Thursday, 29 July 2010

Cook's Staple - Suet Dumplings

These are so simple to make and a great addition to any casserole or stew. 

100g/ 4 oz Self raising flour
50g/ 2 oz Shredded suet
25g/ 1 oz grated onion
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
5 tbsp cold water
Salt and pepper to season

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl and then slowly add the cold water.  Continue to mix until you get a good dough consistency.

Using clean hands, roll out on a lightly floured surface.

You can either use a round cookie cutter to cut the dumplings or you can divide into small dough balls and roll them with your hands.

Add to any simmering casserole or stew about 20 minutes before the end of cooking time to allow to cook through and absorb flavours of the dish.

Finger Foods

Miss Boo is officially into finger food territory, so I thought I would list a few favourites and ideas:
  • Well cooked broccoli 
  • Cooked carrot batons
  • Toast, with crust removed (it is a good idea to squash the bread before toasting as this will stop it becoming too crumbly when being eaten)
  • Organix rice cakes
  • Organix carrot sticks (these melt in the mouth so are a great way for young ones to experiment with hand to mouth feeding)
  • Pitta bread
  • Cooked green beans
  • Fortified cereal (such as Cherrios)
  • Cooked pasta twists
  • Slices of ham 
  • Well cooked boiled eggs (both yolk and white well cooked), cut into quarters
Obviously with one so little it is important to keep a watchful eye, but she really enjoys this aspect of feeding and loves to be able to do it herself.

Master Bob still prefers eating with his fingers, no matter how many times I remind him to use his fork!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Lemon Fairy Cakes

I love fairy cakes.  They are so easy to make and look great decorated.  Here I have used two different types of icing, butter icing and glace icing.

Traditional fairy cakes have the same ingredients as a Victoria Sponge, just smaller quantities.  For Lemon Fairy Cakes, I simply substitute the vanilla extract for fresh lemon juice and add the zest of a lemon. 

4 oz Self raising flour
4 oz Butter, softened
4 oz Caster Sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 Eggs, beaten
zest of one small lemon, finely grated
1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (you can use 1 tbsp if you don't wish to add the lemon zest, just don't use more than 1 tbsp as it will be too tart)

Turn the oven on to 190C.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. 

Beat in the eggs.  Add the lemon juice and zest and mix well.

Fold in the sifted flour and baking powder.

Divide into 12 baking cases placed on a baking tray and put in the oven for 15 minutes, or until golden.

Allow to cool for a couple of minutes in tray before moving onto a wire rack to cool.

Once completely cooled, decorate with icing.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Baked Banana Breakfast and Devilish Dessert Alternative

This idea was suggested to me by a member of the Weaners to Screamers facebook group.  It is a really simple, yet delicious alternative for serving up banana for a baby.  We used to have this as a treat when having BBQ's when I was younger, so I have added the devilish dessert recipe at the bottom too.

1 Banana
1 tbsp baby's yoghurt (plain or vanilla)

Turn the oven on to 200C.

With a sharp knife, cut a line from top to bottom through the skin of the banana on the inside.

Wrap the banana in tin foil and place on a baking tray.  Cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the banana is soft and squidgey.

Using a spoon, scoop out the soft baked banana and mix in a bowl with the yoghurt.

Serve.

Devilish Alternative

Follow the recipe as above, however after slicing the banana skin, insert 3 - 4 pieces of milk chocolate in the slice.  Wrap in foil and bake. 

This also works wonderfully well on a BBQ as an easy dessert option.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Salmon Surprise for Weaners and Fish Cakes for Screamers

This dish is adapted from the Greek dish Arakas Laderos and has a great flavour to it.  Salmon is an exceptionally healthy fish to have in your diet as it is high in Omega 3 fatty acid as well as protein and Vitamin D.  This dish can be altered before pureeing and turned into fish cakes for older children. 

2 tbsp olive oil
350 g Maris piper potatoes, peeled and quartered
150 g Frozen peas
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
100 g salmon fillet, skinned and de-boned
500 ml water
1 knob of butter

Heat the oil in a pan and sweat the onions for 5 minutes on a low to medium heat, until translucent. 

Add the potatoes and peas.  Stir and cook for about 2 minutes.

Stir in the dill and cook for a further minute.

Add the water and salmon fillet.  Turn up the heat and bring the pan to the boil.

