Saturday, December 18, 2010


Baby spinach is so easy to grow and can be continuously harvested all year round. I am having great success with it in my little garden patch, and for some reason, the snails and slugs are avoiding it too!

High in iron, calcium, beta carotene, vitamin C, riboflavin, and folic acid. But unfortunately, the bioavailability of calcium and iron in spinach is quite low. This is because spinach is also high in oxalates that bind to the minerals, preventing their absorption.

High in fibre and low in calories, spinach makes a nutritious and filling food for dieters. Spinach is virtually fat free and contains slightly more protein than other vegetables.

Exceptionally rich in phytochemicals with some of its antioxidant components being studied for their role in preventing cancer.

Frozen spinach is as nutrient dense as the fresh varieties. Snap frozen vegetables in Australia are sometimes even richer in vitamins than the fresh options we purchase off supermarket shelves.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Homestyle Baked Beans

Baked beans for dinner? You will never eat the canned variety again after you try this recipe. And it is almost as quick and easy too, but far more nutritious.

Homestyle Baked Beans
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large red onion, finely diced
250g bacon, fat removed
1/2 cup white wine
2 x 400g cans of butter beans, drained
1 red pepper, finely diced
1 zucchini, finely diced
1 cob corn, kernals only
1 can whole peeled tomatoes
Cracked pepper

  1. Heat oil in a pan. Saute onions and garlic. Add bacon and cook till crispy.
  2. Add wine. Cook briefly, then add tomatoes, pepper, zucchini and corn kernals.
  3. Simmer gently with lid off until vegetables are soft and liquid reduced to a thicker sauce.
  4. Season with cracked pepper.
  5. Add butter beans and turn off heat. Beans only need to heat through.
  6. Serve immediately. Delicious hot or cold. Try using leftovers up in a toastie pie.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Caramelised Onion and Roast Kumara Frittata

This dish contains only four main ingredients, making it a simple and nutritious week night dinner. 

Sweet potatoes are high in fibre and low in GI. Eggs are a great source of protein. I use mozzarella as it is a lower salt cheese and I am cooking for a baby. However, a tastier cheese like cheddar or even gruyere would suit this recipe.

Suitable for 7-9 mths +.

Caramelised Onion and Roast Kumara Frittata
1 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, thickly sliced
800g sweet potato, cut into cubes and roasted
10 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup mozzarella cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Heat oil in a large oven-safe frypan. Add onion over high heat and cook until caramalised. Remove from heat.
  3. In a bowl, combine beaten eggs, nutmeg, and cheese.
  4. Add roasted sweet potato to onion in pan. Spread evenly through.
  5. Pour egg mix over sweet potato and onion.
  6. Place pan in oven. Cook at 180 degrees for about 40min or until just set in the centre. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Spinach and Cauliflower Pancakes (Shrek-Cakes)

Once a week, I make savoury pancakes for dinner. It is an easy meal that the kids love. Not only do they eat them up without a fuss, but I also know that they are getting plenty of nutrition from the vegetables I include in the recipe.

Suitable for 9-12mths +.

And for the adults, I serve topped with dill and smoked salmon.

1 large bowl of baby spinach leaves (approx 80-100g)
1 onion
1 carrot
2 eggs
3/4 cup cauliflower puree
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grated cheese (mozzarella for low salt version)
2 tbsp shredded parmesan
1 cup SR flour

  1. In a food processor, puree spinach, onion, and carrot, adding eggs, cauliflower, and milk as necessary to enable mixing.
  2. Mix in cheeses and SR flour until well combined and not lumpy.
  3. Spoon batter into lightly greased hot fry pan and cook with lid on until bubbles begin to form.
  4. Flip once and cook on other side.
  5. Serve hot as they are or topped with smoked ham or salmon.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Fruit Balls (Kid's Version Rum Balls)

This is my alcohol-free rum ball recipe for all the little people and pregnant ladies out there.

As far as sweet treats go, these fruit balls actually make quite nutritious little snacks. Full of dried fruits and calcium rich sweetened condensed milk, they are high in sugar but also high in fibre, and a source of calcium and iron.

