Tag Archives: toddler food

Quick and tasty lunch……Quesadilla with Guacamole

16 May quesadilla

I get totally over sandwiches for lunch so I endeavour to always have tortillas in the cupboard.  D Man loves when I wrap stuff in them and they’re great toasted and served with my fresh tomato salsa, like a low fat corn chip. A quesadilla is like a sandwich, but with a Mexican accent – el sandwicho, if you will. Tortillas are handy for quick dinners also, fajitas are huge in my house and don’t take long to throw together…..we’ll talk about those another day.

I think the first time I had a quesadilla, it was actually made by my big brother, Emo (like Elmo without the L, not like I Cut Myself To Feel). He was living in Yorkshire at the time and that has no relevance whatsoever to this recipe, but it’s an interesting fact. He made it vegematarian for me that day, and although I’ve made it with all manner of shredded Mexican flavoured meat – chicken, pork, and beef, and even prawns – this lunchtime treat is coming to you vego, just because you’ll probably have all of these things in your fridge and be ready to throw a quickie lunch together and your munchkin can eat it before their afternoon sleep and leave you picking up corn kernels for the afternoon.

I’m giving the amounts for you and a toddler, so two quesadillas, but adjust amounts to the amount of peoples you’re providing for as it’s a yummy lunch for everyone.

Yeild – dos personas (2)

You will need -

For tortillas

  • 85g grated cheese
  • Half a red capsicum, diced finely
  • Half a cob of corn, sliced off cob (or tinned if you have that)
  • A quarter of a spanish onion, finely diced
  • A small tomato, diced
  • 1 large spring onion, finely sliced
  • A handful coriander
  • A squeeze of lime
  • 4 tortillas (for gluten free option use corn tortillas but be sure to read ingredients throughly, most are a mix of corn and wheat)

For guacamole

  • 1/4 ripe avocado
  • Juice of half a small lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of natural yoghurt
  • Half a clove of finely minced garlic
  • A large pinch of fresh chopped coriander
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional : A little finely chopped spanish onion, tomato and dash of tabasco.

Pop a large fry pan on the stove and heat over a moderate flame. Add a little olive just to oil the pan. Do not pool oil, we’re not frying here, just toasting. Throw into a bowl all of your ingredients and toss well. Lay out two tortillas and divide the mixture evenly between the two. Place the remaining tortillas on top and pop one into pan, keeping an eye on it until it is golden brown. To turn it over, lay a dinner plate on top and flip it. Don’t be hesitant, or fluff about, just flip it quickly or you’ll mess it up and end up with bits of corn and capsicum all over the show. When it’s golden on the outside and the cheese is all melted on the inside and holding all the bits together – we’re good to go.

Repeat with remaining quesadilla. Slice into wedges.

For guacamole put your avocado and yoghurt into a bowl and mash until all squashed and yummy. Add garlic, coriander and lemon juice and stir well (add optional ingredients now also if you’re doing it). Season to taste and place on the side of your plate.

Top each wedge with guacamole (D Man always says ‘dip, dip, dip’. I’ve told you before, I know, but it’s so sweet I’ll tell you again!).

quesadilla 3 Devour and pretend you’re in sunny Mexican climes sipping a margarita. Ariba!

More for the Peasants – Sausages and French Lentils

5 May sauso feat

There were many times during my childhood that we were not entirely cashed up. My Mama was a single mother but regardless of the funds situation she was always very aware of our nutrition and food. I was one of those ‘celery and cream cheese in the lunch box’ kids and although now I see it’s given me the tools to make better food choices as an adult, I was super jealous of the fun packs of Twisties other kids had. No one ever wants to swap celery and cream cheese. Now I give Dexter healthy snacks and lentils…….the apple does not fall far from the tree, it seems!

Lentils featured pretty highly on our family table, and I was always super embarrassed when Mum busted out Lentil Bolognaise for my friends. There are many tales of our school buddies coming for dinner and furrowing their brows at the plate and asking ‘What the hell is that?’. I guess not every family ate stinking lentil Bolognaise.

That said, now I have a very healthy respect for the musical fruit and we eat lentils quite regularly. They’re low fat, low GI and an awesome source protein…..not to mention versatile and tasty. I do not, however, mess with Bolognaise. Some things are sacrosanct. When you’re cooking lentils, don’t salt them until they’re tender and cooked. If you salt too early they turn into hard little bullets, and no one wants to eat bullets!

