Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Kitchen Series- First foods, veg curry three ways and a lemon syrup cake | two


Today is the second part of the series on Baby first foods. I'm going to share a vegetable curry three ways using similar ingredients. Root vegetables are aplenty in the garden and the limbs of the lemon tree full of fruit so meals have been influenced by this produce. I hate things going to waste and you need to get creative when you have 10 kgs of carrots growing in your garden and no room for seeds to be planted. Luckily they are tri-coloured so my little ones don't tire of eating them. Using lentils, quinoa and rice from the pantry helps change dinners too. I also thought l would leave the best to last and share a lemon syrup cake that everyone has enjoyed this week {thanks Nina for the recipe} it'll be a winner at your place too, I promise. There's another link up today, for you to link your favourite past and present recipe blog posts, it's a dream of mine to build a foodie community passionate about yummy, seasonal food. Thanks to everyone that has left comments, tried the recipes and been so encouraging, it means a lot.

Veggie Curry from the garden | recipe one

    Ingredients
    200-250g of jasmine or basmati rice
    900g water
    1 tblsp olive oil
    1 onion
    1 clove of garlic
    5 carrots {orange or purple} diced
    1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets or small pieces
    1/2 a pumpkin with a nutty flesh {or use what you have}
    2 medium potatoes, diced
    1 sweet potato large or 2 small ones, diced
    1 tsp of mild yellow curry powder
    1/2 tsp of ground cumin
    1/2 tsp of ground paprika
    1/4 tsp of salt {I used a Ceres herb salt}
    1 cup of coconut milk 
    2 cups of stock {can be veg, chicken or water}

    How to make in thermie |
    I do this recipe in two parts. But you could steam the veggies and cook the rice if you were making a small batch for just the little ones.
    Place rice into the TM basket and rinse until the water runs clear. Place water into the mixing bowl and insert the TM basket with rice and cook for 13-16 mins/Varoma/speed 2. 
    Remove rice from TM basket and fluff with a fork {you can place rice in the thermoserver for later or in a bowl just set aside}.
    I then clean and dry the TM bowl. Place garlic and onion chop speed 6/4 seconds. Add spices and cook with oil, 1 min/90 degrees/speed 1. 
    Add all vegetables chopped into the TM basket or Varoma {I usually use both for a larger quanity and to ensure dinner and enough to freeze baby meals}. Place 2 cups of stock and coconut milk into the mixing bowl and cook for 20min/Varoma/speed 2. Check whether they are cook to desired consistency if not add another 2 mins/Varoma/speed 2 and check once more.
    Remove TM basket and drain stock/coconut milk into a measuring jug. Transfer all vegetables the mixing bowl along with a little of the liquid and mix for 3-4 seconds/speed 2-3. Scrape down sides and serve over rice or with a side of rice.


     How to make | normal
    1. In a saucepan cook rice {1 cup to two cups of water} over medium heat. Check after 10 minute little holes should begin to be seen at the top of rice if cooked and ready. When cooked turn off heat and sit for 5 minutes. With a fork fluff rice and it's ready to serve.
    2. In another larger saucepan or casserole pot over medium heat, heat oil and add chopped onion and garlic and spices and stir until transparent and cooked through. 
    3. Add vegetables with a little oil and stir for 1 minute.
    4. Add coconut milk and stock. Stir to combine.
    5. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently until the vegetables are tender for 15-20 minutes.
    6. Depending on stage of your babies eating, blend through or just use a fork to mash slightly.
    7. Serve over rice.


    Indian Spiced lentil stew | recipe two

    Ingredients
    1 tblsp olive oil
    2 carrots
    1 red potato
    1/2 onion
    1 garlic clove
    1/4 tsp of ground coriander
    1/4 tsp of ground cumin 
    1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon
    1/3 cup of red lentils
    2 cups of stock {can be veg, chicken or water}

    How to make in thermie |
    I do this recipe in two parts. 
    Firstly, I measure 1 cup or 180g of lentils in the TM basket, then rinse and remove grit. Put basket of lentils in the TM bowl, add 1000ml of water and cook for 15mins/90 degrees/speed 1 with measuring cup {mc} off. Drain well and set aside.
    I then clean and dry the TM bowl. Place garlic and onion chop speed 6/4 seconds. Cook with oil, 1 min/90 degrees/speed 1. 
    Add all vegetables chopped into the TM basket. Place 2 cups of stock into the mixing bowl and cook for 18min/Varoma/speed 2. Check whether they are cook to desired consistency if not add another 2 mins/Varoma/speed 2 and check once more.
    Remove TM basket and drain water and then transfer vegetables and lentils into the mixing bowl chop for 3-4 seconds/speed 4 {gradually increased the speed}. Scrape down sides and serve.

