Tag Archives: babies

Banana & Almond muffins

Banana & Almond muffins

I am immensely proud of these little beauties. This is the kind of mid afternoon pick me up I crave with a cup of tea. They are a little sweet, moistly dense (think brownie), and crunchy on the top. Yes these hit the spot nicely…very easy to go back for a second or third.

Ingredients

60 g plain yoghurt
1/4 cup sunflower oil
60 g butter melted and cooled a little
3 medium overripe bananas
1 cup soft brown sugar
2 eggs
80 grams ground almonds
1 1/4 cup plain white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon golden syrup
pinch of sea salt

25 grams sliced almonds for sprinkling over the top prior to cooking

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, mash the bananas with the oil, yoghurt, butter and oil. Add the vanilla extract and the sugar. Beat together to combine.
Now beat in the eggs.

Sift the flour with ground almonds, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt. Fold these dry indredients into the wet mixture unitl no flour is left visibly white. Be careful not to overbeat this mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tins, sprinkle with sliced almonds. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes until cooked when a skewer comes out with hardly any crumb. Leave to cool five minutes in the tin then place on a cooling rack. Serve warm.

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March 6, 2013 · 3:19 PM

Making food with children

”I want to make something with you Mummy!”, my daughter has been asking me this every day this week.

I knew that Lucia would naturally be interested in food and cooking as that is a big focus in the environment she is growing up in. She enjoys visiting the Farmers markets with me each weekend, the local butchers know her by name and she knows her fresh herbs in the garden. It delights me that I am creating this positive food culture at home where I hope that by the time she is a teenager and grows in to a young woman I would have helped impart a natural knowledge of what to eat and how to cook it. It is empowering to have the knowledge on one of the most fundamental basics which is to be able to look after your health and fuel your body for living. Knowing what is good to eat; preferably local seasonal produce; organically grown fruit and vegetables if possible.  Free range eggs and meats, sustainable fresh fish,  whole foods, or more simply foods that are in their natural state – certainly not in cleverly marketed boxes and packages with lists of numbers to explain what is really inside them.    It depresses me to see queues of cars lined up outside the McDonald’s drive thru when I drive past, laziness and ignorance. By ensuring we eat home-made food, having control about what ingredients we use means Lucia is involved from very young, eating good food starting at home is my small way to counter the culture.

I grew up with a Mother who is a very good cook and baker, through Mums cooking I learnt to LOVE eating food. However she was very tidy and I do not have any memories of being involved with her cooking. Kids cooking is sometimes very messy I am the first to admit, I remember my Mum not being always keen on me cooking when I was younger for this very reason.  I am overlooking the spilt flour over the floor and little dirty finger-marked cupboards and embracing a fun and positive cooking culture.

Some favourite foodies things Lucia and I have been doing together

  1.  Cupcakes or muffins then ice and decorate them. Lucia had a ball making these chocolate and almond nut butter cupcakes yesterday. I think she was so busy decorating one marshmallow for the cupcake and one for her mouth that she hardly had room to eat an actual cupcake once baked.

2.        Dumplings or pot stickers. I have been gritting my teeth and letting Lucia use a fairly blunt knife to chop herbs and vegetable.   She has been doing very well. I was watching a documentary set in a remote South american village and I was cringing watching this toddler with a big knife chopping away. surprisingly he looked perfectly capable. Using small wonton pastry rounds I got Lucia to fill and squeeze the pastry over in half and then brush water with the pastry brush to seal the wontons. Filling, Squeezing and painting – a 3 year olds dream activity.

3.  Farmers Market pretend play. Lucia has a new game, she sets up her market stall with the fruit bowl and we come to her market stall and pretend to buy fruit from her – She loves it. Lucia the market gardener.

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Baked streaky bacon wrapped sausages

Baking and roasting is so simple, this dish is super simple yet has the comforting flavours of a roast. I can throw this all together in 10-15 mintues, pop it in a pre heated 190º oven, put the timer on for 30-40 minutes and get on with playing games and watching my lovely daughter Lucia Belle Lucia wash up the dishes until dinner is ready.

