Sigh. I’m very emotional today. This week it’s officially one year since Chef Anna came into my life and I’m feeling uncharacteristically soppy. Doesn’t time just fly?
I was four months old when MA-MA started talking about going back to work and childcare with just about everyone. I remember endless conversations with other MA-MAs about the various options, multiple hours reading forums on Mumsnet entitled “how to choose a child-minder plz help!!??”, fraught visits to local nurseries that ended in tears (MA-MA’s, not mine), and eventually an inexplicably long time writing a nanny advert that included the line “Flynn loves to listen to his mother sing so nanny must be musical”. With such a specific (and not necessarily factual) requirement, it’s unsurprising that the first candidate “didn’t feel like The One”. But then Chef Anna arrived, and we’ve been in love ever since.
From the moment Chef Anna turned up for her interview, all MA-MA’s worries about going back to work disappeared. Chef Anna is a beautiful warm Italian lady with the friendliest eyes I’ve ever seen. She exudes confidence, and you know right from the moment you meet her that everything is going to be just fine. During the interview we knew she was super nice and clearly very organised (she arranges my clothes “by style”), and she also said the following magic sentences:
- a good sleeping routine is essential to the happiness of the whole family
- I have the highest possible first aid training
- I can speak to Flynn in Italian, English or Spanish (“kind of like Prince George’s nanny”, as MA-MA likes to tell people)
- I am a trained chef.
Yes! You heard me! My nanny is a trained chef – in your face other babies!!!
A few calls to her referees, including to one who told MA-MA “I urge you to lock down this diamond immediately” and Chef Anna was hired.
The day Chef Anna joined us was also the day MA-MA decided to start my weaning journey. This was after hours researching the effect of introducing solids before the World Health Organisation six month guideline, so it was a momentous occasion. Together we’ve gone from my first mouthful of baby rice in my bouncy chair, through to her famous spaghetti bolognaise in my high chair, blueberries in Hyde Park and summery picnics in Kew Gardens. I’ve developed some very Italian hand gestures and I wave Dadada off to work in the morning with a casual “ciao ciao”. For the last year I’ve eaten like the prince that I am, and more importantly, we’ve become best friends.
We celebrated our paper anniversary with the best ever day. MA-MA gave Chef Anna some pretty Smythson cards so she can send me love notes, and Anna made MA-MA and Dadada one of her beautiful lasagnes. We went to the park and then Anna let me play with the washing machine buttons. Bliss.
In honour of Chef Anna, I want to share her delicious three ingredient fishcakes. I love them and can easily polish off six in one sitting. Normally when you ask her for a recipe she just mutters something about following her instinct, but for MA-MAs like mine who need a recipe for scrambled eggs, here you go:
Makes about 25 mini fishcakes
1 large sweet potato, peeled 2 tins salmon 5 tbsp breadcrumbs
- Preheat the oven to 220 degrees centigrade
- Boil sweet potato and mash
- Add the breadcrubs and salmon to the sweet potato, and mix together
- Set aside the mix for a few minutes and allow it to settle
- In the meantime, grease the baking tray
- Use your hands to lightly shape and pat the mix together in small round shapes
- Pop in the oven for 10 mins, making sure to turn over the fishcakes half way through
Thank you Chef Anna, ti amo!