I’ve written some fairly mad emails in my time. But perhaps this one, tapped out nearly nine weeks ago takes the cake.

Hi Clare

Terrific news- in labour- heading to hospital soon. 

Thank you so much for all your work on this

Tori

Tori Haschka
www.eatori.com

That one was crafted on an iphone with one shaky hand in the milky light of 4.34 am. It was from me to my lovely agent, Clare. And it was me confirming and agreeing to a book deal with Quadrille. A new book, that’s slated to come out in June 2014.

Baby Will joined us in the world six hours and ten minutes after I sent it.

All of this means that the recipes (up to 100 of them) are due in three weeks time.

I’ve heard people say ‘be careful what you wish for’. And that’s exactly right. Because there’s every chance it will come true.

If you’d asked me what I wanted most three years ago, it would be to have a couple of books under my belt and a healthy baby on my lap. I just didn’t realise that they would both collide at exactly the same time.

I hope this may explain why posts have been a little sparse here in the last two months. That is, another reason beyond this cheeky smile.

As it goes, I’m ridiculously excited to be working with Quadrille– so many of my favourite authors are part of their stable; Skye Gyngell, Bill Granger, Jill Dupleix, Niamh Shields, James Ramsden, Anjum Anand and Michel Roux.

And in a sure sign that the universe is looking out for me, my beloved editor on Suitcase and a Spatula, Celine  has also moved- to Quadrille no less. And wouldn’t you know whose book she’s looking after first up?

There’s been a great mix of comfort and terror in all of this.

Here are some things I’ve twigged along the way about testing and writing with a wee one.

1) You have to be organised. That’s not just about making a plan for what you’re going to test when at the beginning of each week (often done using Siri to make a list in the middle of the night feed), but it’s about using technology to your advantage. The master document and recipe list is currently living on Dropbox- which means I can access it from my phone anywhere to double check ingredient quantities while I’m out shopping. It’s a bit harder to just duck out to the grocer to pick up another two onions when you have to donk a pram up and down 15 stairs before you reach the front door.

2) Online shopping is your friend. Sadly in Sydney (where we currently are) there’s no real equivalent to Ocado, but I’m pretty thrilled that Harris Farm has just started delivering to our suburb (and is currently offering a $20 discount to new customers).

3) It’s not just you that you have to think about when you’re working. Sure, the Roast Bloody Mary soup that I tested last week (blistered tomatoes and celery, blitzed and spiked with chilli, tobasco and Worcestershire) was delicious. Except it was so spicy that it made poor Baby Will vomit after every breastfeed for the next 24 hours. Oops. Sorry little ‘un.

4) You have to accept help wherever you can get it. If friends offer to help test recipes for you- say yes. If your godmother offers to come down and hold the baby for two hours on the couch so you can cook- say yes. If your best friend offers to take the baby for a walk for an hour, just 10 days before her wedding, so you can write- both blog posts like this one- and edit the second chapter- say yes.

5) A  Baby Bjorn is a godsend. It helps explain why my view of the universe looks a lot like this these days.

6) On the days when you’re madly testing all of the dessert and breakfast recipes, it pays to have something savoury in the freezer.

Something savoury, perhaps like these.

These lentil and carrot cakes can be whizzed up ahead of time, quickly cooked off and then stored, stacked in greaseproof paper in the freezer for an age. You can then warm them up in the oven or a toasted sandwich press. They make terrific veggie burgers. They make a strapping base for a soft cooked egg, with a bleeding yolk as a makeshift sauce.

But my favourite way is as a quick salad, with baby spinach and a thrown together dressing of natural yoghurt, tahini and lemon juice.

They manage to taste both slightly exotic and comforting all at the same time. They’re filling, but not bloating. They’re an excellent thing to turn to when you’ve been working on the roast meats section for five days now. And the lentils are a good source of slow carbohydrates- just the sort of things you need to be consuming when you need lots of energy, for lots of hours.

I have a pretty terrifying schedule for the next three weeks. We start shooting in the beginning of November. It will be some pretty exciting times.

And in December, I’m looking forward to catching up on some sleep.

Spiced Carrot and Lentil Burgers with Tahini Yoghurt Dressing

Makes approx 15 burgers

Shopping/foraging

2 cups of dried du puy or green lentils
4 carrots, peeled and cut into small dice
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 eggs
1/4 cup/40 g chia seeds
Generous pinch of salt
Neutral oil for shallow frying

Tahini Yoghurt Dressing
1/2 cup of natural yoghurt
2 tbsp of tahini
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil

Here’s how we roll

1) Rinse the lentils well, then place in a pot and cover with cold water by two inches. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, until the lentils are pliant.

2) Add the diced carrot to the pot and simmer for 10 minutes more until they have softened.

3) Drain both the lentils and the carrots, then blend together with a stick blender until you have a rustic paste. It’s fine to leave some of the lentils whole.

4) Add the eggs, chia, spices and salt. Stir well to incorporate it all and leave the mix to rest for 10 minutes. This will help the chia seeds to swell and bind it all together.

5) Portion the mix into small patties, of about 2 tbsp and pat together firmly.

6) Shallow fry the patties in batches, being sure that one side is completely crisp before carefully lifting to fry the second side. Drain on paper towel, then eat warm, or layer in tupperware with small pieces of greaseproof paper in between to enable easy defrosting and portioning.

7) To make the tahini yoghurt dressing, muddle all the ingredients together and whisk well. Drizzle over the warm patties and serve with fresh salad leaves and freshly cracked pepper.