RECIPE

Baked streaky bacon wrapped sausages, with apples & golden sweet potato

Ingredients

4-6 good quality pork sausages

6 slices streaky bacon

3 red apples

one red onion chopped into quarters

A few chopped peeled sweet shallots are nice too

Enough sweet golden potato (kumara)

x2 Whole garlic clove (optional)

2 bay leaves

2-4 tablespoons olive oil

sea salt

cracked black pepper

  1. Wrap bacon around the sausage
  2. Place sausages and all ingredients in a large baking dish
  3. season and pour olive oil over vegetables and sausages
  4. Place in preheated oven and bake for 30-40 minute

This is the perfect simple mid week meal. Minimal effort, which will evoke lots of mmm! at the table.

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Beautiful creative people

My Mum is one of these people, she has always expressed herself beautifully by being a very generous woman who has given  through cooking, baking, home making, collecting, sewing, crafting, mothering, being a faithful and loving wife, and more recently a successful creative business owner of Truly Scrumptious on Victoria St, Christchurch, NZ. (Which she lost during Feb 22nd 2011 Earthquake). I am so proud of my Mum, look what she achieved in her shop, her shop  is really an overflow of the creativity she expresses in her home.

Mum also had a cafe selling delicious chocolates, friands, muffins, dainty club sandwiches, scones, pretty iced cupcakes, coffee La Farre espresso and high teas served all with fine antique bone china.

These special little dense fruit cakes were available in different icing styles and Mum even had one called the “boyfriend cake’, It was iced with masculine style icing.  A perfect gift. Here is a pretty iced cake which sold for around $20.00 each.

Mum’s nickname is Fou, because she loves, laces, fou fou and anything that is insanely beautiful, feminine and pretty. She has had a few stares at the supermarket dressed in vintage 1950’s petticoats and that’s all on!. She alway says she would be much more comfortable living in the 18th century wearing Victorian clothes. She really is a soul borne in the wrong era, she would agree.

When at home Mum loves to entertain and she is fabulous at creating an atmosphere for elegant dinners and creating a lovely table setting. I love her dining table which is an antique french farm table with the original chairs.

Mothers influence daughters and even though I always joke I don’t like too much pink, lace and antiques (after being surrounded growing up with it) I really am my Mothers daughter and have been blessed to inherit her love of all things beautiful and carry on a legacy to the beautiful creative people.

Mum is also a fabulous cook and baker, this is her soft as angels wings Pavlova cream filled sponge cake.

Truly Scrumptious Shop is hugely missed by all my Mums loyal customers in Christchurch, it was seen as an escape from the ordinariness of life to a beautiful dream world of sensory experience. I know Mum will find another outlet for her creativity in the near future – it is natural as breathing.  Being beautiful, creative people you can not help but express yourself in whatever you do. I love my Mum.

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Worthy of praise Baghdad eggs. spiced lentils. tomato kasundi

I managed to escape from the aftermath of Christchurch third major shakes June 13th 5.7 and 6.3 Magnitude earthquakes for the heady, cosmopolitan pleasure of an undamaged city – Auckland, New Zealand.  Thank goodness for a breather from the constant aftershocks I have been experiencing. Armed with a current Entertainment dining discount book I used it as my guide to search out a cafe which I could experience a stand out great breakfast. Most breakfast brunch menus bore me to tears, most cafes stick to the same formula, eggs Benedict, big breakfast, french toast, predictable, safe, yawn, yawn. So I was excited when I turned up to Urban Cafe on Carlton Gore Rd, Newmarket, Auckland at 9am this morning. Firstly it was very busy with plenty of good Auckland people watching – corporate types and fashionistas sipping lattes, deep in conversation on a superb sun spilled  patio. I love it when I see plenty of fresh baking – caramel, cinnamon, raison brioche, perfect bakewell slice, red velvet cupcakes. My early morning sweet tooth was bound to be satisfied. I started off with a round of coffees for my group and yes my sweet tooth insisted on a sneaky cinnamon brioche shared with our coffees while we pondered and tried to decide what to order from a very good menu. Baghdad eggs with spiced lentils and a tomato kasundi served with more than enough turkish bread beckoned me. The dish was served piping hot in a small cast iron pan with three soft poached eggs set amongst brown lentils, not unlike a frittata. Garnished with a generous handful of fresh coriander which infused the dish. Bagdad eggs were Perfect. I can not wait to try making this dish at home.

http://www.urbancafenewmarket.co.nz/

Review

  • Food 9/10
  • Coffee 10/10
  • Atmosphere 8/10
  • Toddler/child friendly 8/5

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80’s Meatloaf revivalist!

