weird holiday or about to go to a surreal car boot sale. In my head, like in the films there would be a small suitcase left by the door which we would casually pick up as we left for the hospital. Instead I was running after maternity balls bouncing down the street and worrying about if our son would even fit in the car when he was born. (Looking back now I can say that we probably used about 2% of everything we took to the hospital, and half of that was the bag of snacks for me).

So, by forty weeks Anni was getting not only bored but pretty uncomfortable. She was also making daily trips to the supermarket to send me pictures of her holding objects that were by now smaller than her belly. I’d get a message from her at work and jump up excitedly, expecting to run out of the office saying, ‘she’s in labour!’ Instead it was just a picture of Anni looking pissed off in a shop and holding a pumpkin or a watermelon.

Sleep was also becoming a distant memory. Anni was sleeping badly, waking up frequently because of the baby moving or kicking. New mums gleefully told her that this was good practice for what was to come but that’s like saying running a marathon every day for four weeks is good practice for running a marathon tomorrow. It may be, but you’re still going to arrive at the start line bloody knackered.

Even though we could be on our way at any minute I wanted to use this time to spoil Anni a bit. Daily massages and foot rubs became the norm, we watched her favourite films and I packed and repacked the car when she kept changing her mind about what our son’s first outfit should be.

I also made her favourite food as much as I could. Sticky toffee pudding is one of Anni’s favourite desserts, so I made a huge batch, cut it into squares and kept it in the freezer, defrosting chunks every few days.

The banana ice cream and crushed pistachios add some healthy benefits to the pudding but by forty weeks when baby was cooked, I don’t think Anni cared anymore.

Ingredients

-one pack (around 200grams) of dates

-four eggs

-200ml boiling water

-one earl grey teabag

-180 grams butter

-300grams light muscovado sugar

-3 tablespoons of treacle

-375 grams of self-raising flour

-2 teaspoons of bicarbonate soda

-200ml milk

 

For the sticky toffee sauce

-200 grams light muscovado sugar

-100 grams of butter

-200ml double cream

-1 tablespoon of treacle

 

-4 ripe bananas

-2 tablespoons of crushed pistachios

Method

-To make the banana ice cream cut four ripe bananas into thin discs and freeze for at least two hours. Remove from the freezer and blend until the mixture runs smooth. Refreeze until required.

-Remove the stone from the dates and cut into small chunks. Place in a bowl, add the earl grey teabag and pour the boiling water over the dates.

-Heat the oven to 180 degrees and line a deep square cake dish with baking paper.

-Using your fingers break up the butter into small pieces and tip into a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and using an electric hand mixer combine the two well. Mix for a few minutes until both the sugar and butter are mixed in.

-Add the treacle to the mixture and stir well with a spoon.

-Crack an egg and add to the bowl. Mix well and then repeat one by one with the other eggs.

-Sieve roughly half of the flour and bicarbonate soda into the bowl and fold in using a metal spoon. Add half of the milk at this stage and stir well. Then repeat with the remaining flour, bicarbonate soda and milk.

-Remove the teabag from the bowl and using a spoon roughly mash the softened dates. Add the dates and water to the mixture and stir in well.

-Pour the entire contents of the bowl into the cake dish and cook for around an hour. To see if the pudding is done insert a skewer into the top of the pudding and see if any mixture clings to the metal when it’s removed. If it does, it’s not done yet.

-Remove from the oven and using the baking paper remove the pudding from the cake dish. Allow to cool.

-Meanwhile melt the butter and sugar together in a pan. When the two have come together stir in the treacle and half of the cream. Mix and gently bring back to the boil. Remove from the heat, stir in the rest of the cream and then pour into a jug.

-Cut the sticky toffee pudding into squares. Pour the sauce over the pudding and top with the banana ice cream and crushed pistachios.

 

Why is this good for mum and baby?

Flour Vitamin B, E, zinc, calcium, folate, fibre
Eggs Protein, Iron, folate, vitamin A, B, D, E, K, zinc
Dates Calcium, Vitamin C, Iron
Bananas Calcium, potassium, folate, fibre, Vitamin B, C, magnesium, protein
Pistachios Protein, vitamins A, B, C, E, K, zinc, fibre, calcium, potassium, iron
Cream Calcium, vitamin A
Milk Protein, calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, B, D

 

 

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I’m a Leiths trained chef on a mission to overhaul the way we see and enjoy food during pregnancy. Current healthy-eating advice when you’re pregnant focuses on what you can’t eat (no shark or marlin for you on a cold Wednesday evening in January) whereas I want to focus on all of the amazing food that you can eat over the nine months and beyond. When my wife became pregnant with our first son last year as a guy I felt pretty redundant. Sure, I could carry her bag, do up her shoelaces when she couldn’t bend over anymore and go to all of the classes and appointments with her, but I felt like I was a bystander and that there was nothing I could actually do that would make a difference either to her or our unborn child. So, I decided to make sure that whatever we ate over those nine months not only tasted delicious and made her feel good, but was also full of vitamins, nutrients and other good stuff for our unborn child. My wife gave birth to our beautiful boy last October and I’m still looking after our food whilst she takes charge of his. During these first few crazy sleep-deprived months I’m making sure that whatever we eat is quick to make, quick to eat (normally with one hand as we can’t put the little guy down at all….) and gives us energy for when we’re putting the dummy back in his mouth for the 416th time that night.

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