Dinner with Courtney from Babyccino Kids

I am going to admit straight away that I actually don’t really love dinner time. In fact, I sometimes even dread it. My kids are tired, my patience is usually gone by then, and trying to keep three kids at the table until they finish their dinner is exhausting (remember this post?). I’m also not like Esther — I’m not super passionate about cooking. I mean, I do it… but it’s not something that I really love (my husband is the passionate chef in the family). But, I think dinnertime is incredibly important for a family, and the lessons of sitting at the table together, using proper table manners, trying different foods, taking turns in the dinnertime conversation, etc. are all such important lessons to teach our children.

During the week, I usually make the kids their dinner and serve it to them around 6ish. I usually give them a bath before dinner, so they eat dinner in their pyjamas (see photo), and then when my husband comes home around 7pm, he can read them a book and put them to bed. I usually make something simple for them or I give them the left-overs from our dinner the night before. My kids are pretty good eaters, although there are some meals which go down better than others (pasta is usually a winner). After dinner I usually let the kids have a little square of chocolate if they’ve eaten their dinner. We’re not big dessert people, but we do like our chocolate!

On the weekends, my husband usually makes all the meals (so nice!) and we eat together as a family. Weekend dinners are more enjoyable because there’s no time pressure or strict bed times, and everyone is more relaxed in general (although it still requires lots of patience and loads of encouragement to eat their meals!).

My husband often makes pizza on the weekends and it’s always a popular dinner. He usually makes one pizza with olives and anchovies, and another one with buffalo mozzarella and tomatoes. The kids help put the toppings on (sneaking olives and cheese of course!), and then we all sit down to eat it once it’s come out of the oven. It’s my favourite meal of the week!

Our pizza dough recipe comes from Jim Lahey’s My Bread cookbook. We’ve tried several different dough recipes but this is our favourite. Here’s the recipe for two balls of dough (enough for two separate pizzas):

  • 3 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant or other active dry yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/3 cup room-temperature water

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until blended, at least 30 seconds. The dough will be stiff, not wet and sticky. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the dough has more than doubled in volume, about 2 hours. Remove the dough from the bowl onto a floured surface and gently form into a ball then divide the dough into two halves, spacing them 4 inches apart, and cover both with a moistened kitchen towel for 30 minutes.

When you are ready to make your pizza, preheat oven to 500°F and then roll out each ball of dough onto a rectangular, oiled cookie sheet. Then add toppings! (We usually put the tomato sauce onto the dough and cook for about 20 minutes before adding our toppings and cooking a bit more.)

x Courtney

38 COMMENTS - Add your own

1. Esther in Amsterdam | March 13, 2012 | Reply

I love your dinnertime post! And I always love your dinners — you’re a great cook, passionate or not!! And how sweet are your children at the table… So cute!! Thanks for sharing. xxx

2. Lily | March 13, 2012 | Reply

Your kids look so sweet in the photos. We follow a similar routine to yours, the kiddies have their dinner early at 6ish during the week and as a family when their daddy is not at work we all eat together at 6. My husband is not a good cook however, can just about make the kiddies pasta and pesto, i would love for him to be able to do the weekend meals it would be nice to have so time off.

3. Lily | March 13, 2012

Do your kiddies eat with grown up cutlery??? Did you ever use the kiddie melamine stuff???

4. Courtney in London | March 13, 2012

My kids use the same plates/bowls that we use. I’m not big on plastic or melamine. The kids use child-sized cutlery, but again no plastic!

5. Lily | March 13, 2012

We use the melamine stuff made by RICE, really good quality and hardy. We tried using proper plates with Herbie, a few months back and we ended up with 3 broken plates, he is just so clumsy and breaks stuff.

6. Tina | March 13, 2012 | Reply

I have tried that pizza too (I think after getting the book you suggested from a prior post???) and it is great. I really love the onion pizza from the My Bread book, which surprised me. My husband wanted to try it and it is really simple and tasty.

