Tomorrow is Zachie’s 5th birthday so we had a party for him on the weekend and it was a rip roaring success. He was in heaven seeing all his friends in the one place, declared they’re all his BEST FRIENDS! I went the traditional route of pass the parcel and hide and seek but for the most part the kids just played and had fun.
On the menu there were funfetti cup cakes which I have made before and my helpers do love to put the 100′s & 1000′s on them. A fruit platter with Truck watermelon, Little Sausages in pita bread, and slow roasted lamb souvlaki with Baba ganoush and Tzatziki. Jelly Oranges & a Prime Mover Road Train birthday cake!
I wanted to be able to prepare almost everything but I thought it would be fun for the kids to be able to make their own little souvlaki. So I roasted two mini lamb legs and served them with some roasted potatoes and all the bits that go with them.
Needless to say I got a mouthful, hubby reported it was all fantastic!
Slow Roasted Lamb
You will need
2 mini lamb roasts (or 1 big one)
2 large cloves of garlic, sliced
50 g butter
handful of fresh oregano, chopped
Juice of 2 lemons
Salt & Pepper
250 mls of water
4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into medium chunks.
Preheat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Make a couple of incisions in the lamb and slot in some of the garlic, put the lamb into your roasting pan and season, sprinkle over the oregano, remaining garlic and pour over the lemon juice, olive oil and add the water to the bottom of the pan. Put the butter in knobs over the lamb and roast for 15 mins on each side.
Then turn the oven down to 160 degrees Celsius, add the potatoes to the pan and toss in the juices and cover and bake for at least 2 & 1/2 hours or until done. You want the lamb to literally fall off the bone and be able to break it up with a fork.
This is really too easy for words, once you’ve made it a couple of times I think you can play around with the quantities and be guided by your tastes. I used 3 medium size eggplants to make enough for 20 people.
You will need:
3 medium eggplants
1 large clove of garlic
1/2 cup tahini
400 mls natural yoghurt
Juice of 1 lemon
Place the eggplants over the gas burner on your stove and allow them to “Cook” for 10 mins on each side or until they start to collapse in on themselves. It’s important to keep an eye on them though. Once they’re charred all over remove from the heat and place in a plastic bag and allow to sweat for 10 mins.
Then carefully remove the skin from the eggplant, you need to make sure that none of the charred skin remains otherwise your dip will taste burnt rather than smokey. Set the eggplant aside.
In a mortar and pestle crush your garlic with 2 tsp of salt, then add some of the eggplant (this depends on the size of your mortar) you can fork it as well, but you want it chunky and not completely smooth. Transfer the mix to a large bowl and add the tahini, yoghurt, any remaining eggplant and lemon juice.
Mix well and pour into your serving dish/bowl. Make a little well in the centre and pour over some olive oil and sprinkle with a small amount of paprika.
Thanks to Peppa Pig the kids are having this tonight for dessert. Zachie requested by asking Mummy do we have any apples? Do we have any Blackberries? Yes, yes Zachie we do… why? Can you please make apple and blackberry crumble?
You will need
I worked on equal parts of apples to blackberries, for this one it was 2 Royal Gala apples to about a cup of blackberries. (If you’re using frozen make sure they’re Australian Grown and packaged to avoid any nasty chemicals, or better yet use fresh ones.
Simply stew the fruit in about 1/2 a cup of water. When the fruit is soft but still holding it’s shape add sugar to taste and reduce the liquid. Pour the fruit and syrup into an oven proof dish. Heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. While the fruit is cooking rub butter into the sugar and flour so that you have the consistency of wet sand. I used approx 1 cup of flour to 1/3 cup of sugar and 100g of butter, you want the crumble mix to hold together if you crush it in your hand.
Sprinkle over the fruit and bake for approx 20 mins or until golden brown.
Serve with either ice cream or cream.
I often see posts on Facebook about how people can get their kids to eat vegies, fruit or anything at all, or anything other than crap – I always wonder how they get the said crap, but that’s not why I am writing this post. I am thinking and it’s just my personal thoughts and speaking from experience with two young children who have gone through moments of eating everything in sight to nothing at all.
