Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Spanakopita (spinach and feta pies) for the whole family

Spanakopita is one of my favourite foods in the world.  Love it, love it, love it.  I'd never considered feeding it to my son though until recently.  I mean, why not?  Surely it's the ideal finger food / hidden vegetable dish.

This recipe is my own take on spanakopita, purists will notice some inaccuracies but it contains the key elements of spinach and feta cheese which is vital.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Baked White Fish with Herbs

Why is it that we're obsessed with feeding babies and toddlers crumbed foods?  What is that about?  I remember a colleague saying to me once, why is it mothers feed their babies organic everything, then they hit toddlerhood and it's all chicken nuggets and smiley faces?

There is a place for hiding things, making things look tasty, or familiar but if you never offer fish that looks like fish or meat that looks like meat, how will your child learn to like it?

So, in the supermarket, I picked up some basa and marinaded it in olive oil, lemon and herbs and served it simply with some vegetables.  No reason why you shouldn't use a different fish, basa was just chosen for cost purposes.  I wasn't sure my son would like it but he did.  A lesson in being brave perhaps?  Why not try something which looks like real 'adult' food to your kid tomorrow and see what happens?  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Might not look pretty but it tasted good!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

A Party Food Menu

Well  the Diamond Jubilee is soon and the London Olympics are round the corner.  Time to get planning some party food menus!

As you will have seen from my recent posts, there has been a lot of parties recently in the Mamacook household and I have to say my first party (Mamacook junior's second birthday) had me very stressed out.  By the second, I'd calmed down and got a bit of a system.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Sugar free ice lollies for kids and adults

What a surprise this weather has been.  Can you believe a few days ago we were barely in double figures and now the temperature gauge is hitting 25oC with ease?

Well because of the heat and generally being busy, I have to apologise for the lapse in posts but I think you'll agree although this recipe is simple, it's the ideal one for these sticky days.

People always think of juice as a healthy option and, in some ways it is but it's also worth remembering that it's quite high in natural sugar so it's not something you'd want to serve all of the time as a drink.  Juice made into a dessert though, like in my sugar free jelly recipe or as a lolly it means it takes longer for your kids (or you) to consume and feels more like you've had something more than just a drink.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Patriotic Pavlova!

Well it's coming up to the Diamond Jubilee and it certainly feels like we've been having a lot of celebrations recently in the Mamacook household.

Pavlova is one of the easiest desserts to make; it's an absolute doddle, not expensive either (depending on your choice of fruit) and an impressive dessert centrepiece.  I've not gone for the meticulous decoration with fruit to show a Union Jack, frankly even though I'm feeling the patriotic fever this year, that seems a bit too twee but I have gone for a mixture of red and blue fruits; with the white cream and a recipe from a Commonwealth country, what could be more appropriate?

I'll tell you a secret...  Not only is this so easy to make, the hardest bits can all be made the night before leaving you with some minor assembly work when your guests are around (which can even be achieved with glass of champagne in hand.  I'm such a Slummy Mummy at the moment!)

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Split Pea, Vegetable and Bacon Soup for the Whole Family

How is it still soup season?  It's May!  Still, it's at least 5 degrees below the normal temperature for this time of year, brrr, reluctantly I've switched off my heating and soup is what I wanted to warm me up.  Yummy, comforting and like a little cuddle in a bowl.

Bacon is pretty salty so I kept the portion size small for my toddler son.  I wouldn't recommend it for babies because of that but you could always reduce the amount of bacon if you prefer.  Also feel free to increase or change the proportions or type of vegetables.  This was simply what was in my fridge!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Potato Wedges for Babies, Toddlers and Adults

Hmm.  Potato wedges.  Not going to win any health awards but if it's a choice between chips and wedges, then wedges aren't bad.  Lower fat and using lovely olive oil.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Mini Quiches for babies and toddlers

It was my son's birthday party this weekend (that was a bit crazy) and this was one of the things I cooked for the kids.  They seemed to go down very well.  A great way to hide some vegetables for the reluctant veggie eater in your life!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Spinach and Goats cheese stuffed Jacket Potatoes for Babies and Toddlers

This was our lunch today.  An interesting mixture of cheeses, potato and spinach, perfect for the reluctant vegetable eater in your life!

As I said in my post praising potatoes, I often have a couple of extra jacket potatoes in the fridge.  These are useful for making mashed potato quickly or knocking something like this up.  Also it's then a great way of utilising the heat in an oven you're using already for something else.

There is a variation later in the recipe which is a little less healthy!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Pear Crisps

Gave this a go this evening and I'm amazed at the results.  I'm not 100% sure it's perfected, some of them were a little squidgy but it's definitely a great starting point.  Amazingly sweet snack too, almost too sweet if anything.  If you're on a diet this something to give a go if you're missing eating refined sugar.  It certainly stopped my snack cravings for the evening.

Erm, I have to admit I did make these for my son but ended up nibbling them instead.  Is that wrong?

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Lemon Cupcakes for Cheeky Little Birthday Boys

Well my son is 2!  How did that happen?

I've spent the last 2 years, well last 18 months I guess, making food for my son which doesn't feature too much sugar, salt and is low on the artificial additive scales.

Birthdays are time off in my opinion; (well at least a bit.)

So here is my lemon cupcake recipe which my son, his Daddy, Grandad, Gran and I shared this evening as he was opening his presents.  He was going to have candles in it but I figured that could wait for his party at the weekend.  I mean, giving a two year old a little cake which is on fire might be a step too far...

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Stuffed Mushrooms for Toddlers, Children and Adults

Is life too short to stuff a mushroom?  Shirley Conran (ex wife of Terence) certainly thought so but I disagree.  It's not like stuffing a chicken, it's much less time consuming for a start.

Well this is an ultra cheap recipe which my son loved.  Not a big surprise because he loves mushrooms but even my vegetable dodging husband pronounced them a success.  I served these with some oven sweet potato chips (fries) which are simply made by cutting the peeled sweet potato into sticks, tossing in olive oil and roasting.  The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness.  Mine took around 30 minutes.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

How to wean your baby onto solid food

Wow.  I've set myself a challenge here!  Just to clarify up front, I'm not a health professional and so all of this is what I've learned and from personal experience of 1 child and talking to friends.

There are a lot of 'rules' when it comes to weaning.  I will tell you what people say and why and then like any other information source it's up to you to investigate, digest and make your own choices with the support of your local health visitor or doctor.

Why do people start on solids?

Well I've been there.  It's common for a child to have a growth spurt at around 4 months.  For some kids this passes, for others it doesn't.  Unfortunately mine was the latter.  So people start giving solids thinking that it will help their babies sleep.  Generally it doesn't in the experience of my friends and my child.  It was only when my son started to eat a lot more that it helped.

Some people start because of peer pressure or excitement.  I once overheard someone with a 12 week old waiting to see the health visitor telling her friend "I'm going to start him on solids this week I think".  Fortunately her friend urged her to talk to the health visitor about it.  If you are in the situation of having a 3-4 month old, I'm certain at least one member of your family, perhaps your mum has suggested weaning him / her soon.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Sugar free date and ginger muffins for babies and toddlers

These are amazing...

I'm making these again.  The ginger was subtle enough to give a gentle warmth and flavour without being overpowering and the dates sometimes make cakes a little heavy.  Not here.