7m +, Breakfast, Gluten Free, hidden veg, Lunchbox Idea, Nut Free, Savory, Snack, Vegetarian

Spanish Omelette

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  • 7m +
  • Nut free
  • Gluten Free
  • Vegetarian
  • Lunch Box Idea

The Monster is currently not a fan of sandwiches (this could all change in a matter of hours, toddlers are fickle.) This means I have to come up with alternatives when it comes to his lunchbox for playschool. A firm favourite (for now) is Spanish Omelette. Filling, super easy to make and I can pop veggies in it too, whats not to like.

This doesn’t freeze to well unfortunately, however it does last in the fridge for about 4 days and is so good the whole family will be at it anyway so it won’t last long! It is great hot or cold.

Ingredients:

  • 5 eggs
  • 1 small potato (boiled and sliced)
  • 1/4 cup grated mature cheddar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped veggies (I used onion, mushrooms, peppers, tomato)

 

Method:

Brush a small frying pan with olive oil. Place on a low/medium heat. In a bowl whisk the eggs and cheddar together, set aside. Put the finely chopped veggies in the pan and gently cook until softened. Pour over half the egg mix. Lay the potatoes into the egg. Pour over the remaining egg mix and continue to cook until the bottom of the omelette is set. remove from the hob and place under a grill to cook the top of the omelette until set (about 3 mins).

Turn out onto a plate. can be served hot or cold.

 

Enjoy

Em xx

12m +, Breakfast, Egg Free, Lunchbox Idea, Nut Free, Savory

Chicken and Apricot Sausages

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  • 12m +
  • Dairy Free
  • Egg Free
  • Nut Free
  • Can be frozen
  • Lunch box idea

Ok these arn’t sausages in the traditional sense but they are super tasty, really easy to make and healthy. Shop brought sausages are high in salt as well as all sorts of other hidden bits so I wanted something to replace them with that The Monster would love, and boy does he love these (to be fair I love them too and stole half his stash…opps)

You can freeze them before or after cooking (I prefer to freeze then cook as they hold more moisture) They work well in place of regular sausages but also go well in a lunchbox, or choped up in a cous cous salad, the possibilities are endless.

Ingredients:

  • 500g boneless chicken thighs (thighs contain more iron than breasts, which is vital for children)
  • 1/2 cup wholemeal breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon dried tarrgon
  • 5 dried apricots (chopped)

 

Method

Pop it all a food processor and blitz until it looks like a mince texture.

Drizzle a little oil in a frying pan and place on a medium heat hob. Flour your work surface and your hands and then just roll the mixture into sausage shapes (how big or small you make them is up to you). Roll each one in a little flour and fry for about 4 minutes each side, until cooked through.

It’s as simple as that.

 

If you want to mix it up, swap all these:

  • Chicken for pork
  • Apricot for Apple
  • Tarragon for sage

 

Enjoy

Em xx

8m +, Egg Free, Nut Free, Savory

Prawn and Pea Risotto

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  • 8m +
  • Nut free
  • Egg free
  • Can be frozen

The Monster has been a fan of risotto since he was about 7m old and I now have quite a few different risotto recipes so we don’t get bored but this is definetly one of his favorite ones.

This risotto is super simple and can be made from scratch in 30 minutes so it makes a fab quick dinner that the whole family will enjoy.  For small tots, be sure to chopped the prawns finely, for whole kids leave them nice and chunky.

If freezing, once cooked portion into a muffin tray and pop in the freezer, once solid transfer to a freezer bag. Allow to defrost before reheating gently in a sauce pan (it goes stodgy if done in the microwave!)

Ingredients:

  • 400g peeled and cooked prawns
  • 1.5 cups of risotto rice
  • 1 litre of low salt vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup grated parmasan cheese
  • Pince of saffron
  • 1 lemon

Method:

Place a large frying pan over a medium heat hob. Drizzle a little oil or butter into the pan. Put your saffron into the stock. Add the risotto rice and stir so that it’s all coated with a little of the oil, spread the rice to cover the bottom of the pan. Pour in just enough stock to cover the rice, and stir until all the liquid is absorbed. Add a little more stock and repeat. Do this until all the stock is used and the rice is cooked al dente (not totally soft but cooked through) lower the heat and add the peas and prawns stirring until heated all the way through. Stir in the parmasan cheese and add a small squeeze of lemon juice.

I normally give everone a little slice of lemon so they can add more to thier dish if they wish.

Serve and enjoy

Em xx

 

Uncategorized

Annabel Karmel Interview

Taste of Dubai is always a highlight of my calender so you can imagine how excited I was when I found out Annabel Karmel was going to be one of the headline chefs this year. When I got the chance to interview her I wasn’t about to turn it down, so here we go….

You have spoken in the past about the fact your son was a fussy eater, but what was the most unexpected challenge when it came to feeding your other two children?
I think what surprised me the most was quite how stubborn such young children could be. As a parent, it can be very upsetting and frustrating to lovingly prepare a meal for your child, only to have it rejected without them trying even a mouthful. You come to dread those words ‘It’s yucky, I’m not eating it’.
Children can get very worked up over things like visible onions or green bits in their tomato sauce. They also don’t like too many things mixed together so separation of food is important.
When my children were little, I found that trying to ignore bad eating behaviour and not reacting when they made a fuss worked well. Instead I piled on the praise when they tried something new or developed a good eating habit. Other good tactics I used that I would recommend to other parents are making sure you don’t give snacks too close to mealtimes and using a reward chart system. Put the chart somewhere visible like the fridge or a kitchen noticeboard and award your child a star every time they try a new food. They can then look forward to a special treat when they collect an agreed number of stars.

