Monday, 24 August 2015

Baby Bites Pitta Pizza

This is a really great finger food and one that the whole family can enjoy way beyond the weaning process – they are delicious. The pizza sauce is super easy to make and whilst it takes a little time, it makes a big batch that you can freeze into an ice tray for each time you want to make these pizzas.

Have fun with the toppings and as little one gets older you can encourage her to choose from a selection and place them on herself – I recently made these for my friend’s ten year old and he was a big fan of popping on as much sweetcorn as the pitta could carry!

This works equally well on wraps too or even naan breads.

The below makes enough for one child and one parent, for lunch, with a little side salad.

Here’s how:
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 jar passata or chopped tomatoes
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 pitta breads
  • Toppings of your choice – we used sliced mushrooms and peppers plus tinned sweetcorn
  • Few strips of mozzarella

Firstly you need to make your sauce. Add the olive oil to a non-stick pan and place onto a low heat to slowly warm through.

In the meantime, finely dice the onion and mince the garlic and add to the pan to soften.
Once soft and translucent, add the tomatoes or passata.

Peel and finely grate the carrot and add to the sauce mixture (this is a sneaky way of getting extra fibre into children’s diets too if they’re not fond of vegetables).

Add the pepper and oregano and allow to slowly cook for, about thirty minutes, then remove from the heat and portion up accordingly. If you are putting some in the fridge or freezer till a later date, then make sure you allow it to fully cool before placing into the chiller.

Now place your oven on at around 180 degrees.

Now get your pittas onto a baking tray and put a 1-2 tablespoons full of the pizza sauce onto each and spread roughly.

Add the toppings of your choice and then the mozzarella cheese.

Place into the oven where they should cook in about ten minutes – you know they are cooked enough once the cheese is oozing and melted and then remove from the oven.

Cut into fingers for your little one and allow to cool enough for them to handle. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Cheat's Mushroom Risotto with Cauliflower Rice

Trying to cut back on carbs and calories is incredibly difficult when you love food and cooking and I have found that actually, cauliflower rice has been my saviour. Alone I would imagine it to be very bland, but when pepped with plenty of flavour it can be transformed into something delicious.

I created this version of Cauliflower Rice Mushroom Risotto as I had a craving for the stodgy, creamy dish and I actually enjoyed this immensely and will 100% make it again. Alone this comes in at 175 calories and with 20g Cheddar grated on top it is still only 258 calories but tastes great.

Here's how:

  • 100g cauliflower rice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 leek
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 100g mushrooms
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp white wine
  • 1/2 cup of chicken stock
  • 1 tsp creme fraiche
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Seasoning

Firstly unless you have bought the cauliflower rice, take a quarter of a caulflower and grate to create the 'rice'.

Next drizzle the oil into a non-stick pan and place on a low heat.

Peel and crush the garlic into the pan and then finely slice the leek and celery and add to the pan. Cook gently allowing to soften.

In the meantime slice the mushrooms roughly and add these to the pan. Thyme works really well with mushrooms so scatter in 1 tsp of dried thyme at this point.

As soon as the mushrooms start to wilt a little, add the cauliflower rice and use a wooden spoon to move them around and get them coated in the oil. Now season with sea salt and black pepper/

Now add the chicken stock and white wine and up the heat a little until the liquid reduces right down. The cauliflower rice then will take on some of the stock and winey flavours and give a more risotto tasting finish. 

Finally stir through the creme fraiche and if you need the extra luxury of cheese - 20g Cheddar only brings this dish up to 258 calories. Enjoy!

Baby Bites Yoghurt and Fruit

This is a quick and simple breakfast idea for during the weaning process - it isn't a recipe, just an idea that might be popular with other little ones other than Bridget.

We use St Dalfour to make like a 'fruit corner' type yoghurt without any of the added sugars associated with those types of products. St Dalfour is simply smashed fruit spread so the only sugars are the natural ones found in the fruit. 

Finger foods of some description are a must at every meal too, so a plate of fruit appears with most breakfasts - this one I've used blueberries and strawberries.

Here's how:

  • 2 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 1 tsp St Dalfour (I used Apricot here but you can use any variant)
  • Handful of berries

Simply dish up the yoghurt into your baby's favourite bowl and pop the St Dalfour on top - stir through to distribute the sweet and fruity flavour.

Wash the berries, and slice the strawberries to make them easier to hold. Squish the blueberries a little if you like to make them easier to hold.

Baby Bites Courgette and Corn Pancakes

These are a great breakfast idea for your weaning child and make a nice change from sweet pancakes. They can be whipped up in five minutes and are very popular in our house - I like them too.

I often have spiralised courgette at the minute which works really well in these along with sweetcorn, but if not you can grate some courgette instead.

The below makes enough for a couple of days and the batter keeps fine in the fridge.

Here's how:
  • 50g plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 150ml semi skimmed milk
  • 50g courgette
  • 2 tbsp sweetcorn
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp oil

Firstly drizzle in the oil into a non-stick pan and place on the lowest heat to slowly warm the pan.

Sift the flour into a jug or bowl and crack in the egg, mixing with a metal fork. Slowly add the milk, a little at a time, mixing all the time, until you have a smooth batter.

Add the pepper and sweetcorn and grate in the courgette and thoroughly mix so the vegetables are evenly distributed.

Use a ladle to scoop out some batter and place into the pan. After a minute, use a spatula or egg slice to turn over, it should be starting to turn golden brown. Leave to cook on the other side and once golden on both sides remove from the heat. 

If you are keen to cut into shapes you can use cookie cutters or a knife to cut out your shapes and make a fun plate of baby food.