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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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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Chicken and sweet potato in tomato sauce

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Little Coco got her first tooth recently:  a central incisor.  Judging by growing sparkle when she smiles it looks like this little tooth will shortly be joined by another two.  In the meantime we still need to blend certain foods for her (can’t wait be rid of the blender!), although I am gradually introducing more texture. It’s amazing how strong and sharp baby gums can be!

If you chop the vegetables finely, you won’t need to blend this dish much, if at all.  The sweet potato can be mashed and the chicken shredded with a knife and fork once cooked.

Makes 6 portions

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The what:

250g sweet potato, peeled and chopped

150g carrots, peeled and finely chopped

150g chicken fillets, diced

2 spring onions, finely sliced

200g plum tomatoes in natural juice

5 basil leaves, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely sliced

1/4 tbsp olive oil

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The how:

Place the sweet potato and carrots in a saucepan of boiling water. Bring back to the boil and simmer for 8-10 minutes, until soft.  Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a pan and sauté the garlic and onions for 1-2 minutes.  They should be soft but not browning.  Then add the tomatoes and cook for 8 minutes stirring occasionally.

Remove the sweet potato and carrots from the saucepan using a slotted spoon and set aside.  Add the chicken to the cooking water in the saucepan and poach for 2-3 minutes.  Check the chicken is cooked through before removing from the heat.

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Mash the sweet potato and carrots and add the shredded chicken (or alternatively mix all three together and puree using a hand-held blender).  If blending, gradually add the tomato sauce – to minimise “splashage”. You may also want to wear an apron for this bit!.  Otherwise just stir the sauce into the mashed potato and chicken.  Coco loves this dish, although there isn’t much she doesn’t like!  Her tastes aren’t quite as selective or sophisticated yet…..

Happy weaning xx

 

A few of Coco’s favourites

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Now that little Coco is eating three meals a day, I thought I’d share a few of her current favourites with you: sweet potato and fish purée; lentils and apple, pear compote.  We still have to purée everything, although we’ve detected a glimmer of white through her bottom gum so hopefully she’ll have a few teeth soon.  I was beginning to wonder if she had any in there at all!

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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

Sweet fishy burgers

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Lentil loves fish and these little fishy burgers are easy to make and packed full of goodness.

Makes 4 large and 3 mini burgers

 

 

 

Tip: If you have time, it is worth making these a day before cooking and leaving in the fridge overnight to allow the burgers to set, or even half an hour would be good before coating and baking.

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The what:

15g unsalted butter

400g sweet potato, peeled and chopped

220g salmon fillets, skin removed

1 leek, finely sliced

1 onion, finely sliced

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

small handful of chives, snipped with scissors

1/4 tsp paprika

small handful of parsley, finely chopped

1 bay leaf

1 egg, lightly beaten

500ml fish or chicken stock

squirt of lime

pepper to season

For the coating:

120g breadcrumbs

2 egg yolks

Tip: to make the leek easier to slice, cut it in half to form two semi-circular shapes (to avoid it rolling around as you cut) before finely slicing.

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The how:

Melt the unsalted butter in a large saucepan and sweat the garlic, leek and onion for 2-3 minutes.  Add the potatoes, stock and bay leaf, cover with a lid and cook for 5 minutes.  Then add the fish and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Next remove the bay leaf and drain off the stock well to remove as much moisture as possible or it will be difficult to shape the burgers. Once drained put the fish and potato mixture back in the pan adding the chives, lime juice, paprika, parsley, egg and season with pepper.  Mash together and shape into burgers with your hands and place in the fridge for 30 minutes / overnight.

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Pre-heat the oven to 200C (180C fan).

To coat the burgers take two bowls and put the beaten egg yolks in one and the breadcrumbs in the other.  Place a burger in the egg yolk first, using a teaspoon to fully coat it and then place in the breadcrumbs, turning it over to ensure the all sides are covered. Repeat for all the burgers.

If freezing any of burgers for a later date, do so now and cook once they have fully defrosted.

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 To cook the burgers, place on a lightly oiled baking tray and cook for 20-25 minutes until the coating is golden and crispy.

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Homemade Lamb Burgers

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These little burgers are incredibly easy to make and you can freeze them individually in freezer bags and defrost and cook when your little tot is hungry! You can also shape them into koftes using wooden skewers, although strictly speaking they aren’t a kofte!  That’s a recipe for another day…..

Makes 6 mini burgers / koftes or 2 large and 2 mini burgers. Continue reading