There are so many pre-made meals and snacks available to parents these days; do you feel it has somewhat taken away the importance of cooking homemade food for children?
Not at all. Parents still absolutely think it is very important to prepare home-cooked food for their children. For the last 12 weeks, my Baby and Toddler Recipe App has been the number one paid food and drink app in the UK and many other countries, outselling the likes of Jamie Oliver. The recipe pages on my website www.annabelkarmel.com are among the most popular and my recipe books – all 42 of them! – continue to sell incredibly well.
Parents are today very concerned and more aware than ever about making sure that their children’s diet is healthy. They don’t want them to grow up eating junk food, which is high in saturated fat and salt.
Some children do have a very narrow diet of foods like chicken nuggets, pizza and burgers, however you can steer them away from unhealthy fast food by making your own healthy versions. For example, I make delicious burgers with lean minced beef, grated carrot and apple.
Parents do ask a lot of themselves though and while it is admirable to want to prepare homemade meals three times a day, seven days a week, sometimes everyone needs a bit of help. This is why I have my own range of ready meals in the UK and also Australia. These meals are low in salt, contain at least one of your child’s five a day and introduce children to new recipes like Fish Pie with Salmon and a Potato and Carrot Topping and a Mild Chicken Tikka Masala.

What’s the most important thing for new parents to think about when weaning and cooking for their kids?
It’s important to understand that while an adult’s healthy diet is low in fat and high in fibre, a healthy baby’s diet is quite different. Babies grow more rapidly in their first year than at any other time in their life and, as such, they need nutrient-dense foods. Dairy foods should be full fat and too much fibre is not good as it can deplete their body of vital nutrients.
Iron is also crucial for the normal development of baby’s brain. The iron a baby inherits from his mother runs out at six months, so it is very important to give iron-rich foods from six months. These might include iron-enriched cereal, red meat, egg yolk and lentils.
A lot of parents carry on giving only fruit and vegetables for too long, without introducing nutrient-dense protein foods like chicken, red meat or salmon. These foods are very important for you baby’s development.

What are your top tips for busy parents who want to cook homemade meals for their children?
Plan ahead! It’s the only way to make sure that you have the right ingredients in and that you are using what you’ve bought to avoid unnecessary waste. I thoroughly recommend batch cooking, you can make mini Cottage Pies for example in little ramekins. Almost all of my baby puree recipes can be frozen, so you don’t have to cook every day. Just remember to freeze items in single portions and label them carefully with the ingredients and the date by which they should be consumed. Otherwise you could end up with a freezer full of UFOs – Unidentified Frozen Objects.

If you could only choose one of your recipes as your favourite, which would it be?
I am making one of my all-time favourite recipes at Taste of Dubai – Chicken and Apple Balls. My son wouldn’t eat chicken when he was a baby, but he liked apple, so I made up this recipe to try and tempt him and he loved them! The chicken balls are made with breast and thigh chicken meat, diced onion, egg yolk, parsley and sage, breadcrumbs, crumbled chicken stock and my special ingredient… grated apple. Everything is whizzed in a food processor and then rolled into balls

You have been to Dubai a number of times now, but this is your first time participating in Taste of Dubai, what are you most looking forward to about the event?
I am really looking forward to the interactive cookery sessions, during which children are going to be cooking along with me. When my three were young I used to get them to cook once a week for the family. They were only 4, 6 and 7 when we started this tradition (which still goes on today) and I think it’s really important that children learn to cook at home. Most children love to cook, it’s an important life skill that will help them make healthy choices. As a bonus, they are also learning maths through measuring and timing, and following a recipe helps with their reading.

I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about Annabel, I will be back in a day or two with a new original recipe for your Tiny Tums.

Enjoy Em xx

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

Minty Lamb and Hummus Pitas

  • 8M +
  • Dairy free
  • Egg free
  • Nut free
  • Can be frozen
  • Lunchbox idea

The Monster is not a massive fan of meat unless it’s in mince form so I try to make sure that I come up with a good variety of recipes that use mince. These Minty Lamb and Hummus Pitas are great for the whole family,  full of flavour, tender and just as good for lunch as they are for dinner . The best bit,  they can be made in around 15 minutes. 

I make them using mini wholemeal pita but you can easily use full sized ones. We can get some really great fresh hummus here (what with it being the Middle East and all) so I tend to buy it in rather than make it but there are loads of simple recipes online if you did want to make your own. 

Tip: if you want to freeze these, it’s best to freeze the lamb patties before cooking,  this helps to prevent them from drying out. 

Ingredients

  • 250g lamb mince
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
  • 1/4 of a onion, grated
  • 1 cup hummus
  • Packet of wholemeal pita breads

Method

Heat a frying pan over a medium heat hob (don’t add any oil) in a bowl put the lamb,  garlic powder,  mint and onion and mix thoroughly using your hands.  Take golf ball sized pieces of the mixture and flatten into oval patties. Fry for 5 minutes each side

Slice the pitas down the side to create pockets,  and pop in a good dollop of hummus,  add a lamb Pattie and any extras you want (I love adding tomatoes) and devour. 
Enjoy

Em xx