Christmas Fruit Balls
400g mixed dried fruit
100g glace cherries, chopped
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (approx. 2 oranges)
250g milk arrowroot biscuit
1 cup milk powder
2 tbsp pure cocoa powder
1 cup dessicated coconut (plus extra for rolling in)
1 can sweetened condensed milk (400g)

  1. Preparation should begin a few days in advance. Pour orange juice over mixed fruit and cherries, cover, and store in refridgerator for at least 2-3 days.
  2. Use a blender or food processor to crumb arrowroot biscuits.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients - biscuit crumbs, cocoa powder, milk powder, and coconut.
  4. Make a well in the centre of dry mix and pour in condensed milk and fruit. Stir well with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined. Mixture will be reasonably difficult to stir.
  5. Use a teaspoon to measure mix, form into balls and then roll gently in additional coconut to coat.
  6. Place coconut coated balls on plate and then freeze until needed. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Date and Almond Biscotti

For a lower fat tea time treat, try biscotti instead of cake or regular sweet biscuits. They are surprisingly simple to make and also make a wonderful food gift during the festive season.

Date and Almond Biscotti
1 cup plain flour
1 cup SR flour
120g blanched almonds
150g pitted dates
1/2 cup castor sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. In a large bowl, combine flours, sugar, almonds and dates
  2. Make a well in the centre and add eggs and vanilla
  3. Mix well with a wooden spoon to form a sticky dough
  4. Use floured hands to roll the dough out into a long snake. You may find it easier to divide the dough into two parts when doing this.
  5. Place on a lined baking tray and bake at 160 degrees for about 30min or until surface just starts to brown slightly.
  6. Cool on trays then slice diagonally into 1cm thick slices.
  7. Lie slices flat on lined baking tray and bake again at 160 degrees for about 25 min, turning over at halfway.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Chickpea and Carrot Salad

Bored with steamed vegetables? Salads are made for summer. This is such a simple salad to make and it is a great example of how you can incorporate more legumes into your diet.

Take leftovers to work for lunch. Turn it into a meal by adding a small can of salmon and a dollop of cottage cheese.

Suitable for 12mths+

Chickpea and Carrot Salad
400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 onion, finely diced
1 red capsicum, finely diced
1 carrot, coarsely grated

1/2 lemon, juice only
2 tbsp French dressing
Ground white pepper to taste

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Asparagus and Ricotta Tart

Asparagus is at its seasonal best in Spring. Use reduced fat puff pastry in this tart and serve warm for a quick and nutritious mid-week dinner. Or for a more decadent version, bake with flaky short crust pastry. 

Asparagus and Ricotta Tart
1 sheet reduced fat puff pastry
250g light ricotta cheese
5 eggs
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
2 bunches of asparagus, ends trimmed to fit tart tin
Cracked black pepper and salt

  1. Line a tart tin with the sheet of pastry.
  2. In a bowl, whisk eggs together with ricotta, nutmeg and parmesan cheese
  3. Season with pepper and salt to taste
  4. Pour egg mix into pastry lined tin
  5. Lightly lay trimmed asparagus on top of egg mix
  6. Bake at 180 degrees for about 45 min or until top is golden and egg just set

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rum Balls (Adults Only Version)

Finally, the highly coveted and super secret family recipe has been released...

Best made a month in advance and stored in the freezer until required.

Rum Balls
400g mixed dried fruit
100g glace cherries, chopped
1 cup rum
250g milk arrowroot biscuits
1 cup milk powder
2 tbsp pure cocoa powder
1 cup dessicated coconut (plus extra for rolling in)
1 can sweetened condensed milk (400g)

  1. Preparation should begin a few days in advance. Pour rum over mixed fruit and cherries, cover, and store in refridgerator for at least 2-3 days.
  2. Use a blender or food processor to crumb arrowroot biscuits.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients - biscuit crumbs, cocoa powder, milk powder, and coconut.
  4. Make a well in the centre of dry mix and pour in condensed milk and fruit. Stir well with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined. Mixture will be reasonably difficult to stir.
  5. Use a teaspoon to measure mix, form into balls and then roll gently in additional coconut to coat.
  6. Place coconut coated balls on plate and then freeze until needed.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Minted Lamb Patties

Fresh mint and peas add a lift to spring lamb in these hamburger patties. Using herbs is a great way to boost the flavour of meals without adding salt. Suitable for 7-9mth+.

