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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Green Tea Salmon

Salmon poached in green tea

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When I became pregnant with Lentil I gave up coffee and green tea and anything else with caffeine in it – just like most first time mothers-to-be worried that even a drop could be damaging!  I realised I could survive quite well without coffee.  I actually don’t really like coffee, but had become a daily drinker: fetching a latte was an excuse to escape the relentless stressy office environment for five minutes once or twice a day.  I also hopped the caffeine would actually keep me awake no matter how little sleep I got!

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Glazed Salmon with Carrot and Courgette Ribbons

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Once Coco and Lentil got used to the early weaning vegetable purees I made, I was keen to introduce fish.  I wasn’t a great fish eater as a child: I only ate my mother’s fish pie which she topped with crumbled crisps and even then, I ate more of the potato and crisps than the fish! Thankfully, Coco and Lentil aren’t yet showing any signs of my fish pickiness. Salmon was the first fish they tried and one I come back to regularly.  As an anadromous fish it’s great brain food, a good source of vitamin D, and, of course, it’s omega-3 properties are well publicised.  It is also very versatile and can be baked, cured, eaten raw, grilled, poached, sautéed or smoked.  This recipe calls for a saute pan and a little glaze.  It’s yummy and healthy!

You can check out our other fish recipes here.

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Makes 2 adult and 2 child portions

The what:

3 salmon fillets, skinned

1 courgette, topped & tailed

1 carrot, peeled, topped & tailed

1 cm ginger, finely sliced

1/2 celeraic, outer skin peeled

1/2 tbsp olive oil

for the sauce:

1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

2 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tsp reduced salt soy

2 tsp honey

The how:

Slice the carrot, celeraic and courgette into thin vertical strips using a potato peeler, or alternatively if you have a spiralizer, slice into ribbons.  You can prepare the vegetables in advance – just place in a bowl with water and refrigerate.  Drain and pat dry with some kitchen towel when needed.

To make the glaze mix all the ingredients together in a shallow bowl and marinade the salmon fillets for 2 minutes on each side.

Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a large non-stick pan for the vegetables.  Heat another dry pan for the salmon.  Remove the salmon from glaze (but retain the glaze for later) and add to the dry, hot pan. Cook for 2 minutes, then turn, pour over the glaze and cook for further 2 minutes.  Add the spiralized vegetables to the oiled pan and cook for 2-3 minutes.

To serve, arrange the vegetables on a plate and place the salmon on top. Drizzle over the remaining glaze from the hot pan.

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Courgetti and Strawberry Salad

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Since starting my blogging journey, I’ve been inspired by (and in awe of!) the many fabulous health food bloggers out there, creating amazing recipes with deliciously fresh ingredients, and sharing drool-inducing photos of their creations.  It was while perusing some of these awesome foodies’ websites and salivating over their culinary endeavours that I came across spiralizing. Clearly, I am way behind the times – how have I missed all the hype about fruit and veggie ribbons and spaghetti styled courgettes??  I wondered if the spiralizer was just the latest kitchen gadget: something I would use once and then retire to the cupboard over the fridge, which is rarely opened: I need a stool to reach it!

I reasoned that I use my mandolin regularly and love Japanese food.  Surely something food-related originating in Japan can’t be bad?  So after a little research on the various brands and models I purchased a spiralizer online and eagerly awaited its arrival!

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I’m certainly not giving up on my yummy homemade pasta (mon Dieu!) or carbs altogether.  I think they are an important part of a balanced diet, especially for children.  However, I am bursting with ideas for new recipes using my spiralizer and it is a fun way to introduce kids to new ways of eating fruit and veg.

So here is the first of my spiralizer creations……[drum roll!]

I’ve made this salad both with and without chicken and it’s as tasty either way so if you’re vegetarian just simply leave out the chicken.

Serves 2 adult & 1 child portion.

The what:

2 large (3 smaller) chicken fillets, diced

handful of spinach leaves, stems removed

12g flaked almonds

150g strawberries, topped and quartered

2 courgettes, topped and tailed

3 tbsp natural yoghurt

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For the dressing:

juice from 1/2 an orange

juice from 1/2 lime

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

a pinch of ground black pepper

Tip: If you don’t have a spiralizer, a mandolin or julienne peeler are just as good for thinly slicing the courgette. If using a julienne peeler, you may find it easier to slice the courgette length-ways.

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The how:

Marinade the chicken in the yoghurt for a couple of hours / overnight.

You can also prepare the dressing in advance: just give it a good shake / stir again before using as the oil will have settled on top.  Add all the ingredients to a jar and shake well.  Taste test with a spinach leaf.