There are two things that stick out, one is baby lead weaning or BLW and the other is participation – in the growing, shopping, packing away and cooking of food and meals. I think for me this combination has been a winner and meant that our kids eat anything and everything, except for pork.
That statement also has to be prefaced by as long as they’re hungry they’ll eat anything.
Zachie had his first preserved lemon at 9mths of age, when I was dishing him up some of the tajine that we were having for dinner and I thought it was potato, I still remember the look on his little face, all squished up, but he ate it and hasn’t really looked back since. He has his moments of only eating bananas or weetbix/porridge for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
One thing I found beneficial was to bring dinner forward so that he wasn’t too tired to eat. That and letting go of my food hang ups about having to eat everything on the plate (even a Dad sized serving as a child) and remembering that they won’t starve themselves so there is no need to offer up any number of dishes, just what we’re having and if they’re hungry they’ll eat.
It’s always a good idea to look at the eating pattern your child may have and look at it over a few days rather than meal by meal, you might actually find that he or she eats a decent amount. Sophia has hardly any breakfast, picks at lunch and inhales dinner, she has always been like that. Sometimes she’ll even have two dinners, hers and some of ours.
Baby led weaning has many forms the purists will say that babies aren’t offered anything pureed, but I tend to think that’s a bit extreme. Once I’d established that neither of our kids were allergic to anything and they could sit up, I offered anything and everything from risotto to tajines to fish, you name it they eat it and I always sat/sit with them to eat. As babies that was for Zachie peaches, mangoes, berries etc as he reached that age in summer, Soph was a bit harder as it was autumn fruits for her, pears, steamed pieces of apple etc. I also waited until they watched every mouthful we had, again this is different for every child, but it’s a good indicator that they’re ready to start trying solids that’s for sure.
Anyway I just went from there, I did leave out salt (added later for us) and finely diced chicken, meat etc but otherwise there were very few adjustments I had to make to our diet in order to accommodate their taste buds.
I have always taken them to the market and got them to smell the cantaloupe, berries etc and look at the fish and I take the time to explain different foods to them as well, as much as we’re a Middle Eastern/Italian food house, if they’ve asked for Asian style noodles I have attempted to make them as I don’t want to discourage their love of all food just because Dad’s a fussy bum and only likes Moroccan food!
They have both also from a very young age either been in the kitchen watching me cook or helping (All you pearl clutches out there can speak with hubby about the photo of Zachie stirring the tomato sugo we made on the weekend) Helping has been in the form of putting the fruit away, scraping the fork down a cucumber, squishing the mince and making it into meat balls & cooking them. Zachie has even had a crack at making a cake, with a bit of help from me and the kitchen aid.
The other thing it does too is keep them out from under your feet while you’re trying to cook dinner as was the case today, Sophia squishing the feta into our salad. Zachie cutting X in the tomatoes in preparation for blanching them. It all leads to fun times, enjoyment of food and I hope wonderful memories of days making things together. Next adventure will be more berry picking this time with Soph in tow.
We had a catch up today with our Mother’s Group, we have been meeting for nearly 5 years and are still going strong. A very dear friend & colleague gave me her scone recipe (The English Scone) it is without question the easiest and least time consuming recipe ever!
I am sure my darling Jeanma (Dad’s Mum) would be none to impressed that there is no butter in this recipe, but I tell you even the purists would go for these. So thanks Paulina, You ROCK!
You will need
3 cups of self raising flour
3 tsp sugar
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup cream
1.5 cups milk.
PREHEAT oven to 220 degrees. Put all dry ingredients into bowl, whisk for a few seconds using a hand whisk. Add cream and milk, stir LIGHTLY using a thin spatula or knife ( the less you mix, the lighter and fluffier the scone) Pour sticky dough onto a floured board. Sprinkle some flour on top to prevent your hands sticking. Pat dough lightly to even it out. Dip your scone cutter into flour and cut out scones. Repeat to prevent dough sticking to cutter.
Put them together on a baking sheet if you want ‘pullaparts’ or place them separately if you want individual, crusty topped scones.
Cook for about 11 mins until hollow sounding when tapped. Take out of oven, cover with a clean tea towel until ready to serve with whipped cream and good quality jam.
