Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder

Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder // Amy Elizabeth

 

One of the best things about the weather turning cooler and the evenings getting darker is that it’s Sunday roast season once again! Piles of crispy roast potatoes, big dollops of creamy leeks and lashings of gravy… it’s all nothing without the main event. We’re currently having a love affair with lamb, slow cooked so the whole house smells delicious and it’s so tender it’s falling off the bone. It can be a little bit pricey, so we only opt for lamb when we’ve got guests, but it really is a showstopper; all you need is time and the lamb does all the work to make you look good. 

Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder // Amy Elizabeth

Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 hr
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1.5kg lamb shoulder
  2. olive oil
  3. salt & pepper
  4. 100ml red wine
  5. 200ml chicken stock
  6. 1 whole bulb of garlic, separated into cloves
  7. sprigs of rosemary, oregano & thyme
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 170C.
  2. Pour the wine and chicken stock into a roasting dish slightly bigger than your joint.
  3. Place the herbs and garlic cloves into the bottom and lay the lamb on top.
  4. Cover with two layers of foil and place in the oven.
  5. Cook for 4 and a half hours before removing the foil and returning the lamb to the oven for a further half an hour to crisp up the skin.
  6. Remove to rest for half an hour before the rest of your dinner is done. Remove the bones and shred the meat to serve.
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/

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Melt in the Middle Chocolate Puddings

Chocolate Melt in the Middle Pudding // Amy Elizabeth

I have a real sweet tooth, and a good meal for me is not complete without a treat at the end – preferably a chocolate-based one. It’s not my best habit, that’s for sure – but life is for living, and denying yourself pudding is definitely no way to live if you ask me. I’ll always pick up some Gu puddings when they’re on offer, and their melt-in-the-middle chocolate puddings with a drizzle of cream are some of my favourites. So when I stumbled across this recipe in Kate Doran’s Homemade Memories when looking for some dessert inspiration, I couldn’t resist making my very own version. Hers are made with amaretto, but I having experimented with a few different alcohol options, I actually prefer them without booze at all. Which is not something I usually say, believe me, but I’m such a chocoholic that I don’t want anything to detract from the chocolate taste. Basically just give me a big pile of molten chocolate and I’m happy. As always, use the best quality chocolate that you can afford, and enjoy every bite. This is the good stuff.

Chocolate Melt in the Middle Pudding // Amy Elizabeth  

Chocolate Puddle Puddings
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 180g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  2. 40g butter, softened
  3. 80g caster sugar
  4. 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  5. 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  6. pinch of salt
  7. 30g plain flour
Instructions
  1. Place a baking tray in the oven and preheat to 200°C. Lightly grease four small ramekins with butter and place a circle of baking parchment into the bottom of each.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs until fully incorporated, then add the vanilla and salt.
  4. Sift in the flour and fold to combine. Gently mix in the melted chocolate until you have a smooth, thick batter.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the ramekins. Remove the baking tray from the hot oven and place your puddings on it. Bake for 8–10 minutes until the puddings have risen slightly, and are firm to the touch.
  6. Turn out onto individual plates, removing the baking parchment and serve immediately.
Notes
  1. If you want to make them boozy, increase the flour by 30g and stir in 2 tbsp. of your chosen alcohol right at the end before pouring into the ramekin.
Adapted from Homemade Memories
Adapted from Homemade Memories
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/
Chocolate Melt in the Middle Pudding // Amy Elizabeth

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Apple and Blackberry Turnovers

Apple and Blackberry Puff Pastry Turnovers // Autumn Baking // Amy Elizabeth

I adore the length of summer evenings, and every year I feel a bit disappointed when I notice that it’s getting dark as we’re sitting down to dinner, knowing that it’ll be months before we get those heady summer days again. August was so wet and grey here in Leeds, that it sort of feels like we’ve been in autumn for a long time, but the crispness in the air and the piles of leaves littering our front lawn are the true signals that the cosiest season of the year is upon us – and I’m determined to embrace it with open arms rather than with my usual trepidation.