Minted Lamb Patties
500g lean lamb mince
1 garlic clove
1 onion, finely diced
1 cup peas
1 bunch fresh mint leaves (just remove any woody stalks)
1 royal gala apple, cored and roughly sliced
1 egg

  1. In a food processor, blend the garlic, mint, apple and egg
  2. Once mostly smooth, add the peas to the food processor and pulse once or twice only. You want some of the peas to remain intact.
  3. Combine the puree mix with the minced lamb in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly with clean hands and shape into patties.
  4. Cook on a hot BBQ, turning once only.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Christmas Cake

Fruit cakes are naturally packed with goodness from all the dried fruits and nuts they contain.

Use a canola based margarine instead of butter and make sure to soak the dried fruit in the fridge for at least a few days before you start. I use rum, but you could also use brandy or even home-squeezed orange juice. Don't worry, the alcohol cooks off during the cooking process!

Christmas cakes are best made a month ahead. Consider 'feeding' the cake with a few teaspoons of liquor each week in the lead up to Christmas.

Christmas Cake
400g currants
325g sultanas
200g raisins
200g glace cherries
100g mixed candied peel
2 cups rum
1 apple, cored and pureed fresh with skin on
4 eggs, lightly beaten
175g margarine
175g soft brown sugar
200g SR flour
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tbsp black treacle
28 blanched almonds (for topping)

  1. Place all dried fruit, treacle and apple in a bowl and cover with rum. Cover dish and refridgerate for at least a couple of days before you start the cake.
  2. Grease and line a 2cm round cake tin. Tie some additional paper around the outside of the tin and prepare a double layer square of baking paper with a small cutout in the middle. The square is to be placed gently on top of the cake to prevent burning during the long cooking time.
  3. Preheat oven to 140 degrees.
  4. Sift flour and spices into a bowl.
  5. In another bowl, beat together sugar and margarine until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating all the time. Adding the eggs slowly should prevent them from curdling, but if the mixture does curdle, don't worry too much as the cake will still taste delicious!
  6. Fold the flour gently into the egg mix.
  7. Gently fold fruit and almond mix in now.
  8. Transfer cake mix to the cake tin, spreading out evenly.
  9. Place almonds in a circular pattern on the cake surface.
  10. Cover with baking paper square and bake for 4 - 4.5hrs or until skewer tests clean.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Salmon and Dill Spaghetti

This is fresh and nutritious one pot pasta meal. A dash of cream brings the sauce together nicely and the whole cherry tomatoes add a delightful burst of flavour when you bite into them.

Salmon and Dill Spaghetti
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 onion, finely diced
1/2 cup white wine
1 carrot, peeled into ribbons
2 cups broccoli florets
200g cherry tomatoes
50mL thickened cream
200g smoked salmon, sliced into large ribbons
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
Cracked pepper and salt to taste
200g spaghetti

  1. Cook spaghetti in boiling water till al dente. Drain and set to the side.
  2. In a large pan, heat oil. Saute onions and garlic. Add tomatoes and cook briefly on high heat.
  3. Pour in wine, allowing to reduce slightly before adding broccoli and carrots. Cook briefly to preserve some texture and crunch to vegetables
  4. Season to taste, remembering that when you add the smoked salmon it will make the dish saltier.
  5. Remove from heat, stir through cream, cooked pasta, fresh dill, and salmon.
  6. Serve immediately.  

Spaghetti with Olives and Ham

This is an fresh and tasty pasta meal that can be whipped up with whatever vegetables you find in the fridge. The more the merrier!