    Note: For the whole family I double or triple the amount, especially if l want leftovers to freeze for future meals. You could also add 1/4 tsp of turmeric, a pinch of mild chilli powder or paprika, or even some chopped tomatoes to the mix to change the taste and make a more complex dish. If you want to do a whole Varoma tray of vegetables cook for 20 mins/Varoma/speed 2 and then check for desired consistency. Of course you will want to double or triple the red lentils for a good family sized meal. I love this with flatbreads and a very cold beer.

    How to make | normal
    In a saucepan over medium heat, heat oil and add chopped carrot, potato, onion and garlic and saute until the vegetables start to sweat for 4-5 minutes. Add the coriander, cumin and cinnamon and stir to mix well, then add the lentils and stock. Stir to combine. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently until the vegetables and lentils are tender for 15-20 minutes.
    Depending on stage of your babies eating, blend through or just use a fork to mash slightly.

    Corn and root veggie chowder| recipe three

    Ingredients
    1 tblsp olive oil
    1/2 an onion
    3 carrots {orange or purple} diced
    2 medium potatoes, diced
    1 bay leaf
    300 ml of milk
    can of organic creamed corn or two corn cobs with corn removed
    1 cup of vegetable stock or organic stock cube and water

    How to make | thermie 


    1. Place garlic and onion chop speed 6/4 seconds. Cook with oil, 1 min/90 degrees/speed 1. 
    2. Add all vegetables including corn, chopped into the TM basket. If using creamed corn l place this in a few minutes before the cooking finishes. Place milk, stock and bay leaf in the bowl and then place the TM basket in the bowl.
    3. Cook for 18 mins/Varoma/Speed 2, then check for desired consistency.
    4. Remove TM basket and drain stock/milk into a measuring jug. 
    5. Transfer all vegetables from the TM basket into the mixing bowl along with a little of the liquid and mix for 3 seconds/speed 3. Scrape down sides and serve. Note: I've added this to quinoa and couscous and over rice too. It's really flavour packed.
    How to make | normal
    1. In a large saucepan cook or casserole pot over medium heat, heat oil and add chopped onion and stir until transparent and cooked through. 
    2. Add vegetables with a little oil and stir for 1 minute.
    3. Add milk, stock and bay leaf until vegetables are covered. Stir to combine.
    4. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently until the vegetables are tender for 15-20 minutes.You'll need to drain the vegetables, take the bay leaf out and keep the liquid in a measuring jug aside for blending if needed.
    5. Depending on stage of your babies eating, blend through or just use a fork to mash slightly. I like to add some of the liquid and stir till it's creamy and blended through well with a masher.

    Lemon Syrup Cake | recipe four {our absolute fav cake}

    Ingredients
    125 g of butter, softened
    200g | 1 cup of caster sugar
    3 free range eggs
    zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
    200 g of self raising flour
    200g of natural yoghurt {I used a berry coconut milk yoghurt alternative which was yum and it's all l had in the fridge}
    For the syrup
    1/3 cup of water
    150g of sugar
    juice of 1/2 lemon
    {I make my caster sugar out of raw sugar beforehand. Just speed 8/10 seconds will do it}

     How to make | thermie
    1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees {fan forced}. 
    2. Grease and line a 20 cm baking tin for the cake
    3. Cream butter and sugar 25 seconds/speed 6 until well combined. Scrape down sides
    4.  Add flour and eggs 5-10 seconds/speed 4. Scrape down sides.
    5.  Add lemon zest and juice and then the yoghurt 10 seconds/speed 4.
    6. Check with a spatula that all ingredients are well combined.
    7. Pour into a 20 cm tin, making the centre a little lower than the edges. 
    8. Bake for about 45-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
    9. A few minutes before cake is ready add all syrup ingredients into the TM bowl, blend for 2 minute/90 degrees/speed 3.
    10. When cake is cooked, leave it in the tin, poke a fine skewer all over the top of the cake {about 30 times, great for getting out your frustrations} and pour the hot syrup over the cake evenly as it soaks into the holes in the cakes.
    11. Allow the cake to cook in the tin and then take out, transfer to a plate. I transferred with the baking paper still on onto a cutting board and served it with cream. It's great served warm with cream or cold. I cut it into finger sized cubes for little fox and larger finger slices for Miss Three for a snack.
    How to make | normal
    1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees fan forced.
    2. Grease and line a 20 cm lined baking tin for the cake
    3. Cream butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
    4. Gently fold in the flour, lemon zest and juice and then the yoghurt.
    5. Pour into a 20cm tin, making the centre a little lower than the edges
    6. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the skewer comes out clean.
    7. About 5 minutes before the cake is ready. Heat the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes.
    8. When cake is cooked, leave it in the tin, poke a fine skewer all over the top of the cake {about 30 times, great for getting out your frustrations} and pour over the hot syrup evenly over the cake.
    9. Allow the cake to cook in the tin and then transfer to a plate. Serve on it's own or with a little double cream. 


