7m +, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Savory, Uncategorized

Sheppards Pie with Sneaky Veg

  • 7M +
  • Egg Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Nut Free

We had a few cloudy days in Dubai this week and grey skies always make me want warming comfort food. One of my favorites is Sheppard’s Pie. Since weaning The Monster I have discovered that he loves it too. With juicy minced lamb and creamy mash,  I have adapted my old recipe to incorporate extra veggies and a rich gravy made without my old glass of red wine.

I make them in individual pie dishes but you can make one large one as well. If you want to batch cook them for the freezer make single kiddie portions in a silicone muffin tray,  once cooled, freeze and then remover from the tray and pop in a freezer bag for up-to 3 months.

I finely dice my veggies but if you have a very fussy little one,  cook the sauce separately from the meat and blend it prior to adding the lamb so all the veg is hidden.  You don’t have to use the same veggies that I have listed, I often chuck in whatever I have in my fridge.


  • 250g minced lamb
  • 2 very large potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons no sugar tomato puree
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 large carrot diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen spinach
  • 1 small head of broccoli finely chopped
  • 1 cup of chopped mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 150ml beef or lamb stock
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • Dash of worschestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of grated cheddar


Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. 

Peel and chop the potatoes and boiled in a lidded pan until soft. While they are cooking heat a drizzle of oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Fry the onions and carrots until tender but not brown. Add the mince, garlic, and rosemary, stir until cooked. Pour in the stock, Worcestershire sauce and add the flour to thicken. Stir in the spinach, mushrooms and broccoli and allow to simmer while you prep your mash. Once the potatoes are cooked through drain, add the butter and mash until creamy and smooth (I actually push mine through a sieve rather than using a traditional masher, they come out so good. I stole this trick from an old chef friend, it makes the best mash ever).

Divide the lamb mix into your chosen cooking dishes and top with the mash potato. Sprinkle with cheese and place in the oven for about 30 minutes until golden and crunchy on top. 


Em xx

7m +, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Puree, Savory, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Secret healthy Dip-Dip Sauce

  • 7m+
  • Nut Free
  • Egg Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Vegetarian 
  • Can Be frozen

Like most small humans,  The Monster loves sauce,  any sauce,  ketchup,  mayo,  sweet chilli, if he can dip stuff in it he is happy.  He actually says dip-dip as he dips,  super cute… But anyway, most of the time even the fussiest of eaters like ketchup (even if they claim to hate tomatoes.) So I set myself a mission to create a healthy version with some hidden veg to share with you guys.

I used veg I had in the house that needed using up, so feel free to substitute the veggies as you need to. Pumpkin, carrot or sweetpotato in there would also test great. 

Because it’s homemade and doesn’t contain sugar this will only keep in the fridge for about 5 days.  I however I freeze it in an ice cube tray,  this way,  if The Monster is going to want sauce with his meal that day I can just pop one cube out and it defrosts in about a  minutes, just give it a stir. 


  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoon’s of pure tomato puree
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1 handful of broccoli 
  • 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar


Roughly chop your veggies.  Place a saucepan over a medium heat and fry the onion in a little oil,  until soft but not brown. Add the tinned tomatoes and the roughly chopped veg and simmer for about  5 minutes.  Stir in the balsamic and the tomatoes puree and then leave to cool.  Once cool,  pop the sauce into a food processor or blender and blitz until smooth. 

It’s as simple as that.  Place a small jar of it in the fridge and the remaining into an ice cube tray. 

Em xx

8m +, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Lunchbox Idea, Nut Free, Savory, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Yummy Lentil,Spinach and Sweet Potato Dhal

  • 8m+
  • Gluten Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Nut Free
  • Vegeterian
  • Freezable

I promised you a delicious lentil dish and here it is! My Yummy Lentil Dhal is great for big and little tums and as with most of my recipes it freezes super well! It makes a fab lunch or meat free dinner with a chappati (my local Emirates Coop does great ones for a dirham a pack….bargain!) 

