Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Winter Fruit Kebabs and Minted, Lime Syrup

Make fruit fun by presenting it in a different way. The cut fruit has been covered lightly in a minted lime juice syrup to prevent browning as well as add a delightfully subtle fruit tingle flavour.

Minted, Lime Syrup
1 whole lime
1 tbsp raw sugar
1tbsp finely chopped fresh mint

  1. Pop whole lime into the microwave for about 30 seconds on high. This will warm up and burst juice cells making it easy to extract liquid. It also mellows the tartness.
  2. Sqeeze as much lime juice out as possible. You may need to cover it with tea towel first if it is very hot.
  3. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved.
  4. Stir through mint.
  5. Use to brush over fruit for kebabs, and then pour remaining over finished kebabs. Or try stirring through a fruit salad for another delicious idea.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Banana Blueberry Pancakes

Who doesn't love pancakes for a special weekend breakfast treat? Or anytime for that matter! The addition of banana and blueberries make this classic comfort food exceptionally nutritious.

Top with a sprinkle of sugar and a squeeze of lemon. Or pack a few away for an easy snack for kids on the run.

Banana Blueberry Pancakes
1 cup SR flour
1 banana, mashed
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup frozen blueberries

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except for the blueberries. Stir well until mix is smooth and lump-free.
  2. Add the blueberries last, stirring through quickly just before you are ready to cook the pancakes. If you add them early on or stir too much after adding them, the pancake mix with turn blue, although still taste just as good!
  3. Cook on a hot lightly greased frypan, turning once when you see bubbles start to appear on the uncooked surface.
  4. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Banana rice pudding

Rice pudding is the perfect winter comfort food. It can also be a nutritious snack for children too. This version uses a lower GI rice (which makes cooking quicker too!), is a rich source of calcium and has only a small amount of sugar in it. The sweetness comes from the addition of ripe bananas.

Banana Rice Pudding
1 cup basmati rice
4 cups milk
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 tbsp soft brown sugar
2/3 cup sultanas (optional)

  1. Add rice, milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, and mashed bananas to a saucepan. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently for about 20-30 minutes or until rice is cooked. Stir frequently. Liquid will have reduced but there will still be a fair bit of liquid in it.
  2. Add sugar near the end, stir well to combine and remove from heat.
  3. Place lid on saucepan and allow to rest for at least ten minutes before serving or storing away.
  4. Pudding will continue to thicken over time, so allow it to be a little more liquidy than you would prefer if you plan to store it away.
  5. Freezes well.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Oat and Currant Cookies

There is nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked cookies on a cold winter's day. Baking these simple and delicious cookies is also a wonderful way to pass time with your children when it is not so nice outside.

Cookies and other treats, when given occasionally, help children build a healthy attitude to eating and teaches them that all foods can be enjoyed in moderation. Baking also exposes kids to different tastes, textures, measuring and pouring skills, as well as being a practice in patience while waiting for those special treats to cook and cool.

Oat and Currant Cookies
2 cups SR flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 cups oats
200g margarine
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup dried currants

  1. Sift flour into a large mixing bowl. Combine with baking powder and oats.
  2. In another bowl, beat margarine with the caster sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, beating until combined.
  3. Gently fold currants through margarine mix. Then pour in dry ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon until combined.
  4. Use a teaspoon to measure quantities. Form into small balls, depressing slightly in the middle with your finger.
  5. Place on a lined baking tray a few cm apart. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for about 15 min or until they start to colour ever so slightly.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Apple Cupcakes

Cupcakes are always a special treat for little kids. These ones are just as special but contain two whole apples for extra fibre and nutrition. Top with gorgeous butter icing for parties, or serve as they are for morning tea. They also freeze well.

Apple Cupcakes
2 whole apples, pureed with skin
90g canola margarine, melted
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 cup SR flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten

  1. Beat eggs with sugar until creamy.
  2. Add pureed apples and vanilla.
  3. Gradually add in flour, alternating with milk. Beat gently until smooth.
  4. Mix in melted margarine.
  5. Pour into paper cupcake cups.
  6. Bake at 180 degrees for about 30 minutes or until cooked through.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Roast Balsamic Vegetable Tart with Paneer

This is a delicious spin on a Sunday roast. Paneer is cheese used in Indian cooking. It has a hard, slightly crumbly texture and tastes a little like cottage cheese.. It is also very low in salt. If you can't find paneer, Feta would also be lovely in this tart, but omit the salt in the dressing.