Apple and Blackberry Puff Pastry Turnovers // Autumn Baking // Amy Elizabeth

Discovering the concept of hygge last year, along with most of the UK, helps to quell some of that disappointment that I feel at falling temperatures and fewer sunlit hours. Celebrating what is great about autumn rather than resisting its charms is the best way to beat the blues for me, and, of course, that starts with the food. More specifically, the perfect combination of apple and blackberries, which is basically the taste of autumn, is it not? Whatever way you serve this reliable old favourite, whether it’s in a crumble or pie, or in these puff pastry turnovers, the combination of warm apple and sweet blackberry is like a hug from the inside. Throw in a sprinkling of cinnamon and surrender fully to autumn, and all the delights it has to offer. Even better if you don your boots and a warm scarf, and go out and pick the blackberries yourself. I just bought mine on this occasion, but next year I am going blackberrying for sure, so there will be plenty more apple & blackberry desserts in my future… 

Apple and Blackberry Puff Pastry Turnovers // Autumn Baking // Amy Elizabeth

Apple and Blackberry Puff Pastry Turnovers
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cooking apple, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
  2. 150g blackberries
  3. 2 tsp. cinnamon
  4. 1 tbsp. caster sugar (or more, to taste)
  5. 1 pack of ready rolled puff pastry
  6. 1 egg
  7. cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Place the apples, blackberries, caster sugar, cinnamon and a splash of water in a saucepan over a low-medium heat and cook until the apples are softened and tinged pink by the blackberries. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Roll out your puff pastry sheet and cut into 8 rectangles using a sharp knife.
  4. Place the apple & blackberry mixture in a sieve over a bowl to remove some of the liquid, as this can make your pastries soggy.
  5. Spoon a heaped tablespoon or two of the apples & blackberries onto each puff pastry rectangle. Fold over (or turn over, if you will...) until the mixture is sealed inside. Use a fork to press down and seal the edges.
  6. Mix the egg with a splash of water, and use a pastry brush to brush over the tops of your pastries. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  7. Bake on a tray covered in baking paper for 15-20 minutes in the centre of your oven until golden brown.
  8. Serve warm with cream or ice cream, or place on a wire rack to cool.
Notes
  1. If you can't find cinnamon sugar at the shops, you can make your own or use demerara sugar in its place.
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/
Apple and Blackberry Puff Pastry Turnovers // Autumn Baking // Amy Elizabeth

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Green Eggs & Ham from Student Eats by Rachel Phipps 

Like a lot of people, I imagine, I learnt to cook at University. I could definitely fend for myself before I left home, but it wasn’t until I had to make all my own meals that I started getting more interested in food and cooking. And, in fact, it wasn’t until I lived with my wonderful friend Emma in my third year, who is a fantastic cook and taught me a lot, that I started to experiment more and get a bit more adventurous in the kitchen. Some of my fondest University memories are of making meals together in that house, and it really sparked a love of cooking that I have carried with me ever since. (Remind me to tell you my actual fondest University memory some time; it involves teaching a celebrated feminist classicist to use a Dyson hand dryer…). 

Although not everyone is lucky enough to have an Emma to guide them through, University really is the perfect time to start getting comfortable in the kitchen – which is where Rachel‘s book comes in ever so handy. Student Eats is a collection of simple and delicious meals for students (unsurprisingly) and anyone who’s starting to find their way in the kitchen but needs a bit of inspiration and a helping hand. With Fresher’s Week coming up, it would make a great gift for the student in your life, or a handy addition to your cookbook shelf if you find yourself stuck for quick and easy meals in the week. 

In fact, it’s also a pretty useful book to have on hand when you’re a new mother and need some fast meals that you can whip up in the space of nap time. There’s actually a lot in common between new students and new mothers now I think about it… erratic sleeping patterns, not really having a clue what you’re doing, and reliance on takeaways to name but a few. So although I consider myself a rather competent cook, I’ve been reaching for this book to get some ideas for easy lunches – like this Green Eggs & Ham. It’s a delicious combination of parma ham, rocket, eggs and pesto, all piled on top of a toasted English muffin. Perfect for a brunch or lunch (or really any time if you’ve lost track of time due to sleep deprivation…). Not only is it pretty delicious, it’s also a filling meal that you can make without creating a whole lot of washing up – another thing that’s good for new parents and students alike. Student Eats is full of little gems like this one, and I know I’m going to be reaching for it for some inspiration a lot in the coming months! 

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Peach & Strawberry Hand Pies

Peach & Strawberry Hand Pies // Amy Elizabeth

With the amount of grey clouds hanging over Leeds as I type, I think it’s safe to say that summer is drawing to a close – which means it’s time to gorge ourselves on the last of the summer produce before a long, hard winter of hardy greens and root vegetables. Every season has it’s crowning glory when it comes to produce, but summer has a whole glut of them – and it’ll be sad to see them go. There’s something particularly delightful about fresh tomatoes, sweet raspberries, piles of ripe cherries and blushing radishes all being available at the same time. We’re spoilt for choice in the summer, so let’s make the most of it for the next couple of weeks whilst the getting is still good, shall we? 