Spaghetti with Olives and Ham
250g spaghetti
1 tbsp olive oil
200g lean leg ham, sliced into strips
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, finely diced
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup reduced salt chicken stock
1 carrot, julienned
1 red capsicum, sliced into strips
1 cup frozen peas
100g pitted kalamata olives
200g deli reduced fat ricotta
Cracked black pepper

  1. Cook spaghetti in boiling water until al dente
  2. Heat oil in saucepan. Add ham, garlic and onion.
  3. Add wine, cooking briefly.
  4. Add chicken stock and carrot, capsicum and celergy, cooking until tender
  5. Add peas and olives, cooking until heated through
  6. Stir through pasta and crumbled ricotta cheese
  7. Serve immediately

Friday, November 5, 2010

Homemade Stocks

When preparing vegetables for everyday dishes, don’t throw away the trimmings. Woody stalks, onion skins, carrot ends all add wonderful flavours to a stock base. Pop the trimmings in a freezer bag and store in the freezer until you have enough to boil up for a stock or soup.

• When you are preparing a meal, save any meat trimmings, including bones, or bits of fat that still have meat attached. While cooking the meal at hand, place the meat trimmings in a saucepan of water and boil. Add leftover vegetable trimmings from the freezer, and continue boiling gently for as long as possible.

• Remove from heat, cool for a short while, and then pour the hot stock liquid through a sieve, and into a glass container. Seal with a lid, and then cool on bench until suitable temperature for freezing.

• The stock is now fully prepared. As it cools, the fat will rise to the top and form a distinct layer that can easily be removed before use. You will be left with a full flavoured, low-fat stock that can quickly and easily be defrosted for use in any meal.

• Try boiling up the ham bone after Christmas and use the ham stock in spaghetti Bolognese or lasagne dishes.

• To make a lovely seafood udon style soup, buy green prawns, boil gently until cooked. Remove prawns, peel, and store. Return the prawn heads and shells to the water, add vegetable trimmings, and spices. Boil stock for immediate use, or prepare and freeze for later.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Banana Bread

My family loves this. It tastes wonderful straight out of the oven or even toasted with margarine and honey.

The small amount of sugar and walnuts can be omitted if cooking for babies under 12mths. Otherwise, this is a healthy and nutritious alternative to commercially bought cakes and fruit bread that the whole family can enjoy. 

Banana Bread
1 cup wholemeal SR flour
1 cup white SR flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sultanas
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
4 overripe bananas, roughly mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup light Greek yoghurt
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees

  2. Grease and line silicon bread loaf tin with baking paper

  3. Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl

  4. In another medium sized bowl, combine mashed bananas, vanilla, yoghurt, milk and eggs

  5. Pour wet mix into dry and fold gently with a spatula

  6. Pour into loaf tin, spreading flat

  7. Sprinkle with course brown sugar and a dusting of cinnamon

  8. Bake at 180 degrees for about 50min or until skewer tests clean

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mini Chargrilled Vegetable Quiches

Eat these tasty little quiches hot out of the oven or serve them cold at a picnic. They are a fantastic way to use up leftovers.

I used chargrilled eggplant, mushrooms, and courgette leftover from a BBQ the day before. My personal preference is to use puff pastry. I choose the reduced fat variety for health reasons. However, an even healthier option is to use lavash bread or filo pastry instead.

Mini Chargrilled Vegetable Quiches
2 sheets of reduced fat puff pastry
40g pepperoni salami, very finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
Mixed roasted or chargrilled vegetables, finely diced
(1 zucchini, 1/2 aubergine, 3 portobello mushrooms, 1/2 corn cob)
1 cup frozen peas
8 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
4 slices reduced fat Kraft cheese slices

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Lightly spray two muffin trays with oil. Cut up pastry into squares and press into muffin holes.
  3. In a small fry pan, heat pepperoni with onion, cooking until fat has rendered off and onion is translucent. Set to the side to cool.
  4. Combine remaining vegetables, eggs, and mozarella in a large bowl.
  5. Spoon egg mixture into pastry lined muffin trays, but only half filling.
  6. Unwrap and fold cheese slices to divide each into 4 small squares. Lay a small square on the egg mix in each muffin hole. Cover with spoonfuls of the remaining egg mix, dividing it evenly among all muffin holes.
  7. Bake at 180 degrees for about 50min or until egg is set in the middle.
  8. Delicious served hot or cold.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Chicken and Mushroom Risotto

The best type of rice to use in risottos is the short grained arborio variety. However, I generally use basmati for this dish since it is lower in GI and cooks quicker when I am in a rush. Brown rice basmati is also available now which will make this rice dish even more nutritious.

