Chilled Asparagus and Pea Soup

If you’ve read Coco’s weaning diary, you’ll know I love asparagus: green and white. It would be one of my desert island foods!  I do get slightly upset when I have to break off the ends and discard them – it seems like such a waste. If Mr Coco&Lentil gets his hands on the asparagus, half the stalks end up in the bin! I decided to put the woody ends to good use by making a stock for soup before I retire them to the bin.

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The what:

400g asparagus (ends snapped off & set aside & remaining asparagus roughly chopped)

300g fresh or frozen peas

a large handful of fresh mint (about 30 leaves)

2 garlic cloves, one finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

60ml (4 tbsp) cream fraiche

black pepper to season

a squeeze of lime

Tip:

You can retain the asparagus and pea pulp (heaven forbid we through anymore asparagus out!) you get when you pass the soup through a sieve and mix it with some sweet potato and a little milk for babies.  For children over one year you can add some toasted pine nuts (assuming there are no family allergies and you have ground the nuts to avoid any risk of choking) and mix with some spaghetti or other pasta.

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The how:

Add the broken off asparagus ends (retaining the chopped asparagus for later) and one whole garlic clove to a saucepan and cover with 1000ml of water.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 25 minutes.  Drain the asparagus stock and discard the asparagus ends and garlic Set aside.

Meanwhile saute the onion, chopped garlic in the butter until the onions are soft (2-3 minutes).  Add the asparagus stock and bring to the boil.  Next add the chopped asparagus and peas and cook until tender (about 5 minutes).

Remove from the heat and stir in the cream fraiche and mint leaves and season with pepper.  Blend the soup in batches, passing each batch through a sieve into a large bowl as you go.

Chill in the fridge.  Add a squeeze of lime and mix the soup well before serving.

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Asparagus and Peas with pasta

IMG_4580aCoco and I have been eating loads of beans, fruit, pasta, pulses and veg this week.  Mummy says it’s in celebration of National Vegetarian Week.  We’ve had some old favourites from Mummy’s very veggie like Speedy Gonzales Risotto and Flying Lentils.

Mummy and Daddy are also going all green and veggie.  Tonight we’re all having pasta.  Except Mia, she can’t eat the long pasta yet because she only has one tiny tooth.  I made the pasta all by myself. Er, well, Mummy helped me put the tip of the pasta dough into the machine, but I did all the rest!  It was a little hard, but although I’m only two, I’m very strong.  I used my two hands to turn the lever and roll the pasta through the machine until it got really, really thin.   Mummy has made a really quick sauce to go with the pasta using some seasonal vegetables.

Tip:

You can easily turn this into a weaning dish too.  Just puree the asparagus and peas with a handheld blender before adding to the cheese sauce.  Serve with tiny pasta stars or other very small pasta shapes.

The what:

400g asparagus, sliced (you may want to slice it into very small pieces for little ones, or larger if they are a little older)

IMG_4566aa large handful of fresh mint, finely sliced

120g frozen peas

200ml Creme fraiche

50g grated mozzarella cheese

a little nutmeg, grated

pepper to season

 

The how:

Add the asparagus and peas to boiling water and cook for 1-2 minutes, then drain and set aside.

Heat the creme fraiche in a small saucepan until it liquefies.  Add the mozzarella and stir for 1-2 minutes until the cheese has melted.  Then stir in the asparagus, peas and mint.  Grate in some nutmeg and add some pepper to season.

Serve with your favourite pasta.  Spaghetti and tagliatelle are great with this sauce.

To make your own pasta like me, look at Mummy’s The Italian Dream post (http://bit.ly/1FqigXO).  It’s easy peasy!

Coco’s weaning diary – week 3

Day 15:

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Mmmm, I’m eating some more of that lovely “but..er..nut…quash” stuff today. Papa mixes it with some peas, which I also like.

Day 16:

After some peas and potato for lunch Mummy gives me some sweet-tasting red stuff for “pudding”. Mummy says pudding is usually a sweet dessert course after lunch.  Another course??

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Mummy calls the red stuff plum and says it’s very tasty. The first spoonful is bitter and makes me shudder.  This makes Mummy smile, but then she adds a little apple to the plum stuff, which makes it much tastier.  I feel full afterwards. When Mummy lifts me up from my chair my tummy is big and round!

Day 18: 

DSC_0993aMummy, Mummy, hurry up! That thing on our kitchen wall is “tick-tocking”. That means I’m hungry!

