Tag Archive for: iugr

How to make scrambled eggs

It happened at 7.10pm on Friday 26th July 2013. Two years ago today. Under bright lights, in a bustling room, with morphine coursing through my veins and Mark’s cheek pressed hard against mine. I became a mum. Even writing that sentence brings a lump to my throat. It’s a big deal becoming a parent. Your life is no longer your own, as the wellbeing of a tiny human becomes the centre of your universe. And Thea was tiny. 576g. That’s a little over two blocks of butter. As a cook, I always I think of it that way.

Tears were rolling down my face and my heart was sinking in my chest as Thea entered the world. Momentarily she was revealed to us, delicately cupped in latex covered hands, before being taken to the resuss team. 29 weeks was too early to be born, and at just over a pound she was incredibly small, even for her gestation. Yet, she cried out with reassuring kitten like screams. Mum, dad, I’m ok. I’m itty-bitty, but I’m ok.

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Having a premature baby is an odd experience. Instead of holding my new bundle of joy on my chest, feeling delirious and exhausted, gazing at her with utter love and amazement as I had always imagined I would, I was able to have a fleeting glimpse of her propped on a little nest of carefully arranged turquoise sheets, inside a warm perspex box. Mark had cut her umbilical cord and told me how she had tightly gripped his little finger with all of hers. He had said that she was perfect. Absolutely beautiful. All I could see was a tiny, fragile looking creature whom I didn’t know how to care for. All of my motherly instincts were useless.

After a few hours sleep, breakfast arrived on a tray, as it had done for the duration of my stay in hospital, an occurrence I remember now with fondness. Who doesn’t love breakfast in bed. Under a brown plastic cloche were scrambled eggs. A bland, solidified, pale yellow mound, swimming in a little pool of liquid on a white plate. I ate them, but without much gusto. I still wasn’t quite sure how to feel about having become a mother, but I stoically kept my smile in place. Everything would work out for the best. Two days later, I left hospital after my three and a bit week stay, relieved to be going home where I felt safe and away from all the constant monitoring. I was leaving my brand new daughter behind though and all of the careful preparations that I had made for her arrival; washed and folded newborn onesies, cot sheets with little blue clouds, a giraffe painted on the wall overlooking her cot, were redundant. A reminder of her absence. (Yes, I had made all these preparations, even so early on. I was so excited be having a baby and organising was a joy).

For 12 weeks until Thea came home, I diligently returned to the hospital every day. To say it was easy would be a lie. I cried, I laughed, I hurt, I got angry, I was impatient and confused. The traffic to and fro drove me crazy. But I wouldn’t change the experience. Not for anything. In fact I’m thankful for it. I had the privilege of meeting Thea early. I was able to watch as her eyelashes and finger and toe nails grew (she was born without any). She reached a kilo in weight and I baked all the nurses a Chez Panisse chocolate cake to celebrate the milestone. She started to fit into tiny clothes that friends and family bought for her. We persevered together to master breastfeeding. Her wires and tubes became less. She became more and more beautiful every day. And she was alive. She wasn’t sick or injured. She was just small and growing, ready to come home. She gave me perspective and strength and a view on life that I would not otherwise have. I am grateful, humble and oh so proud to be her mum.

How to make scrambled eggs

For 2

  • 200ml cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 20g butter
  • pinch sea salt
  • non stick pan
  • silicon spatula

Crack the eggs into a bowl, add the cream and whisk gently to combine.

Melt the butter in a non stick pan over a medium heat. As soon as it’s liquid, add the egg mix and leave it to sit for about 10 seconds.

Using the spatula, go around the outside of the pan moving the egg that has set to the centre and then take the spatula through the centre of the egg mix, making sure to run it against the base of the pan. Do this a few times and then leave the eggs to sit for another 10 seconds, before repeating the process.

Remove the eggs from the heat before they are fully set as they will continue cooking as you portion them on to pieces of hot buttered toast. Season with a pinch of sea salt and enjoy.

If you liked how to make scrambled eggs, you might like this carbonara recipe.

A simple but stunning chestnut soup recipe.

My baby girl is one. A year has passed since the scary day that she came into the world unnaturally early. Eleven weeks premature, red, transparent and frighteningly small, proclaiming to the world with her kitten like screams that she had arrived. I cried. Tears of sadness, not joy. I felt cruel for having her before she was ready to breathe or feed by herself, not doing my best as a mother to protect her. But as my body was not giving her the things that she needed to survive in utero, it was time for her to brave the big wide world and show us her true strength.

And show us she has. I have marveled at her constant tenacity and unyeilding inquisitiveness for life. Her small stature has in no way affected her ability to reach milestones and endlessly gains her attention, in which she delights. She is cheeky, determined, curious, adventurous, never misses a thing, has an infectious, perpetual smile and takes everything in her stride. I am ridiculously proud to be able to call myself her mama and eternally grateful for the gift of a beautiful, healthy daughter.


To celebrate Thea’s first birthday, July 26th, I threw a Christmas in July long lunch for all our closest friends and family. For the occasion I wanted to make chestnut soup. Chestnuts are not in season in NSW in July though, but ever the pre planner, I ordered them online in May. With the help of Ma, I roasted and peeled  three kilos and froze them ready to make soup in July. Doing a job like this is so satisfying. It takes time, but ultimately I always feel the resulting dish is that much better for the love that you put in to  it. All the babes at the party seemed to agree, lapping up spoonfuls of their mum’s and dad’s chestnut soup.




Christmas in July would not be complete without a turkey and this bird was  stuffed with lamb, harissa and rose petals. The idea of something a little bit different appealed to me and the rose petals sealed the deal. It was served with all the essential seasonal trimmings, including Brussels sprouts, roast parsnips and duck fat roasted potatoes. Thea loves roast potatoes! I think that she had four, which for a tiny human is a big deal.


For her first birthday cake, I made her a banana and coconut maple buttercream frosted  baby friendly cake, baby friendly because it contains no refined white sugar or flour, only delicious, whole ingredinets. I found the recipe on the lovely blog Rubies and radishes. The frosting truly was something else and perfect for small fingers to get stuck in to.


This was a very special meal to mark an especially happy occasion with a wonderful group of people who supported me, the contemporary builder and Thea through an emotionally tough period in our lives. The act of preparing food, for me, is a way of showing love and affection, thanks and respect and I hope everyone left the party with satisfied tummies and full hearts. x


Chestnut soup

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 4 sticks celery, chopped
  • butter to sweat veggies
  • 1kg chestnuts, roasted and peeled
  • 2 litres chicken stock
  • good pinch of thyme, few bay leaves, grating of nutmeg
  • sea salt, black pepper
  • milk to thin to desired consistency
  • chopped parsley and cream to garnish

Sweat the onion, carrot and celery over a low heat with the lid on for about 10 minutes until very soft and translucent. Add the stock, chestnuts, herbs, spices and seasoning and simmer until the chestnuts are soft enough that you can blend them with a stick blender. Thin the soup with milk as desired and check seasoning. Enjoy x