Note: This mix is really really sticky, have faith it does work, I have played around with it just a little and because it’s so wet I get two dessert or soup spoons and make rough quenelles and spoon the mix onto a lined tray and end up with pull a parts.
Sensational is an understatement!
Christmas has come and gone as too has New Years Eve and we’ve had lots of left overs in the fridge. Our kids are spending almost every day in the pool and that will definitely be the case for the next week as we head into a week of between 30 & 40 degrees Celsius. I decided yesterday the best way to ensure they eat dinner was to feed them by the pool so I made up a salad of diced cucumber, tomatoes, feta & lettuce dressed with a little balsamic vinegar, sliced some yellow & red capsicums (bell peppers) and cooked up some of the leftover veggies in the fridge like asparagus, add to that some BBQ sausages & lamb chops from the night before and voila you have a salad which was demolished quick smart! Although the asparagus was fed to Daddy all round though a colourful tasty combination.
Merry Christmas and a VERY Happy new year to you all. I have to apologise again for my lack of posting – I have struggled to find time to write with working etc I must say I have missed it and I am looking forward to more regular postings. That said Christmas is always my chance to get creative in the kitchen. We don’t do traditional in our house and we haven’t for a long time, but now we don’t as we’re a pork free house so no Ham’s etc and Turkey is well and truly overrated in my opinion.
So this year we went with Steak – Angus Scotch Fillet – Jamie Oliver’s Lamb Lollipops which are just gorgeous, this year we didn’t make all the trimmings, but had salads etc on the side. Prawns of course, paprika potatoes & delicious desserts which I will share in another post.
The above scrolls were made for our Mother’s Group Christmas party which ended up being a breakfast as all the kids are early risers and it just made sense. So I brought a fruit salad dressed up Christmas style and these scrolls.
We have had copious amounts of Yellow Cherries and I have made jam and stewed the remaining which I used to make these scrolls.
You will need:
2 tsp dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 ½ cups plain flour, sifted
½ cup warm milk
185g softened butter
1 Tbsp sugar, extra
1 tsp mixed spice
¼ cup soft brown sugar
good handful of sultanas
about 1 cup of stewed fruit – I used Yellow Cherries.
1 Tbsp milk, extra for glazing
2 Tbsp Sugar, extra for glazing
½ cup icing sugar
1-2 Tbsp milk
What to do:
Combine the yeast, sugar & a couple of tablespoons of the flour in a large bowl, add the milk and mix well. Set aside in a warm place until it’s frothy and thick. This should take about 10 minutes. While you’re waiting for the yeast to activate sift the remaining flour into another bowl and rub in the softened butter with your fingertips until it resembles coarse sand or breadcrumbs. Stir in the extra sugar & the mixed spice. Add this to the yeast mixture with the egg and mix well using the dough hook on your mix master. Work the dough until it comes together to form a smooth ball.
Lightly oil your mixing bowl put the dough in and cover with cling film and place in a warm place to allow to prove for an hour or until it’s at least doubled in size.
Pre heat your oven to 210°C 415°F or gas 6-7. Ensure your mixed fruit is finely chopped if you’re making your own. Beat an extra 50g of butter with the brown sugar & mixed spice until it’s light & creamy. When your dough is ready, knock it back and roll out to approx 40 x 25cm (16 x 10 inches) rectangle, Spread the butter mixture all over the dough to within 2cm of the edge of one of the longer sides, spread the stewed fruit all over the dough and then sprinkle the sultanas all over it.
Roll the dough from the long side, firmly and evenly to enclose the fruit. Using a sharp knife cut the roll into evenly sized pieces about 2 ½ cm thick. Arrange the slices onto a well greased oven tray with the seams facing inwards. Flatten slightly, cover with cling film and set aside to rise for 30 mins or until they’re well risen again. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown & cooked. When they’re almost ready stir the milk & sugar in a small saucepan over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved, brush this mix over the hot buns. Cool & mix the icing sugar, drizzle over the buns. You should get about 12 – 15 smallish buns.
Enjoy! I am also thinking they’d work wonderfully with stewed apricots or any other stewed fruit!
