Grain-free Bread

This recipe is from Deliciously Ella. She’s a British girl and her website is loaded with yummy vegetarian dishes and refined-sugar-free snacks. This bread recipe is one of the only ones I’ve tried which consistently gives me good results and I’ve been using it for years.

I’ve slightly modified it so that it’s got no whole seeds in it that could present a choking hazard for little ones.

The psyllium husk powder and chia seeds can be found at any supermarket in either the baking or the ‘organics’ section.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 and ½ cups pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup of buckwheat or brown rice flour (if just wanting a gluten free option)
  • 1 cup of almonds
  • ½ cup of sunflower seeds
  • 3 heaped tablespoons of psyllium husk powder
  • 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of mixed dried herbs
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  • Place the almonds and both seeds in the food processor and blend for a couple of minutes until a smooth flour forms
  • Transfer this flour in to a bowl and stir in the buckwheat flour, chia seeds, psyllium husks, dried herbs and salt.
  • Stir the mix well before gradually pouring in the water
  • You’ll then need to let the mixture sit for an hour or so to let it fully absorb all the water and firm up. During this time, you can heat the oven to 180c.
  • Once the mix is nice and firm (like, really firm, it can’t be a tiny bit runny – if it is then add a bit more psyllium), grease a loaf tin, pour the mix in and firmly press it down with a spoon.
  • Bake for about forty minutes to an hour until the top begins to brown and you can pull a knife out of the middle without any mix sticking to it
  • Slice and then freeze or keep in the fridge to make it last longer. There are no preservatives so if it’s not frozen or in the fridge it won’t last more than a few days.
grain fre bread 3
Ready to go in the oven!

Creamy vegetable pasta

This is a very simple dish to whip up with any left-over vegetables, really, on those nights where either inspiration lacks or time is limited. The good thing though is that you know your little one’s nutrition isn’t compromised!

I used butternut and spinach here, but you could use kumara and courgette instead. This recipe calls for cream cheese, but I think some grated cheese or sour cream would work just as well. All bring a lovely creaminess to this dish.

If you cook the pasta until it’s really quite soft, then this is suitable for younger babies (say 8 or 9 months) as you can break up the pasta shells when you’re mixing through the vegetables and cheese.

This dish isn’t just for little grubs. A sneaky side of garlic bread here and this is easily a dinner the whole family will enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 100gm pasta shells or spirals
  • ½ large butternut pumpkin
  • ½ red capsicum (or orange or yellow)
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 3 cubes of frozen spinach (defrosted)
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese

Method:

  • Cook pasta in a pot of oiled boiling water until soft, drain and rinse under hot water
  • Meanwhile, chop the butternut and tomatoes in to bite-sized pieces and slice the capsicum in to thin strips
  • Steam the vegetables until soft
  • When the vegetables and pasta are cooked, mix them together and stir through the spinach and cream cheese
  • For younger babies, break up and mash the pasta shells a bit when stirring through the vegetables

Serve immediately or store overnight in the fridge.

Oats 3 ways

This cold weather calls for a warming start to your day, and what better way than a steaming bowl of porridge. Oats are a great breakfast food for little grubs, fuelling them for the day with slow-release energy that keeps them feeling fuller for longer. They’re even better if you can include a good quality fat as well.

These varieties have all been tested on the boy and he loves every one. They’re not just for kids though! I reckon you’ll love them too. I’ve also tried soaking them overnight which works well for those busy mornings where you just want to chuck something in the microwave or on the stove, really quickly.

The quantities used here makes one serving for a little one, just increase the quantities and ratios if you’re wanting to make a bigger bowl.