Turn the heat down so that the pan bubbles at a good simmer rate and cook for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are nice and soft.

Drain, reserving the liquid.

Add a knob of butter and mash all the contents together.

To Make Puree

Once well mashed, using a hand blender, start adding the reserved liquid and puree until you get the desired consistency. (I find that i tend to re-use nearly all of the liquid but less can be used as your baby moves away from purees and towards more textured tastes).

To Make Fish Cakes

In a food processor, whizz up some breadcrumbs using a couple of pieces of near-stale bread.

Allow the fish mash to cool slightly so that it can be handled.  Turn the oven on to 200 C if wishing to oven cook.

Beat an egg in a bowl.

Make small balls out of the fish mash and flatten slightly.  Brush with the beaten egg and then roll in the breadcrumbs until completely covered.  Repeat until all the fish mash is used up. 

Place the fish cakes on a lightly greased baking tray and cook in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, turning halfway.

Alternatively, you can pan fry the fish cakes in a little olive oil for about 5 - 10 minutes each side, until golden brown.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Weaner's Sweet Potato, Courgette and Broccoli Puree

1 Sweet potato, peeled and sliced
1 Courgette, washed, trimmed and sliced
4 Large broccoli florets.

Place the sweet potato in a pan and cover with water. 

Bring to the boil and boil for 8 minutes.  Add the broccoli and courgette and cook for a further 7 minutes, until the the vegetables are soft.

Drain and reserve some of the liquid.  Puree until smooth, adding more liquid as necessary to get the right consistency.

NB: Broccoli is a wonderful vegetable, high in vitamins C, K and A. A single serving can provide more than half your daily requirement of vitamin C, as well as being a source of dietary fiber. 

Yummy Cakes - Victoria Sponge

This is one of the easiest cakes to make. a real classic that can work for any occasion.


8 oz Butter, softened
8 oz Caster sugar
8 oz Self raising flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
4 Eggs, beaten
1 -2 tsp Vanilla extract
A little milk

Turn the oven on to 190C then grease and line two 8' sandwich tins.

In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract.

Fold in the sifted flour and baking powder. You want to get a good dropping mixture so if the batter turns too dry you can add a little milk, teaspoon by teaspoon, until you get the desired consistency. 

Spoon into the sandwich tins and smooth with a spatula.

Cook in the oven on the middle shelf for 20-25 minutes until cooked.  You can check that they are cooked by inserting a skewer into the centre of the cakes.  If the skewer comes out clean, it is ready.  If not, continue to cook for a few more minutes and repeat skewer test until cooked. 

Allow to cool in the tins for 5 - 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack and removing the paper lining from the bottom of the cake.

Allow to cool completely.

Sandwich the two cakes together with either some cream and fresh berries, or some butter icing and jam

Dust with a little icing sugar and serve. 

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Boo's Beef Casserole

5 oz Rump Steak, diced into 1cm cubes
100 g Parsnip. peeled and chopped
100 g Carrot, peeled and chopped
1 Onion, peeled and chopped
150 g Sweet potato, peeled and chopped
200 g  potato, peeled and chopped
25 g butter
2 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 stick of celery, sliced (this is optional)
Turn the oven on to 180C.

In a frying pan, melt the butter on a medium-low heat and gently cook the onions for 5 minutes, until translucent and soft.  

In a bowl, toss the diced steak in the flour and cinnamon.  Add this to the soft onions and cook for a couple of minutes until lightly browned. 

Place the onion and steak into a casserole dish and add all the chopped vegetables.

Pour over chicken stock and cover with lid.  

Place in the oven and cook for 1 3/4 hours. 

Remove from oven and allow to cool a little before pureeing.  This will make a very smooth puree, however if you wish to make it more textured you can remove some of the liquid before blending, or mashing. 

Top Tip:  The steak will cook to be very tender if you leave the meat at room temperature for about 40 minutes (no longer than an hour) prior to cooking. 

NB:  Please note this recipe contains celery.

Mark's Magic Muffins

When my friend Mark suggested I try making muffins using melted ice-cream I was both incredulous and inquisitive.  Sounded like a great idea so I measured out the ingredients in equal quantities, cooked at 180C for 25-30 mins, until golden and discovered they are yummy!  Taste very similar to scones and go wonderfully with some home-made jam.  NB: You can probably cook for less time at a higher temperature.





