Category Archives: Recipes

Crispy Herb Coated Butternut Fingers…Perfect For BLW Hands!

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Butternut squash is one of my favourite vegetables at the moment, it has been perfect for baby led weaning, mashed, roasted, boiled, it always turns out tasty and healthy.  Ok, it makes a lovely hearty soup, but today I was feeling creative, so I tried something a little different with it.

Butternut squash is a winter squash, but it seems to be around all year, you can dress it up for the summer easily!

Low in fat, and high in fibre, it contains potassium, important for bone health, and vitamin B6, for the proper functioning of both the nervous and immune systems.

It’s bright orange flesh gives away the fact that it is packed full of carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene, shown to protect against heart disease.  And on top of that, there are high levels of Vitamins C and A and folate.  Super!

In fact, because it is so virtuous, I feel less naughty for frying it in a little olive oil to make crispy chips.  It is perfect for baby led weaning, little fist sized chunks with a crispy outside and a creamy inside make for an interesting new texture and a pretty tasty side dish for the adults too!  Have a look at the recipe below…

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1 Butternut squash
2tbs plain flour
1 heaped tsp mixed herbs or any that you have
1/2 tsp smoked paprika

It’s a fairly simple method, I like easy…the hardest part is peeling and chopping the squash, but once peeled, cut into large chunky (mis-shapen) chips.

Boil until tender but not overly mushy.

Drain away the water and dry on kitchen paper to remove most of the excess water.

In a shallow dish, mix flour, smoked paprika, mixed herbs and pepper to season.

Lightly coat the butternut chips in the flour and sake away excess flour.

Lightly fry in an oil of your choice, I love some olive oil.

Drain again on kitchen paper and garnish with chopped fresh or dried herbs if you fancy!

Enjoy…

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Carrot Parsnip Leek And Potato Gratin-BLW Recipe

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As a rule, the little guy eats the same as me, I have done this from day one of our BLW journey. Sometimes though, I feel like he might need something a little more nutritious than the family lunch or dinner, if I fancy a salad, I think he might need more substance. So every few days I might make a batch of something which he can eat that gives me a little more freedom…if I fancy something a little naughty!

This mix is great on its own, sprinkled with a little cheese and finished under the grill. Or you could add a few cubes of ham for lunch, or you could just serve it as a side to the roast dinner if you don’t want to share the Roasties with your little person!!

Enjoy

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Ingredients

1 carrot diced
1 parsnip diced
1 large potato diced
1 leek sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
mixed herbs
grated cheese (optional)

Add all of the diced vegetables, carrots, parsnips and potatoes to a pan of boiling water, simmer until tender, 15-20 minutes depending on the size of your cubed veg!

Heat olive oil in a second pan, then add leeks and sauté until tender.

Once leeks are tender, sprinkle over the flour and cook out gently for one minute.

Add the milk and a good pinch of herbs and black pepper. Stir on a low heat until smooth and creamy.

Drain the veg and add to the leek sauce.

Grate over a little cheese and grill/broil on high heat until cheese is golden and bubbling.

Transfer to a cooler serving dish for your little person.

Baby Freindly Blancmange…Sugar Free Pudding Time

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What child doesn’t love ‘afters’?  At home I have memories of a big bowl of microwave sponge pudding with jam and custard, a creamy, wobbly rabbit  blancmange, or a packet of Angel Delight, whipped up into a sickly sweet mousse…I loved to lick the whisk clean while waiting for the mix to set up!

I want to give my little guy as many sweet memories as I had with puddings, I don’t want to be strict and deny him those little treats, but I also don’t want to ply him with unnecessary refined sugars, animal based gelatin or artificial colourings and preservatives.

That’s why I love experimenting with my box of agar flakes!  It can give really unusual texture to the simplest of things, no horrible pork gelatine needed, and it is so quick and easy to use, look here for my junk free baby jelly recipe.

I thought it might be possible to make a blancmange-e-esque pudding in a similar way to my baby jellies.  It worked.  A delicious, wobbly, strawberry milkshake pudding in a pot!

blncmange2This makes 3 small toddler portions.  The sweeter and riper the strawberries the better.

200ml milk
6 ripe strawberries
1/2 tbsp agar flakes

Using a stick blender/food processor blend the strawberries and milk until smooth.