7. Courtney in London | March 13, 2012

Tina! We must try the onion pizza! We haven’t tried it yet. I’ll ask Michael to make it this weekend! (I’m glad you got the book. It’s our bible for bread/pizza, etc.!!)

8. Il Mondo di Ingrid | March 13, 2012 | Reply

Wow, I appreciated your diligence in the realisation of that recipe (I’m Italian).

9. Courtney in London | March 13, 2012

Thanks so much! What a compliment! :) (I’ll pass it onto my husband.)

10. Lindsey | March 13, 2012 | Reply

I really like these dinnertime posts! And that pizza looks delicious. Do you have a good sauce recipe too? I will have to try that dough recipe very very soon… like this weekend!

11. Courtney in London | March 20, 2012

I just realised I forgot to send you our sauce recipe!
We follow the sauce recipe from the same book as the dough. And it’s so good and so simple. Basically you just plop a can of chopped tomatoes into a food processor and add 1 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Then blend! It’s so yummy and simple. (And you cook it on top of the dough so the cooking brings out the flavour of the tomatoes.)
Good luck!

12. Christy | March 13, 2012 | Reply

I am loving this series!! Was wondering….do you usually give your children a snack after school? Or do they make it all the way until 6p from lunchtime? My husband also doesn’t come home until after our 3 girls eat, so they often get leftovers from the night before, or, if i am feeling particularly adventurous, something cooked just for them. One more question for you…where have you found small utensils? I want to move away from the melamine/plastic spoons, etc, but am having a difficult time finding them sized for little hands inn the US. Thanks!

13. Lily | March 13, 2012

we use plastic plates but not utensils, do you have ikea in the US.
These one from Ikea are the ones we have and they are really good:http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/60137571/.

14. Courtney in London | March 14, 2012

Hi Christy,
I always pick up child-sized cutlery from the HEMA department store in The Netherlands. It’s my favourite and I think you can only find it there… so unfortunately, I’m not any help in suggesting any good tips. I’ll have a look around and see what I can find!

15. Agatha | March 14, 2012

I have been using really nice kids size utensils from WMF, I found them in Bloomingdale’s but also purchased some additional sets on Amazon and just found their factory site. All their flatware is high-quality 18/10 Cromargan stainless steel just like that for adults.


16. Christy | March 24, 2012

Agatha – thank you ever so much!! This is exactly what I have been hoping to find.

17. Kirsteen | March 13, 2012 | Reply

My little boys love having pizza too! It’s nice when they can join in and help to make it x

18. vanessa | March 14, 2012 | Reply

i am forwarding this to ceki for inspiration RIGHT AWAY!

19. Courtney in London | March 14, 2012

Ha ha ha! :) xx

20. ursula (room to bloom) | March 14, 2012 | Reply

Wow, this pizza looks delicious – it’s my favourite food unfortunately, but at least when it’s homemade a bit more virtuous. Love how sweet your daughter looks on the counter with daddy. Thanks for sharing!

21. Maria | March 14, 2012 | Reply

Okay, I read your lovely post this morning, then just sat down to read my new issue of Epicurious magazine (with a gorgeous pizza on the cover). The editor’s letter, the first thing I read, was talking about how he’s finally going to try and make his own dough thanks to Jim Lahey’s recipe! Ironic… I take it as a sign. Now, I must go try it. Thank you for the recipe! Everyone loves pizza night at our house and it’s a wonderful tradition in the making! xo

22. Courtney in London | March 14, 2012

That is such a coincidence! Well Jim Lahey’s pizza really is amazing and so easy. His ‘no-knead’ bread is also such an incredibly easy and delicious recipe to know. (It’s worth buying his book if you’re interested!)
Let me know how it goes when you’ve made your first pizza! xx