300 ml/ 1/2 pint melted vanilla ice cream
200 gm Sifted self-raising flour.

Blend the sifted flour and ice-cream together until well mixed. 

Grease a 12 hole muffin tin.  Fill each hole about 3/4 full, so as to leave enough room to allow for the muffins to rise.

Place in an oven for 25-30 minutes, until risen and golden. 

Cool in tray for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

Baked Banana Breakfast

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Charlie's Child-Friendly Chilli Con Carne

This is a really delicious chilli recipe that is mild enough for the whole family.  The recipe has been supplied by my wonderful friend Charlie who made this for me just after I had given birth to Boo and kept the family fed for a couple of meals.  (How lucky am I to have such an amazing friend?)

500g minced beef
1 onion
quarter teaspoon ground cumin
quarter teaspoon mild chilli powder
half tbsp flour
1    420g can red kidney beans in chilli sauce (from Sainsburys)
1 green pepper
1 420g can peeled chopped tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste

Chop and brown the onion in a small amount of olive oil. 

Add the meat and brown also. 

Once done stir in the ground cumin and the chilli powder and flour. Stir for 2 mins. 

Chop the green pepper into large squares and add along with tinned toms and kidney beans. 

Season to taste, stir well, cover and simmer for 45 mins. 

This is a mild intoduction to chilli tastes served with rice and a salad is perfect for the littlies but also makes enough for us!!!!

Yummy Cakes - Banana and Chocolate Chip Cake

This is a family favourite and my most requested recipe from friends.  Makes enough to fill two 8" round cake tins.



3 ripe bananas
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
175 g butter
225 g sugar, granulated
275 g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 eggs, beaten
100 g chocolate chips

Grease and line two 8" round sandwich tins. Turn oven on to 170C.

In a bowl, mash the bananas and mix in the vanilla extract.

Cream together with butter and sugar until pale and creamy.  Beat in a little of the egg and then sift a little of the flour and soda.  Continue alternating.  Stir in the mashed banana.

Spoon into the sandwich tins.

Cook in the oven at 170C for approximately 35 minutes.  The cake should be golden and when a skewer is inserted, it comes out clean you will know it is cooked.  If it has a little residue on it, continue cooking, checking every 5 minutes.

Leave to cool in tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Make some chocolate butter icing.  Use this to sandwich the cakes together and cover the cake.

Delicious!

Top Tip:  You can do a cook's cheat and instead of creaming the butter and sugar together, you can melt it in a small pan over a low heat.  Allow to cool before adding flour and chocolate chips so that the chocolate doesn't melt.

(NB: For the cake above I doubled the recipe and used a large tractor cake tin.  I covered with chocolate butter icing and decorated with jelly diamonds, fudge chuncks and chocolate buttons)

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Cook's Staple - How to make a simple jam

Apple and Summer Fruits Seedless Jam

500 g frozen summer fruit berries
4 large cooking apples, cored and roughly chopped
Granulated sugar

Place the fruit in a large stainless steel pan and add enough water to just cover the fruit.  Cook on a medium heat for about 6 - 10 minutes, until the fruit is tender.

Remove from the heat and mash the fruit to a pulp.

Strain the pulp through a sieve and discard the seeds and apple skins.

Weigh the sieved fruit and then measure the exact same weight in granulated sugar.

Return the strained fruit to the heat and add the sugar, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.  Heat until the jam is boiling and then lower to simmer at a boil for 8 - 10 minutes.

Test the jam by drizzling a little on a cold plate.  Put plate in the fridge and after a minute, remove and drag your finger through the jam drizzle.  If it pulls across the plate leaving a crinkly trail mark the it is ready.  If it is still too liquidy, continue to boil for another couple of minutes and try again.

Pour into sterilised jam jars and seal tight with air-tight lids.



Top Tips:

  • Sterilise your jam jars: At the start of your jam making session, wash and dry your jars.  Place top down (lid removed) onto a sheet of baking paper.  Put into an oven.  Turn oven on to 160C. Once the oven reaches the temperature, turn it off and leave the jars in the oven until needed.
  • Adding the sugar: When you turn the oven heat off, up to 1 kg of granulated sugar into an ovenproof dish and put in the oven to warm.  That way when you add to the warmed fruit they are at the same temperature and it doesn't affect the gelling state of the jam.
  • Don't try and boil the jam too fast, you don't want the sugar to caramelise on the bottom of the pan as you boil. 
  • Before you start stewing the fruit, put two small plates into the fridge so that when it comes to test your jam later you have them chilled and to hand.   If you put two into the fridge then you have a spare one already prepared if the first test shows the jam isn't yet ready. 