We love a sausage in my house, and the secret is a fine quality one from a good butcher. If you find a good sausage maker, hang onto them for dear life. The difference between a good sausage and an ordinary sausage is so very vast. I love a pork and fennel sauso with this meal but on this occasion I’ve used a good Italian sausage.

Yeild – 2 adult and 2 toddler serves

You will need – 

  • as many sausages as everyone wants
  • 1 cup Du Puy lentils (or just green or brown if that what you have)
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 1 large carrot, finely diced
  • 1.5 cups stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 handfuls parsley, chopped
  • a glug of good olive oil
In a heavy based saucepan, heat a little olive oil and cook your onions until they’re translucent. Add your carrot and celery and give it a little sweat. Add your lentils and stir through the vegetables. Add your stock and bay leaves, and enough boiling water to just cover the lentils. Pop a lid on your saucepan and have a cup of tea.
Check the lentils occasionally. The water will absorb, which is good, add a little more if needed – you don’t want it to be soupy though. Cook your sausages, and when your lentils are tender, turn them off, add your parsley and a glug of olive oil. Season to taste and serve it up and speak all night in a French accent.
Left over lentils are great thrown through a salad with fetta and celery hearts the next day if that floats your boat.

A Dream Come True – Healthy Choc Chip Biscuits

2 May choc chip biscuits yum

Everyone loves a choc chip bikkie, or cookie, or whatever you want to call it.

Tragically, the supermarket ones are super loaded with fat and sugar (which is why they’re yummy) so it’s hard to justifiably eat many…..not so with these little darlings.

If you want a biscuit with absolutely no fat or sugar, eat some cardboard, or better still, an apple, but if you want a healthy version of this yummy treat, look no further.

These are low GI, high fibre, a little dried fruit and a little dark chocolate.

As we all know, dark chocolate is an antioxidant and helps to release happy hormones. So, use a little in the biscuits for your kids and eat the rest of the block for an afternoon buzz.

Or just cut to the chase and eat these with a glass of wine.

I often find ‘healthy’ treats taste like tricked up horse food and leave me wishing I’d just reached for the damn Tim Tam in the first place…..alas, no so with these.
These actually hit the biscuit spot. The trick is half/half wholemeal and plain flour.

Not too chaffy!

If you don’t have self-raising, remember it’s just 2 teaspoon baking powder to 1 cup flour.

If you think you don’t have time for this, trust me, you do. 5 minutes mixing, 10 minutes resting (cup of tea???) and 15 minutes in the oven. Badda boom, you got yo’self some healthy choc chip biscuits.

Yeild – 18 biscuits

You will need – 

  • 1/2 cup wholemeal self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup plain SR flour
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut (use desiccated if it’s what you have)
  • 1/2 cup rice bran oil
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • finely grated rind of half an orange
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 50g 70% Dark Chocolate

healthy choc chip cookies

Put oven onto 170C fan forced (180C if not).
Mix your dry ingredients into a bowl. Into a sperate bowl place all of your wet ingredients and stir well.
Add to dry ingredients and leave it to infuse and rest for ten or so minutes.
Using a tablespoon and moist hands roll into 18 balls and place onto a tray lined with baking paper.
They will spread so give your babies some room. Gently press them with the back of the spoon (I use my thumb, usually well licked. Don’t share my biscuits if it bothers you). Pop them into the oven for 15 mins or until golden.

biscuit boy

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Beat the Winter Blues – Dhal Soup, or Red Lentil Love.

26 Apr dhal soup

With nasty old Winter peering it’s head around the corner, I’ve had a few requests for my Farmhouse Chicken Soup, and I promise it’s ‘a comin’, but on a recent cold and blustery day, all the nearby shops were closed and I needed to make something out of the contents of my house…….this was it. It’s delicate blend of Indian spices make it warming without being too spicy and if you mess with the liquid ratio you can make it thicker and more dhal like or wetter and more soup like…..either way, thick or thin, it will give you wind. I promise you that, my friends. The gift that keeps on giving. (I know I talk about wind a lot, but I have to point the finger of blame at my family – and they would probably pull it. Wind is deeply ingrained as a thing to be celebrated with us lot.)

