Wednesday, 24 June 2015

RECIPE - #InstaWeanTeam Challenge - Cheesy Quinoa Bites

Finding savoury snack foods is hard. Little Dude isn't keen on veg that he can see and identify as veg, if you know what I mean. He'll happily munch tomatoes, courgette, broccoli, peppers (basically anything) in a casserole but a stick of raw carrot won't get much more than a  lick before it's chucked in the floor. I do buy pre-prepared baby snacks sometimes but most of them seem to be sweet - carrot cakes, yoghurt raisins, biscotti. This week's #InstaWeanTeam Challenge inspired me to try a savoury snack idea; something we could take out and about with us in our snack tubs. Quinoa is another ingredient I've never cooked with this challenge (I'm starting to think I've led a bit of a sheltered life...) so these were a bit experimental but turned out really well.

50 g Quinoa
200ml Cold Water
1/4 Red Onion
2 Savoy Cabbage Leaves
1/8 Tsp Chia Seeds (optional)
Handful Grated Cheddar Cheese
Pinch Mixed Herbs

1. Cook the quinoa according to the instructions on the packet - I washed mine thoroughly then added to a clean pan with the water and herbs, simmering for 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the pan to make sure it doesn't run dry but you want all the water to have soaked in by the end.
2. Finely chop the onion and savoy cabbage then saute for 3-4 minutes in a little unsalted butter until soft
3. Add the cooked quinoa to the veg and stir.
4. Add the chia seeds and cheddar, mix well.
5. When the mixture is cool enough to handle, shape it into small balls (I made 9) and place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
6. Bake at Gas 4 for 35 minutes until firm and starting to crisp

Don't forget to check out what the rest of the team made for Quinoa week on the InstaWeanTeam Facebook Page!

Saturday, 20 June 2015

RECIPE - Banana Choc-o-Nut Pancakes

Yes, I'm still on my one-woman mission to make every possible type of pancake! Today I adapted the standard two ingrediant banana pancake recipe to make a Saturday treat to take to my sister's house. These are handy for lunchboxes because they make minimal mess.

1 large banana, mashed
1 medium egg, beaten
1 tsp cocoa powder (I used Green & Black's Organic powder)
2 tsp almond butter
Handful porridge oats
Few sprinkles of dessicated coconut
Coconut oil (or unsalted butter) for frying

1. Mash the banana in a medium sized bowl.
2. Add the beaten egg and stir well.
3. Add the oats, almond butter and cocoa and stir well (again).
4. Melt a little coconut oil in a heavy frying pan. Keep the heat very low if you have a lighter pan as it helps stop the bottom and edges of the pancakes from burning.
5.  Dollop the mixture into the pan, each one should be a little smaller than the palm of your hand.
6. Sprinkle a little dessicated coconut on top of each pancake so it sinks into the mixture slightly.
7. Once the bottom has started to cook but whilst they're still too soft to flip (after about 3 minutes), pop them under the grill for 2 minutes or so.
8. Once the top has started to cook, flip the pancakes over for another 2 minutes or so until they're cooked through.
9. Leave to cool for a few minutes then serve. 

This makes about 5 small pancakes, just double the quantities if you want enough for the whole family!

Thursday, 18 June 2015

RECIPE - #InstaWeanTeam Challenge - Yoghurt Flatbread Pizzas (gluten free)

This week's #InstaWeanTeam challenge was to reinvent an unhealthy dish. I try to serve pretty healthy food on the whole, especially for Little Dude, but like most parents our own needs tend to come second place. By the time I've finishing rushing around sorting out nursery bags, work clothes, packed lunches, washing up and shopping lists, Mr BLWMamaUK and I are sometimes guilty of collapsing on the sofa with some trashy TV and a huge bowl of pasta or a thrown together plate of sausages and mash. 

Of all the naughty food (in fact, all food full stop) pizza is hands down, no question, absolutely and completely my husband's favourite. Every single time I ask him what we should have for dinner he gives me the same answer. So this week I decided to cook a meal for my big boy as well as my little one.


Pizza base:  
400g Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
200g Natural Yogurt
150ml Water
1 Tablespoon Oregano

1 Tin Cherry Tomatoes
1 Clove Garlic
1/2 Tsp Oregano
1/2 Tsp Basil

I used ham, sliced black olives, orange bell pepper, pepperoni (adult portion only)
1 Ball Mozzarella Cheese

1. Put the flour, yogurt, oregano and water in a bowl and mix well. I used a food processor with a dough hook because I'm lazy like that :)
2. Once the mixture has started to come together, separate it into thirds. Put two of them aside.
3. Sprinkle some flour on a clean baking tray and roll a third of the dough out until it's 2-3CM thick - this will make one adult sized pizza.
4. Grill the dough on a medium heat for around 8 minutes (4 on each side) until it's cooked through and starting to go golden brown. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the other balls of dough. I split the final third of dough in half again to make two smaller (child sized) pizza bases.
5. Empty the tin of tomatoes, crushed garlic, oregano and basil into a pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes until it has reduced slightly.
6. Spoon the tomato mixture onto the flatbread bases and spread it right up to the edges
7. Add your vegetable toppings, followed by slices of mozzarella cheese.
8. Grill or oven bake for 5-10 minutes until the toppings are warmed through and the cheese has melted.