    Next week with be the third in the series for First foods and then we will take a short break and share some Syrian recipes that are delish. Remember to link up your foodie blog posts and share recipes, tell others about The Kitchen Series and encourage them to get involved. Recipe sharing, once a week on tuesday's for The Kitchen Series, every week for the rest of 2013.











    Monday, October 28, 2013

    BITS + PIECES: Stills- a weekly collection {home life edition}


    My back's been playing up, why l thought jumping on a trampoline was a good idea l will never know. Movement has been difficult and I've been mindful to go with our days with awareness and openness to how l am feeling and what my tribe needs. We even had a pj day it was lovely. Mount washmore still awaits though.
    This weeks stills|
    1-2) best friends playing.
    3) A lemon syrup cake made for sunday lunch. It was such a foodie week. The recipe coming this tuesday on The Kitchen Series.
    4) I covet this cupboard, it would live in Tully's nursery. A home for his treasures and clothes, pity it's vintage and l can't find one, sigh! 
    5) learning music with little fingers and a look of wonder on his face.
    6) bath time cuteness.
    7) sibling play and a moment for a cup of tea. Miss Three playing barbies with vintage dress ups as her brother investigates the dolls house.
    8) they share such a special bond, the laughter is infectious.
    9-11) cooking for the kids {all the recipes can be found in last weeks The Kitchen Series post on First foods and Sibling meals}.

    Joining em for Stills: a weekly collection. What have you been up to this week? Don't forget the link up tomorrow sharing recipes for The Kitchen Series. 

    x Mummafox

    Saturday, October 26, 2013

    43/52: a portrait project



    Poppy/ you dream of being a mermaid and a fairy. In the afternoon light, dressed in yellow, singing to me about a mermaid swimming in the sea while I ironed fabric to sew, I saw my own childhood dreams in your eyes. They are indeed now your own. You have such a great imagination, may you never lose it. 

    Tully/ 10 months old, still teething. I watched you sleep so peacefully with those rosy cheeks. I pray those gums stop hurting, all those teeth coming through at once. You're growing so quickly that I catch my breath that soon you'll be running after your sister and those hours of holding you as you fall asleep will be over.

    Siblings/ waiting for the bath to fill, you camped out on my bed and had your own little conversation. It was such a sweet moment.

    ~ Joining Jodi over at Che and Fidel for the 52/2013 project ~

    Tuesday, October 22, 2013

    The Kitchen Series- First foods and sibling meals | one


    Today is the first of the series on Baby first foods. I'm no expert, I'll admit that right now but I started Little fox on puree's just shy of four months and it was the best thing to address his reflux problems. He has taken to food like a duck to water. I'm a great believer in making their baby food {when I'm organised and can carve out the time} from homegrown & organic and healthy food, there is a list of meals that have become family favourites. I'm going to share them with you all over the next few weeks. I thought I would start at the beginning and work towards the full recipe list that l rely on for both my little ones and whilst perfect for babies as first foods you can cook these for the whole family. You know just vary the way you chop or blend the ingredients, it makes all the difference, it's easy peasy {just takes some practise and forethought/prep}. There's another link up today, for you to link your favourite past and present recipe blog posts too and hopefully in time we can grow a foodie community here every Tuesday. Thanks to everyone that has left comments and been so encouraging, it means a lot.

    Fruit Puree's | recipe one

    Ingredients
    4 pink or green apples & 4 pears 
    peeled and chopped roughly
    vanilla bean paste or one vanilla bean pod

    How to make: thermie | and normal
    1. Place apple into the TM basket. Place 400g of water into the mixing bowl and cook for 10min/Varoma/speed 2. 
    2. Remove TM basket and drain water and then transfer fruit, and add vanilla bean paste to mixing bowl and puree for 30 seconds/speed 7 {gradually increased the speed}. Scrape down sides and serve.
    3. If you don't have a thermomix cook in a steamer on medium heat with water and steam till soft then blend with stick blender or stand blender till desired consistency is achieved. 