This is one of my old favourites. I’ve been making this for about 100 years and I have no idea how I first came up with the recipe. Sometimes I throw in a fresh tomato or two, sometimes I throw in a handful of chopped spinach or two….you have a play with it yourself and see where the mood takes you. D Man loves this too. I’ve been giving it to him since he was about 8 months, so it’s suitable for babes as well. He now loves it over rice with a dollop of natural yoghurt and fresh chopped coriander. I keep it a little thicker so it sticks to the spoon and he doesn’t wear it.

Yeild : a pot of soup for 4

You will need :

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 30g (or the size of index finger to knuckle) ginger, finely chopped or grated (grating is so much easier)
  • 1 level tablespoon cumin (I love cumin)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamon seeds
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • small handful of fresh coriander root, save leaves for garnish
  • 1.5 cups red lentils
  • 600ml chicken stock (I happened to have some freshly made in the fridge this day, but feel free to use powder)
  • 400ml water
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large stalks celery, finely chopped
  • natural yoghurt and chopped coriander leaves to serve

In a large soup pot gently sautée your onion in a little oil over a medium heat. When it goes slightly translucent add your garlic, ginger and spices. Stir until fragrant and delicious. Throw in your carrot and celery, give it a stir for a minute or so and then add your lentils. I like to give them a good stir and make sure all is well mixed and then throw in my liquid…..and really, that’s about it, kids. Bring it to the boil, then turn it down to a simmer and pop a lid on.

You will need to keep a little eye on it as the lentils will absorb the water. You can make a call whether you need more liquid or take the lid off and let it reduce if you’d like it thicker. I often play with it, flavour wise, like a total heathen at the last minute. I sometimes add a touch of garam masala, or more cumin, or chili. Start as I’ve written and play with it to your taste. Don’t be scared of spices, they are your friends and contrary to popular belief, kids love flavour.

Ladle into bowls and swirl through(or plop on) some natural yoghurt and a sprinkle of fresh coriander. If I’ve kept it chill free for D Man, I’ll add some dried at this point as I like it to have a little poke.

Enjoy your Red Lentil Love……for hours to come ;-)

 

Bang Up Lunch – Polenta Chips with Fresh Tomato Salsa

19 Apr polenta and salsa 2

Often lunch time hunger hits around the time D Man goes to bed so it becomes a matter of ‘what goodies do we have in the fridge?’. I get well over eating sandwiches and salads so sometimes I get a little creative. As I’ve mentioned, I love a left over, and polenta is one thing that although, once eaten wet and delicious can never be revived to that state, it takes a whole new form when you cook it again in a little oil – the polenta chip is born!

When I’m finished with my wet polenta I pop it into a square container so it can shape up into a nice block, then you just slice it to whatever thickness you want, roll it in seasoned polenta and give it a little fry in some oil. I try not to use too much oil, but it does benefit from a little to get that nice golden crunch. I just add a little at a time so it doesn’t get drenched, then I make sure I drain it on kitchen towel. This is a great entree, or lunch and D Man loves these dipped in tzatziki, or anything dipped in anything really. He just likes to dip and lick, murmuring a little ‘dip, dip, dip’ as he goes. The salsa is kinda adapted (read : stolen) from my dear friend, who often gets requested to bring a whoop of the stuff to parties. It’s great on quesadilllas, with corn chips….hell, I even eat it with Corn Thins. Use chilli as you will. I like it hot, but D Man is still a little gun shy when it comes to chilli. A little is ok for toddlers if it’s a part of your diet. They actually love flavour and new sensations, just don’t singe their faces off!

So, let’s bang this lunch together. If you don’t have left over polenta, you’ll need to make it a couple of hours in advance to give it a chance to solidify. It’s especially yummy if you’ve put lemon zest and parmesan through it…..but that’s just me.

Yeild : depends on amount of polenta you have, but makes about 1 cup of salsa.

You will need :

For salsa – 

  • 4 fresh tomatoes, cut into quarters, seeds removed then finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 Spanish onion- finely chopped
  • 2 big handfuls finely chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 birds eye chilli,finely chopped, if you’re game
  • a big pinch of cumin
  • salt and pepper

For polenta chips – 

  • Sliced, solid polenta
  • Fresh raw polenta for dusting
  • Salt and pepper

Throw all of your salsa ingredients into a bowl and stir. Season to taste. Add more lime, salt, cumin or chilli to your taste. Leave to sit and stew while you cook your polenta. Season your raw polenta on a plate and roll your cops in it, ensuring all sides are covered. Heat a little oil in a pan on the stove, and ensure it’s quite hot before adding chips. Pop them in and turn them regularly ensuring all sides get equally browned. Add a little more oil as required. Make sure you don’t drench them. They are ready when they are golden and crunchy. Leave to cool for a minute or so on kitchen paper to remove excess oil, and serve with salsa. Easy, yummy, fast.

