Quinoa stir-fry

I really like this healthy, but tasty stir-fry and better still it’s quick and easy to make.  We hope you love it too!

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I’ve become a big fan of quinoa recently and luckily the kids seem to like it too.  It’s a great source of protein and really easy to cook.  As such a small grain it’s also great to use in weaning recipes, particularly if little ones have few teeth and are only getting used to managing solids!

Makes 2 large portions and 1 small portion

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The what:

120g quinoa

100g Edamme beans

a bunch of spring onions

1cm ginger

handful of coriander

2 baby pak choi

5 baby corn

juice of 1/2 lime

small handful sesame seeds

1/2 tbsp sunflower oil

For the sauce:

1 tbsp sesame oil

1/2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp Oyster sauce

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The how:

Cook the quinoa according to instructions on the packet.

To make the sauce mix together all the ingredients.

Heat the sunflower oil in a large saute pan and saute the onions, garlic and ginger.  Remove and set aside.  Add all the other vegetables to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Then add the sauce and cook for a further 2-3 depending on how crunchy you like your vegetables.  Stir in the onions, garlic, ginger and quinoa.  Sprinkle over the sesame seeds and coriander and serve.

 

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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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Chickpea, Orka and Sweet Potato Curry

IMG_5552bWe got a little peckish while at Kew Gardens (so beautiful!) recently and headed to the Pavilion expecting to tuck into one of their summer favourites from the grill and barbecue.  But despite the warm English sunshine there was sadly no barbecue.  We didn’t go hungry though: Peyton and Byrne’s indoor restaurant was serving.  I went for the Indian veggie curry, which was really quite delicious and inspired me to try out my own.  My version has more of a Thai than Indian influence, but its quick and easy to make.  I’ll have to go back for the Full of Spice festival for further inspiration!

As well as being beautiful and great for picnics in this weather, there is also lots of fun for the kids.  Following lunch we wandered along the Xstrata Treetop Walkway to view all the trees from above.  A small warning: the walkway does sway quite a bit in the breeze so probably best avoided by those with Acrophobia!  Next we headed to the Treehouse Towers playground: Lentil had a swell time climbing, sliding, walking ropes and of course getting very dirty in the process.  Thank goodness for washing machines!

Anyway, back to the curry……here is my veggie version:

 

The what:

400g chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

80g peas

80g okra

4 shallots, peeled and sliced

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

400ml coconut milk

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp turmeric

1cm ginger, finely chopped

200ml stock

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For the Riata:

1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 slice pineapple, chopped

4 tbsp natural / greek style yoghurt

1/4 tsp of ground cumin (optional)

a handful of mint, finely chopped

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The how:

Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan and saute the cumin seeds, onion and garlic for a minute.  Then add the remaining spices except the turmeric and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, turmeric and sweet potato, cover and simmer for 20 minutes until the sweet potato is cooked.  Add the chickpeas, peas and okra and cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are cooked, but still have a bite to them.

To make the Riata:

Put the cucumber, pineapple and mint in a food processor and pulse a couple of times so you have small chunks.  Transfer to a bowl and mix in the yoghurt and cumin.

Serve the curry and Riata with some rice.  I used brown basmati and wild rice, which works well, but any rice will do.

Enjoy!

 

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Beet, Carrot and Barley Salad

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The beetroot of my childhood was the pickled variety out of a jar. I thought that was the only way to eat beetroot and I was not a fan!

Thanks to the superfood revolution, fresh beetroot has become very popular again having found favour with chefs and food writers alike. According to an article by Khaleda Rahman in Mailonline weekly sales of beetroot in the UK now exceed £1 million.

I had a lovely beetroot and lentil salad in Gail’s cafe recently, which prompted me to have a go at creating my own salad with this purple taproot of the beet plant. I’ve never cooked beetroot before so had to refer to my trusty “Vegetable Book” by Grigson to learn how!

It takes a while to cook the ingredients for this salad, but you can do everything in advance.  The beetroot and carrots are oven baked so once you set the timer you don’t need to watch over them.  Of course, I also think the flavours in this yummy salad are worth the cooking time and I hope you’ll agree.

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The what:

4 beetroot, gently washed (see below)

400g Chantenay carrots, washed

160g Barley (pearl barley is fine, but hulled barley is supposed to retain more nutrients although can be harder to find).

100g Feta cheese

a handful of blanched hazelnuts

a handful of spinach or mixed leaves

squeeze of lemon juice

a handful of mint, finely chopped

for the dressing:

1 tbsp mirin

1 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1cm ginger, finely sliced

3 tbsp olive oil

pepper to season

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.  Always taste your dressing too with a piece of fruit or veg from the salad before adding to the rest of the salad and adjust, if necessary.

The how:

Gently wash the beetroot to remove any dirt, place in a baking tray and cover with tinfoil.  Bake the beetroot in oven for about 3 -3 1/2 hours at 150 (130 fan).  To test if the beetroot is cooked Grigson suggests wrinkling the skin and if it easily comes away from the root it is cooked.  Leave to cool, peel and chop.

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Meanwhile add the carrots to boiling water and boil for about 10 minutes to soften.  Then drain and place in a baking tray.  Drizzle with some olive oil and lemon juice and sprinkle with the mint.  Cook in the oven for one hour at the same temperature as the beetroot.  Remove and leave to cool.  Remove the ends and chop.

To cook the barley, first rinse it in cold water, place in a large saucepan and cover with cold water.  Bring to the boil, drain, return to the saucepan and cover again with about 300 ml cold water.  Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 1 hour (until tender), stirring occasionally.

To make the dressing add all the ingredients except the olive oil to a jar, close the lid and shake well to combine.  Then add the olive oil, close and shake again.  Test the flavour with a carrot or piece of beetroot.

To construct the salad, arrange the spinach / mixed leaves at the bottom of your bowl.  Place the barley, beetroot and carrots on top.  Then break in the feta cheese and add the hazelnuts.  Drizzle with the dressing or serve on the side.

Enjoy!

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Beef stir-fry

This tasty little dish provides a gentle introduction to some oriental flavours, helped along by the novelty of eating with chop sticks or “chip chops” as Lentil calls them!  There are loads of different types of toddler training chop sticks available online or in some high street stores.

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The what:

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300g rump steak

70g green beans, trimmed and chopped in half / three

1cm fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

80g bean sprouts

small handful of coriander, finely chopped

4 spring onions, sliced

1 tbsp olive oil

Noodles / rice to serve

Tip:

If meat is tough it takes too long for kids to chew with their little milk teeth.  They soon get bored and lose their appetite, or they just spit it out! So if your meat is a little on the tough side, cut it into smaller pieces and cook for a little longer to tenderise.

The how:

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan.  Add the garlic, beef and ginger and cook over a high heat until the meat is browned.  Next add the green beans, spring onions, beansprouts and cook for a further 5 minutes until the meat is cooked through and the beans have a bit to them. Take off the heat and sprinkle with the coriander.

Serve with rice or mashed potato and don’t forget the “chip chops”!

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