Monthly Archives: May 2012

Little People: Winning Pasta Sauce

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My philosophy on kids and veggies is simple. Teach them all about vegetables, grow them in the garden if you can, serve a wide range of veggies in lots of different ways. Continue to serve veggies in small portions even if they don’t get eaten sometimes. And hide a complete range of veggies in everything you can!

I often add pureed or mashed veg to meals for the kids plus serve whole veg on the side so the kids can see them and try them.

This is a really tasty sauce that also freezes well.  I freeze it in cubes so it’s always on hand for a quick kids dinner. Most often I serve this Winning Sauce with pasta and little parmesan grated on top. It’s also great on pizza bases, if you’re making savoury rolls or pizza scrolls, for chicken parmigiana or to cook meatballs in.

Ingredients

This recipe makes approx 2L of sauce. 

  • 20g olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Half a leek
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 100g pumpkin (leave skin on)
  • 1 red or yellow capsicum
  • 1 tin of tomatoes (400g)
  • 500ml passata
  • Handful of mixed fresh herbs – parsley, basil, thyme
  • Pink Salt & Black Pepper
Method
  1. Roughly chop all the veggies & herbs and place in TMX bowl 
  2. Chop 10-20sec, Sp 6
  3. Add 20g oil, tinned tomatoes & passata 
  4. Whiz 5 sec, Sp 6
  5. Cook 30min, 100C, Sp 1
  6. Puree 20sec, Sp 9
  7. Season to taste and whiz on Sp 6 to mix salt & pepper through
  8. Done! Serve or freeze for later.

Homemade: Happy Crackers

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My kids love crackers. They are such an easy snack but I worry about serving such a processed food to them. Although I buy brands of cracker that have minimal additives and preservatives, in particular those that have proved very harmful to our health, I’d still like to replace them with a healthier, homemade version. I’ve had a few attempts at making my own rice crackers but haven’t managed to make a batch that can compete with the crunchiness and tastiness of store bought crackers. Until now.

This fabulous recipe for Happy Crackers comes from a blog I love, My New Roots. Written by Sarah Britton, this blog is a great source of reliable information on health, nutrition and wholesome living. Sarah is a holistic nutritionist and vegetarian chef, as well as a Certified Nutritional Practitioner. I really enjoy her writing style and the way she presents so much knowledge in a manner that is easy to understand. I’m just starting to try a few of her recipes and this one is definitely a winner. These crackers are crunchy and delicious, really healthy and my kids love them. Look on My New Roots for a great run-down of each of the ingredients and their health benefits.

These crackers are gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free and sugar-free so should suit just about everyone!

I’ve written the recipe below converted for Thermomix. Check out My New Roots for the non-Thermomix method.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups cooked brown or white rice
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2/3 cup unhulled sesame seeds
  • ½ cup flax seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. tamari
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil

Sorry I haven’t weighed ingredients yet but will next time I make these

Method
  1. Place flax seeds in a bowl and cover with 1/2 cup of water. Let soak for at least 20 minutes
  2. Cook rice in the basket according to EDC instructions (900g water, Sp 4, Varoma, 13-16 min for white rice and 30-35 min for brown rice)
  3. Cook quinoa in the basket with 900g water for 15min, Sp 4, Varoma. Then stir with fork and cook on same settings for a further 5min
  4. In a dry pan over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds until fragrant then set aside
  5. Place all ingredients in TMX and and knead (closed lid position) for 2 min
  6. If it looks too dry, add a tablespoon of water and knead for another 30 sec
  7. If you want any extra flavourings (nuts, herbs, spices) add them in and knead in the TMX until incorporated (usually about 30sec)
  8. Turn the dough out onto some baking paper
  9. Break off the amount you want to use and roll out between two sheets of baking paper
  10. I rolled one batch really thin. Once baked they made delicious crisps. I rolled another batch approx 5mm. Once baked they made more traditional thickness crackers, good for eating with dips or cheeses
  11. Use a knife or biscuit cutter to score the dough into desired shapes
  12. Slide the baking paper onto a tray and bake 180C for 25-35 min
  13. You need to bake them until the crackers are nicely dried out. They shouldn’t feel soft at all. If you pull them out to cool and find they’re still not crunchy just pop back in the oven again until they’re cooked enough
  14. Once cooled, break the crackers along the score lines and store in an air tight container for up to a week

Feeding the Funky Bunch: Jam Buttons

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These little biscuits are a total melt-in-your-mouth indulgence. I have this recipe pasted into my cooking file from an old Delicious Magazine.