There is no chilli in this dish, so all the flavour comes from non-heat baring spices (which also have fab health benefits) Lentils are an amazing powerhouse of nutrients, that are super important to growing children such as Iron, Zinc, Folate and Calcium. They really are amazing things.


  • 125g mixed or red lentils
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1 handful of frozen spinach
  • 1 small onion roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons corriander powder
  • 2 teaspoons tumeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 400ml water


Place a saucepan on a medium heat hob and add a drizzle or oil or smal knob of butter. Cook the onions and garlic for a 2-3 mins until soft but not browned. Add the potato and powdered spices and cook for 2 mins. Pour in the water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes until the potato and lentils are soft. Stir ocassionally and add more water if it becomes dry. When cooked add the tomato paste and the spinach, mix for 2 mins until spinach is heated through.

Thats it, ready to eat.


Em xx

12m +, Breakfast, Gluten Free, Lunchbox Idea, Nut Free, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Apple Oat Muffins

  • 12m+
  • Nut Free
  • Lunchbox Idea
  • Freezable
  • Vegeterian

These muffins are snack heaven. They are low in sugar, and super easy to make. I recently whipped up a batch for The Monsters playdate and they went down a treat with all the little ones. I make them in regular sized cupcake tins but you could make mini ones as well, just reduced the cooking time by 5 minutes. They are also fab in lunchboxes as they don’t contain any nuts. They keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.


  • 1 cup full fat milk
  • 2 cups of quick cook oats
  • 1 pouch apple puree
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (you can reduce if desired)
  • 1/2 peeled chopped apple
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Here is where it gets really simple. Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees. 

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and stir until well combined. Split the mix evenly into paper cupcake cakes and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove from oven and cupcake tray and allow to cool before serving.

Em xx

6m +, Breakfast, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Savory, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Review – Book Munch Cafe

4 out of 5

  • Food: 4/5
  • Entertainment for kids: 3/5
  • Facilities: 3/5
  • Discounts: Emirates Platinum

So I have been promising you all that I will start doing reviews for ages now, and this week I’ve finally got around to it…yay! 

The Monster,  the best friend and I visited the Al Wasl branch (they also have one in Business Bay)  of Book Munch for lunch. It was the first time I have been here and I have to say that the fact it marries two of my favorite things (food and books) was a good selling point for me. 

Parking is available at the rear of the building, it’s RTA parking so not expensive at all. As soon as we approached the door we were greeting with a big smile and help with the pram,  always a good start. The cafe was pretty quite so we had plenty of space but I would see it being a squeeze if there were a few people with prams there. Then first thing I noticed when I went in was the kids book den (which also has a box of jigsaws). Bright,  cosy and with a wide selection of books in English and Arabic. The Monster wasn’t impressed at having to leave it when it was time to eat. 

The highchair for The Monster was brought to the table quickly and was clean. The kids menu had plenty of choice and most importantly for me included a good section of healthy choices and not processed fried foods. The Monster had breaded fish with mash and cherry tomatoes. It was all made fresh and the fact he demolished a good three quarters of it shows that it also tasted good. 

As for the grown ups,  I had the sweet potato poutine. It was a generous portion and tasted great,  so good The Monster stole some of it too. My friend had the steak sandwich which was massive! It looked pretty impressive and she really enjoyed it,  the down side was she then had no room left for dessert…. Oh well guess that’s down to me. Sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream and salted caramel sauce. I have eaten my fair share of sticky toffee pudding in my time and I would defiantly put this up in the top 5, so good,  I’m actually drooling just remembering it hahaha. Oh and we washed it all down with homemade ice teas, berry and lemon. Neither was sweetened a per our request and they were really delicious however the lemon one was very lemony,  which was a hit with m friend but some people may find it a bit over powering. 

So after a lovely lunch,  a kids reading nook and friendly staff why did it not make the 5/5 mark? Quite simply,  the bathrooms. While clean you do have to leave the cafe to access them, first getting an access code from staff. There is a changing table in the disabled toilet and it was spotless but it is a downside.

Overall I would definatly go back, I loved the friendly feel of the place and the food was fab.


Em xx