Roast Balsamic Vegetable Tart with Paneer
2 sheets reduced fat puff pastry
2-4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 Kent pumpkin, peeled and cubed
600g sweet potato, peeled and cubed
5 brown onions, peeled and quartered
2 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
200g paneer, diced into large cubes
Bunch basil leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp iodised salt

  1. Place puff pastry sheets flat on two oven trays.
  2. On another tray, place cubed vegetables for roasting and rub through olive oil. Bake in a hot oven until slightly caramelised. Remove from oven and set to the side.
  3. In a saucepan, combine sugar, balsamic vinegar and salt to make dressing. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for a couple of minutes until it begins to turn syrupy.
  4. Pour dressing over hot baked vegetables. Gently stir through paneer and chopped basil. Then scoop vegetable mix out of tray and place carefully within the puff pastry, leaving a 2cm border clear.
  5. Bake at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until pastry is puffed and golden. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Carrot and Oat Pancakes

Pressed for time and want a quick and easy vegetable pack snack for the kids. Try these tasty pancakes. Adults will love them too. Suitable for 10 months+.

Carrot and Oat Pancakes
1 red capsicum, cored and roughly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and roughly sliced
1/2 cup oats
4 eggs
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella
1/2 cup SR flour
3/4 cup peas
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
Cracked black pepper to taste

  1. In a food processer, puree capsicum and capsicum with eggs.
  2. Pour processed vegetables into a large bowl. Combine with remaining ingredients, stirring until well mixed.
  3. Cook spoonfuls of the batter in a hot lightly oiled pan.
  4. Pancakes are delicious served hot or cold.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spinach and Ricotta Tart

A delicious way to get some more green leafy vegetables into your family's diet. Pastry, eggs and cheese make any dish a winner with kids. Suitable for 12 months +.

Spinach and Ricotta Tart
1 sheet reduced fat puff pastry
500g frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
1 onion, finely chopped
500g ricotta
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated cheese (use mozzarella if doing a lower salt version)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Cracked pepper

  1. Line a pie tin or bowl with puff pastry.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all remaining ingredients.
  3. Mix well, and then spread evenly over puff pastry.
  4. Bake at 180 degrees for about 50 minutes or until tart has just set in the centre.
  5. Delicious hot or cold.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Morrocan Roast Vegetable and Chickpea Salad

Make this delicious and nutritious dinner with leftover roast vegetables, or bake them specifically for it. An easy alternative to the Sunday roast.

Go light on the seasoning if you are feeding children. And since unsalted roast vegetables make wonderful finger foods for babies, this dish is perfect for feeding the whole family.

Moroccan Roast Vegetable And Chickpea Salad
2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 zucchini, thickly sliced
6 baby potatoes, thickly sliced
500g sweet potato, cut into cubes
3 onions, peeled and quartered
400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tsp Moroccan seasoning mix
50g rocket
1-2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Place potatoes, sweet potato, and onion in oven tray and coat with 1 tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle with 1 tsp Moroccan spice mix. Bake until cooked and slightly caramelised.
  3. Heat remaining oil in a hot saucepan and fry thick sliced zucchini until just cooked. Season lightly.
  4. Combine roast vegetables, zucchini, chikpeas, rocket, and sweet chilli sauce in a large bowl, mixing gently with a large spoon.
  5. Delicious served warm.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Cherry Tiramisu

For a deliciously different twist on a tiramisu style dessert, add fresh or canned cherries.

For a lower fat version, substitute 250g of the muscarpone for 250g of light ricotta. You won't even notice the difference.

Cherry Tiramisu
800g fresh cherries, pitted
250g savoiardi (sweet sponge finger biscuits)
1 cup esspresso coffee
1 cup marsala
300mL thickened cream, whipped
500g muscarpone
3 tbsp caster sugar
Drinking chocolate
Optional flaked chocolate

  1. Cover the fresh cherries in marsala and leave overnight in the fridge.
  2. Add coffee to the cherries and marsala. Carefully spoon out cherries, leaving liquid in the bowl..
  3. Dip each savoiardi biscuit into the coffee marsala mix before placing in the tiramisu dish. Line the base with half the savoiardi biscuits.
  4. Add a couple more spoonfuls of the coffee marsala.
  5. Spoon over half the cherries.
  6. In a large bowl, fold whippped cream into muscarpone.
  7. Spread half the muscarpone mix over the first layer of cherries.
  8. Sprinkle drinking chocolate over and repeat layers one more time.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Salmon and Pumpkin Frittata

This is an economical way of feeding the family more fish. One fresh salmon fillet goes a long way in a dish like this. And if you don't have fresh salmon, tinned salmon can also be used, making this a delicious and nutritious dinner that can be whipped up with pantry staples.
Suitable for 7-9mths+  (using fresh salmon for its lower salt content)

Salmon and Pumpkin Frittata
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
800g Kent pumpkin, peeled, sliced into 1cm thick slices, and roasted
10 eggs, lightly beaten
250g fresh salmon, cut into bite size squares
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
400g can cannelini beans (optional)

