I love tinned food – quick tip – smoked salmon hash

I’ve posted before about the virtues of tinned food – specifically fruit – for a weaning baby. However, now I’ve got even less time than ever before, I’m also embracing it for the time saving aspect.

This was our lunch today:

Smoked salmon hash

A tin of peeled new potatoes
1 onion, chopped
Small pack of smoked salmon trimmings

It goes like this: fry onions & potatoes together until nicely browned. Add salmon & stir through.

We had ours with scrambled egg and then lashings of raspberries for pudding. All on the table in less than ten minutes and costing around £1 a head. Perfect.

Quick tip – ‘ice cream’

So what toddler doesn’t love an ice cream, right?

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Mine certainly does, anyway. But I do feel just a little guilty at the general unhealthyness of an ice cream a day, even if it is hot and the sun’s shining. So our ikea ice lolly moulds are really coming in handy. We’ve made fruit juice lollies, squash lollies and even lollies made from puréed, rather past it’s best, melon. Today we had a go at mango smoothie lollies – puréed mango with a good dollop of plain natural yoghurt stirred through it. Delicious.

Inspire us…what should we make next?

Quick and delicious – spaghetti alla caprese

Slimming World magazine has come up trumps with this one – it’s super quick, super easy and super delicious too. Perfect for warm summer evenings (go away rain; come back sun!). 

Spaghetti alla caprese

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Adapted from a recipe in Slimming World magazine

Serves 4

  • 300g dried spaghetti
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 30g Parmesan 
  • a bunch of fresh basil (approx 40-50g)
  • pack of baby plum tomatoes (approx 250g)
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 mozzarella ball, cubed
  1. Put the spaghetti on to cook.
  2. Add the garlic, Parmesan and basil to the vegetable stock and blend together with a hand blender or in a food processor.
  3. Chop the plum tomatoes, cube the mozzarella and finely chop the onion. Mix together.
  4. Once the spaghetti is cooked, add the vegetable stock and tomato and mozzarella mixture and stir through. 
  5. Serve and enjoy! 

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So delicious she’s stealing some of Daddy’s

Spaghetti alla caprese – the ratings

from nothing to table – 12 minutes – 4/5
ease of preparing/cooking – 5/5 – as long as you’ve got a knife and a blender / food processor there is nothing tricky about this one 
Clementine approval – 3/5 – she loved the mozzarella, enjoyed slurping the spaghetti but wasn’t keen on the onion pieces at all.
clean up time – 2 minutes – 4/5 (nice & pale, not too much sauce – this is a pretty easy clean up)

total score – 16/20 – enjoyed by all of us. You could make an even simpler version by leaving out the tomato, mozzarella and onion and just using the vegetable stock / basil mixture as a type of homemade pesto – good if you’re not sure about the salt content of shop bought stuff. 

 

 

Not while Daddy’s around – Homemade Fish and Chips

Chris absolutely hates fish. He will just about tolerate it if it’s coated in breadcrumbs in the form of a fishfinger, or potato as a fishcake. And as long as there is plenty of ketchup to disguise the taste with. That sometimes makes it a bit of a challenge, while trying to cook family meals as much as possible, to make sure that Clementine gets to experience plenty of fish in her diet. She is a big fan of smoked salmon, and seems to really enjoy most types of fish given the opportunity so, knowing she was having a picnic tea this evening, I took a deep breath and braved a more substantial lunch, in the form of homemade fish and chips.

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Homemade Fish and Chips

This is adapted from a recipe in Slimming World Magazine (What can I say? I’ve had 2 babies in less than 2 years, and horrible morning sickness which abated slightly after 20 weeks both times just as long as I ate constantly. Plus a fondness for cake. Something has to be done. I like Slimming World because it’s basically about lots of home-cooking, family meals and sensible eating. Expect to see other SW-friendly recipes soon.)

Serves 1 toddler and 1 adult

  • 2 skinless & boneless cod fillets
  • breadcrumbs made from 1 small slice of bread
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp parsley (fresh is best but dried is fine) and 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 large potato
  • Olive oil (or for true SW 1 calorie spray such as Fry Light – but I’m not quite sure what’s in that so prefer to stick to oil for Clemmie)
  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.
  2. Peel the potato and cut into chips. Boil for around 5 minutes.
  3. Drain the potato and shake in the pan to roughen the edges. Put into a baking tray with a little olive oil (just enough to very lightly coat them). Cook on the top shelf of the oven for around 25 minutes, turning halfway through.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking, mix the breadcrumbs and herbs together.
  5. Beat the egg and coat the top of each fillet with the mixture. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top.
  6. Place the fish fillets in a foil-lined baking tray and add to the oven – cook for around 12-15 minutes.
  7. Serve with fresh (or frozen!) vegetables of your choice, plus lashings of ketchup if desired.

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Homemade Fish and Chips – the ratings

from nothing to table – 40 minutes – 2/5 (I made things a little easier for myself since this was a lunch dish by prepping the chips and fish before we went out in the morning, so all I had to do once we got home from playgroup was cook it.)
ease of preparing/cooking – 4/5
Clementine approval – 4/5 (the chips went down a storm – she even stole some of mine! – and she enjoyed the fish too)
clean up time – 4 minutes – 3/5  (this was somewhat speeded up by the arrival of the cat and her great delight at fishy leftovers on the floor)

total score – 13/20 – Slimming World chips are delicious, and worth making even if you’re not on a diet. The fish was pretty nice too though I’d like to play around with the breadcrumb mixture next time – it was fairly bland.