    Note: If you want to do a whole Varoma tray cook for 15 mins/Varoma/speed 2 and then check for desired consistency.

    how to use your steamed apple/fruit a couple of different ways:
    This is great blended more roughly with ice cream or custard as a great afternoon treat after school or for breakfast with a sprinkle of sultanas or cranberries on top. This is a loved treat with my tribe. I've been known to make two big bags of apples up and use half for baby food and the other half I use to make my apple crumble recipe {you can find a couple of different types I've done here or here}, it's so great with caramel and coconut custard {recipe found here}. I then mash this for Little fox and serve with custard or rice cereal for a treat and for Miss Three she often has this in the afternoon with lemon custard {recipe found here} or yoghurt for a snack.

    how l added variety to first puree's | the many variations
    The first puree's l made for Little fox were {or variations on}- apple and pear; apple and pear with vanilla bean, apple and cinnamon, apple crumble with yoghurt, pumpkin, sweet potato and mixed carrot; then I added Quinoa to the mix. I then made sweet corn, pumpkin and pear; pea, broccoli and spinach {and sometimes added puree' carrot or pureed pear to the blend for added sweetness. I then started adding green beans, cauliflower, zucchini, beans, chick peas, and avocado into the blends to change the texture and taste.

    Vegetable Puree's | recipe two 

    how l do it | thermie
    1. I usually make a really big batch of baby food to ensure I have varieties of foods frozen and ready. 
    2. Chopping the vegetables and fruit into 5-10cm pieces/cubes, I place these in the TM bowl and Varoma tray.
    3. Cook these using the Varoma tray and thermomix bowl for 18-25 minutes depending on how much is in the trays. 
    4. Drain the water and then blend them in the TM bowl speed 5-6/20 seconds, scrap down sides of bowl and blitz for another 20 seconds until desired consistency. 

    how to make | normal
    If you don't have a thermomix cut pieces the same size, place in a bamboo steamer or steamer within a saucepan and on medium heat cook till tender. I then often set aside a portion for the day and then freeze the food in Heinz apple ice cube trays {they are bigger than ice cubes and are perfect portions for baby food} in the freezer for quick meals. 

    Transitional foods | how to incorporate protein & carbs
    I use a Raffety's garden rice cereal with all puree's {this is just my preference} as it helped with Little fox's reflux. I then added carbs to the meals like rissoni, rice or tiny pasta flowers, alphabet noodles or chicken noodle soup noodles and couscous {normal and the big Israeli Couscous balls} to the mixes depending on what l was serving for meals that day. I usually add one carbohydrate and test it out over 3-4 days to check for any food intolerance's and to see whether they like it. By the way all the carbs listed above all freeze really well. As my kids grow l begin to blend or puree less and introduce more chunky versions of the same meals.
    I introduced chicken first as a protein and then steamed fish {white flesh and then pink, oily varieties} and red meat. I made this in thermie but didn't follow a recipe l later realised that there is a great one in the Everyday cookbook.

    First foods | Chicken and Vegetable puree | recipe 3
    Ingredients
    250g skinless chicken breast or thigh fillets, cut into 1-2 cm cubes.
    150g potato or sweet potato cut into 1-2 cm cubes
    80 g of carrots, peeled {optional as l don't peel them}, 
    cut into 1-2 cm cubes
    1/4 of a head of cauliflower, cut into florets 
    {I have grown a lot so this is in most recipes at the moment}
    100 g water
    1 tsp of butter
    70 g of apple/pear peeled, and cut into 2 cm cubes {alternatively use banana if you are leaving out the cauliflower}

    how to make
    1. Place chicken, potato, carrot, water and butter into TM bowl and cook 8-10min/100 degrees/speed 1.
    2. Add banana {if using in the mix} and puree 20-30 sec/speed 8, gradually increasing speed from speed 1 to speed 8.

    Note: you can do this with different meats and fish as well. If you are using pear or apple and it needs to be cooked add to step 1. 

    My Version of Mac and Cheese
    | family favourite | recipe four

    Ingredients
    60 g of Diced carrot, pumpkin
    small onion finely chopped
    60g of Garden peas
    200g Little Macaroni
    1 egg
    300g full cream milk
    50g of flour
    30g Butter
    1/2 tsp of salt
    1/2 tsp of nutmeg
    1 cup of grated cheese {cheddar or tasty}