If you’re using the stove, mix all ingredients together (except where advised otherwise) and stir until the oats are cooked to your liking. If using the microwave, again mix all the ingredients together and microwave for 30 seconds, stir and then microwave for another 20 – 30 seconds depending on the strength of your microwave and how you like your oats cooked.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp rolled oats
  • 4 tbsp full fat milk (or water or almond/coconut milk)

Varieties:

Peanut Butter and Banana

  • 1 tsp peanut butter
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • banana to top (either mashed or sliced)
  • mix all the ingredients (except banana) together and cook on the stove or in the microwave as instructed above. The peanut butter will melt in to the porridge; delicious!
  • top with either mashed or sliced banana (quantity is up to you)

Berries and coconut

  • 1 tsp desiccated coconut
  • small handful of frozen blueberries or mixed berries
  • mix all ingredients together and cook on the stove or in the microwave as instructed above.
  • For smaller babies you can mash up the berries once cooked

Fruit puree and yoghurt

  • 1 ice cube (about a tablespoon) of fruit puree (apple, pear)
  • 1 tbsp greek yoghurt
  • mix the oats and liquid together and cook. Then stir in the fruit puree and dollop of yoghurt and serve.

I have a great recipe for poached pear with flair here. It’s a nice way of making boring winter fruits that little bit tastier!

Poached pear with flair

Winter fruits are pretty boring. Apples, pears, kiwifruit and citrus with bananas being available all year round. There’s certainly no poached nectarine and apricot going around in our house.

If you’re looking for an easy way to spice up some pear puree, this will do the trick. It’s pretty quick too and you could even do it with apples as well.

poached pear 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 bosc pears
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Method:

  • peel the pears, slice in to quarters and cut out the core
  • place them in a pot with enough water to come up to half-way of covering the pears (no need to completely submerge them)
  • add the vanilla and cinnamon, cover and simmer the pears for about 5 minutes, then turn them over for another 5 minutes or until soft.
  • Remove pears from the pot and puree, including 1 or 2 tbsp of the juices
  • Freeze or keep in an air tight container for a few days in the fridge

 

Winter roast mash-up

When I think of winter, a classic roast springs to mind. To be honest, this was always mum’s domain and I was more interested in trying new recipes growing up. So it wasn’t until I was well in to my 20’s that I actually cooked a roast myself – and what I’d been missing! They’re so easy to pull together; if you can get the timing right and ensure your meat isn’t over-cooked or dry. I am still only on chicken and haven’t really progressed to red meats just yet, I prefer to slow-cook mine. If you roast a chicken in a bag, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be enjoying a succulent chicken for dinner.

This is a meal that’s obviously great for the whole family but is also adaptable for any aged grub. For younger ones, you’ll want to pick out some kumara or potatoes as a base, add in some carrots, courgette, green beans or broccoli and maybe even some mushrooms or capsicum – whatever you’ve got going really! You’ll probably just want to leave out the onions. Add in some chicken, puree and you’ve got yourself a lunch or two for the next day. For older ones, you could shred the juicier parts of the chicken (thighs and drumsticks) using two forks or just cut up in to small pieces for those with more teeth.

Remember, you can include the skin for babies; a moderate amount of fat is good for them.

My recipe is my mum’s; it’s pretty easy but is almost always guaranteed to get that nice crispy skin on top without drying out. For babies under 1 year, you’ll want to omit the salt and add in afterwards for yourself. You can use any vegetables really, I put them all across one or two trays and cook them for the same length of time – mixed all together, there’s no need to separate them.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken (defrosted)
  • 2 lemons
  • Olive oil
  • 250gm mushrooms
  • 2 courgettes
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 2 capsicum
  • 2 medium kumara
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 red onion
  • 4 – 5 cloves of garlic

Method:

  • cut the lemons in half and stuff the chicken with them. Rub a good amount of olive oil over the skin of the chicken, including the drumsticks and wings – give it a good covering. Season with salt.
  • Bake the chicken at 180c for 25 minutes per 500gm; normally this about 1hr for an average sized chicken. Basically, the chicken is done when you cut in to the gap between the thigh and the breast and the juices run clear.
  • Once the chicken is in the oven, cut up all your vegetables in to decent chunks and place across one or two baking trays. Give them a good glug of olive oil and crush the garlic over them. Bake these at 180 for about 40 – 45 minutes until soft.
  • When chicken and vegetables are cooked – dig in!