Apple & Blackberry Crumble

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?

Apple and Blackberry CrumbleI made a small one probably enough to serve 2-3 or 4 for kids. It’s a very easy dish to make and takes no time at all!

You will need

Apples

Blackberries

Sugar

Water

Butter

Plain Flour

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.

 

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Helping hands

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.

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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.

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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.

Zachie's first attempt at Joyce's Lemon Cake

Zachie’s first attempt at Joyce’s Lemon Cake

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.

 

Who doesn’t love a scone?

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!

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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.

METHOD:

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!

Butterfly Salad – using up your leftovers

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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.

Dinosaur Salad

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.

THE best Banana Loaf Recipe!

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:

125g butter

2 cups of sugar

4 eggs

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.

Sweet Corn

Corn, we love the stuff – you know it’s in so many things in many different forms, but we like corn au naturale or popped as in popcorn. Autumn in Melbourne is gorgeous – no doubt about it, the mornings are cool & crisp and days for the most part a glorious sunshine, although having said that undoubtedly the weather will change in the next 10 mins and then change again as most Melburnians know. Autumn is also bring us a change in what’s available and in season at the market, corn is on that list! Yay!! For a list of seasonal fruit & vegetables click here.

Fresh corn is one of those things that you can use in a lot of other things like fried rice, corn jacks, on the barbeque, in salads, the possibilities are almost endless, we as I said like ours plain and simple.

I usually cut our cobs in half and everyone gets a half each as I’d usually serve it with other things as well, but tonight Sophia kept opening the fridge and pointing to the corn with a bit of an err err (she’s still on one to two words at 1 & 1/2 years of age) she’s definitely able to get across to us what she wants.

So corn on it’s own is what they had for dinner. Husk your corn and remove as much of the silk as you can, place them in a pot that is large enough to fit them in, cover with water and bring to the boil, boil for about 5-8 mins. Don’t add any salt to the water as this causes the corn kernels to go tough, you can add it later if you like.

That’s it.. simple, quick and easy and for kids it’s really a meal in its self. You can of course add butter, salt & pepper, even Lime juice which comes highly recommended.(thanks Liesel) pretty much anything else you fancy.