Mr BLWMamaUK, our resident pizza expert, loved these. They were super-filling and really tasty - I'll definitely be making them again.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

RECIPE - #InstaWeanTeam Challenge - Crispy Baked Green Beans

A real challenge this week - green beans! These are one of my favourite veggies actually (unfortunately for Mr BLWMamaUK who doesn't share the same affinity for them that I do) but never one I've thought of as being particularly versatile.

Still, I knew the other ladies would come up with something brilliant so didn't want to let the side down. I have two weak points when it comes to baby food - savoury snacks and desserts. I decided to tackle the former and make something we could take out and about with us. As it happened, I made so many that we also had them for dinner with grilled salmon and rice noodles. Those little green beans are pretty versatile after all :)

1/3 Packet Green Beans
Panko Breadcrumbs (approx 1/4 packet)
1 Beaten Egg
2-3 Tablespoon of Plain White Flour

1. Trim the beans at both ends
2. Get three bowls and put the egg in one, the flour in another, and some breadcrumbs in another
3. Roll the beans in flour until it is lightly coated.
4. Drop the beans into the egg and coat on both sides.

5. Roll the beans in the breadcrumbs, making sure it is completely covered
6. I baked them at Gas Mark 5 for 30-40 minutes until they were starting to go golden and the beans inside were soft/wilted. You could probably speed up the process by boiling the beans in hot water for 5-8 mins first but this didn't occur to me until mine were already in the oven!

For a snack, team the crispy beans with some creme fraiche or hummus. Delish. 

Don't forget to check out what everyone else made for Green Bean Week on the #InstaWeanTeam Facebook Page 

Snack tin is by Replay Recycled

RECIPE - Banana, Coconut and Raisin Bread

The banana and berry muffins I made last week were such a big hit that I decided to try a variation on the recipe. Instead of using muffin cases I made this one in a loaf tin so I could slice it into fingers - perfect for Little Dude's lunchbox! The basic banana bread recipe is from the Baby Led Weaning Cookbook. I halved the ingredients, substituted half of the butter for coconut oil, and added some bits and bobs :)

75g self raising flour
15g unsalted butter

15g raw, organic coconut oil
1 small handful of raisins
1 handful of dessicated coconut
2 large ripe bananas
1 egg

1. Lightly grease the loaf tin with coconut oil
2. Sift the flour into the bowl
3. Melt the butter and coconut oil (I did mine in the microwave)
4. Mash the bananas in a separate bowl, add the melted butter and egg
5. Add the banana mixture to the flour, mix well then stir the raisins and coconut
6. Spoon into the loaf tin
7. Bake at Gas 5 for 20-25 minutes until cooked through.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

#InstaWeanTeam Challenge - Berry Breakfast Muffins

This week's challenge was to make a healthy dish with summer berries. Breakfast can be a tricky one to keep interesting so I made some berry muffins by adapting a recipe from the Baby Led Weaning Cookbook by Gill Rapley (a great place to start if you're thinking of taking the plunge into BLW).

I halved the ingrediants in the basic banana muffin recipe then added a couple of handfuls of berries, plus an extra raspberry placed on top for decoration. These little beauties are naturally sweetened by the banana so don't include any refined sugar, making them perfect for little tummies. As they cook the fruit bursts and stains the inside of the muffin with lovely pink and red patches. Little Dude enjoying playing with the different textures and getting his fingers thoroughly mucky. They also freeze really well so can be defrosted overnight or by a quick blast in the microwave. I chucked half my batch of 6 muffins into the freezer and will use them for lunchboxes at a later date - it's always handy to have food that doesn't make too much mess when you're dining out. 

75g Self Raising Flour
30g Unsalted Butter
Handful of Berries - I used Blackberries, Raspberries, Blueberries and Redcurrants
2 Ripe Bananas
1 Egg 

1. Line a muffin tin with silicone cupcake cases
2. Sift the flour into the bowl
3. Melt the butter
4. Mash the bananas, add the melted butter and egg
5. Add the banana mixture to the flour, mix well then stir in your whole berries
6. Spoon into the cupcake cases and place a berry on top for decoration
7. Bake at Gas 5 for 10-15 minutes until cooked through.

Banana makes such a fab base for cake, bread or muffin mix because you can add pretty much anything to it. When we're bored of berries I'm going to try some variations:
  • Sultanas and raisins
  • Chocolate chips
  • Stewed apple
  • Sprinkling mixed seeds on top
  • Baking the mix in a loaf tin and serving in slices with butter 

Tag me in your favourite muffin recipes - I'd love to see them on Instagram (@blwmamauk).