That’s where these little hand pies come in, combining two of my favourite summer fruits – peaches and strawberries – mixed up with a splash of bourbon all encased in sweet, flaky pastry. They work well for a picnic, if the weather allows for such a thing so late in the year, or just for dessert – warmed up in the oven for a few minutes before popping in a bowl with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Any excuse for pie is a good excuse in my book, and making the most of these delicious fruits is definitely an excellent excuse. 

Peach & Strawberry Hand Pies // Amy Elizabeth

 

 

Peach & Strawberry Hand Pies // Amy Elizabeth

Peach & Strawberry Hand Pies
Yields 12
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For the pastry
  1. 160g plain flour
  2. 1/2 tsp. salt
  3. 1 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
  4. 115g cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  5. 120ml cold water
  6. 2 tbsp. cider vinegar
  7. 1/2 cup ice
  8. 1 egg
  9. demerara sugar, for sprinkling
For the filling
  1. 1 peach, peeled and cut into small cubes
  2. 5-6 strawberries, cut into small cubes
  3. 25g plain flour
  4. 25g caster sugar
  5. big splash of bourbon
For the pastry
  1. Mix together the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Add the butter cubes and cut into the flour mixture using a knife or a pastry cutter until the butter is pea-sized. Alternatively, you can use a food mixer, but be careful not to overmix.
  3. Combine the water, cider vinegar and ice in a small bowl. Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons over the flour & butter mixture, and start to cut it in as before.
  4. Slowly add more of the water mixture until the dough comes together in a ball. Shape the dough into a flat disc, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour.
For the pies
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C
  2. In a bowl, stir together the peach, strawberries, flour, sugar and bourbon and leave to one side.
  3. Roll the pastry out to around a centimetre thickness, and cut into circles using a medium sized pastry cutter.
  4. Line a baking sheet with baking paper and place half of the pastry circles onto the sheet. Spoon some of the peach mixture into the middle of each and place another pastry circle on top.
  5. Use a fork to press down the edges of each pie to seal the fruit into the centre, and to make a small cut in the top to allow steam to escape.
  6. Mix the egg with a splash of water and use a pastry brush to wash the pies. Sprinkle with demerara sugar.
  7. Bake for around 20 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool slightly before serving.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/

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Salted Caramel & Double Chocolate Cookies

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cookies // Amy Elizabeth

So… you want to win a bake off. I’ve been there, my friend. There is something about charity bake offs that brings out my competitive side, and my inner show off. However, in the past I have gotten a little too big for my boots; home-made pies and celebration cakes have been the order of the day. There are two problems with this approach; the first is that I am much less practiced at such bakes, and the second is that really… my colleagues just want to eat a whole load of chocolate. They don’t care about the flakiness of the pastry or the lack of a soggy bottom – unfortunately, I’m not baking for Mary and Paul. They’re just chasing the sugar high that comes with a good work bake off.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cookies // Amy Elizabeth

So this time round, I defied my ego and whipped up a batch of these cookies. They were demolished in about three minutes flat, with some people going back for seconds… and the votes don’t lie. These are a winner! I can’t take much credit for that; this recipe is from the incomparable Izy from Top with Cinnamon with almost no adaption. Just follow the instructions, and let victory reign down upon you… 

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cookies
Yields 16
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Ingredients
  1. 110g butter
  2. 350g soft light brown sugar
  3. 55g cocoa powder
  4. 2 eggs
  5. ¼ tsp salt
  6. ¾ tsp baking powder
  7. 260g plain flour
  8. 100g milk chocolate chips
  9. 16 squares of Cadbury Caramel (or alternative caramel filled chocolate of your choice!)
  10. flaky sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and prepare two baking sheets by lining with baking parchment.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar, followed by the eggs.
  3. Sieve in the cocoa powder, salt and baking powder, and stir through. Do the same with the flour, stirring until everything is well combined. Finally, stir through the chocolate chips.
  4. Using a tablespoon or dessert spoon, place 16 heaps of dough spaced out on your baking trays. You may want to roll the dough slightly before placing on the tray to make them a little more even.
  5. Take a square of chocolate and press down into the top of each cookie so it's nice and snug. Using the remaining dough, make 16 disc shapes and use to cover the top of each square of chocolate, pressing down around the edges so the chocolate is fully sealed inside.
  6. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 8-10 minutes.
  7. Leave to cool slightly on the trays before using a spatula to transfer to a cooling rack.
Adapted from Top with Cinnamon
Adapted from Top with Cinnamon
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/