Monday, 19 July 2010

Cook's Staple - Simple Pancake Recipe

This is a very simple, basic recipe.  You can always experiment by adding extra ingredients, spices, fruits and quantities.

100g (4oz) plain flour
1 egg
300ml (1/2 pint) milk
optional pinch salt
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. 

Beat in the egg until well mixed.  Slowly add the milk gradually until you get a good batter consistency.

Heat some oil in a pan until the pan is hot, but not spitting.  Ladle in some mixture and tip the pan around until the batter is spread evenly and thinly around the pan.  Allow the batter to bubble a little and once it is looking on it's way to be cooked through, flip it over.  It should be slightly golden on each side, with the batter completely cooked. 

Serve with a little lemon juice squeezed over it and a sprinkle of sugar, or maple syrup or whatever topping you choose.

NB:  This is a great recipe for kids to help out with.  My son loves helping sift the flour and mixing in the egg and milk.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Crispy Cakes for Party Treats

This is a great recipe to have in your arsenal for any kids party or on rainy afternoons for an easy kids activity that the whole family loves.




50 g butter
3 tbsp Golden Syrup
200 g Cooking chocolate, broken into squares (I used milk chocolate, can use dark or white chocolate)
100 g rice crispies.

Mini marshmallows, sugar sprinkles, mini fudge chunks and sugar balls to decorate.

Makes about 28.

In a glass bowl , place the chocolate, butter and golden syrup.  Place this carefully over a saucepan of simmering water (only put a little in as the water level can rise when the glass bowl is placed atop).  Stir until all ingredients are melted together.

Remove from heat and mix into a large bowl with the rice crispies.

Place 28 baking cases into muffin tins or on plates and divide the mixture evenly.

Can decorate with mini marshmallows, sugar sprinkles etc.

Leave in the fridge for at least an hour to allow it to set.

Enjoy!

Top Tips:

  • Keep a small bowl of freshly boiled water to hand to dip the tablespoon in when adding the golden syrup.  This will help the syrup slide off into the glass bowl easier and make washing up easier too.
  • If using white chocolate, you can use less butter as white chocolate is naturally more creamy and doesn't need as much. 
  • Why not try substituting half of the rice crispies for rolled oats for a great added texture and taste.

Chicken Pasta Salad

This is a simple pasta salad.  You can omit the chicken and add more vegetables and if wanting a vegetarian pasta salad, add tofu and cheese for extra diversity and protein. This dish also works warm using a fresh cooked chicken breast.  Do not re-heat cold chicken.



375 g/ 12 oz Fresh pasta such as penne or twists.
salt and pepper to season.
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 skinless chicken breast, cooked and chopped
2 carrots, peeled, cut into batons
50 g/ 2oz green beans, topped and tailed.
4 fresh chives (optional)

Fill a large pan of water about half way and bring to the boil.  Put in the pasta and cook for about 4 minutes, or according to packet instructions if using dry pasta.  Drain and rinse with cold running water.  Then return to the pan and allow to cool.  Add the knob of butter and seasoning. 

Cook the carrots and green beans.  Drain, rinse with cold water then cut into smaller pieces.  Cut the chives into smaller pieces for garnish.

Add the chopped chicken to a large bowl and the mayonnaise. Mix in the vegetables and chives.

Serve.



















We also added sweetcorn and mixed beans to this dish for a bit more variety. 

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Cod, Potato and Spinach Puree

2 potatoes, peeled and halved
200 g cod, skinless and de-boned
1 small bag of baby leaf spinach

In a pan of boiling water, cook the potatoes until tender.  Drian, reserving the liquid.

Push the potatoes through a ricer and keep aside.

Return the reserved liquid to the pan and cook the fish and spinach for 5 - 10 minutes until cooked.

Drain the fish and spinach, reserving liquid.

Mix all cooked food together and with a little liquid, puree until you get the desired consistency.

Store or freeze.