    how to make: thermie | and normal

    for thermie
    1. Chop vegetables in the thermomix speed 6/6-8 seconds
    2. Set aside in a bowl.
    3. If you prefer finely dicing vegetables then dice finely and set aside in a bowl. Measure out 1 cup {60g) of garden peas either fresh or frozen and set aside.
    4. Add macaroni, water and milk in the TM bowl. Cook for 10 mins/90 degrees/ reverse speed 1. The vegetables put in the Varoma and cook for 8-10 mins on the top while cooking the macaroni. You may need to adjust cooking time for vegetables depending on how much you use and how soft you want them. You could also cook vegetables first and then the macaroni in two stages and then proceed to making the cheese sauce.
    5. In a dry and clean thermomix bowl place 70g of cheese in the bowl and grate 10 seconds/speed 7-8. Set the cheese aside for adding to the sauce later.
    6. When making the cheese sauce. Place all ingredients {including egg} for the sauce leaving the cheese out till later in TM bowl and cook 7 min/90 degrees/speed 4. 
    7. scrape down sides and add cheese and 1/2 tsp of mustard {optional} and cook 1 minute/90 degrees/speed 3.

    normal
    1. Dice vegetables and place in a steam over water and cook on a medium heat till tender.
    2. Grate cheese and set aside
    3. Cook macaroni in water in another saucepan till tender and cooked through. Add the frozen peas and let it simmer for 1 minute and then drain and set aside.
    4. In another saucepan prepare the white sauce by melting the butter and flour over a gentle heat till blended and it forms a paste
    5. Beat the egg and then add along with the milk to make the sauce.
    6. Gradually add milk, nutmeg and stir till sauce thickens and then gradually add the grated cheese to the white sauce.
    7. Add all ingredients into one pot and combine and then serve immediately.

    Mac and Cheese
    | family favourite | recipe four, version 2 

    Cook as per recipe above. For a baked version l preheat the oven to 200 degrees. In an ovenproof dish l pour all the ingredients in once cooked, along with a large can of tuna in spring water, drained mixed in. I then add another cup or two of grated cheese and a sprinkle of breadcrumbs over the pasta. Bake it for 20 minutes, until the top is bubbling and golden. I've also used breadcrumbs made in my thermomix that l have milled for 20 seconds with some parsley or sage for a Herbie mac and cheese which is really yummy too.

    Variations on this recipe
    I've sometimes added ham or shredded bacon. If l have corn beef or roast leftovers I add it. Corn on the cob if leftover from the previous night's dinner, is shredded and added to the macaroni and finely diced red capsicum and sometimes cooked or grated zucchini. 
    You could also take a look at Retromummy's tuna macaroni found here, or a pasta fagioli here by Jo from Quirkycooking that is really good too. 

    I find the trick with any meals for bubs/toddlers is that it has to be flexible with what you have in the fridge and pantry. They have to like it and you also have to be able to make it for yourselves because let's face it who has time to make three different dinners {I don't, I'm often running around the house answering to my children's commands and attempting to prevent meltdowns and high pitched screaming}. 

    Next week l am going to share a vegetable stew & a root vegetable curry, first finger foods for the little ones and a lemon drizzle cake for the grown ups. Oh I am getting hungry. Good luck and happy cooking everyone. Let us know what you have been making lately. Share the foodie love, share a recipe and remember to blog link up your recipes OK. 
    I'm out of here. 
    x Mummafox







    Sunday, October 20, 2013

    BITS + PIECES: Stills- a weekly collection



    This weeks Stills are such a tapestry of strong narratives and unity. Nature has featured heavily in our Montessori lessons at home. Face painting animals, flower and bug chalk drawings, harvesting greens from our veggie garden, learning the names of the herbs and vegetables and their many uses. Preparing meals and making bread with fingers covered in flour. While Ads was home sick with gastro, so unbelievably unwell and the little ones with runny noses we lived simplicity in our daily life. Staying close to home, immersing ourselves in craft, swim classes, picnics outside, telling stories and taking time to be still and read in the late afternoons. With Little fox teething and desiring to be held those moments on the couch have been treasured ones with you both. I'm not sure why you won't sleep Little fox in your cot and you prefer my arms but I look at your beautiful Stokke cot and l want to climb in and embrace sleep. I hope you change your mind. Whilst the washing has piled up, the house fallen into disarray {bound to happen} and the pile of books endless, two were standouts. John Hegley's Stanley's stick and Tico and the golden wings by Leo lionni. Such beautiful narratives. Inspiring us to practise mindfulness. Being mindful of our surroundings and in caring for one another and being accepting of ourselves. We explored this in art and play, and honestly I'll never look at another stick the same way again. Little ones I'll love you to the moon and back always but it's been a long week and I'm exhausted. Now goodnight!

    Joining em for Stills. 
    What did you get up to this past week? Stay tuned for The Kitchen Series tomorrow.

    X Mummafox

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