23. Laura Marsden | March 14, 2012 | Reply

Lovely post Courtney. Pizza is one of our favourite dinners to make together too! Scarlett loves putting the topping on and checking the dough is rising sneakily. My husband is like yours and does the weekend cooking, nice to be cooked for! Gorgeous images.
Laura xx

24. Courtney in London | March 15, 2012

Thanks Laura!
I’m glad your husband also does the weekend cooking. It’s such a nice treat not to have to cook on the weekends. Especially as you’re a pregnant mama and you deserve the rest! :)

25. Zoe | March 14, 2012 | Reply

Love this post, dinnertime is such an important time in our house. I love having all my children home from school and we can share a meal and chat together. Thankfully my husband and I take turns to cook as we both now work from home so it’s not quite as awful as a few years ago when he would work away & I frantically tried to cook something nutrious and deal with tired little people too!

26. Courtney in London | March 15, 2012

How wonderful to have your husband home to help you cook for all those sweet children!

27. Emilie in Paris | March 14, 2012 | Reply

Having personally been lucky enough to be around when Courtney’s husband makes his pizza, to have to agree. It is absolutely delicious. Such cute photos of the family!

28. Lily | March 14, 2012 | Reply

Courtney, just came across some pictures of your lovely house online. Where are your gorgeous kitchen cabinets from?? We got our local carpenter to build our current cabinets, but when we move to our house we will need a kitchen for it. And i just love yours.

29. Courtney in London | March 15, 2012

Hi Lily,
We had our kitchen and utility units all made by a fantastic joiner (carpenter) named Matthew Smith. He’s based outside of London and he’s so great. (He also made our bed and our kitchen table!).
His number is: 0795727781

If you call him, let him know i gave you his details!
x Courtney

30. Lily | March 15, 2012

Thanks Courtney, yeah we will need someone to build the kitchen, probably some wardrobes/cupboards with shelves above in the alcove on either side of the fireplaces in the bedrooms and in the playroom.

31. Lily | March 15, 2012

One more question, with the sink and worktops did you source those yourselves? Also does your joiner cut down the worktops for you/fit the sink etc. Because with our last kitchen the joiner built the kitchen which is lovely, but then we had to get someone else in to fit the granite worktop and fit the sink. I though your kitchen was one of the plain english ones, it nice to know that you can get a great quality and looking kitchen for a better price. Also if you don’t mind me asking, how much did your kitchen cost??? Our space is very similar to yours as we did a kitchen extension to the side of our victorian terrace.

32. Celina | March 15, 2012 | Reply

Can you believe my daughter doesn’t like pizza! I usually buy the dough from a little Italian shop or order in, but I think I might attempt your recipe… Looks to good;)

33. Cat in Palma | March 16, 2012 | Reply

Courtney, your family is just beautiful. I used to love sitting on the kitchen counter when I was little. Sweet photos. (And I love the three kids on their Tripp Trapps!) <3

34. Penny in Aus | March 16, 2012 | Reply

Oh the meal looks so calm…our meals are not as calm as our little one struggles with every meal we serve…It’s not the most relaxing time of the day. Pizza looks fab….think I will need to get my husband into the job too…;-)

35. Stella | March 18, 2012 | Reply

Great suggestions here. Bought the book and made pizza for the FIRST TIME EVER last night. Absolutely delicious. I made far too much so hubby and I will have some later this evening again too! Happy mothers day!!!

36. Freida | March 24, 2012 | Reply

thanks for this post (i am enjoying all these dinner time posts from all of you lovely babyccino ladies:). I just printed the dough recipe and will definitely try this tomorrow, for our sunday dinner! Oh, and your family pics in the kitchen are beautiful, thanks for sharing.

37. patricia | March 25, 2012 | Reply

Tried this last night and the pizzas came out fab! thank you for sharing. :)

38. Nicola | June 28, 2012 | Reply

Hi please could you re-blog the number of your carpenter as there seems to be a missing digit? Many thanks!