What will I make for dinner? This is forever the question and my problem is I always have a long list of recipes and dishes I am longing to try out. As I am a self-confessed cook book addict my home has a big stash of cookbooks which ensures I never get bored or lack inspiration to put on my apron!. I read and evaluate each recipe to make sure it meets the must cook criteria.

  • Comfort factor – After a busy day it seems dinner is quite often the only meal that you can really relax and enjoy without having to inhale your food before we hurry on again. Its a pleasure to take time out and truly enjoy a nourishing meal that restores you physically and mentally brings comfort and calm.
  • Easily accessible ingredients – There is no point trying to make mousakka in the middle of winter when eggplants are $8.00 each (unless you have an absolute craving for mousakka then permitted!). Buy in season and locally sustainable food as a rule.
  • Looks Delicious – Who doesn’t eat with their eyes!. Oozing melted cheese, bubbling over the side lasagne, a perfectly moist and tender roasted chicken. It makes you hungry looking at it.
  • Get out of your comfort zone – It motivates me to try out new recipes that are a bit of a challenge or use unusual ingredients that I have not tasted or familiar with. If you are cooking a recipe you have made every Monday night for the last ten years….please STOP!. Try something new your taste buds will love you for it.

These are some of my recent cosy family meals we have been enjoying.

Meatloaf – Doesnt this just remind you of the 1980’s?. My Mum use to make this for us all the time. My husband jokes I have a love for mince. When I met him I prided myself on the fact I only had ever eaten fillet steak and I certainly did not eat mince (nose in the air). Well I have changed, mince is just so versatile, Pork mince, beef mince, venison mince, lamb mince, chicken mince. I love what I can make with Mince!. I usually make meatloaf out of pork and beef mince. It is so simple to put this together and it tastes divine. Truly!. Sometimes I make the meatloaf in a tin – self saucing meatloaf,  by pouring over a container of tomatoe puree and a few dashes of Worcester sauce or red wine or whatever takes my fancy. The recipe below is utterly divine and a little more sophisticated baked free form on a tray, the bonus here is the vegetables benefit form all the delicious juices to create a complete meal.

Meatloaf with roasted vegetables

Meatloaf with roasted vegetables – Recipe loosely taken from Tessa Kiros Apples for Jam.

Ingredients

  • 80g white bread crusts removed  (about 4 slices)
  • 125 ml Milk
  • 2 large zucchini, trimmed
  • 1 large potato or sweet potato, peeled
  • 1 large red capsicum
  • 500 grams lean mince (beef or pork or combination)
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 heaped tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 100 grams thinly sliced pancetta (or streaky bacon will work)
  • 2 sage sprigs
  • 2 small rosemary sprigs
  • 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 125 ml white wine
  1. Preheat the oven to 180c. Soak the bread in the milk for about 15 minutes, squashing it up a bit with your hands so it collapses.
  2. Cut the red peppers, carrots, zucchini into strips and  potato into chunks. You want all the vegetables to roast evenly so make sure they are not too small that they shrivel up in the heat. Now put these aside for now.
  3. My favourite bit…put the mince in a large bowl with the parsley, egg, chopped garlic, parmesan and squashed up bread, and season with a flat teaspoon of salt. mix together until smooth. Then form a large loaf like a giant egg.
  4. Drizzle half the olive oil into a large flameproof baking dish and put the meatloaf on top. cover with overlapping slices of pancetta, tucking them in at the bottom. Scatter the vegetables all around , drizzle with olive oil and toss with some salt. Tuck the herbs and garlic under the vegetables. Bake 1 1/4 hours and, turning the vegetables over half way through. Keep an eye on them they do not over cook. The vegetables should be golden and crusty and the bacon crispy also. Turn the oven off. Remove the vegetables and meatloaf to a platter, cover with foil and put back in the oven to keep warm. Put the baking dish on the stove top over high heat and sprinkle in the flour. Cook stirring constantly to scrape up all the bits and pieces from the bottom of the dish. Pour in the wine and stir until evaporated. Add 250 ml of hot water; season with salt and cook until the sauce becomes smooth and thickens a little. Serve with the meatloaf cut into thick slices and the vegetables.

Your man and your little ones will love this MEATloaf!. It is great sliced cold on sandwiches the next day also.

