Tag Archives | food

Nursery Food

The first week I knew I was pregnant, I munched my way through a range of salads and slow carbs that would make Gillian McKeith weep.

Three weeks later, however, it’s all very different. Monumentally nauseous, I spend much of my day feeling sick and hungry at the same time (an entirely new sensation), and on a quest to discover exactly what it is that my body will consent to eat today. This is less obvious than you’d think; it’s never a simple case of fancying something. It’s more a process of eliminating foodstuffs that actively repulse me, and then, finally, settling for something that I feel I may be able to swallow without too much horror.

I am not this sort of eater. Usually, I’m a restless, inquisitive diner, keen on bright flavours, variety and spice. I have always, always cooked everything from scratch, and mostly in season too.

At the moment, the world has been strangely turned on its head. Vegetables appal me. I can’t contemplate strong flavours. And, quite randomly, my palate will reject flavours that comforted me a few hours before. Sometimes mid-meal. Yesterday, I had to scrape all the cheese off my jacket potato because it was suddenly overwhelming. I am even able to feel sick over a concept, such as the idea of making the bed.

Herbert adapted to this state of affairs quicker than I did. I sulked and lamented, and tried to force myself to eat nutritious meals that were destined for the bin as soon as they were cooked. He put on his tolerant face, walked me down to the local Budgens (where I never shop) and took me from aisle to aisle so that I could  pick out the things I could face eating.

My palate, it seems, has turned strangely nostalgic: cornflakes, Petits Filous, fig rolls, tinned pineapple and garibaldi biscuits. I would never normally dream of buying any of these things. But unexpectedly, my cook’s brain has been overthrown in a violent revolution by my inner child. And my inner child is infuriatingly fickle. I had to rush out and buy fishfingers last week, and yet now I can’t even contemplate the rest of the box.

The dish that I turn to again and again, though, is this zero-nutrition wonder: spaghetti, butter, cheese (which may be on its way out) and black pepper. It’s what I ate every morning for breakfast when I was at primary school, and it’s now my go-to meal when all else fails. When I was a kid, my mum used to snip salami into it, too, but that would be a step too far right now. And don’t even try to suggest a side salad.


What were your cravings – or anti-cravings? Share them in the comments below and I’ll try not to dry-heave as I read them. 


If you enjoyed this post, please vote for me! Thank you.
Vote BettyHerbert.com in the Cosmo Blog Awards!

Read full story · Comments { 31 } · Comments Policy

Mixed Grill

I’ll be appearing at this lovely little festival on 12th February, talking about the link between food and love, and sharing some of my legendary aphrodisiac mole…do come along!


Somewhere between a conference, a food festival and culinary music hall…



(…think of it as a live edition of your favourite food magazine)

A day of talks, lectures, rants, performance,

debates, panels and presentations

on the endlessly fascinating subject of…


Featuring (amongst others) Talks on food and…love, bacteria, fats, crime, money, research, museums; food camps, 18th Century table laying and meat. There will be live music, poetry, comedy, a levitating chihuauhua and Marawa the Amazing will perform, for the first time in London, the awe-inspiring Fruit Salad Of Death.

We guarantee the Mixed Grill will be unlike any food event you’ve ever attended…

Date: Saturday Feb 12th 2011

Venue: The Conway Hall Central London

Price: £20.00

Lunch will be available at our pop-up restaurant, presented by MsMarmiteLover

For bookings and further details including the latest

updates to the speakers list visit…


(If you’re interested in speaking at the Mixed Grill please contact us here)

Read full story · Comments { 0 } · Comments Policy

Poached Chicken

New Year, New You my arse. I was quite happy with the me that existed before 31st December, thanks very much.

This year, I just can’t muster up the requisite self-hatred to go on a new year diet. It just wouldn’t seem like learning my lesson somehow. Ditto the pointless annual alcohol fast, conducted as a kind of macabre experiment to see if I might be a teeny bit addicted to the sauce. What the hell. This year, I intend to accept that sometimes I mix a martini when what I really need is ten minutes in my happy place, and move on.

However, amends do need to be made. I am not convinced I have been getting my five a day over the holiday period. Moreover, I accept that it’s not a good thing to habitually swig Gaviscon as if it’s a digestif. I feel the need to stick a flag in the ground that says, ‘Normal eating is resumed.’

What’s more, I need to carry out my annual chutney cull. This vexes me somewhat. I used to be the only chutney maker I knew. Every year, I would turn out a dozen smart jars of plum, apple or fig, and proudly present them as Christmas presents. Nowadays, everyone’s at it. Which means that, increasingly, I don’t end up making any of my own. Plus, Herbert is in the habit of picking up a jar of something every time he buys cheese. It’s always disappointing and over-shiny, and it stacks up. The cupboard has got so full that the least movement makes four jars topple out, like those penny machines in seaside arcades.