Place mixture in a saucepan and sprinkle over the agar flakes.

Bring to the boil without stirring, then reduce the heat and stir in the flakes until fully dissolved (approx 5 minutes).

Strain into dishes to catch the strawberry seeds and foam that may have formed.

Chill until set, then enjoy.  I added some extra strawberry slices to mine.

After several tapioca disasters using rice milk and coconut milk, I stuck to good old cows milk for this blancmange attempt.  I don’t see why it wont work with a non-dairy alternative and I promise I will try it out for our reflux friend soon!  Unless they beat me to it…in which case, let me know how it turns out!!

Don’t forget to look at some of my other baby recipes, good for the whole family.

 

Bubble And Squeak. BLW With A Crunch

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This is so simple it probably doesn’t deserve a post on a blog anywhere!  Sometimes though, the simplest ideas are the tastiest.

When did you last have good old bubble and squeak?  It’s not just for Christmas!

Not only can you pack it full of nutritious veg, but you can add a little grating of tasty cheese, or a sprinkling of herbs.  Kids will love the different textures, the creamy insides and the best bit…the crunchy jacket it all comes wrapped in.

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I won’t bore you with a recipe, but I love to make this with the leftovers from a roast dinner.    Chop up a few spoonfuls of mixed veg, carrots, broccoli, sweetcorn…whatever is going…then add a few potatoes and mash it all together until it starts to combine and hold together.  I added a little grating of cheese, I get nervous to give the little guy too much cheese so this is a great way to make a little go a long way.

Then simply press  and shape tightly into kiddie size patties and fry gently in a little olive oil until crispy on the outside.

Easy!!

And a little addictive!!

I made six, but only three escaped my mouth and made it to the little guy patiently waiting for his lunch!!

Have a look at some of my other recipe ideas great for baby led weaning:

Spinach and lentil dahl

baby jellies

creamy vegetables with salmon

Wholemeal baby biscotti

The Healthiest Carrot Cake I Ever Met!

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However carefully I read a recipe I have a major problem with them. Missed ingredients and trying to take short-cuts…more often than not…resulting in a disaster.

Added to my recipe ‘issues’ is my need to go ‘off plan’! I am always substituting ingredients or adding little extras…more often than not…resulting in another disaster!

Every so often though, things turn out surprisingly well and someone asks me for the recipe (although the true test is a thumbs up from dad.)

This wholesome carrot cake is one of those recipes. With everyone around me seemingly on a bit of a health kick, it went down a treat. With no butter and no refined sugar you would be excused from skipping over the recipe without much thought. The wholemeal flour though is really tasty, the agave and pineapple naturally sweet, and the coconut oil and carrot give it a really moist texture.

I like to keep ingredients to a minimum, and the steps as simple as possible when I share something…especially a bake! So here it is…and if I can bake this one, then so can you…give it a go, you might be amazed.

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300g wholemeal flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
180ml agave nectar
180ml melted coconut oil
4 eggs beaten
Zest of 1 orange
2 -3 coarsely grated carrots
1 tin unsweetened pineapple (drained and chopped/crushed)
100g chopped walnuts

Frosting

200g light cream cheese
90g agave nectar
Zest of what is left on the orange from the cake mix!
1tbsp squeezed orange juice

Preheat the oven on to 180C

Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices to a big bowl.

Add the melted coconut oil, agave, and beaten eggs.

Mix well with an electric hand whisk just until the mixture is combined.

Fold in the carrots, pineapple, and walnuts and orange zeat.

The official line is to bake in 2 lined 9 inch round cake tins for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. However I made one 9 inch cake and a small loaf to sample first!!

Allow to cool before removing from the tins.

For the frosting, beat cream cheese, agave, zest and juice together and refrigerate while the cake is cooling.

Then ice the top and middle of the cake depending on whether you baked in one or two tins.

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Are you tempted to try the recipe, please let me know if you have been convinced to try it out and how you get on.

Enough baking!! I must do some serious research now…forward facing car seats…what age would you face your child forwards??

Sweet potato, Spinach & Lentil Dahl. BLW Minus The Red Face!

When you need a break from perma-orange babies...choose lentils!

When you need a break from perma-orange babies…choose lentils!