Mini Lamb Burgers


Mini burgers are great fun to make for small hands.  Make sure that everyone washes their hands thoroughly before and after handling the raw meat mixture.  You can make plain mini burgers by omitting the spices listed here if you so choose.  Perfect for the summer as they go great on a BBQ.

450 g / 1 lb Minced Lamb
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp paprika
salt and pepper
2 slice white bread, blitzed in food processor into breadcrumbs
1 egg

Place the meat, onion, herbs, spices, seasoning, egg and two handfuls of breadcrumbs into a bowl and mix well.  If you wish, you can blitz in a food processor to get a fine blend.

Take the meat mixture and make into 8 small burgers. 

Roll in remaining breadcrumbs.

Either heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the burgers for approximately 5 minutes each side, until thoroughly cooked, or grill under a low to medium heat for approximately 5 - 8 minutes each side.

Serve with home made chips and vegetable of your choice.

These are great for kids, but if you want to add a little extra to it when serving then also tastes great served with wholegrain mustard.

Yummy Rice Pudding

If you are catering for a dairy-free diet you can substitute the cow's milk for either soya or oat milk. 

NB:  It is recommended that children are NOT given rice milk s a dairy substitute due to the high levels of natural occurring arsenic found in rice.

100 g pudding rice/short grain rice, washed
1 pint / 590 ml milk
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of nutmeg
2 tablespoons of vanilla sugar (or 2 tablespoons of caster sugar plus one vanilla pod split with seeds removed)

In a pan, warm the milk slightly and then add the rice, nutmeg, salt and sugar.  Give a good stir. 

Let the milk heat up, but don't let it boil, stirring to ensure that it doesn't burn or the rice doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. 

Lower the heat to a very low setting and cover. 

Cook for 30-40 mins.  Check every 10 mins and give it a good stir to make sure the rice doesn't coagulate and stick to the pan.

Serve warm, with a little added milk if desired.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Tuna and Chicken Rainbow Melt (for Screamers and beyond)

This tastes great on an open baguette but can just as easily be served on a slice of toasted bread.

Serves 4 adults.

1 small skinless chicken breast, cooked and diced.
1 small can of tuna or 1/2 a large can of tuna, drained and flaked.
1/2 red pepper, de-seeded and diced
1/2 yellow pepper, de-seeded and diced
2 spring onions, washed and sliced
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
50 gm (2 oz) grated cheddar cheese.

In a bowl combine the chicken, tuna, peppers and spring onion.  Add the mayonnaise and curry powder and mix thoroughly.

If using a baguette, cut in half and butter lightly, or if dairy-free, use a little Pure.  If using toast, lightly spread with Butter or Pure.

Put the filling mix on top of the bread.  Cover with grated cheese.

Place under a grill set at a low to medium heat and cook for about 3-5 minutes, until the cheese has melted and turned light brown.   Keep an eye on it so that the bread doesn't burn.

Serve

NB: Remember that melted cheese can be very hot so let it cool for a minute or two before serving to younger children.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Ratatouille

This dish is delicious and a great way to get children to eat colourful vegetables.  It is a relatively simple dish, although the preparing the vegetables at the beginning can be a little time consuming.  Well worth it though for the finished product.

450 gm ripe tomatoes, skin removed, de-seeded and diced.
2 onions, peeled, chopped and diced
3 courgettes, chopped and diced
350 gm aubergine, chopped and diced
1 yellow pepper, washed, de-seeded and diced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
Olive oil
Mixed herbs

Put a little olive oil into a large pan and gently cook the onions until softened and translucent.

Add the rest of the ingredients, stirring well on a medium heat for a few minutes until the pan is gently bubbling.  Cover with a lid and simmer on a low heat for about 20 minutes.  Remove lid, stir and simmer for a further 10 minutes.

Delicious with a jacket potato or on its own.

NB:  This dish is cooked until all vegetables are soft so makes a great lumps and bumps meal too.  Can be further mashed for younger children or seasoned for older children/adults.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Macaroni Cheese

6 oz dried macaroni
2 oz butter
2 oz flour
600 ml milk
7 oz cheddar cheese, grated

Turn your oven on to 180C, Gas Mark 4.

Cook macaroni according to packet instruction, drain and return to pan and keep covered.
Make a white sauce using the butter, flour and milk.  When the sauce thickens and begins to boil add half of the grated cheese and keep stirring until cheese has melted into the sauce. 