 

Another mouth to feed – Mum’s quick pasta carbonara

 

 

Luckily, this one’s only interested in milk for now.

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Apologies for my long, long absence. Things have been a bit hectic since Milo arrived (on April Fools’ Day, no less), weighing 7lb 12oz and turning our world upside down in an instant.

Yes, that is my boob. I ummed and ahhed over whether it was an appropriate picture to post and then I thought, do you know what, this is a blog about feeding babies. This is a picture of me, feeding my baby. Therefore, it is appropriate. So, let’s move on.

While Milo’s fairly easy to please at the moment, poor Clementine has had to put up with fairly substandard fare of late. I start the day with good intentions, then suddenly it’s five to 5 and I’m reaching for the beans on toast / fish fingers / cream cheese / something egg based yet again.

But tonight, as I realised I used the last of the fish fingers yesterday, and she’d had beans for 2 days out of the past 3, and with Clemmie thrusting the spaghetti at me, I was forced to think on my feet. And then I remembered this little dish from my childhood (I’m not actually sure I’ve ever eaten proper carbonara. This is always what passed for it as I was growing up.)

Mum’s quick pasta carbonara

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Serves 1 toddler

  • 1 serving of any pasta of your choice
  • a handful of frozen vegetables (I’ve only really embraced these in late pregnancy / now – they’re amazing!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 slice of ham (you could always use bacon, or omit this for a vegetarian version)
  • A little grated cheese (optional – unless you’re feeding Clemmie, who doesn’t count it as a meal if cheese doesn’t factor somewhere)
  1. Put the pasta on to cook in boiling water.
  2. At the appropriate time interval, add the frozen veg.
  3. Once pasta & veg are cooked, drain them and return them to the pan.
  4. Beat the egg and add to the pasta & veg. Mix together over a low heat until the egg is cooked.
  5. Cut the ham into small pieces and mix into the pasta/veg/egg.
  6. Put on a plate and top with the grated cheese.
  7. Watch toddler turn her nose up at it and remember you were never that keen on it either (only joking Mum!).

Mum’s Quick Pasta Carbonara – the ratings

from nothing to table – 10 minutes – 5/5 (you could do it in 6, using quick cook pasta. It’s seriously quick.)
ease of preparing/cooking – 5/5
Clementine approval – 2/5 (the ham and grated cheese all went very quickly. She had a good go at the veg. Usually she loves spaghetti but either she wasn’t that hungry or the egg coating put her off.)
clean up time – 2 minutes – 4/5 

total score – 16/20 – there’s no doubt this is quick, easy, and not too messy. Bit pointless if the toddler won’t eat it though.

 

ImagePoor Clemmie has the pox, hence the spots and unwillingness to wear clothes. Along with lots of ugly red spots, it also seems to have given her a huge appetite though – she’s barely stopped eating since it announced itself on Monday.

I promise we don’t just eat sausages – Pregnant Jools’s Pasta

Really and truly, other food groups do enter our diet. Just not lately, it would seem. This is an old favourite of ours from pre-Clementine – it’s taken from Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals. I really love this book for interesting and (quickish) meals but I do find the recipes incredibly stressful to follow – mainly because I’m only cooking part of the meal so have to find the relevant bits and skip over the rest. Hopefully this one won’t cause you too much stress.

Pregnant Jools’s Pasta

Serves 6 adults

  • 4 spring onions
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1 fresh red chilli
  • 6 sausages
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 500g pasta of your choice (we’re all about the quick-cook fusilli in this house)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (Jamie says 4. I say I want people to talk to me the next day.)
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • some fresh basil (optional)
  1. Trim spring onions, carrot and celery and destalk and deseed the chilli. Put them all together in a food processor and very finely chop them.
  2. Add the sausages, fennel seeds and oregano and continue blitzing in the food processor until well mixed. (A word of caution, especially if giving this to little babies – watch out for the sausage skins as they can be pretty chewy – I try to remove them if I can spot them.)
  3. Fry the mixture with a little oil in a frying pan, stirring regularly.
  4. Cook the pasta.
  5. Once the sausage mixture is cooked through, add the 2 cloves of garlic (crushed), balsamic vinegar and tinned tomatoes, mixing well.
  6. Drain the pasta and combine with the sausage mixture. Add fresh basil leaves if feeling posh.
  7. Serve and watch toddler pick out each piece of pasta individually, while rejecting all sausage mixture. Delicious with grated parmesan and a nice green salad.

Pregnant Jools’s Pasta – the ratings

from nothing to table – 30 minutes – 3/5 (you really can probably just about achieve this in 30 minutes, especially once you’ve made it a couple of times before).
ease of preparing/cooking – 3/5
Clementine approval – 2/5 (she absolutely refused the sausage mixture though happily ate the coated pasta. I wonder if this was a chilli issue – it seems like it was a particularly hot one – and may try without the chilli soon)
clean up time – 4 minutes – 3/5 (this has the potential to be messy – it’s the tomatoes – especially with younger babies new to this eating thing)

total score – 11/20 – for adults, it’s a really tasty meal. We’ll work on the toddler.

A quick leftovers tip

Sometimes I really do amaze myself with my brilliance. Such as the other day, when I had the quite frankly genius idea of using up some left over champ cannon mash as the basis for some fishcakes.

I simply microwaved a couple of pieces of frozen white fish, fried up a bit of onion and mixed both into the mash, formed into fishcakes, coated in flour and fried for around 4 minutes on each side. Voila, fishcakes in no time and with very little fuss.