Pre-heat the oven to 220 (200 fan) and back for about 8 minutes and then flip the chicken pieces over, draining off any excess liquid and bake for a further 8 minutes.  Be careful not to let the chicken dry out.

Meanwhile slice the courgettes, either using a using a spiralizer to make courgetti, a mandolin or a julienne peeler (see tip above).  Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a pan and cook the courgette on medium heat for a couple of minutes to soften.  If you have used a mandolin and have very thin courgette slices, cook on a lower heat and stir and toss continuously in the pan to avoid too much browning, or burning.  Take of the heat and set aside.

toast the almonds in a dry saute pan on medium heat for about 1 minute, tossing regularly, and again being careful not to burn!

To assemble the salad, add the courgetti / courgette slices to your salad bowl.  Place the spinach leave on top and then add the chicken and strawberries. Sprinkle the almonds over the salad and pour the dressing on top.

Enjoy!

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Seared tuna with courgette and carrot salad

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I’m a big fan of mouth-wateringly, succulent seared tuna!  It’s quick to cook so ideal for midweek dinner and great with this summery veg salad.  It just peachy when something so healthy and simple tastes so great!  Luckily Lentil loves fish too – I just cook the tuna a little longer for him.

Makes 2 adult & 1-2 little portions

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The what:

3 sustainably caught tuna steaks

1 courgette, peeled and finely sliced with a mandolin or potato peeler

2 large carrots, peeled and finely sliced with mandolin or potato peeler

60 – 70g sesame seeds

3 tbsp dark soy sauce

1 tbsp mirin

1 tbsp honey

2 tbsp pure sesame oil

olive oil

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The how:

To make the sauce mix together the mirin, soy sauce and honey in a large bowl.  Once combined, add the sesame oil and stir well.

Pour about 1/2 into a separate bowl / sauce-boat and set aside to drizzle over the tuna and salad once cooked.

Heat some olive oil in a griddle pan and grill the courgette slices in batches. About 30 seconds on each side.  Then set aside on some kitchen paper.

Pour the sesame seeds onto a plate / flat surface. Dip each side of the tuna in the large bowl of sauce and then coat in sesame seeds.  Sear in the griddle pan for about 1 – 2 minutes each side.

Serve with the courgette and carrots, drizzle with a little sauce and enjoy!

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Coco’s weaning diary – the next chapter

 Week 4:

Tuesday.

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More new food stuff??  Just when I thought I’d tried almost everything. I’ve eaten a lot of different fruits and vegetables, which Mummy has cooked for me over the last few weeks.  This new stuff is really yellow and quite small like those tiny pea things Mummy likes to put in everything!

Mummy calls the yellow peas “sweetcorn”.  She mixes it with some sweet potato.   “AAAGGHHH..MAAAA…GURGLE, GURGLE”. Mmm, this isn’t bad at all.  Continue reading

Potato and veggie dauphinoise

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This is my tasty little twist on a traditional potato dauphinoise.  It’s easy to make and great as a side to a fish or meat dish, or even just on it’s own as a veggie option.

Makes 3 large or 5 small portions

The what:

a knob of unsalted butter

1 onion, finely sliced

4 baby leeks, trimmed and finely sliced

1 small courgette, finely sliced

3 medium potatoes, peeled and finely sliced

100ml full-fat milk

200ml cream

100g cheddar cheese, grated

a little nutmeg, grated

Tip: To get really thin slices of potato use a mandolin slicer. The potatoes crisp up nicely in the oven.

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The how:

Preheat the oven to 200 (180 fan).

Melt the butter in a saucepan and saute the onion, leeks and courgette until soft (about 2-3 minutes).  In a separate saucepan heat the milk, cream and nutmeg on medium heat for 5 minutes.

Rub an ovenproof dish with some unsalted butter and empty the onion, leeks and courgette into it.  Next add layers of potato until you have used all of them.  Pour over the sauce and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden.  This dish is suitable for freezing.

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!!

Moussaka with Courgette

Moussaka with courgette

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Moussaka with courgette?? It’s my take on a traditional Moussaka: a Moussaka in disguise if you will.  My recipe doesn’t use the traditional aubergine – I simply wasn’t feeling the aubergine love the day I made this – but you can of course add it if you’re a traditionalist!  Instead I use courgette. It passed the Lentil taste test and I actually used a mix of aubergine and courgette when I last made it for us parent people.  Of course I’m going to say I think it’s nicer with the courgette addition….but I really do!

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