- Food & Drink
The Contented Calf Cookbook
After 18 months of research, recipe testing, more recipe testing and line by line index checking that left me completely cross-eyed, The Contented Calf Cookbook: Nourishing Recipes For Breastfeeding Mums To Help Promote Milk Production has been published and I’m so proud of it I still can’t resist stroking the cover with joy every time I walk past the mounted display of copies I’ve set up in my living room.
It was my friend Elena Cimelli who had the idea for the cookbook. In the run up to the birth of her daughter, she and her husband spent productive hours making meals and freezing them, so that when their bundle of joy was born they’d have dinner ready to sling in the oven. A few months later, a friend from her NCT class who was having trouble with her milk supply told her about lactogenic foods – foods that can help improve and support breast milk production.
Inspiration struck. What if the meals Elena had frozen had been made with lactogenic foods? Then not only would she have dinner sorted for the first month or so, she’d be eating foods that would help her breastfeed her daughter. Two meals for the price of one, if you will.
And this is where I came in. Armed with Elena’s research, I created breakfasts, lunches, dinners and drinks based around lactogenic foods. Luckily for me, the lacto-list is reassuringly normal – oats, almonds, figs, apricots, garlic, fennel, ginger, cinnamon, fish, turkey, venison and dark green leafy vegetables are among the lacto-foods. Coming up with meals that can be either made and frozen or made quickly while the baby sleeps – and that would also appeal to partners – isn’t too tough when your ingredients base is full of fresh fruit and vegetables and tons of spices.
Together we tested and retested the recipes. We fed them to friends, we fed them to family members, we fed them to Elena’s daughter (toddlers can be damning critics, they really can). We made sure the recipes worked and, quite importantly for a cookbook, tasted nice. And now the book exists, designed by Rick Stevenson, beautifully photographed by Tony Briscoe and styled by Penny Stephens.
The cookbook features 87 lactogenic recipes, including:
• Fig and Fennel Scones
• Nutty Granola with Mixed Seeds
• Pea and Coconut Soup with Lemongrass and Chilli
• Lamb and Date Tagine
• Beef Stew and Dumplings (the cover recipe)
• Oven-Baked Beetroot Risotto
• Apricot and Cardamom Crumble
• Almond Drop Cookies
• Chai Spiced Milk.
Not too bad a set of meals to live off during the first months of your baby’s life. There are vegan recipes, gluten-free recipes, family recipes, traditional recipes, quick recipes and easy recipes. Basically, there’s something for everyone, but especially for new parents who want to eat well while simultaneously concentrating on working out which way to hold the baby up.
The book costs £14.99 and you can buy it from The Contented Calf here and also from Amazon (the book is priced the same on both sites, I just earn more if you buy direct form The Contented Calf). I’m chuffed with it and I hope that if you buy it, you’ll be pleased with it to.