Category Archives: Recipe

Apple & Pear Puree for babies

By far the little ones favourite home made puree is the apple and pear puree I made for him and froze in ice cube trays a few weeks back. It’s so easy to make and the smile on his little face when he first tried it was just adorable.

The finished (and frozen) article

Ingredients

  • 3 apples
  • 1 large pear
  • a little apple juice if needed

Directions

Core and slice the apples and pear, place in a saucepan of boiling water and simmer for ten minutes.

Drain then puree with a hand blender, adding apple juice if necessary (I didn’t need to).

Place in ice cube trays (this amount made 2 ice cube trays worth) and freeze until required.

My son started eating this at 16 weeks old and has managed to demolish two ice cubes worth within a few days of first trying it. It’s a great fruit puree to start babies off on as it’s naturally sweet and it won’t break the bank at under 5p per ice cube sized portion!

Another great fruity puree for young babies is mashed banana. Simply mash (ensure there are no lumps) a little of a banana you’re eating or cooking with, add a little formula or breast milk, or even add to a little of their baby rice and hey presto you have another delicious fruity  and inexpensive meal for your baby!

Weaning

Looking back over old photos my daughter was 15 weeks old when she had her first taste of baby rice. Baby boy is 16 weeks on Sunday and although he looks like he could quite happily launch himself at my plate every time I eat my dinner he doesn’t seem like he “needs” food. My daughter was constantly hungry, woke every two hours (with or without food come to think of it) and by the time she was about 3 months old I was crushing up rusks and putting them in her bottle to fill her up a bit, but although the little one is interested in food and guzzles his bottles he seems quite content for now and has even started going to bed earlier recently rather than waking up more because he’s hungry.

As with everything this time around I’m pretty much letting him dictate what he wants and when so I’ll try him on a bit of baby rice when he hits 17 weeks (when a baby’s stomach can digest solids apparently) and see if he fancies it, if not we’ll just wait and see when he does and take it from there. He’s had a spoon for a few weeks to play with/chew on and can bring it to his mouth quite easily so no doubt he’ll enjoy coating himself in baby food when I eventually let him take charge of the spoon at dinner time!

I bought him a bowl and spoon on a recent trip to the supermarket, a bargain at only £1 each. I also bought some ice cube trays 4 for £2 so I can make him some baby food rather than buying expensive jars that he probably won’t even be able to finish. I plan on making his food, until the novelty wears off like it did with my daughter at least. It will help us save money as he can eat what we do, just a slightly plainer version and in the first few weeks of weaning he can have fruit and veg that we will already be eating, as well as a bit of baby rice or porridge for his breakfast.

In preparation for his foray into the world of solid food, I’ve made him some carrot and potato baby food. It’s best to start off with something simple and as carrot is a sweet vegetable I thought it would add a little interest to the more bland flavour of the potato. It’s so simple to do so it’s hardly a recipe but here it is should you fancy making it yourself:

Ingredients

  • 2 small potatoes
  • 3 carrots
  • a little formula milk if required ( I didn’t need to use any)

Directions

Boil or steam the carrots and potatoes until soft. Blitz with a hand blender adding milk if necessary until you have a smooth consistency. Freeze in ice cube trays.

This made two ice cube trays worth, each with ten cubes of baby food in it. It costs 40p for a kilogram of carrots and £1 for the same amount of potatoes, the amount I used would come to a total of about 20p and considering it will last him for 20 meals (well unless he’s particularly hungry and has more than one cube at a time) it’s unbelievable value for money as a tiny tin of baby food is at least 49p! Needless to say I’ll definitely be making my own baby food again – next up is apple and pear!

Toad in the hole

I never used to be able to get toad in the hole right, it always ended up looking like either a cake with sausages burried inside it or a pancake with a few sausages stuck to it, neither were what I was aiming for of course. I scouted for recipes and settled on one by Nigel Slater, he uses some additional ingredients to jazz it up a bit but I’ve taken the basics to come up with a great dish that works every time.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 125g plain flour
  • 150ml milk
  • 150ml water
  • 6 fat sausages
  • 3 tbsp lard or dripping

Whisk together the eggs, plain flour, milk and water. Rest for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Place the fat in a roasting dish and leave in the oven until it’s smoking hot. Place the sausages in the dish spaced apart and pour over the batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Enjoy!

The best meatballs ever

Bit of a wild claim I know, but I just love these meatballs, as do the man and the 10 year old who request them on a regular basis. This recipe is by no means precise, more along the lines of chuck a handful of this and a glug of that in but that’s the beauty of it, you can adapt it to suit your own taste. Sometimes I don’t even make the meatballs, I buy ready made ones from the supermarket and just make the sauce and they’re still delicious.

Ingredients

For the meatballs:

  • 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
  • small bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 500g minced pork (or a combination of pork and beef mince)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 50g breadcrumbs

For the sauce:

  • 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes or a bottle of passata
  • 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 red and 1 green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • A glug of wine (my glug is rather large!)
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • Approx 10cm worth of chorizo chopped into rounds then quartered
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika (sounds a lot but as it’s sweet not hot it add a lovely flavour rather than spice)
  • Dried or fresh parsley

Instructions

Start by making the meatballs. In a pan heat some olive oil and gently fry the onion for a few minutes. Once softened add the garlic and continue to cook until the onion is seethrough. Allow to cool in a mixing bowl then combine with the mince, breadcrumbs, egg yolks and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Mix with your hands and form into 24 balls. Pop them into the fridge for half an hour to firm up.

Next start on your sauce. Heat some olive oil in the pan and fry the onions and peppers until softened. Add the meatballs and brown on each side. Add the chorizo and garlic and cook for a minute or two before adding the wine and tomatoes or passata. Crumble in the stock cube, add the paprika  and parsley and stir, adding water if required. Bring to the boil then cook over a medium head for half an hour until the sauce is reduced and the meatballs are cooked through.

This recipe creates delicious juicy meatballs in a rich tomato sauce packed with flavour. We eat it with spaghetti stirred in or as tapas, what tapas menu is complete without albondigas after all!?!

Cooking with kids – Cinnamon Swirls

One thing my daughter loves is cinnamon, whether it’s on her churros or in moussaka. She fancied some cinnamon buns at the weekend but as I was in the middle of unpacking from the move I didn’t fancy making anything too involved. Luckily for her I had a pack of puff pastry in the fridge!

To make the cinnamon swirls all you do is:

  • Unroll a pack of puff pastry
  • Mix 4tbsp brown sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Sprinkle over the puff pastry
  • Roll both long edges into the centre, ensuring the roll is tight
  • Place in the fridge for half an hour to firm up
  • Cut into slices and place on a greased baking tray
  • Bake at 180 degrees for 10 – 15 minutes
  • Enjoy!

Apparently she’s having them for breakfast before school this week, I doubt they will make it past Sunday evening!