Stuffed Zucchini Rounds

Stuffed Zucchini with butternut squash, peppers and cheddar

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Zucchini or courgettes and olive oil are a simply delicious traditional Italian combination.  Elizabeth David is credited with bringing this vegetable, previously reserved for the aristocracy, into the ordinary English kitchen.  In her book, A Book of Mediterranean Food, published in 1950, she shares a simple courgette recipe, combining the “very young marrow” with butter and tomatoes.

 

 

Taking a cue from the September sunshine over the weekend, we’ve gone for a summer – autumn vegetable flavouring, combining the zucchini with butternut squash.  It’s a light but comforting dish, which we hope you’ll enjoy as much as we have.

 

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This dish is an easy dish that is perfect for getting little hands involved in the kitchen and Lentil had great fun stuffing all the ingredients into the zucchini and sprinkling the cheese on top (a lot of which ended up on the baking tray)!

The what:

3 Round zucchini, topped and flesh removed

1 onion, quartered

1 yellow pepper, topped, de-seeded and quartered

1/2 roasted butternut squash (you can roast the other half too and use it to make our roast Butternut Squash and Courgette Risotto). Continue reading

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Aubergine, goat’s cheese & squash salad

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Despite rather cloudy, overcast days, the sun has been making a consistent appearance in the evenings of late providing a great opportunity for some al fresco evening dining!  I’ve been experimenting with a few different salads to have on their own or as an accompaniment to a barbecue.  Here is the recipe for one that passed the Lentil and Papa Lentil test (after a few goes at the dressing!).

Brown, green or puy lentils are usually best for salads as they retain their shape and texture after cooking.  However, I had run out of all of the above and only had split-red left in the cupboard.  The colour actually works well with the butternut squash!  Although they do go a little mushy when cooked: good for Coco and her three front teeth!

The What:

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1 aubergine, chopped into chunks

1/2 butternut squash, seeds removed

40g lentils (brown, green or puy – see above)

100g hard goat’s cheese (or you can use feta as an alternative)

1 red onion, sliced

a knob of unsalted butter

Olive oil for drizzling

Some spinach leaves (optional)

For the dressing:

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp honey

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

5 tbsp olive oil

a little black pepper

Tip: I usually make my dressings in an old jam jar so I can close the lid and give it a good shake to mix it well.

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The how:

Preheat the oven to 200 (180 fan).

Place the butternut squash on a baking tray and brush with the melted unsalted butter.  Bake in the oven for 10 minutes initially.

Meanwhile, place the aubergine chunks on another baking tray and drizzle with olive oil.  When the butternut squash has cooked for 10 minutes, add the aubergine to the oven and cook both for a further 25 minutes.

Rinse the lentils and then put the lentils in a saucepan and cover with cold water.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes (until soft).

Heat a little olive oil in a saute pan and cook the onion on medium heat until caramelised.  Set aside to cool.

Once the butternut squash is cooked, chop into chunks and place in a salad bowl along with the aubergine, lentils, onions and spinach leaves (if using). Break up the goat’s cheese and place on top.

For the dressing add the balsamic vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard and pepper to the jar (or a bowl) and mix well.  Next add the olive oil, close and shake well to fully combine. Drizzle the salad with the dressing or serve on the side.

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For the adults a chilled glass of fruity white wine is a good accompaniment to this salad!

Wedding photos - Carlo Gorgio 582

xx

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!!