It has been a hectic day, but then, they are always the most rewarding.  We had a good swim at the local pool and all piled back to mine afterwards for a mini birthday party for one of my friends.  I spent the day before preparing a few treats for us all to enjoy.  OK, so you might not call lentil and spinach dahl or agar jellies a treat, but the babies loved it, which was so great to watch.

carrot cake3I also made my first attempt at a totally boring ultra healthy carrot cake!  No sugar, no butter, wholemeal flour…OK, so you might not call that much of a treat for the grown ups either, but it seemed to go down well too.

Then again, maybe they were just being polite!  It was moist from the carrots and coconut oil and naturally sweet from the agave and pineapple chunks.  I will definitely make it again.

The recipe for the agar jellies can be found here.  And the carrot cake is here.  Which leaves the lentil recipe for today…I can hear the disappointment already, but honestly this was so tasty, the sweet potato and light curry flavour were delicious.  Please…don’t despair!

I love lentils, packed full of protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre. Combined with the iron rich, vitamin and folic acid filled spinach and the sweet potato which is a complex carbohydrate with masses of dietary fibre and beta-carotene.  It is such a nutritious but tasty meal…try it!

The quantities here make 2-3 baby portions, so you can scale up as you please, as I did, you can also add more garam masala if you prefer a stronger flavour.

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1/2 onion finely chopped
1 large sweet potato cubed
1 big handful spinach leaves
50g dried red lentils
200ml water
1tsp heaped garam masala
ground pepper

Gently fry the onions and garam masala in a little olive oil for 5 minutes.

Add the red lentils, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. (I also used 1/4 teaspoon of vegetable  bouillon stock powder but this is optional)

Lower to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

Add the sweet potato cubes, and ground black pepper, bring back to simmering point and cook for another 15 minutes.

Make sure it doesn’t boil dry, but by the end of the the total 30 minutes cooking time, you want most of the liquid to have been absorbed or evaporated, add water during cooking to keep things bubbling but not swimming!

Remove the tough stalks from the spinach, then slice into thick strips or just add whole to the mixture.  Stir the spinach through the dhal and allow it to wilt and soften down for a few minutes.

The spinach will wilt and make the sauce thinner, so I removed a little liquid to make it a bit thicker and more baby friendly.

Honestly, I will say it again, this was really tasty, I will be making it for the family next time.

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Baby Jelly Recipe. No Junk. No Sugar. No Gelatin!

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Baby desserts can be fun and interesting without being stodgy or laden with sugar.  Sometimes if the little guy has had rice or pasta for dinner, I don’t like to weigh him down with a heavy yoghurt or rice pudding.  This baby jelly recipe is great for a lighter but still nutritional pudding, and it is really easy to make.

We use agar flakes to make this baby friendly jelly at home.  Chemical and bleach free, made from seaweed which is cooked and then freeze dried to make the flakes.  Agar is a rich source of water-soluble, indigestible fibre, and the fruit juice can be a good source of vitamins.

In this recipe I used a red grape juice, we have a guest baby coming for lunch who suffers with reflux, so acidic fruits are off the menu, however, the gelling of the agar can actually be destroyed with the use of acidic foods so be aware of this if you were wanting to make an orange or pineapple jelly…it might not work, or it might need more agar.

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I bought these agar flakes in the local supermarket.

It makes a slightly unconventional textured jelly…so don’t be expecting  the usual wobble, but the little guy doesn’t know any different and he loves it!

The basic recipe is simple, you can vary the concentration of the fruit juice, or add berries, chunks of banana or whatever takes your fancy.

Don’t forget to have a look at some of my other baby treats like wholemeal biscotti and rice pudding.

jelly2300ml grape juice
100ml cold water
1level tablespoon agar flakes

Pour the cold liquid into a saucepan and sprinkle the agar flakes over the surface.  Do not stir.

Bring to the boil.

Once at boiling point, reduce to a simmer and stir the flakes into the liquid.

Simmer for 5-10 minutes stirring occasionally until all flakes have dissolved fully.

You can test for how well it will set by dropping a little liquid onto a chilled saucer, it should firm up quickly.

If the mixture is not quite setting add a sprinkling more of the agar and stir until dissolved.  Test again.

Divide into dishes of your choice.  Allow to cool, then refrigerate.

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Do not stir your flakes until liquid starts to boil

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