I submerge a whole chicken in my deep stock pot with onions, carrots, garlic, ginger and celery bobbing around it. As an afterthought, I slosh in the remains of the NYE champagne. As it begins to bubble happily, I delve into the cupboard, casting out no less that three jars of soft pickled onions, six jars of random chutney, two blackcurrant squash bottles that have less than an centimetre of cordial left in them apiece (Herbert is the blackcurrant drinker in this house, that’s all I’m saying), and a kilner jar of greying cherries in brandy. I am alarmed to find a bottle of red wine vinegar with a thick cap of mould; I didn’t know that was possible.

Now I’m left with the sickly task of disposing of the contents of the jars. I am glooping them into the bin when Herbert comes home. He gazes between the bin and the boiling chicken and then quickly exits the kitchen. I call him back to admire my pristinely empty cupboards.

‘There,’ I say, ‘That’s better, isn’t it?’

‘Mmm,’ says Herbert, who only ever goes in there for mustard, marmite or his MSG-based Swiss salad seasoning.

‘This year, there will be a rule: one jar in, one jar out. No stockpiling weird ingredients.’ He smirks. He knows that’s not possible.

We eat the chicken in front of the TV, with spelt grains thrown into the broth and purple sprouting broccoli on the side. I had planned to make salsa verde to dribble on top, but in the new spirit of cupboard-clearing, I blob nasturtium pesto onto it instead, a gift from a friend’s summer garden. It goes some way to taking the ascetic edge off the dish.

As does the glass of sherry I pour afterwards, to use up the Christmas stash. I don’t want to become that person, after all.

Recipe: Poached Chicken with Spelt

Read full story · Comments { 19 } · Comments Policy

Xmas Special Seduction – Gift Wrapped

Christmas is less erotic than it should be, really. Yes, there are roaring fires and party dresses and bank holidays; but there’s also all that rushing around and indigestion to contend with. Not to mention the presence of one’s family at every turn.

This year, I decide to get in before the rush starts. After dinner on Tuesday evening, I retire to the bedroom to gift-wrap myself for Herbert.

I will start by saying that gift-wrapping oneself is not as simple as it sounds. I begin by sticking a little sparky rosette to each nipple, which is very fetching, and then a larger one to my pudenda. Then, I lay on the bed and begin to sellotape holly-sprigged paper around my legs, until I realise that I’ve forgotten a key ingredient: the Toblerone.

Now, I would like to state clearly at this point that I am using a small Toblerone here, and not one of the enormous prisms that you used to get in your Christmas stocking. I unwrap it, insert it into my vagina, and recommence my efforts with the wrapping paper.

Immediately, I feel the Toblerone snap in half. Okay, I think, I’m sure I’ll be able to get it out again. An image flashes into my head in which I am trying to explain to a casualty doctor how a Toblerone ended up there. I reach down for a reassuring check, and am surprised to find that the Toblerone is worryingly soft.

Yes, Betty, chocolate melts. I knew this, obviously, but I just didn’t think it would melt that quickly. Well, I think, there’s only one way it’ll come out now. I redouble my self-wrapping efforts. This is less easy than it sounds after you’ve got past your knees, particularly if you’re moving rather gingerly due to a rapidly-melting Toblerone. From my hips upward, I just tuck the paper around me and hope for the best, leaving my decorated nipples peeping out over the top. Then, I put on my Santa-girl hat (complete with two white plaits) and text Herbert to come upstairs.

What, now? he replies.

Yes, now!

Hang on, I’ll just grab another glass of wine.

I want to text back to encourage him to run up the stairs as quickly as possible to salvage the remains of the Toblerone, but I fear that this would add a sour tone to the offer I’m making. In any case, he doesn’t take long. He knocks on the door, opens it, and then stares at me for a few seconds.

‘I’ve gift-wrapped myself for you,’ I say. ‘And there’s a chocolate surprise somewhere too. But it’s melting.’

He stares at me some more. ‘I like the festive nipple tassles.’

‘Just hurry up and find the chocolate!’

Herbert begins to unwrap with great gusto. I open my legs, and say, ‘Can you see it?’

‘No, it’s melted away altogether. It looks a little bit like you’ve shat yourself.’

‘Damn! Would you just start eating it please? I’m worried I’ll get some kind of an infection.’ H dips a finger rather gingerly into the chocolate and tastes it, just to reassure himself, before putting his head down and licking it delicately.

I’m going to need a bit more effort than that, I think. I dip a finger down there myself, and suck the chocolate from it.

‘Bloody hell, I’d forgotten the nougat bits!’ I say.

‘Mmmm,’ says H, ‘that’s the best bit.’

‘Not in this context.’ I excavate more of the chocolate from my vagina and chew on what emerges. I swear I’m already feeling the beginnings of cystitis. Or thrush. Whatever: it burns. ‘I just didn’t realise I was so hot inside,’ I say.

‘I did. You should have asked me.’

‘Not helpful.’

‘Look, do you want to stop and get in a bath?’

I decline with the sad eyes of a martyr, and set about employing every trick in my armoury to bring Herbert to orgasm as quickly as possible.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Don’t Do Anything

I Wouldn’t Do

Thanks to English Thorn for suggesting this seduction (though it’s a bit lame for her tastes!)

Read full story · Comments { 2 } · Comments Policy