Chicken and Mushroom Risotto
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, finely diced
1 cup rice
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups reduced salt chicken stock
10 mushrooms, sliced (button or oyster)
2 tbs shredded parmesan cheese (approx15g)
120g mixed baby spinach and rocket leaves
Cracked black pepper

  1. Heat oil in a deep saucepan and lightly fry onions and garlic.
  2. Add chicken to brown and remove once cooked
  3. Add rice to saucepan, stirring whilst cooking.
  4. Pour in white wine and then stock.
  5. Add sliced mushrooms.
  6. Season with pepper. You should not need to add any additional salt.
  7. Cook gently until almost all liquid is absorbed and rice is almost cooked. Place lid on saucepan and remove from heat to rest for at least 10 minutes.
  8. Stir through parmesan and spinach mix
  9. Serve hot, topped with a sliver of fresh parmesan

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Orange and Date Loaf

Instead of just the juice of oranges, this cake contains two WHOLE oranges making it a high fibre and nutrient packed snack for kids. The dates add sweetness and the almond meal adds an omega-3, calcium, and protein boost. A perfect pre-sport snack for school lunch boxes.

Orange and Date Loaf
1 1/2 cups SR flour
1 cup almond meal
150g dates, chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 large oranges, peeled
2-3 tbsp firmly packed brown sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line silicon loaf tin with baking paper
  2. Use food processor to puree 2 oranges. This should amount to approx. 2 cups of orange puree.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, almond meal, sugar, and cinnamon. For a sweeter loaf, use 3 tbsp of sugar.
  4. In another bowl, combine puree orange, dates, and eggs
  5. Pour wet ingredients into the flour mix and fold through until combined
  6. Pour mixture into the loaf tin.
  7. Sprinkle top with granulated brown sugar (optional)
  8. Bake for about 60min at 180 degrees or until skewer tests clean. Check at 50min.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Roast Pumpkin and Cannelini Frittata

This is quite possibly the tastiest frittata I have ever cooked. It contains no added salt and is suitable for babies 9mths+.

Roast Pumpkin and Cannelini Frittata
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
800g Kent pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and sliced into 1cm thick segments
1 tsp ground cinnamon
400g can of cannelini beans, drained
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
10 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

  1. Spray a baking tray with oil and line with pumpkin slices. Sprinkle with cinnamon and roast, turning once until cooked and slightly caramelized.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large flat fry pan. Cook onions, then turn off heat. Add rosemary and remove from pan.
  3. Layer same pan with half the roast pumpkin, cannelini beans, onion, mozzarella and beaten egg. Repeat layers.
  4. Bake in hot oven (180 degrees) for 45min - 1hr or until set in the middle.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pear Friands

Ok, so I would probably categorise these as a party food, but they were also absolutely delicious, rich in good fats, and full of fibre from the whole pears and almonds.

Pear Friands
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup SR flour
100g canola margarine
2 very ripe pears, cored and pureed fresh with skin
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g icing sugar
3 egg whites

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees and lightly grease friand tin or prepare cupcake papers
  2. Beat egg whites until stiff
  3. Mix all other ingredients together in a large bowl
  4. Add a little of the egg white mix to the large bowl and stir to combine well
  5. Add remaining egg white and fold in very gently with a metal spoon
  6. Spoon into tin or papers
  7. Bake at 200 degrees for about 25 min

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Lamb Shanks with Polenta Mash

Use a pressure cooker to speed up the cooking process and you will have delicious lamb  shanks with tender meat that falls off the bone ready in less than an hour.

Use fresh herbs for flavour instead of salt to make these tender lamb lanks a perfect iron-rich meal for babies and toddlers to enjoy.