Grease a casserole dish with a little butter on some kitchen towel.  Add the cooked macaroni and cover with the cheese sauce.  Sprinkle over the remaining grated cheese and put in the oven.  Cook for approximately 25 minutes until the grated cheese has turned a golden brown.

Leave to cool for a few minutes before serving as the sauce is very hot.

NB: This recipe can also be mashed or pureed for younger children/babies, however it is also quite high in salt due to the cheese so should be given only every once in a while.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Cook's Staple - How to cook a jacket potato

There are two ways to go about cooking a jacket potato. 

Firstly turn your oven on to 190C.

Wash and scrub your potato, then prick all over with a fork.

If using a microwave, place the potato in a piece of kitchen roll and microwave for 7-8 minutes.

Remove from microwave and dip kitchen towel in olive oil and rub all over potato.

Place on a baking tray and cook for 40-50 minutes until browned and crisp on the outside and soft in the middle.

If you don't have a microwave then you can simply prick the potato with a fork, rub oil all over and cook in the oven for 1.5-2 hours until cooked through.

Be as inventive as you wish for the fillings - from plain cheese to adventurous tuna recipes, a jacket potato is an easy classic that always satisfies kids hunger at meal time.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Sweet potato, Carrot and Broccoli Puree

I small sweet potato, peeled and sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
4 - 5 florets of broccoli

Put all vegetables in a pan with enough water to cover and bring to the boil.  Cook for 15 minutes until all vegetables are soft.

Drain, reserving the liquid.  Puree, adding the reserved liquid until you get the desired consistency.

Sugar Sprinkled Crispies



100 gm Pure spread (can use other margarine spread)
50 gm Soft butter
50 gm Light brown muscovado sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125 gm self-raising flour, sifted.
75 gm cornflakes, crushed
100 gms white chocolate
Sugar sprinkles

Mix sugar, butter and Pure in bowl until light and creamy.   Mix in egg and vanilla extract.   Add the sifted flour and continue to mix until you have a sticky batter.

Using a teaspoon, drop a ball of batter onto a plate of crushed cornflakes and roll until covered.

Press into a cookie shape and put on a greased baking tray.  Continue the same until all batter is used (makes around 25-30)

Cook in oven at 190C for approximately 14-15 minutes.

Leave on a cooling rack to cool.

In a glass bowl, or bain marie, melt the chocolate over a pan of boiling water.

Once melted, remove from heat and spoon chocolate on top of cornflake cookie.

Sprinkle with sugar sprinkles.

Eat the same day. Yum!



Friday, 2 July 2010

Scrumptious Sugar Cookies



This recipe makes about 40-60 cookies, depending on how big you make them! The dough needs to be chilled in the fridge for at least an hour. I like to leave it over night ideally. It can also be rolled into a large sausage shape, covered with cling film and frozen.

425 gms plain flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

225 gms unsalted butter, room temperature

250 gms granulated white sugar

2 large eggs, beaten.

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cream butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Sift in flour, salt and baking powder. Finally beat in eggs and vanilla extract. This makes the mixture quite soft and gooey - don't worry, that's fine.

Divide the mixture into two and roll into a ball. Cover with cling film and chill.

When ready to roll, cover a clean surface with flour and roll out and cut into whatever shapes you choose.

If you want to do something different, you can insert a lollipop stick before cooking (make sure it is in more than half of the cookie so that it can hold the cookie when cooked). Make sure the dough covers the whole of the lollipop that is inserted - add more dough to cover if necessary. These make cute party favours and go down a treat.  I covered mine with cellophane bags and tied with ribbon after decorating so they were easy to take home for the kids.

Cook at 200C for approximately 10 mins (depending on size of cookie)

If freezing, you can simply cut off individual slices and bake at 200C for approximately 15 minutes.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Chicken Risotto For All

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
500 ml chicken stock
1 large chicken breast or 2 small chicken breasts
100 - 150 gms Basmati Rice (rinse under water before using)

In a sauce pan, put the oil and onion and cook until soft. Add the chicken and vegetables. Once the chicken has browned pour over the chicken stock. Bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the rice and cook for a further 15 minutes.

The rice should absorb most of the stock. You can puree this for very small babies, mash it into lumps for babies moving on to the second stage of weaning or just leave it chopped for toddlers and the rest of the family.