  1. Heat oil in large round frying pan. Saute onion, add rosemarym then remove from heat.
  2. Layer half the roast pumpkin slices into the pan. Top with half the cannelini beans, all the salmon, and half the mozzarella
  3. Pour in some egg mix.
  4. Top with remaining pumpkin as a layer. Sprinkle over remaining cannelini beans.
  5. Pour in remaining egg mix.
  6. Top with remaining mozzarella
  7. Place fry pan in oven and bake frittata at 180 degrees for 40-60min or until golden and just set in the middle. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Macaroni and Butter Bean Bake

Really just another interpretation of the classic, macaroni and cheese, but full of texture with crunchy corn kernals and soft butter beans. Kids will love this. Suitable for 12mths+.

Macaroni and Butter Bean Bake
200g macaroni (or other small pasta shapes)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 onion
1 carrot, julienned into similar length as pasta
1 capsicum, julienned into similar length as pasta
1 cob of corn, cooked then kernals removed
1 cup frozen peas
400g can butter beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp tomato sauce
150mL light cream
1 cup tasty cheese (or mozzarella for a lower salt version)
1 tbsp shredded parmesan
Cracked pepper

  1. Cook macaroni until al dente. Drain and set to the side.
  2. Heat oil in a hot pan. Add onion, cooking until soft.
  3. Add carrot, bay leaves, cracked pepper and a little water if necessary to prevent sticking.
  4. Once carrot is tender, add capsicum.
  5. Turn off heat, then add corn, peas and butter beans.
  6. Stir through tomato sauce, cream, ricotta, and half of the tasty cheese.
  7. Add pasta and mix well. Pour pasta mix into a baking dish. Cover with remaining cheeses.
  8. Bake at 180 degrees for 30-40min or until top is golden brown.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lasagne with Eggplant

This hearty lasagne is the epitomy of comfort eating. However, feel no guilt as it is also packed with vegetables and should easily serve a party of eight. Serve with a leafy green salad.

Suitable for 12mths+.

Lasagne with Eggplant
8 large instant dry lasagne sheets
1 eggplant, sliced into 1cm thick slices, lightly steamed (2min in microwave)
½ cup grated mozzarella
1 tbsp shredded parmesan

Meat sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red onion, finely chopped
950g extra lean beef mince
4 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (or to taste)
3 tsp brown sugar
4 tbsp tomato sauce
¼ tsp ground chilli
1 tbsp mixed dried herbs
Salt and pepper to taste
1 carrot grated
1 green capsicum, finely diced
8-10 button mushrooms, sliced

White sauce
3 cups milk
4 tbsp plain flour
150g smooth ricotta
½ cup grated mozzarella
Cracked pepper (to taste)

Firstly, you need to prepare your meat sauce. After this, you will need to make a white sauce, and then you can layer your prepared ingredients at the end.
 Meat sauce:

1. Into a large saucepan, heat oil and lightly fry onion and garlic.

2. Add mince, stirring regularly until cooked through.

3. Add spices, herbs, sauces and sugar.

4. Add grated carrot, sliced mushroom and capsicum. Continue simmering until liquid has reduced (You should be able to see the bottom of the pan briefly as you drag spoon though meat).

5. Remove from heat and place to the side.
 White sauce:

6. In a measuring cup, combine flour with a small amount of milk. Whisk until it forms a smooth paste and then add remaining milk, whisking until it is lump-free and can be poured out into a small saucepan.

7. Add cracked pepper to taste.

8. Heat gently over a low heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Do not allow to boil.

9. When sauce has thickened, remove from heat and add ricotta and grated cheese, stirring well until mixture is smooth.

10. Remove from heat and place to the side.
 Layer your prepared ingredients:
11. Start with a layer of 2 lasagne sheets
12. Pour in 1/3 of the meat sauce
13. Top with a layer of eggplant and a little white sauce

14. Lay down another 2 lasagne sheets

15. Pour in more meat sauce

16. Cover with eggplant and a little white sauce

17. Cover with a 3nd layer of 2 lasagne sheets

18. Top with meat and a little white sauce

19. Lay down a final layer of 2 lasagne sheets. Pour over the remaining white sauce. Ensure that all lasagne sheets are covered evenly.

20. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella and shredded parmesan on top
 Bake in a hot oven (about 180°C) for approx 60min, or until top is nicely browned.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Strawberry Bircher Loaf

Rich in low GI wholegrains and high in fibre, this loaf makes a great lunch box snack for kids.

Suitable for babies 12 mths +.

