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Recipes

Recipes

Mac and cauliflower cheese

Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best. This is especially true as I am still getting used to being back at work.

I was never given macaroni and cauliflower cheese growing up so it’s only quite a recent addition to the family menu but I love how easy it is to cook and how it’s pure comfort food. It’s also a complete store cupboard, last minute, panic recipe as we always have flour, butter, eggs, cheese and some type of vegetable in. 

I’ve taken the recipe from a lovely book called ‘Baby healthy eating planner’ by Amanda Grant. 

Ingredients (makes two small adult portions and one baby portion)

  • 100g macaroni (I used spiralli)
  • 400g cauliflower florets
  • 200ml full fat milk
  • 20g plain flour 
  • 20g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp of chopped parsley (optional)
  • 100g cheddar cheese grated 

How to make

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius 
  • Boil pasta according to pack instructions 
  • Cook cauliflower over the boiling water in a steamer until tender (approx 8-10 mins) 
  • Meanwhile mix together the flour, butter and milk and heat gently. Keep stirring until you have a smooth sauce. Add half the cheese, parsley and season with pepper

  

  • Drain pasta and add cauliflower and pasta to the cheese sauce. Stir.
  • Pour into ovenproof door, sprinkle remaining cheese and bake for 15 mins 

  

  • Set aside baby portion and allow to cool down 

  
This recipe also freezes really well. Enjoy!

Recipes

Perfect adult and baby lunch omelette

We often get back from some type of baby group and need to have lunch soon after. It can be quite a rush and I need something quick and easy but with this cold weather it’s nice to have something warm rather than just a sandwich. An omelette is the perfect choice. 

Although an omelette is so easy to make I often find you can forget about the basic recipesand how useful they are for a quick lunch. Plus it’s the perfect lunch for little fingers to grab onto and feed themselves. I add whatever vegetable I have in the fridge but a particular favourite is red pepper. I say favourite, but it’s more likely that it’s chopped up so small Alfie doesn’t notice! 

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • Knob of butter
  • Handful of grated cheese 
  • 1/4 red pepper chopped into small cube (or any other leftivers you have-onion, tomato…) 

How to make

  • Beat egg, cheese and red pepper. 
  • Heat small frying pan and add butter 
  • Once the butter has melted add the egg mixture 
  • Cook for a few minutes and when the omelette starts to firm up ease the edges and flip over 
  • Cook until golden brown on both sides 

  
Enjoy!

    

Recipes

Happy Pancake day!

I’m always on the look out for new breakfast ideas for a bit of a change from cereal and toast. Pancakes are the perfect choice because they are made from three ingredients that you tend to have in and take minutes to prepare. I usually have mine with sugar and raspberry jam (I have a very sweet tooth) but for the little ones you can stick to fruit based toppings. 

  
This recipe is taken from the BBC Good Food website. They suggest semi skimmed milk whereas with baby recipes you usually always use full fat milk. Not really sure whether full fat milk would alter the pancakes or not. 

This recipe is so easy and went down a treat. We even had some for dessert the next day!

Ingredients

  • 100g plain flour
  • 2 eggs 
  • 300ml milk (I used semi skimmed as we had more of that leftover and the recipe suggests it) 

  

How to make

  • Mix all the ingredients into a batter

  

  • You can rest the batter for 30 minutes if time but this recipe says you don’t really need to
  • Decide on your toppings. I chopped up a few strawberries and added a few tablespoons of water and warmed them over a low heat to create a sort of syrup 
  • Heat up a frying pan
  • Pour one ladle’s worth of batter into the frying pan

  

  • Cook each side for one minute
  • Flipping optional!
  • Once cooked you can layer the pancakes between baking paper and wrap in cling film to freeze

  

 
Enjoy! 

Recipes

Blueberry, banana & chia loaf

Chia seeds are known as a superfood and because my dad is always ahead of the game with such trends he frequently sends me a bag but I run out of things to do with them! This recipe is the perfect way to include chia seeds and use up leftover blueberries and bananas (which we always also seem to have a surplus of). 

