My kitchen is as tidy as my photographs are focused.
As the day when we board a plane for a fourteen-hour flight with a toddler grows horrifyingly near, I have started to consider what to feed May Blossom on our journey to America. We’re flying with Virgin Australia, who tell me that because she is under two May Blossom will be getting a baby meal, composed of jars of purees. May Blossom, upon starting solid food at the age of five months, ate maybe two or three meals of purees before declaring them fit only for infants and the infirm. For three-quarters of a year now she has been eating pretty much what we have been eating, only cut up a bit smaller. So a few jars of Heinz baby food is not really going to go down that well with her. Unless we bring food for her on this flight, one of her parents will be eating jars of pureed snozzcumber while May Blossom tucks into Neil Perry’s chicken a la brown.
In addition to small individually wrapped cheeses, crackers, peanut butter sandwiches and frozen peas, I want to bring something with protein, carbs and lots of calories, because her now she’s running around so much she’s getting a bit Robert de Castella around the arms. If that something also was stodgy enough to stick in her little belly and make her sleep well on the plane, so much the better. So today I invented, from a mishmash of recipes on the internet, these muesli-slice-bar-granola-type thingies. That is perhaps not the catchiest name for them, so let us refer to them as Travel Gobstoppers. They turned out quite well, so here is how to make them, should you be so inclined.
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup quinoa flakes
1 cup puffed brown rice
1/3 cup LSA (ground linseed-sunflower seed-almond mix)
¼ cup raisins
½ cup smooth peanut butter
1 heaped tablespoon honey
1 large ripe banana
¼ cup rice bran oil or whatever plainish flavoured oil you have to hand. Melted butter would be fine too.
Blend the oats in the food processor for a few seconds, until they are about halfway between oats and flour. Stir together the oats, quinoa flakes, puffed rice and LSA.
Blend together all the other ingredients. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together, then press into a square cake tin lined with baking paper. The mixture is pretty stodgy so push it out to the corners of the tin with all your might. Make sure it’s reasonably evenly distributed, then bake for 20-25 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius until the top is light brown and firm. Bake it longer for crunchier bars.
Allow to cool in the tin, then slice into whatever sized bars you want.
Warning 1: Don’t give these to babies under a year old, because apparently they can get botulism from honey. Don’t give them botox either, for the same reason.
Warning 2: If you make these and feed one to your baby, there is a possibility it will make your baby go to sleep at 7 pm, then it will make the wretched Catholics from the wretched church opposite your house fire up their wretched organ (the musical instrument, people, come on) and wake her fifteen minutes later. Your baby will then scream for two hours because she doesn’t understand the difference between sleeping for fifteen minutes and sleeping for the whole night, and can’t figure out why she still feels so tired and why her parents are so angry at the world. I’m not saying there is a definite causal link, but I don’t really understand what is causal and what is coincidental when it comes to babies, so there, you have been warned.