Ingredients

  • 200g butter
  • 55g raw sugar
  • Rind of 1 lemon
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp homemade vanilla essence
  • 300g plain flour
  • 75g desiccated coconut
  • Raspberry or Apricot Jam

Thermomix Method

  1. Peel large strips of lemon rind into TMX
  2. Add raw sugar
  3. Process 3 sec, Sp 9 to form caster sugar and fine lemon rind
  4. Add butter and mix 20 sec, Sp 4
  5. Add egg yolk and vanilla, mix 20 sec, Sp 4
  6. Add flour and coconut
  7. Knead (closed lid position) for 2 min
  8. Roll portions of dough into walnut sized balls, place on lined baking tray and indent centre of each with your thumb
  9. Place half a teaspoon of either jam in each hole
  10. Bake 180C for 12 min
  11. Allow to cool on trays for 5 min before transferring to wire racks

Non-Thermomix Method

  1. Place butter, sugar and lemon rind in bowl of an electric beater and beat until pale
  2. Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat until combined
  3. Fold in flour and coconut
  4. Place dough on floured bench and lightly knead for 30 seconds
  5. Roll portions of dough into walnut sized balls, place on lined baking tray and indent centre of each with your thumb
  6. Place half a teaspoon of either jam in each hole
  7. Bake 180C for 12 min
  8. Allow to cool on trays for 5 min before transferring to wire rack

Feeding the Funky Bunch: Chicken & Leek Pie

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This recipe was inspired by Jamie Oliver’s ‘The Best Chicken and Sweet Leek Pie with Flaky Pastry’. This recipe makes a large pie suitable for 4-6 hungry adults.

*Note: Recipe method altered 02.03.14 for more delicious results

Ingredients

  • 15g butter
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 large leek, washed and roughly chopped
  • 2 fresh cobs of corn, kernels sliced off
  • handful of fresh thyme
  • 400-500g chicken thigh or tenderloin, cut into approx 3cm chunks
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • 35g plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon  thermomix vegetable stock concentrate
  • 120g white wine
  • 120g milk
  • 200g feta
  • Filo Pastry (10 sheets)
  • 50g melted butter

Method

 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200C
  2. Place carrot, celery and leek in TMX. Chop 10-15 sec, Sp 5
  3. Add corn kernels and butter
  4. Cook 100C, 6 min, Rev Sp 1
  5. While the vegetables are cooking, wet a sheet of baking paper, squeeze out excess water, then use to line the top tray of the varoma
  6. Spread chicken pieces out on the lined tray, sprinkled with a good pinch of salt, cracked pepper and half the thyme leaves
  7. Add flour, a pinch of cracked pepper and the rest of the thyme leaves to vegetable mix and give a quick stir with your spatula
  8. Place varoma on top of TMX and cook 100C, 3 min, Rev Sp 1
  9. Add wine, milk and stock
  10. Place varoma back on top of TMX and cook 100C, 25 min, Rev Sp 1
  11. At this stage the chicken will only be partially cooked through, but it will finish cooking in the oven
  12. Pour pie filling into an appropriately sized oven-proof dish (I use a 1.6L oval glass pyrex dish) and mix through steamed chicken
  13. Crumble feta over pie filling
  14. Layer filo pastry on top, brushing melted butter between the layers and on top of the last layer
  15. Bake 200C for 40min

Little People: Lunchbox Legends

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Lunchboxes. The constant challenge of parents around the world. How to keep your kids lunch boxes (and your own lunch boxes!) delicious and healthy. I’ll continue to add links to this page each time I post a recipe that is suitable for tucking in a lunchbox to make it that little bit more interesting and tasty.

  • Sun-Dried Tomato & Spinach Frittatas : these frittatas freeze really well. Simply place in a container or snap-lock bag and freeze until needed. I often pop them in my kids lunch boxes frozen and they defrost perfectly in time for lunch. 
  • Jam Buttons: delicious little old-fashioned biscuits
  • Happy Crackers : replace processed crackers with your own homemade healthy, delicious crackers
  • Zucchini Quiche: this quiche  freezes really well. Simply place in a container or snap-lock bag and freeze until needed. I often pop them in my kids lunch boxes frozen and they defrost perfectly in time for lunch. 
  • Chocolate Magic Bean Cake: delicious and nutritious, great for the lunchbox, afternoon tea or a birthday party
  • Sausage Rolls: Healthy, homemade sausage rolls packed with veggies
  • Wholemeal Fruit Bread: Great fresh or toasted for breakfast or a snack. I slice and freeze mine so that it is quick and easy to toast a slice when needed.
  • Garlic, Herb & Cheese Bread: Delicious warm from the oven or in lunch boxes the next day