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

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
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

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.

  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

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