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All the Brownies // Brownie & Blondie Recipes

Baking is my therapy. I find it very soothing to create something out of flour, sugar and butter, surrendering to the process and then enjoying the fruits of my labour at the end of it all. Which means that I generally prefer to bake ‘easy’ things; lovely layer cakes with fancy decoration or elaborate patisserie creations rarely find their way out of my kitchen. Instead, simple bakes like brownies and blondies are my go to. They don’t involve a whole lot of brain power, or washing up, which makes them the perfect cure for what ails you. Whilst a really good fudgey brownie is a thing of beauty, sometimes it can be fun to mix it up a bit, so I’ve pulled together my favourite brownie and blondie recipes for you to try… 

Toblerone Brownies Recipe

Toblerone Brownies

Win friends and compliments with these super simple brownies. Best of all, they don’t use the whole bar, so you can still sneak a few triangles whilst you’re baking…

Rhubarb & Pistachio Blondies

Rhubarb & Pistachio Blondies

Rhubarb is my jam, and it’s still just in season – so make these quick! You could substitute for strawberries, if rhubarb is hard to come by – but you just can’t beat those beautiful pink stalks when you find them!

Mini Egg Brownies // Amy Elizabeth

Mini Egg Brownies

Mini Eggs are basically crack to me, which makes these brownies very dangerous indeed.

Vegan Coconut Brownies // Amy Elizabeth

Vegan Coconut Brownies

Don’t compromise when catering for vegan friends; these vegan brownies don’t use any unusual ingredients (by which I mean, you won’t have to make a special trip to the health food shop) and are just as fudgey as ‘regular’ brownies.

Lemon and Raspberry Blondies

Simple, summery and full of fresh raspberries that burst in every bite. Don’t give these all away, or you’ll regret it!

Dark & Stormy Brownies - Rum and Ginger Brownies // Amy Elizabeth

Dark & Stormy Brownies

Ginger, lime and rum all come together to make these brownies a bit of a tastes sensation. A little bit unusual; a lot more-ish.

Brown Butter Blondies

Sometimes it’s best to let your ingredients do the talking. Browning butter brings out a delicious nutty flavour that’s the star of these simple blondies.

 

The best brownie recipes including Toblerone brownies, vegan coconut brownies, Mini Egg brownies and Dark & Stormy brownies

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Double Chocolate Chip Shortbread Biscuits

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Biscuits // Amy Elizabeth

I’m a little bit in awe at the magic that happens when you combine butter, flour and sugar. That’s all it really takes to make these sweet, flaky biscuits – although I threw some leftover chocolate chips in, too, just because. On their own, they do an alright job – sweet sugar sprinkled over creamy porridge, or salty butter spread over hot toast are both pretty delicious, right? But when you combine them all together, they are so much more than the sum of their parts.

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Biscuits // Amy Elizabeth

That’s the joy of baking; taking ingredients that are pretty ordinary on their own and whipping them up into something extraordinary. The same combination of ingredients, with a few simple tweaks to the way you treat them or what you add into the mix, can produce all manner of different, but equally delicious, things. Add an egg or two, and you have a light and fluffy sponge cake. Some cocoa powder or some icing sugar and you have a different set of biscuits entirely. Spread on some jam and cream, or grate in some lemon or orange, and that magic combination of butter, sugar and flour will show you what it can do. 

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Biscuits // Amy Elizabeth

Double Chocolate Chip Shortbread Biscuits
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Ingredients
  1. 110g golden caster sugar
  2. 250g softened butter
  3. 360g plain flour
  4. 100g mixed chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Sift in the flour and mix until you have a soft dough.
  2. Stir in the chocolate chips so they're evenly distributed. (You might need a bit of elbow grease for this bit, as the dough is relatively stiff).
  3. Turn out onto a floured surface and use your hands to bring together into a ball. Gently roll out to 1cm-ish thickness and cut out into rounds using a pastry cutter.
  4. Bring together any leftover dough and repeat the process of rolling & cutting out until you've used it all.
  5. Place the biscuits on two baking trays, lined with greaseproof paper, and sprinkle with a little extra sugar.
  6. Pop in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm up. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 190C.
  7. Remove the biscuits from the fridge and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Amy Elizabeth http://amyliz.co.uk/

