Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Baked Chicken Katsu for the Whole Family

I'd been planning to make something like this for my son for a while and I'd had the breadcrumbs in the cupboard waiting but with one thing and another I'd never got round to it.

As it happened, it was a great idea, just my son decided to take one look at the sauce and said "no".  He's not much of a dunker though and I reckon this would be a great dish for the dunkers out there (children and adults) and hey, if not, it's still some pretty good home made chicken goujons or nuggets without any junk.

Traditionally Japanese Katsu is served fried with a fairly sweet curry sauce.  I wanted to reduce the fat by baking and introduce the sweetness with vegetables rather than sugar.  A pretty good result.  If you want to make it for adults only though you might like the sauce a little spicier so just add more curry paste.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Spice Biscuits

Biscuits without much sugar are pretty tricky but I gave this a go and they were very popular with the wee man.  Not strictly sugar free in a way as there's honey in them (so not baby friendly; sorry) but still much less sugar than a normal biscuit.

They're pretty crunchy and certainly spicy.  Also they're dairy free, wheat free (if you use gluten free oats) and egg free.  You never know when you need a good allergy friendly recipe!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Chunky Bacon and Bean Soup

It might officially be spring; the weather may be slowly improving in the UK but I still woke up to frost this morning.  On the 20th April!

So, in my book, soup season is still here and this is a substantial, chunky, fill you up, thrifty kind of soup.  Is there any better kind?

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Gyros (Pork Kebabs) for the Family

I have the dubious honour of making "The worst tzatziki I've ever tasted" according to a Greek friend of mine.  To be fair, the tzatziki I'd made that day was very poor.  Shocking really.  My mistake was trying to use low fat non Greek yogurt.  In my defence I was a student living in a small town with only a poor choice of supermarket options and there was no Greek yogurt in stock (the answer should have been "don't make tzatziki then.")

So I'm probably on a loser here and Yiannis will probably message me on facebook and tell me my Tzatziki looks like milk or something (sorry Yiannis).  But being the glutton for punishment I am I've tried to make a Gyros type dish at home.

It's been some years since I've been to Greece but I used to love getting Gyros from the stalls.  Delicious grilled meat with salad and various sauces / dips.  Often served with chips in there too but I've missed them out, this is unhealthy enough.  I think this would be great if the pork were barbecued.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Lettuce Wrapped Pork for Adults

Another quick and easy recipe, less than 10 minutes to make.  Great when the grown ups are hungry once your little one is in bed.

This is based upon a kind of Thai version of Yuk Sung.  My brother in law who is an excellent cook used to make this when I came to visit as a student.  Much to my shame I didn't ask for the recipe but this is what I remember it tasting like.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Cheddar and Sweetcorn Muffins, for babies, toddlers and the rest of the family

This is a really easy recipe I came up with today while sat with my son.  I thought it would be a great one to cook together (and it would have been) but my son was far too engrossed in his meccano and didn't want to join me.  Of course once they were in the oven, he came running in saying "Want to help you bake now!"

Oh dear!  He was not happy with Mummy!

So we will have to do that another day.  The great thing about making muffins with kids is you make up a dry mix and a wet mix then mix the two together (but not too much) which makes it simple for kids to help with.

I served this with some tomato and pesto soup.  A bit of a hit.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Orzotto (Pearl Barley Risotto) for babies, toddlers and grown ups

I'd heard about speltotto but I didn't realise until fairly recently that making a risotto with barley is actually a traditional thing in parts of Italy (well so Wikipedia tells me).  So, I gave it a go.

First of all, the downsides.  It takes a lot longer to cook than a risotto.  The upsides though are pearl barley is about half the price of risotto rice, it's a source of fibre and it has more flavour of it's own unlike arborio which acts more like the canvas rather than the painting.

So this is my recipe, this is my first attempt and I have to say it was pretty good.  My son had seconds and he's been a bit of a fuss pot recently.  Personally I would have cooked it 5 mins longer than the 40 minutes I did but it was still delicious.  It would be able to take more robust (and less traditional) flavours than a risotto too without being overpowered.  A strong mature goat's cheese would be nice or even blue cheese.  But this is what we had and it was good.  Not bad for leftovers and some cheap grains.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Are you a "good enough" mother?

I was introduced to the concept today of being a "good enough" mother (or father, whoever the main caregiver is).  Like many Mums I've done it all, breastfed for a year, beaten myself up about not using reusable nappies, beaten myself up for not going to enough Parents and Tots groups, beaten myself up about being tired, beaten myself up for not breastfeeding for longer.  There's a lot of beating that goes on in households nowadays, fortunately not of children but it's still potentially harmful.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Cheese Biscuits for Babies and Toddlers

My son has turned into a fusspot.  It was bound to happen and all kids go through these stages.  It can be difficult to get anything into him which is good for his bowels if that makes sense!  Sorry to get all graphic!  He has a "I don't like that" moment on a daily basis nowadays but as I've said before many times on my blog and on forums; the only sure way to have a fussy child is to stop offering foods.

That said, sometimes we all need a change and it livens up our jaded palates to have something new.  So here is a recipe for some cheese biscuits.  Definitely great for toddlers but because the texture is reasonably soft, like a cross between a biscuit and a scone, they might also work for babies who are on finger foods.  Just be guided by your child and obviously stay with them when eating.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Spicy Baked Chicken for Grown Ups

I cooked this for the first time when I was in on my own.  My son is in bed by 7pm and I'm not used to eating before his bedtime routine so I try and get something ready for when he's in bed.  This often means something quick or something I can sling in the oven while he's having his pre bed milk.

That said, it's still difficult on your own.  It's difficult to motivate yourself to eat well and I do prefer to eat reasonably healthy food.  This is so easy though that even the least motivated and tired parent will manage it.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Tomato and Pesto Soup - Great for the Whole Family

A super quick and tasty soup here.  Incredibly cheap too.  Easily enough to feed two hungry adults or two adults and a little one.

Generally I tend to cook tomato soups and sauces for a long time but I experimented here and I'm really happy with the results.  The result?  A surprisingly delicious, sunny pulpy bowl of gorgeousness.  If you can drag your kids away from the orange stuff in a tin, give it a go.  For one the adults will like it and I'm a big fan of giving kids food which doesn't have to have a smiley face on it to make it attractive, especially if it involved good bread and dunking (most kids and adults in my experience are fans of both.)

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Rarebit Fish for the Whole Family

The cooking time on this will vary depending on the size of your fish fillets (particularly the thickness) and whether you are cooking fish fillets from frozen or fresh.  Just be aware of this and keep an eye on them.

This came to me while lying in bed at 3:30am wondering why I couldn't sleep.  The answer came to me that I was a bit disorganised.  This happens to me, if I have something on the following day, I have to get things ready the night before, otherwise I'm a mess.  Anyway, sleeplessness is bad but it is surprisingly good for creativity.  That moment between sleep and awake is where your mind wanders and finds new ideas.  So this is my new idea while thinking "I've not packed up the car", "will I have time to go for a run in the morning?" "Where is my sports bra..."

Monday, 1 April 2013

Sugar Free Sweet Potato Scones for Babies, Toddlers and The Whole Family

I realised the freezer was lacking in baked goods today so I rustled these up to replenish my stocks.  It is handy if you have a few baked goods which aren't (too) naughty in the freezer as they tend to defrost pretty quickly and it's great if you're heading out to friends houses with your little one.  Much easier than passing a pot of dried fruit back to my son while on the M42 today (and much safer I suspect).

A pretty good result.  Part of me is tempted next time to add a touch of treacle to the mix but that would ruin it's "no added sugar" status and you could always serve them with jam and butter.