Olé.

Zesty Baked Chicken Rissoles with Mozzarella

16 Apr rissoles, love 2

Recipes fly back and forth in my family. If someone finds something interesting we email each other, and even send photocopies – old fashioned style – through the mail. I have a big pink folder with tried and true recipes handed down from my family and friends. It’s a faithful ‘go to’ when I’m in need of inspiration. This one was an email from my Mama, to my Nana, with me as a cc. I’m still happy being an afterthought.

My Mama is one of those cooks who is as comfortable tackling a three course meal as she is a weeknight quicky. As the aim of this blog is fast and fabulous, at least for the present moment, so I won’t try to dazzle you with any of her doozies just yet (it’ll come, my pretties, we’re just getting to know each other), but this little recipe is super fast, and easy, and again suitable for little and big munchkins alike. It’s not fancy, but it’s tasty, and it’s healthy.

These zesty, cheesy little morsels are paired perfectly with pasta, or rice, but polenta is having a resurgence in my house, so I make a batch of creamy, delicious wet polenta. I always make sure to have left-over polenta because twice cooked polenta (read : polenta chips, mmmmmmmm) are delicious. These rissoles work equally well with turkey mince if you want to extra lean, but they’re also yummy with lamb mince if you want to go in a slightly different direction. You can add dried mixed Italian herbs to the lamb for a more robust herb aroma.

If you don’t have mozzarella just sprinkle with cheddar but the stringy, gooeyness of mozzarella takes this to a different realm for me. Again, I’m a little modest in my cheese usage for fat reasons but you can go nuts with it if you want to. I also struggle not to sneak in a little vegetable here and there, particularly if I’m feeding it to D Man who’s not yet au fait with ensalada (ha, French and Spanish, I’m obviously a linguistical genius. So tempted to remove this but it’s is how my brain works). These work well with a little carrot finely grated or zucchini. They’re both fairly innocuous and undetectable by the naked eye when smothered in tomatoey, cheesy, deliciousness.

Yeild : 10 rissoles

You will need :

  •  500g chicken mince
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tbls lemon juice
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1/2 bread crumbs (make your own if you can, it does make a difference, but if you can’t be arsed, it doesn’t make that much difference!)
  •  plain flour for coating
  • 700ml jar passata (If you want to make your own, throw some onion and garlic into a pan and add some crushed tomatoes and Italian herbs – it’s totally worth the effort, but we’re keeping it simple this evening, because we’re tired and our back hurts)
  • mozzarella (1 cup grated, but I used slices)

Preheat oven to 180c.

Throw into a bowl your mince, breadcrumbs, parmesan and basil. Add lemon juice and zest, crack your egg in and get your hands in there to give it a good ol’ mix. Take your wedding rings off as rissoles in your filigree ain’t pretty. Shape into about 10 rissoles and coat very lightly with your flour. Heat oil in a large frypan and over a moderate heat and lightly sear rissoles on both sides before transferring to over proof dish. Pour over your passata, top with mozzarella and bake in the over until golden and bubbly and yummy. Serve with your pasta or polenta and a big salad.

‘Wow, what do you call these, love?’

‘Rissoles’

Never gets old.

 

 

 

Chish and Fips – Good for them (but they’ll never know).

11 Apr chish and fips gallery

I have a word of advise for y’all. Don’t ever babysit your friend’s goldfish, especially one that’s referred to like a beloved dog.

I’m not suggesting it’s impossible to love a fish, Daryl Hannah was totally hot in Splash, but this fat, orange goldfish was no mermaid.

We had some friends that owned a fish named Pablo. They really loved that damned fish. They swore blind that Pablo responded to them, remembered them and loved them as much as they loved him. They would regale us with tales of things Pablo did, just like smitten parents.

Then they went away…….and asked us to babysit Pablo.

My cat, Pants was super curious about Pablo in his big, round, exotic looking bowl and we sent them a photo of Pants with his paws up on the table that Pablo’s aquatic home was perched on as a joke.

The Pablo was found floating one morning and although I’m certain he died of natural causes (possibly fright, almost natural, right?), the finger of doubt will always be pointed at poor, old Pants.