Lamb Shanks
1 tbsp olive oil
4 lamb shanks
2 garlic cloves, peeled and bruised
2 onions, halved
2 carrots, sliced into large segments
2 celery stalks, sliced
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup reduced salt chicken stock
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
Cracked black pepper

  1. Heat olive oil in a pressure cooker, add lamb shanks, turning to seal on all sides. (You could also do this in a large saucepan and then transfer the shanks with the other ingredients to bake covered in the oven for 2-3 hours)
  2. Add red wine, allowing to steam and cook off alcohol
  3. Add remaining ingredients. Secure lid on pressure cooker. Cook for about 40-60 minutes, checking as required. Shanks are ready when meat falls of the bone.
Polenta Mash
1 cup polenta
3 cups milk
2 cups reduced salt chicken stock
2 tbsp (40g) margarine
  1. Bring milk and chicken stock to the boil in a saucepan.
  2. Add polenta, stirring constantly until it thickens to desired consistancy.
  3. Remove from heat and whisk through margarine
  4. Serve immediately

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pumpkin and Red Lentil Soup

This is a great way to add more lentils to your family's diet. Very lightly spiced, the soup tastes fabulous with a dollop of Greek yoghurt and a garnish of fresh coriander.

Suitable for the whole family. Use a salt-free stock and consider omitting the sweet chilli sauce if cooking for babies under 12 months.

Pumpkin and Red Lentil Soup
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 garlic clove
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1L salt-reduced or homemade (salt-free) chicken stock
1 cup red lentils
800g peeled diced pumpkin
2 tbsp peanut butter (no added salt or sugar if cooking for infants)
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat olive oil in a deep saucepan. Add onion, garlic and spices, frying lightly until fragrant and onion soft.

  2. Pour in chicken stock

  3. Add red lentils, pumpkin, peanut butter, and sweet chilli sauce

  4. Simmer gently for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally

  5. Once cooked, remove from heat and puree with hand blender

  6. Serve with a dollop of yoghurt and fresh coriander

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Parmesan Cauliflower Blinis

These nutritious little pancakes make a great snack for kids. Suitable for 10mths+.

For adults (and even toddlers!) they are delicious topped with cream cheese and smoked salmon.

Parmesan and Cauliflower Blinis
1/2 cup puree steamed cauliflower
1/2 cup SR flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
1/2 cup milk

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl

  2. Drop spoonfuls of mix into a hot, lightly oiled pan

  3. Cook on one side until bubbles begin to form, then turn once

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Clear Asian Soup Base

This is a simple clear soup base that is quick and easy to make and so versatile. Make it as spicy as you like, add noodles, dumplings, mushrooms, vegetables, prawns, or anything else you can think of.

Clear Asian Soup Base
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 chilli, finely sliced
1 tsp crushed or finely grated ginger
Lemongrass stalk, finely sliced
1L salt reduced chicken stock
1 lime, juiced
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp palm sugar or firmly packed brown sugar
Fresh coriander

  1. In a large pot, gently fry chilli, garlic, and ginger in sesame oil

  2. Pour in chicken stock and all remaining ingredients, except coriander

  3. After adding in any extra ingredients (noodles, meats, etc), sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Meal-in-One Fried Rice

With the addition of tofu cubes, cooked prawns, diced ham or sliced omelette, this fried rice recipe makes a nutritious and simple dinner. It also works well cold for picnics or BBQ's.

I usually cook this dish using firm, hi-protein tofu and I make sure I dice the vegetables as small as possible. My daughter loves rice and tofu already and doesn't seem to mind the multitude of coloured vegetable bits that accompany her every spoonful. Her dinner is usually polished off very quickly when I serve this.

Meal-in-One Fried Rice
1 cup basmati rice (uncooked)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 tsp ginger, crushed or very finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed or very finely chopped
1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 red capsicum, finely diced
1 cob of corn, cooked and kernals removed
1 cup peas
250g firm tofu, diced

  1. Cook the basmati rice in water. Set aside when cooked. Alternatively, use up any leftover steamed rice.

  2. Heat oils in a large pan. Add onion, garlic and ginger, cooking until onion is soft.

  3. Add in sauces, mushrooms and carrots. Cover with lid and simmer until carrot is soft. You may wish to add a few drops of water.

  4. Stir in remaining vegetables and tofu. Cook until heated through.

  5. Stir through rice.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rigatoni and Meatballs

This is a classic comfort food and a firm favourite with kids. Spaghetti and meatballs is another serving option, but in my experience, rigatoni is easier and less frustrating for hungry little mouths to eat.