Strawberry Bircher Loaf
1 cup SR flour
1 cup natural Swiss or Bircher muesli
60g canola margarine
2 overripe bananas, mashed
250g ripe strawberries, sliced
2 eggs, lightly  beaten
1 tsp natural vanilla extract (optional)
2 tbsp pure maple syrup (optional)

  1. Line silicon loaf tin with baking paper and preheat oven to 160 degrees
  2. Sift flour into a large bowl and mix in muesli. 
  3. Add margarine and rub into flour mix until it resembles wet sand.
  4. Create a well in the centre and pour in remaining ingredients.
  5. Fold ingredients together gently then pour into loaf tin.
  6. Bake for about 1.5hrs or until skewer tests clean and top is golden.
  7. Allow to cool before serving.

Hamburger Patties

This is my standard hamburger patty recipe. Suitable for 7-9mths+. Rich in iron and full of apple and carrot, they taste great and are good for your family too.

If feeding an older audience, I still use a similar basic recipe, but might add a little tomato sauce, salt, or other spices to the mix.

Hamburger Patties
600g lean beef mince
1 clove garlic, finely diced or crushed
1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely grated
1 apple, finely grated (I like Royal Gala for the sweetness)
1 egg
2 tbsp iron fortified infant rice cereal
1/2 cup light mozzarella cheese
1 tsp dried Italian herbs

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl

  2. Mix well with clean hands

  3. Form into patties and cook thoroughly

  4. Serve with a variety of salads, fresh bread rolls, and sliced cheese

Friday, February 11, 2011

Potato and Cannelini Bean Patties

This is a tasty way to add more beans to your diet. Vege patties also make an interesting alternative to the standard BBQ fare.

Omit salt and suitable for 12mths +.

Potato and Cannelini Bean Patties
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 red onion, finely chopped
400g potatoes, coursely grated (approx. 2 large)
400g cannelini beans, drained
4 tbsp instant polenta
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
50g grated cheese
10g grated parmesan
2 eggs
salt and cracked pepper to taste

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Mix well with a wooden spoon
  3. Form into small patties
  4. Cook well on both sides
  5. Serve hot or cold

Friday, January 14, 2011

Asparagus and Pumpkin Tart

This delicious tart can be made with either short crust or puff pastry. It can also be served hot or chilled for a tasty picnic treat.

Asparagus and Pumpkin Tart
1 sheet reduced fat puff pastry
800g Kent pumpkin
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. Peel and remove seeds from pumpkin. Cut into 1cm thick slices and roast on a lightly greased oven tray until cooked.
  2. Line a tart tin with the sheet of pastry
  3. In a bowl, whisk eggs together with ricotta, nutmeg and parmesan cheese
  4. Season with pepper and salt to taste 
  5. Layer the roast pumpkin slices on the pastry
  6. Pour egg mix in over the pumpkin
  7. Lightly lay trimmed asparagus on top of egg mix
  8. Bake at 180 degrees for about 45 min or until top is golden and egg just set

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Light Citrus and Blueberry Fruitcake

A zesty fruitcake with a fresh appeal for the New Year. You can be flexible with the dried fruit measurements to use up any leftover ingredients from Christmas cake, pudding, and pie cooking.

For a delicious twist, serve hot with a dash of cream.

Light Citrus and Blueberry Fruitcake
3/4 cup candied peel
3/4 cup sultanas
3/4 cup currants
3/4 cup almond meal
1 cup frozen blueberries
2 tbsp treacle
2 cups SR flour
1 tsp mixed spice
90g margarine
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 eggs
Blanched almonds for decorating cake top

  1. Preheat oven to 140 degrees. Grease and line large springform cake tin.
  2. Combine dried fruit, blueberries, and treacle in large bowl.
  3. In another bowl, combine flour, almond meal and spice.
  4. In a third bowl, beat margarine with brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time.
  5. Fold flour mix into beaten margarine mix.
  6. Then add fruit mix and gently fold in as well.
  7. Pour cake mix into tin and spread mix out evenly. Top with blanched almonds.
  8. Bake at 140 degrees for about 90 minutes or until skewer tests clean.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Spiced Beef Patties

These spiced hamburger patties are a great way to expand your child's taste preferences. Serve them up with fresh salads and Greek yoghurt and let your family create their own hamburgers or wraps. 

Tasty even without the addition of salt. Suitable for babies 9mths+.

Spiced Beef Patties
800g extra lean beef mince
2 eggs
1 onion
1 garlic clove
1 carrot
1 apple, cored
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp chilli flakes (optional for older kids/adults)
Cracked pepper and salt to taste (salt optional)
1/2 cup grated cheese

  1. In a food processor, blend onion, garlic, carrot, and apple. Add eggs to assist blending.
  2. Combine pureed ingredients with meat, spices and cheese in a large bowl.
  3. With clean hands, mix well and shape into flat patties.
  4. Cook on a hot BBQ and serve immediately.
  5. Also suitable for freezing.