They took the news better than I thought they would, but I remember the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach as I broke in to them gently.

Although we were technically babysitting, it was a trial for possible adoption when our friends left the country in a couple of weeks.

I guess answered that question, huh?

This is a really fast throw-together meal, the only thing is, you’ll need to get your ‘chips’ in the oven in enough time to get a little crispy. I start this half an hour before dinner-time but my oven is a cracker. Basically, if you cut your potatoes into shoestrings, they don’t take long to get a little crunch. Leave the skin on your potato. There’s goodness in the skin so it’s best left where it is.

You’ve seen me use LSA (linseed, sunflower and almond meal) before. It’s a great source of Omega 3, so teamed with fish it’s positively brain food for our little peeps.

Yield : 2 toddler serves. If making for grown-ups also, just adjust amounts accordingly.

You’ll need about 2 tablespoons of LSA and one teaspoon of lemon pepper per fillet.

You will need -

  • 1 small firm fish fillet. Barramundi, salmon or even ling work well
  • 1 small potato, skin on
  • 2 tablespoons LSA
  • teaspoon of lemon zest
  • pinch of lemon pepper
  • vegetables to serve

Pop your oven onto 190C. Cut your potato into shoestrings and place on baking paper. Toss with a touch of olive oil and pop in oven for 20 minutes or until brown, turning once.

Pop your vegetables du jour in the steamer….

Cut your fish into one centimetre pieces. On a plate, toss your LSA and zest and lemon pepper together and roll your fish in it ensuring it is all well covered. Heat a little oil in a non-stick pan on a medium high heat and quickly cook them for three minutes or so each side until just cooked through and a little crispy.

Pop it all on a plate and serve with a little squeeze of lemon if your kids is into it. D Man would suck a lemon all day if permitted so he’s a fan.

If you’re making this for grown-ups, it’s really delicious when served with my quick tartare sauce.

You will need :

  •  1 tablespoon of creamy, natural yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon good quality mayonnaise
  • 1 gherkin, if you have it
  •  A few capers, chopped
  •  Salt and pepper

What to do :

Toss it all together and stir

Voila. A really quick meal that is 500 times better for you than the take-away version.

 

 

Banana, Berry, Weet-Bix Muffins – or Waste Not, Want Not Muffins

6 Apr berry banana muffins

Call me a tight arse but I really hate throwing away food. If you look into my fridge on any given day you’ll be sure to find all manner of left-overs…..and we’re not talking nasty-ass forgotten about in the back of the fridge type left-overs. No, we’re not. I love to turn stuff into other stuff and create new meals. Some say creative, some say thrifty, some just say tight-arse. I can handle it!

D Man loves those little Weet-Bix Bites to snack on, but when the packet is finished there’s a whole woop of Weety-Bixy Bitey bits in the bottom of the bag…..He can’t cope yet with cereal and a spoon so how can I use this, I ask myself? Then if you add the fact that Mister H is constantly ravenous now that he’s training so much so I’m endeavouring to make him a snack to take to work so he doesn’t a) turn into a ham and cheese croissant and b) spend an extra $50 a week on take-away food.

Soooo, I gots to lookin’ around my kitchen and what did I spy? Old, brown bananas, and it came to me. Rather than throwing away these fairly uninspiring, fruit fly infested items, I’d be a recycler of manky fruit and make muffins. You could make a loaf if you wanted but there’s something about having your very own little cake in your hand that I like….and they take less time to cook.

I’ve used a fairly basic banana bread recipe (Mister H’s biggest complaint of my snacks is that they always taste too healthy, so this time, I resisted the urge to add yoghurt, LSA, or straight wholemeal flour). I used half/half plain flour and wholemeal and added baking soda to get it to ‘self-raising’ status. I figured Weet Bix would add my low GI factor and give it enough ‘health’ to pass my muster. If you didn’t have any Weet-Bix, you could throw in a handful of oats, or other cereal if you wanted to. Unlike many cakes, which getting ‘right’ can be more like a science, muffins are fairly stable so you can get a bit creative and they keep their integrity…..just remember though, the more healthy stuff you throw in the heavier they become. So, if you get carried away you may end up with something that doubles as a deadly weapon that you can beat someone with, if need be (refer to yesterday’s post!). I almost always have frozen berries in my freezer so I just threw in a cup to fancy this up. If you have them, great, if not, Banana Weet Bix Muffins are nearly as good…….although you could throw in a choc chip or two if you wanted to pip me at the post!

