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The domestic: Sophie White has a delicate balancing act

The summer evenings may be long, but Sophie White isn't getting to savour them as she is being kept under couch arrest by her adorable but very hungry baby

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Spicy Coconut beef

Spicy Coconut beef

Spicy Coconut beef

With the summer usually comes the chance to luxuriate in the bright evenings. However, this year, with a tiny baby in a management role in the house, we are simply not allowed make the most of the longer days. The baby, you see, has his own very set ideas about what I should be up to after six, and none of it involves lounging in my hammock, admiring the sky as it fades to pink and lilac.

From 6pm to 9pm, I am permitted to sit on the couch breastfeeding him. That is all. Occasionally, he allows me to read or play with my phone, but equally he's liable to lash out at the phone or book if he decides I've had enough entertainment. With the boob still firmly clamped in his mouth and his beady little eyes fixed on me, he'll start batting with one arm at the offensive source of my entertainment and happiness.

If I'm watching TV, it's even worse. He'll rear back, still attached to the boob, and shake his head from side to side in the manner of a dog with a toy in its mouth, until I finally relent and stop even trying to enjoy myself.

His issue is me having the audacity to do anything other than sit holding his gaze with unwavering adoration. Once he is satisfied that I have eyes for him alone, he'll burrow back in and resume his enthusiastic gobbling of the boob. It should come as no surprise to you that we've nicknamed him BoobFace. And I suppose it should come as no surprise to me that he has inherited the family devotion to eating. When I think about it, all he has been doing since his birth five months ago is watching me eat at close range. And what a view that must be. Especially from that quite unforgiving under-the-chin angle.

When I'm not ploughing into a meal, I'm dropping it on his head - what can I do? I've tried balancing a napkin on his head, but he can get very ratty about that, usually whipping it off, outraged, within seconds.

The only solution is to tailor my meals to be suitable for consumption just inches above his baldy little head. Dinner must consist of foods that are transportable by spoon, but even then not every spoonable meal works. Soup, as you can imagine, is totally off the menu, given the potential for baby injury.

I recently tried to partake of a bowl of cereal, only for disaster to strike in the form of a stray Rice Krispie very nearly becoming lodged in BoobFace's ear. After the extremely stressful cereal retrieval, I've had to become even more cautious, which is where this curry comes in. It's the perfect consistency to eat one-handed; it's not too saucy; no part of it could become lodged in my baby, and it is delicious.

 

Spicy Coconut beef

Serves 4

You will need:

2 tablespoons oil

1 red onion, finely diced

500g minced beef

1 tablespoon garam masala

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3 cloves of garlic

1in-piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

1 green chilli, sliced

1 red pepper, sliced

1 large onion, roughly chopped

1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 generous handfuls of frozen peas

1 x 400ml tin coconut milk

A handful of fresh coriander and naan bread, to serve

Sunday Indo Life Magazine