My version is a good source of iron, omega-3's and it also provides a sneaky serve of vegetables.

The meatballs cooked without the sauce are suitable for babies as finger foods from 7-9mths+.

1tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red onion, finely diced
4 anchovy fillets
400g can peeled whole Italian tomatoes
1 cup pureed steamed carrot
8 button mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp mixed dried herbs
Cracked pepper (and salt to taste)
Fresh basil

500g lean pork mince (you can buy Heart Smart pork mince at Woolworths)
500g lean beef mince
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 red delicious apple, finely grated
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated light mozzarella cheese

  1. Begin the sauce first. Heat oil in a large pan, then saute onion and garlic.

  2. Add remaining sauce ingredients, simmering gently while you prepare the meatballs.

  3. For the meatballs, combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with clean hands.

  4. Form small meatballs (roughly the size of plums) and place each gently in the simmering sauce. They will shrink slightly when cooked.

  5. Turn meatballs once and simmer gently until cooked through. If sauce looks too dry at any stage, add a little of the pasta water.

  6. Stir through fresh basil leaves before serving.

  7. Serve on top of fresh pasta with a side of green salad.

Monday, September 27, 2010


This Italian bread salad is best described as a type of freestyle bruschetta. It is a wonderful way to use up stale bread. And it also tastes even better the next day.

Best made with good quality organic sourdough, thickly sliced, torn apart, and then left overnight to get even more stale.

Cubes of stale bread
2-3 ripe tomatoes, sliced into eighths
Fresh basil bunch, leaves only, gently torn
1 red onion, finely diced

4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp iodised salt
1 garlic clove, crushed

  1. Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl

  2. Combine dressing ingredients in a jar and shake until sugar and salt dissolved

  3. Pour dressing over salad and stir gently until it coats all salad ingredients

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Strawberry Jam

There is nothing quite like the sweet fairy floss smell of jam simmering on the stove top. And the added knowledge that the jam you are making is pure fruit with no added nasties.

This is a slightly lower sugar version than the other recipes I have seen. However, you may wish to add more or less depending on the quality of fruit you use. I have also been known to add a couple of apples to my jam (pureed fresh with skin first and then cooked with the strawberries). This adds extra fibre and texture and is a great way to use up old withered apples.

Strawberry Jam
1kg strawberries
2 cups sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Full-of-Fruit Bread

I am really proud of the way this recipe turned out. It is a delicious, moist alternative to traditional banana bread that is sweet enough to eat alone and nutritious enough to happily pack for school lunches.

The fruit content makes this bread high in fibre and minerals with added protein from the almond meal. And when I give it to my children, I also know that it contains no added sugar, fat, OR salt.

Full-of-Fruit Bread
2 very ripe packham pears, peeled and grated
3 overripe bananas, roughly mashed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup full cream milk
1 cup wholemeal SR flour
1 cup SR flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sultanas
1 cup dates, roughly chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line silicon loaf tin with baking paper

  2. Combine grated pears (incl. juice), bananas, eggs, vanilla, and milk in a bowl

  3. Mix together flours, almond meal, cinnamon, and dried fruit in another large bowl

  4. Pour wet ingredients into the dry and fold together gently until just combined

  5. Pour mix into loaf tin.

  6. Sprinkle cinnamon and course sugar (optional) on top

  7. Bake at 180 degrees for about 50min or until skewer tests clean

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Chicken and Pumpkin Patties

Fresh rosemary makes these patties tasty even without the addition of any salt. They also contain chia seeds for an omega-3 boost as well as pumpkin for fibre, flavour, and that extra sneaky vegetable serve. 

Suitable for babies 7-9mths+

Chicken and Pumpkin Patties
I garlic clove, crushed
1 onion, finel diced
1 cup steamed mashed pumpkin
1 egg, lightly beaten
500g lean chicken breast mince
3 tbsp white chia seeds
2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl

  2. Mix well with a wooden spoon

  3. Use a dessert spoon to drop rounded patties into hot lightly oiled pan. Press down to flatten.

  4. Cook well, turning once.

  5. Serve hot with a salad and fresh rolls. Suitable for freezing.