Yeild : 10 muffs

You will need :

  • 2 over ripe banans, smooshed with a fork
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen berries
  • about 2/3 to a cup of crushed Weet-Bix or cereal de jour
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup wholemeal flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup skim milk (or whatever you have)
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 50g butter, melted and cooled

Pre-heat over to 180C. Place you patty cake case things into your muffin pan, or line your loaf tin.

You can sift your flour for a lighter muffin, but I cannot be bothered (if it was a cake, sure, but in this case it’s not so vital) so I throw my flours, baking powder and cinnamon into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and cereal and  make a little well in the centre. Place your eggs, milk, banana and melted butter into a separate bowl and stir until all is well combined. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and toss in your berries. Give it a good stirring until just combined. Spoon into your muffin cases and pop in the oven. Now, I have worked with many ovens in my time and the time variations depending on each oven can be massive. I would say give these 15 minutes and have a look. You want nicely golden brown and they’re ready when a skewer goes in the middle and comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack and you better try one while they’re still hot cos they is goooood.

Triple C Vegetable Pikelets

1 Apr pikelets

Finding new yummy things is a bit of a moving goal post.

Something that is deemed as delicious one day, is suddenly yuck, and there seems to be no pattern nor rhyme nor reason. It’s incredibly demoralising when you spend time preparing something, that your little stinker thrusts away, or turns their head from with an emphatic ‘NOOO’. I often find if I can get just one tiny taste on his lips, one little smear that he licks, he will change his mind. It’s almost as though it’s a test, rather than an actual dislike……Thankfully, these have had a really long shelf life in my household. From the moment D Man wanted to squish his own food through his chubby little fingers, he’s had versions of this placed into his hand. We’ve seriously left trails of these pikelets, a la Hansel and Gretel, across countless change rooms as I have to bribe D Man into shopping submission with food. Is that bad, or merely a survival tactic? At least it’s vege pikelets and the like and not packets of Twisties, right? That’s a rhetorical question anyway because I don’t share Twisties.

Anyway, the great thing about these is they’re super fast, can be made with just about whatever you have in the fridge and then, they’re portable….not to mention, easy enough for little independent hands to eat, which becomes increasingly important for everyone.

I’ve entitled this version the Three C’s for fairly obvious reasons, carrot, corn and coriander. That said, I’ve been known to throw in spring onion, finely grated zucchini, finely chopped broccoli (super fine), and fetta. I often throw in a tablespoon of LSA (linseed, sunflower and almond meal) for added Omega 3 and protein. If you have it, great, if not, omit….. Once, I got creative and threw in some tuna too, but that kinda got a little funky for D Man. I ate it, though – Probably off the floor after D Man threw it. That’s not really an indication of how amazing it was, though, if we’re totally honest about it. Stick to vegematarian on this one, gang.

I must also issue these with a warning….they are actually delicious for big people too – Which is lucky on those days your toddler decides they hate them. You can roast up some tomatoes, add a dollop of goat’s cheese, some rocket and serve with a side of bacon – Hellooooooo, Sunday morning.

You’ll note that I don’t really season the toddler food. I’m endeavouring to keep him away from salt as he’ll no doubt ingest ocean’s worth when he’s old enough, but he is quite partial to a crack of pepper. Do as you wish.

Yeild : about 8 pikelets

You will need :

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 big tablespoons self-raising flour, wholemeal, plain whatever you have
  • 1 tablespoon natural yoghurt
  • 1/2 corn cob, kernels removed
  • 1/2 large, or one small carrot, finely grated
  • a handful of chopped coriander
  • 1 tablespoon LSA
  • butter for cooking

Toss all ingredients into a bowl, except the butter, and mix well. Pop a fry pan on the stove and add a little butter. Spoon one tablespoon of your mixture at a time to form little pikelets. Ensure that your vegetables are distributed across the lot, and not only heaped in the middle, for even cooking. You don’t want crispy edges and a soggy eggy centre. Flip when brown, do both sides, and you’re pretty well done!.

Speedy!!

fancied up with goat's cheese and bacon for grown-ups brunch of champions.

fancied up with goat’s cheese and bacon for grown-ups brunch of champions.

Quick Lemon and Herb Schnitzel and Up-Town Slaw

30 Mar schnit and slaw

Everybody loves a bit of crumbed bird.