We were watching Peppa Pig the other day, Sophia loves her and every time she says Peppa Pig she snorts like a pig which is hilarious – to me anyway – So Peppa’s brother George wouldn’t eat his salad which Grandpa Pig had grown in his own garden, so Grandpa Pig tore up the pieces of lettuce and made a dinosaur with it and cucumber & tomatoes.
Soph & Zachie thought it was great and tonight we had a go at it as well. I have found that a sure fire way to get the kids to eat is to get them involved in making the food. Tonight was no different. Zachie had grazed all day so wolfed down this salad followed by a bowl of weetbix, another great alternative to dinner when you know if they don’t eat something they’ll be up through the night!
Now I do have to confess that I have no issue at all with getting either of our kids to eat salad, they love it and would quite possibly eat only salad, some nights it’s a fight for who gets the most.
My dear friend gave me her wonderful garden salad recipe and it’s a staple in our house even through winter, I love salad in preference to vegies any day as does Hubby, which is probably where the kids get it from as well.
If you struggle to get your kids to eat salads or vegetables or just want to make it a bit more fun, this could be the way… stay tuned for a Semi Trailer styled salad soon.
Dee’s delicious Salad
You will need for 2 adults & 2 kids
1 tomato diced
1 decent sized Lebanese cucumber peeled, forked & quartered
4-6 coz lettuce leaves, rinsed and chopped
100gms of danish fetta, crumbled
dash of balsamic vinegar
Combine the ingredients in a salad bowl, mix well and serve. We do also add avocado &/or olives on occasion too.
Yes I am aware that’s puffery but I have tried banana loaf/bread in lots of places and this one rocks it big time, it’s an oldie & a goodie and that’s why I think it’s so good, the old recipes are tried and true. Made by all the wonderful home cooks our world is made up of!
This recipe comes from a book of Mum’s which I think she got either from her mum (my Grandma) or from their local church, it’s the Hamilton Lutheran Women’s association and I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
This recipe will make 2 loaves.
You will need:
2 cups of sugar
3 cups of plain flour
6 bananas, mashed
3 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
Grease & line 2 loaf tins and preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add the eggs beating after each addition and then add the bananas & flour, mix well until combined and divide between the two tins. Bake for 1 hour or until golden and cooked.
This is wonderful served cold and buttered. I have never toasted it, but I love to hear how it goes if you do.
This is what we had for dinner tonight and it was sensational if I do say so myself! I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to ensure you get the delicious caramalisation at the end is to watch it for the last 10 or so minutes, or as we did tonight get everyone around the table – dished up the kids serves – then put it back on the heat to reduce the liquid to almost nothing.
The benefits are almost mind blowing, you go from a great meal to a sensational and memorable meal but really the best way to get that is to be there watching it so it doesn’t burn. Trust me it’s worth it however painful it might be, you won’t regret it.
You will need/we used:
4 thick lamb chops, BBQ or forequarter are the best
1 spanish onion, diced
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp smokey paprika
handful of parsley, finely chopped
2 medium size fennel bulbs, cut into quarters
1 1/2 cups peas
What to do:
Add a lug of olive oil into your cast iron pan (one with a lid) and saute, add the chops and sprinkle over half the cumin, paprika and some salt & pepper, brown the chops and turn once, then add the carrots and put the chops on top of them, arrange the fennel over the chops (you may need to cut them into eighths, it just depends on how large they are to begin with). Sprinkle the remaining spices and chopped parsley over the fennel and add about a cup of water. You want to not quite cover the chops. By this time the tajine should almost be at the boil, cover with a tight fitting lid and turn the heat down so it’s just simmering and cook for about an hour, keep checking it though.
About 15 minutes before you think it’ll be ready add the peas, scatter them all over the tajine and cover again. Tonight I turned ours off about 10 mins before I wanted to serve it, thinking it’s ready, I know that the cast iron pan hold it’s heat and I didn’t want it to burn. Hubby says (and he was right damn it) that there was still too much water, so we took out some for the kids and put it back on the heat for another 5 or so mins on high to really reduce the water, I kept tilting the pan so we could see what was left liquid wise and we were left with a sensational meal!
We served it with bread and ate with our hands which is really half the fun and of course reduces the need to wash up loads of dishes
Hope you give this a try and love it as much as we did xx Kate