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20-Minute Nutella & Cinnamon Rolls

20-Minute Nutella & Cinnamon Rolls // Amy Elizabeth

I love the ritual of baking. I like popping on a podcast and spending a few hours immersed in all things butter, sugar and flour. It is immensely satisfying to eat something that has been a true labour of love, whether it’s intricate decorations on a cake or the crust on a perfectly risen loaf of bread. Cinnamon rolls definitely come under this category of baking; they require some effort to get right – and, although they are worth every minute, sometimes you just don’t have the time. So, when I saw Carrie’s Cheat Cinnamon Rolls, I was, of course, intrigued. Whilst they’re not *quite* as good as the real deal, you can have them in your mouth in 20 minutes – which is a mega plus, if you ask me. I added some Nutella to mine (because why not?) which means you get the perfect mix of flaky pastry, gooey Nutella, sweet cinnamon and all in less time than it takes to watch an episode of Brooklyn 99. 

20-Minute Nutella & Cinnamon Rolls // Amy Elizabeth

20-Minute Nutella & Cinnamon Rolls 

Ingredients 

  • 1 pack pre-rolled puff pastry
  • 4 tbsp. Nutella 
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • 2 heaped tsp. cinnamon 

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. 
  2. Take the puff pastry out of the fridge 10 minutes before you need to use it – this will make it easier to work with. Roll out flat on a chopping board and spread with the Nutella until covered in an even layer. 
  3. Mix together the butter, sugar and cinnamon to make a paste. Spread over the Nutella in another even layer. 
  4. Roll the pastry back up into a tube shape. At this point, you may want to pop the pastry back into the fridge to firm up for 20 minutes, but I find that if you work quickly and use a super sharp knife then you shouldn’t really have a problem. 
  5. Cut the pastry into 5cm rounds and pop them into a heatproof tray with some room between them (they’ll grow in the oven). 
  6. Bake for 15 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. 

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Freezer Meals to Take New Parents

[Photo by Sven Scheuermeier]

“A family in my sister’s neighborhood was recently stricken with a double tragedy, when both the young mother and her three-year-old son were diagnosed with cancer. When Catherine told me about this, I could only say, shocked, “Dear God, that family needs grace.” She replied firmly, “That family needs casseroles,” and proceeded to organize the entire neighborhood into bringing that family dinner, in shifts, every single night, for an entire year. I do not know if my sister fully recognizes that this IS grace.” – Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love

Excuse me whilst I tear up for a moment, because that quote gets me every time. I think about it quite often, because to me it seems like the perfect way to show someone you care. I show my love with food. If you know me in person, I have probably foisted meals or baked goods on you at some point. I’m similarly obsessed with this article (one of the best things I’ve ever read on the Internet, and something that I return to often); there’s no doubt that food is a big part of community, and having rebuilt a community after moving miles away from my childhood home, it strikes me as integral in keeping that community together. 

 I think it’s pretty well documented that having a baby is one of the most stressful and difficult times in someone’s life, right? It seems like it’s quite a tradition in the States to bring casseroles and snacks for new parents, but not so much in the UK. But we’re all guilty of letting meals slide when we’re feeling overwhelmed, resorting to microwave options and takeaways more than is probably good for us, so when our close friends, who had similarly moved far away from their own support network, had a baby earlier this year, it made sense to pack their freezer full of meals.

I did my research, having never had a baby of my own before, on what would actually be useful, rather than just cluttering up space. It turns out, there’s no hard and fast rules – but if you want to err on the side of caution then stick to meals that are easy to reheat, easy enough to eat with one hand (in case the baby is in the other) and include some sundries (microwave rice packets, par-baked bread etc.) to make things complete and as simple as possible. Then it’s just a case of cooking it up, and portioning into freezer bags. Make sure you label the bags with the name of the dish, the date you made it and any special instructions for cooking. You can definitely spread the load, too! Get a whole bunch of you involved and you could cook up a month’s worth of meals without much effort at all. 

What else? I also threw in some pre-cut fresh fruit (good for vitamins and freshness), some nice juice (ditto) and some of my freezer cookies, because everyone needs freshly baked cookies. Oh, and pizzas. Because, obviously. 

The other bit of advice I read time and again is to not crowd the new parents. Whilst baby cuddles are definitely one of the purest joys in the world (and I’ll admit to sneaking one in when I dropped my parcels of food off…) – make your visit quick, tell your friends that they are heroes and expect to catch up with them for longer at a later date. 

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