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Gricklegrass Lentil Pie

Gricklegrass Organic farm nostalgia, Oxford, North Canterbury, New Zealand late 1990's

Here is a little bit of background on the name Gricklegrass lentil pie. When It was 1998 I was 18, a student studying professional photography, living in a small rural North Canterbury town Oxford, New Zealand. Not far from our family home on Woodside Road was a commune called GRICKLEGRASS organic farm. I decided one day for an assignment I would visit and ask if I could photograph some of the people living there. Gricklegrass consisted of a lovely character, rambling home from the late 1800’s which was in a state of disrepair set on over 20 acres of farmland that ran down to the Coopers Creek riverbed. At this time there were a number of eclectic residents, a few young families, alternative, idealistic young organic farmers and always some transient eccentrics like Graham who lived on his bus. My first visit to the intriguing Gricklegrass I met the dreadlocked 23-year-old Andrew MacDonald who was digging some holes out by the front door. This meeting was perhaps one of the most profound moments which changed the course of both of our lives. Andrew and I entered an extremely special season of close friendship and companionship.  I often would be invited to shared pot luck meals. I remember these always to be fun and the Gricklegrass table was always overladen of lovingly made whole food salads, curries and sourdough breads. Lentil pie reminds me of these feasts. I had a nostalgic hankering for a Wholemeal Lentil pie. This is the recipe I came up with.

Andrew and I at Gricklegrass - 1998/99

GRICKLEGRASS Lentil pie before the lid goes onChamp Mash Top (I have upgraded the pie to my 2011 budget and added some leftover Taleggio cheese)

Champ Mash Top (I have upgraded the pie to my 2011 budget and added some leftover Taleggio cheese)Gricklegrass Inspired Hearty Wholemeal Lentil Pie

RECIPE : GRICKLEGRASS WHOLEMEAL LENTIL PIE

Ingredients

  • Homemade is best Wholemeal Shortcrust pastry for base
  • 200 grams  Wholemeal pastry (I used freshly organic stoneground flour)
  • 100 grams chilled butter, cut into cubes
  • cold iced water
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped finely
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed and chopped
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 cup of lentils (I used blonde lentils, but brown or puy would still work)
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes in juice
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1-2 tbsp rice wine vinegar to taste
  • Agria mashing potatoes for the top and I used leftover cheese Taleggio from my fridge to melt over the top.

Method

  1. In a large pot bring well salted water to the boil and boil potatoes in well salted water till  tender. Then put through a potato mouli or mash the old-fashioned way with milk, butter, salt till creamy. 
    • To make the pastry, work the flour into the butter with your fingers in a big bowl until they resemble breadcrumbs and add the water until it comes together into a smooth ball, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge.
  2. In a large frying pan heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes taking care not to burn it. Add the carrots and continue to fry for a few more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the spices and cook until it smells aromatic. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to the boil and then turn down to the lowest heat and simmer for a 1 hour. Season and adjust if needed, I would add the rice wine vinegar now if it needs a lift. Then set aside and cool. The mixture should be moist but not swimming in liquid, if it is simmer it longer.
  3. Once mixture has cooled a bit and not piping hot. Roll out the pastry to fit a pie dish or deep loose bottom flan tin. (Bake blind – Google this technique for a good description. This stops the pastry from going soggy on the bottom)
  4. Fill pastry case with filling and top with the mash. Optional sprinkle with any melting cheese.

Delicious served with cauliflower and eggplant salad (previous post) or a big green salad. A side relish or chutney is a perfect accompaniment.

The finished pie ready to be served

I also went on to produce a series of portraits of the residents of Gricklegrass farm for my Professional Photography studies. These are some of the photos (originals were all handprints and taken with a 6×6 format  vintage Rolliflex camera, 2.8mm Zeiss lens)

Graham on his bus - Gricklegrass Organic farm, Oxford, North Canterbury 1999 NZ Andrew in his carpentry workshop from Gricklegrass Organic Farm 1999. Fast forward to 2011 Andrew is an Anglican Minister, married with three children.Jude at Gricklergrass Organic FarmGus and his dog Morphine - Gricklegrass organic farm 1999

 

Steve from Gricklegrass organic farmAndrew 1999

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Andrew at GricklegrassJude

 

Steve the Musician from Gricklegrass in his Hut

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Gus and his dog Morphine - Gricklegrass organic farm 1999Andrew 1999A family living at Gricklegrass - Kane and Sharon

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

You can see part of Gricklegrass home in the background.

 
 
 

Graeme cooking food in his bus. I ended up giving my diesel Lancer car to Graeme and the last I heard he moved to the West Coast

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
THE END

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