Friday, 31 May 2013

Vegetarian "Sausage" Rolls for the Whole Family

I'm not vegetarian but I do like my vegetables and I see no need to have meat in every meal.  There's something great about normal sausage rolls but there's also something a fatty about them too.  So why not do something vegetarian?

Well I gave it a go.  I loved them but the toddler was slightly less impressed (there was a pate sandwich in his eye line which was drawing his attention).  But I liked and will definitely make again.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Sweet and Sour for the Whole Family

Ok, I'm going back on my normal principles here.  There is no cutting out sugar in sweet and sour.  Well not unless you want to go down the sweeteners route which I don't.

That said, this is slightly lower sugar than a normal sweet and sour and full of fruit and vegetables.  It's all credits and debits, i.e. the hidden additional veg kind of offsets the sugar and much better than those nasty balls that you can get; you know the ones with the frighteningly thick batter.  Ewww.  I'm justifying it...

So I've written a recipe for the sauce and a couple of ways to use it.  The great thing is you can make the sauce in advance then use a few spoonfuls for your child's tea then use the rest for yours when you're ready for it.  I know in our household my son is ready for tea around 4:30/5pm which is a stretch for me.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Low Sugar Yogurt Cake for the whole family

I hate food going out of date.  On realising some yogurt was approaching use by, I gave this a go.  Lower sugar and lower fat than a normal sponge and a slightly different texture, a bit more like madeira cake but none the worse for that.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Feta Cheese Chicken Kievs for Kids and Adults

Feta cheese is one of those fantastic cheeses like paneer which doesn't completely melt.  But unlike paneer, feta does soften and the action of heat is great on the flavour.  There is a traditional Greek recipe for baked Feta I keep meaning to make just because it's something I go a bit nuts for.

It also though compliments chicken pretty well and, in the spirit of invention and well just playing willy nilly with food origins, I've taken a chicken kiev style dish (either Russian or Ukrainian) added Feta (Greek) and Japanese breadcrumbs.  Some say a crime of (con)fusion food, I say "it tastes great!"  The other joys are:

  • No frying
  • No worrying about leaking filling because the feta stays pretty much where it's put
  • My son will eat anything if cheese is involved


Sunday, 19 May 2013

Sugar Free Apple Pies for babies, toddlers and grown ups

A great way to not need to add sugar or reduce sugar in baked goods is to use fruit.  When fruit is ripe there is really no need to go on sweetening it, especially if you have a bit of dried fruit too.

From talking to parents I find that so many get really het up on what they should do if a child refuses part of their meal or holds out for dessert.  I think you have to do the thing which works for you but I'd also advocate making sure the meal is pretty balanced anyway, e.g. having fruit as a dessert or choosing a no added sugar option rather than a sticky cake or chocolate.

Anyway, it's the way I've always approached it and from my sample of one I now have a pretty open minded toddler when it comes to food who was asking for more broccoli yesterday but saying "no" to sweet potato.  Fair enough, I just go with it.  I sometimes feel like kids are born with personalities and my son has definitely inherited my stubborn streak.  There are times when I stand my ground but if I don't allow him some control and choices in his food, he digs his heels in and it gets worse.  Likewise though just because he's refused something once, doesn't mean he won't be offered it again.  This only reinforces fussy behaviour in my opinion.

A great way to get kids trying something they think they don't like is to change the way you offer it, so perhaps mashed sweet potato next time rather than roasted?  He went off broccoli for a while so I used to give him broccoli nuggets and well he's now back to loving it.

So if you do have a fussy child, don't give up, don't stop trying but do make lovely little things like these mini apple pies.  Not only will your child probably wolf them down but also parents think they're pretty good too!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Sticky Spare Ribs for kids and adults

I didn't try this on my toddler.  Not that I think the flavour wouldn't be great for him but he's never  been one for bones.  I know some kids doing baby led weaning are happily chomping away on chicken drumsticks but, much like his Dad, my son just looks at me oddly if I put something on his plate then say "you don't eat that bit".

So if I did give this a go for the little one, belly pork strips might be the way to go.  As it was, due to the joys (sometimes) of internet shopping, the ribs I got were a bit on the lean side.  No idea how they managed to get lean pork ribs but they did.  I was a bit concerned with the long slow cooking that they'd end up dry.  Testament to a good recipe perhaps that they didn't!

I've been making this recipe for years.  So much so there's a page in my cook book where I've put in the revised proportions, tweaking and changing the recipe until I felt it was 'right'.  So here we are!  A bit healthier than a takeaway, maybe (where the ribs are often fried) but no less tasty for it!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Three Bean Chilli for the Whole Family

After the excesses of my son's birthday, something better for the body and soul felt in order.  This met with approval from the wee man; the exact quote was "It's yum!"

Ok, you're thinking I'm giving my (only just) three year old chilli.  Yes I am and have been giving him a toned down version since before he was one!  There is really no need to completely avoid spice with kids.  If you want to tone it down, reduce or miss out the chilli but leave in the paprika so there is still some flavour but trust me, a bit of chilli is not bad thing.  This was warming and tasty enough for me but if you like it spicier as an adult, add some salsa or pickled jalapenos, that would be great if you then served it with grated cheese and tortillas... Hmm, I think we can see how I'm going to be eating the leftovers.

Use the mix of beans you prefer but I think pinto are needed as they help thicken the sauce.  If you're using dried beans remember to soak overnight before using and follow pack instructions to cook first.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Cheesy Pastries for the Whole Family

A simple recipe made after a full on day.  Today was my son's 3rd birthday party.  We had a fantastic party but what with staying up till 11pm to ice the cake and worry about whether I'd made enough chipolatas (no, I'm not joking, it was my thought on waking at 4am), I'd only had 4 hours sleep.

So I made for comfort.  When I was little we used to go to Greece a lot and my Dad would sometimes buy pies like this from the local bakery for our lunch.  Followed by a slice of watermelon, this is the taste of my youth.

Now this is by a bit of taste memory and might not be authentic but I liked it and my son said it was "yummy".  Don't serve directly from the oven, better to serve warm rather than hot.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Spicy(ish) Lamb Meatballs for the Whole Family

A tasty and warm if not excessively spicy dish which could even be finger food if you're feeling brave (and have your surfaces covered!)

If you're cooking just for kids who really like spicy food or adults, I'd up the harissa to 1tsp, perhaps 2 if you're really feeling the burn!  Or alternatively add a bit of extra harissa or chilli sauce in at the table.