I discovered this combo when I was trying to think of a way to make chicken an enticing finger food for D Man, so although this particular version is served as large schnitzels for big piggies, if you make it in fingers it gets devoured by little piggies too. I don’t serve it to D Man with slaw though, that’s a tad adventurous for a budding cutlery user,  but he does so love this with mashed vegetables with some peas and corn stirred through for excitement (if not exciting at the table, then in the following day’s nappy).

This schnitzel recipe is fast and easy, mostly because I am very lazy and do so love to cut a culinary corner. I do not sacrifice flavour, no, no, but if I can speed things up a little, I will, because I’m busy, and I’m tired, just like you. My secret? I don’t flour and egg, I skip that entire step. If you want to go the whole shebangalang, then please, be my guest, but I find I’m perfectly content with a crumb that is a light coat, as opposed to a heavy jacket!

If you’re all inspired and fancy whipping yourself up some sourdough crumb, go forth. I personally always have Japanese panko crumbs on hand as they’re a cracking substitute when you don’t have the time, or inclination to make your own. They can be found in the Asian department of your supermarket or at an Asian grocery store. I don’t rate your standard store bought bread crumb, but if that’s all you have, let’s make life easy and use those just this once. This is about ease……..although I draw the line at using cornflakes. Just eat plain chicken in that case, and save the flakes for Honey Joys, mmmkay?

I serve this with mash,  but I very rarely, if ever use a straight potato mash with any of my meals. I usually team it with cauliflower, but I’ve been known to use parsnip when in season. This is for two reasons. Firstly, I don’t like too many complex carbs in my diet (left over habits from the Atkins era) and secondly, this way I can sneak an extra serving of veg into a meal. When I asked Mister H recently if he could really taste the difference between my mash and real mash, he responded “It’s been so long since I’ve had full mash that I don’t know what’s real anymore”. Poor deprived man.

Let’s do this….

Yeild : 2 adult serves and chicken and mash for a toddler or two

You will need :

For chicken:

  • 2 breasts chicken cut in half width ways (to make each one half as thick, you know?)
  • 2/3 cup Panko crumbs
  • 20g finely grated fresh parmesan (that shaky stuff in the green canister is not fresh parmesan, in fact, it’s shavings from a Ped Egg. Don’t do it, peeps)
  • Zest of 1/2 a lemon, finely grated
  • A few sprigs fresh thyme, chopped. Dried is ok if it’s what you have
  • A teaspoon of lemon pepper, or just salt and pepper if you don’t have it
  • Lemon wedges to serve, zestless is fine.

For slaw :

  • 2 finely julienned carrots – I use a vegetable peeler to make fine strips, then cut them again finely on the diagonal. Easy.
  • 2 handfuls of julienned cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons good low-fat Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon good mayo (I like Thomy)
  • 1 teaspoon seeded mustard

For mash :

  • 2 med potatoes
  • 2 handfuls cauliflower florets
  • butter to mash – use your discretion, I’m modest, but butter and mash are a marriage made in heaven if you have no guilt
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Take your chicken and place it between two pieces of Cling Wrap on a board. If you have a meat tenderiser, use that, but if not, you can use the bottom of a palm sized jar. Now, beat that little chicken! You don’t want to pulverise it, but you want them to be nice, thin and even schnitzels.

Once done, throw together your crumbs, cheese, chopped thyme, zest and seasoning and combine well. Coat your schnitzels well by flipping them around and patting it on. Set aside.

I steam my potato and cauliflower in a vain attempt to preserve nutrients, so I cut my potato small and my cauli not so small so they cook at the same time. Pop them on the stove to steam and make your slaw.

Combine carrot and cabbage on a bowl and in a separate bowl mix wet ingredients. This recipe keeps your slaw low fat. I like it to be slightly tangy from the yoghurt, and not over dressed and gloopy and dripping. If you’re more of a mayo type, then add a little more, if you hate mustard, leave it out. Let’s be relaxed about it. Anyhoo, mix to taste and pop it into the bowl and combine.

Heat a little oil in a non-stick pan (I know certain oils corrupt at high heat etc, but this is not that blog. I use olive. Very corruptible, like my fair self), and cook your chicken on both sides until golden. Pop it all on your plate, pour a big glass of wine and serve with a lemon wedge.

Bon appétit….pretty clucking good.

Sorry, couldn’t resist!

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