This recipe is taken from one of my favourite websites, the ‘Lovely Little Lunchbox’. I’ve tweaked it slightly and I found the mixture did overflow a little during cooking. It also includes sugar but as Alfie is now into trying everything (including all the delicious cakes at the lovely 1st birthday parties we’ve been going to) it’s getting harder to be so strict on no sugar. Hopefully the chia seeds, blueberries and banana makes up for it! Plus, I’m far more excited to see he has regained his enthusiasm for trying new foods and explore new flavours to be so caught up worrying about sugar!

Ingredients 

  

  • 225g plain flour
  • 220g brown sugar 
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Approx three bananas mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 140g plain yoghurt 
  • 60ml veg oil
  • 80ml maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence 
  • 150g blueberries 
  • 45g chia seeds

How to make

  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius
  • Place flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, chia seeds and cinnamon into a bowl and mix 

  

  • Add mashed banana, egg, yoghurt, oil, maple syrup and vanilla and mix to combine 

  

  • Fold blueberries into mixture

  

  • Pour into loaf tin (you can line with baking powder but I don’t tend to)

  

  • Bake for 1 hour-1 hour 10 mins until golden and if you insert a skewer it removes cleanly

  
Enjoy!

Covering your face with it is optional! 

  

Recipes

Banana oat cookies

We often have a random half banana left over from breakfast and I don’t like seeing anything going to waste. This is the world’s easiest  recipe but the end result is delicious and is ideal for breakfast, a dessert or a snack.

  
I came across this recipe from one of my favourite websites, ‘My lovely little lunchbox’. It’s extremely straightforward and you simple mix the ingredients, roll into shapes and bake. I can also imagine Alfie getting stuck in with shaping the cookies when he is older!

They are best served gooey and warm from the oven and I chopped them in half. 

Ingredients

  • 1 banana mashed 
  • 1 cup of oats
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius 
  • Line baking tray with baking paper 
  • Mix ingredients together 
  • Take approximately a tablespoon of the mixture and shape into rounds and place on baking tray 
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes

  
Enjoy!

  

Recipes

Spanish paprika chicken pasta

We have definitely reached the fussy, know my own mind, thank you very much phase! Despite this, I’m still endeavouring to try new flavours and this week’s recipe is Spanish paprika chicken pasta.

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Recipes

Perfect pesto

This pesto can be kept in the fridge or freezer making it the perfect speedy dinner during the frantic festive period. 

The run up to Christmas is always busy and this year has been more hectic than normal after returning to work. This means having a few super quick, easy recipes is a priority on my working days. Plus, Alfie isn’t the most patient waiting for food after a day at nursery. Wonder who he gets that from..? 

Baby led weaning is all about your little ones enjoying what you are having and I was looking for a quick pasta meal for all us. I found a lovely recipe book at the local library called ‘Baby healthy eating planner’ by Amanda Grant. One of the pasta suggestions is pesto but the problem with shop bought pesto is that it’s high in added salt. This recipe has been inspired from various ones online and is baby friendly as there’s no added salt, very little garlic and not too much basil. There are pine nuts and so please be careful when introducing nuts, especially if you have a family history of allergies.

Ingredients (this makes enough for baby, two adults and then a portion to freeze depending on how much pesto you like)

  • 30g of fresh basil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 100ml of olive oil
  • 50g pine nuts 
  • 50g grated Parmesan 
  • Pasta of choice 
  • Vegetables of choice (I tend to use courgettes and brocoli as they are easy to grip onto)

How to make 

  • Gently toast pine nuts by frying

  

  • Put toasted pine nuts, olive oil, basil leaves, garlic clove and Parmesan into food blender (we use our smoothie maker) 

  

  • Blend until smooth and store in fridge until needed 
  • Cook pasta and vegetables 
  • Add 1 tsp of pesto to your baby’s pasta and veg. Grate some cheese on top (optional)
  • Add pesto to the adult portions of pasta and veg and serve 

 
  

Recipes

Lime and coconut loaf

The weather has been horribly stormy recently and Alfie has suffered from a particularly nasty cough and cold so I’ve decided to give the family a boost of vitamin C with this comforting lime and coconut loaf. So although it’s not that festive I figured a little taste of summer might be called for. 

   

This is one of Alfie’s favourites for dessert. It’s also really easy to make, suitable for little ones because it has no sugar (it gets it sweetness from maple syrup) and makes a good snack on the go (makes a change from raspberry rice cakes)!