Uh-oh, this looks VERY green!  It looks a bit like that stuff that the cows in my storybook eat. Mummy calls it spinach.  I tentatively like a tiny bit off the spoon. It’s warm and a little floury.  I think I taste some of that nice white potato stuff. I’ll have some more of this please Mummy.  I open my mouth as wide as I can.

Day 20:

Ooh, this looks promising.  I think Mummy has some yummy sweet potato for me again today. I kick my legs with excitement!  Quick, quick Mummy. Mummy sits down opposite me.  She has a spoon which she lowers into my bowl to shovel up some scrumptious food.

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Oh no, what’s that on top of my sweet potato?  Something green again! Why is there so much green food this week? I really want the sweet potato, but how do I get it out from under the green stuff?  I don’t think I can – it all goes into my mouth.  Luckily I can really only taste the yummy sweet potato.  “Asparagus”?  Is that what you said Mummy?  The green stuff is called Asparagus.  That’s a difficult word.  Maybe I should only eat things that are easy to remember, what do you think Mummy?

Day 21:

Untitled design (2)Today everything is green: literally everything! There are pictures of funny green flowers on Mummy’s iPad and phone. Mummy says they are called Shamrocks.  She says they are to celebrate Ireland’s special day: St Patrick’s Day. I think I’ve heard of Ireland before….but I’m not sure. Is it one of those food stuffs Mummy keeps giving me? No, mummy says it’s a county across the pond.

Mummy gives me something that looks like a Shamrock for lunch. Mummy says the green stuff is called courgette.

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It doesn’t look very tasty. Maybe if I turn my head away and don’t look at the green stuff, it will taste OK.  Whenever I turn my head Mummy does some strange flying arm movements with the spoon. She seems to find it difficult to put the spoon in my mouth. It’s quite funny so I laugh and before I realise it I’ve opened my mouth and the food is in.  It isn’t nearly as bad as the orange carrot stuff so I gobble down the rest of the bowl.

Mummy’s edit 

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Asparagus is one of my favourite vegetables and I guess I am hoping my daughter shares my enthusiasm for this perennial plant.  However, I discovered that you really do have to love asparagus to make an asparagus purée.  The blender alone is no match for it.  Having blended it for some time, I had to call on Mr Mummyummygoodness for help. There were still too many chunky bits in it for little Trouble.  The pestle and mortar eventually did the trick, but it is a lot of labour for very little produce!

When I made the spinach and potato purée, I was a little eager (or just completely sleep deprived) and threw all the spinach into the potato at once.  The result was a very, very green purée, which I doubted my daughter would find appetising.  Oh well, it was too late.  I’d used all the potatoes.  To my surprise, it really didn’t taste bad at all and Coco wolfed it down.  The green colour simple masked the amount of potato that was actually in the purée.

We’re on to 3 meals next week.  Aggghh, how will I keep up?  And she’s still waking up at least twice a night for a milk feed!

What mummy made:

Plum purée – makes 3 portions

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Bring some water to the boil in a large sauce pan.  Place 3 plums in the boiling water until the skin starts to split (about 3 minutes).  Remove the plums with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl of cold water.  This should make the skin easy to remove.  Cut the plums in half to remove the stone and then chop and blitz with a hand-held blender.

Add some baby rice for a thicker consistency or mix the plum purée with another fruit purée, such as apple.

Spinach and potato purée – makes 5 portions

Peal and chop 3 medium-sized potatoes.  Place in a saucepan of boiling water, bring back to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes (or until soft).  Wash 100g of fresh spinach and remove any woody stalks.  Place the spinach in a microwaveable steamer and steam in the microwave for 2-3 minutes.  Alternatively steam over a saucepan of boiling water.

Once the potatoes are soft, drain off the water, add a knob of unsalted butter and some of your baby’s normal milk and mix.  Mash the potato using a potato ricer or a masher.  Add more milk if needed to achieve a really smooth consistency.

Once the spinach is done, squeeze it using a fork to remove any excess water.  Add to the potato and mix well.

Asparagus purée – makes 2 portions

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Steam 85g of asparagus, woody ends removed.  Puree using a hand-held blender and then break down any remaining lumps using a pestle and mortar.  This is best mixed with another purée such as potato or sweet potato.

Courgette purée – makes 6 portions

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Slice 260g of courgette and place in a microwaveable steamer.  Steam for 5 minutes.  Remove and purée using a hand-held blender.

Happy weaning!!