 Please be careful introducing coconut, especially if you have a family history of allergies. 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of wholemeal plain flour 
  • 2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 cup of shredded coconut 
  • 1/2 a cup of maple syrup 
  • 3/4 of veg oil 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of natural yoghurt 
  • 1 tsp of vanilla essence 
  • Zest of 3 limes

  
  
How to make 

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius 
  • Place dry ingredients into the bowl and mix

  

  • Place wet ingredients into a jug and whisk
  • Create a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and place the wet ingredients in the well
  • Mix until just combined 

  

  • Pour mixture into loaf tin (preferably lined with baking paper)

  

  • Bake for 45-50 mins until golden and skewer inserted comes out clean

  
  
This recipe is taken from one of my favourite websites: www.mylovelylittlelunchbox.com
She uses sugar but her other recipes use maple syrup so I substituted here. 
Enjoy!

Recipes

Fish and sweet potato chips

Still on the quest to find food that Alfie can feed himself, I’ve moved onto the family favourite of fish and chips.

 We tend to eat together most nights and adults will like this version just as much as little ones (with the addition of ketchup). Alfie especially loves the sweet potato chips and picking the peas up helps him to master his pincer grip and turns into a little game. I suspect this might change when he learns how to throw!

This recipe is taken from a mixture of ideas from Gina Ford’s ‘The Little Contented Book of Weaning’ and the website ‘My Lovely Little Lunchbox’. 

If your little one doesn’t quite have the pincer grip for peas yet just use different veg. 

Ingredients (served baby and two adults)

  • Two cod or haddock fillets, skinned and without bones (approx 200g)
  • 1 egg
  • 40g breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp of Parmesan cheese 
  • Oil for frying
  • 2 sweet potatoes 
  • Frozen peas 

How to make 

  • Cut fish into small finger sized strips
  • In a bowl beat your egg
  • On a plate mix breadcrumbs and Parmesan 

  

  • Dip fish into egg and then roll in the breadcrumb mixture and place on a plate – chill until needed 

  

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius 
  • Peel and chop sweet potato into chunks or chunky finger sized wedges
  • Place onto oven tray and drizzle with olive oil – place in the oven for 25 mins and turn once during cooking 
  • As your chips are cooking you can start frying your fish with a bit of oil for 4-5 mins (turning) until golden and the fish should flake easily 
  • Meanwhile boil your peas for a few mins 

 

Recipes

Alfie tries oven baked arancini

An ideal way to use leftover risotto and a meal you can prepare ahead of time.

We love risotto and I love it even more when I take the easy option and make it in the oven. With this recipe I make the risotto the night before in the oven and then prepare the arancini (risotto balls) when Alfie is napping. So then, as dinner time approaches, I just throw them in the oven! This is perfect for little ones as they get more and more tired and needy as the day goes on and so it can be difficult to get cooking done at this time of day. 

The risotto recipe is taken from ‘Baby healthy eating planner’ by Amanda Grant. The arancini is inspired from various sources online but I simplified it and made them oven baked rather than fried. 

Ingredients (makes 8, more than enough for 2 adults and baby)

  • 25g butter 
  • Half an onion finely chopped
  • 175g risotto rice 
  • 300ml passata or chopped tomatoes 
  • 475ml of low salt vegetable stock
  • 50g Parmesan 
  • 2 chicken breasts finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 egg beaten 
  • 50g of bread crumbs 

How to make 

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  • Melt butter and fry onion and add rice 

  

  • Stir for 2-3 mins until rice hisses
  • Add passata or chopped tonatoes and stir 
  • Add stock and bring to simmer
  • Transfer to oven dish and cover
  • Bake for 20 mins 
  • Take out and stir and return to oven uncovered for a further 15 mins 
  • Stir in 25g of cheese whilst warm

  

  • Store in fridge until needed 
  • Prepare baking tray with foil and drizzle with oil
  • Fry chicken pieces and once cooked stir into risotto
  • Using  your hands roll cold risotto and chicken into golf sized balls and roll in egg and then coat in breadcrumbs. You will have risotto leftover so just serve on the side.

  
  

  • Bake for 30 mins (if you remember, turn halfway although I always forget)

  

  • Wait until cool to serve and chop into smaller pieces 

  Alfie loved this dinner and the two arancini leftover went down really well for lunch the next day too! I reckon without the chicken these would work really well for a picnic cold.