Baby Led Weaning – zucchini slice and potato cakes

 

 

I find it hard to give the little one a balanced diet. Well, it’s not difficult. I just sometimes forget. It’s easy to make a one big serve of something, freeze it, and then she’ll eat it for the next few days. And then I suddenly think, “Aiya! She’s been eating the same thing for three days!!”. Bad parent.

So, I’m making an effort to keep a variety of things in the freezer. Here are two recipes to share!

Zucchini Slice (inspired by the recipe on pg 67 of Donna Hay magazine, Issue 65)

  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 900g veg (zucchini*, eggplant, broccoli), grated
  •  100g cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (to cut down on eggs)
  • a handful of basil, chopped
  • 2 cups of SR flour
  • pepper

Fry the onion and garlic until golden. Mix all ingredients together and bake in the oven until golden brown – about 40 minutes.

*For those of you in Beijing, I used 西葫芦 instead of zucchini.

Potato Cakes

    • 1.5kg/5 potatoes, shredded (squeeze well, or leave to drain)
    • 2 eggs
    • 150g flour
    • pepper
    • 2-3 tblsp cheese (I used some parmesan)
    • 5 cloves of garlic

    Mix it all together. Drop balls into a fry pan and flatten them with your spatula.

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Both were very popular with the little one! Let me know if you try it out too!

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Nigella’s Steak and Chips

I’ve recently been watching Nigellissima – Nigella Lawson’s new(ish) Italian cooking show. She’s so sweet to watch, and I love how she always showcases easy, yet delicious, recipes, that I usually have the ingredients for in the pantry.

(Speaking of pantries… how amazing is hers? And she has a freezer drawer in her kitchen island?? Oh, I want her kitchen so much)

Her ‘steak and chips’ really appealed to me straight away. The recipe for her chips are here. You cook the chips in cold oil. Which is interesting, because I learnt from Masterchef that you should start boiling root vegetables in cold water. Connection? I don’t know… any ideas??

In the end, I don’t think my chips were as crispy as hers. I was scared of over-cooking them, so I think they could have had a few more minutes. But, the flavour of chips was amazing – a little soggy, but divine. The garlic and herbs made such a difference.

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So, it’s an exceptionally large amount of oil. I usually shallow fry everything (mainly because I’m kinda scared of boiling oil). But for a special occasion I guess it’s ok. And heaps fewer steps that the usual par-boil and double-fry potato chip method – you just had to watch them. Which also means less dishes.

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The deep-fried oregano and sage are just delicious.

Then, she made a very simple steak. You fry the steak for two minutes on each side, then allow it to rest, again for two minutes on each side. But, when resting it, let it sit in a dressing of olive oil, splash of red wine vinegar, chilli flakes, oregano, and S&P.

Then, remove the steak and let some cherry tomatoes sit in the dressing for a few minutes. Slice up the steak, and plate it all together! Yum!

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How pretty are the lines on my steak?

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So colourful!

I really look forward to trying out more of her recipes. Please let me know if you have any recommendations!

Masterchef Beijing 2.0

As Andy won our first ever Masterchef challenge, he was given the honour of determining the next challenge. Everyone was given a colour and a key ingredient.

I was given ‘blue’ and ‘pasta’ and I haven’t forgiven him yet!

Being pregnant, I’ve been very conscious of trying to eat as nutritionally sound as possible. But think of a naturally blue food… blueberries. And they’re kinda purple anyway. Now think of another… exactly. Our genetics naturally steer us clear of blue foods, as we assume that they are mouldy.

So, I just decided to go silly and had an ‘under the sea’ theme and go nuts with some food colouring. Let’s call it prep for future children’s birthday parties.

1st course was a Collins Class submarine made from cannelloni tubes, stuffed with ricotta, lemon juice, dill, celery, walnuts, lemon rind and yoghurt, topped with a bechamel sauce. Cheese on cheese. And it was actually quite yum, until I added blue food colouring and made it look gross.

2nd course was a gnocchi oyster. I resisted the temptation to turn the gnocchi blue (this was the last thing I cooked, and I was starting to think the baby might be coming out with a blue tinge by now) and instead made blue sea salt. The gnocchi is sitting on a puttanesca-style sauce. And I was actually happy with this course! (I used the same gnocchi recipe that I wrote about here).

3rd course was a disaster. I wanted to make a chocolate lasagne, with blue cake layers, which would then kinda look like a coral reef. But the pasta part really just made it weird. It would have been much better as just a blue blueberry cake with chocolate sauce. And I’m pretty sure the colouring made the cake taste weird.

These are a sample of each of the courses (entree, main and dessert). Nic made black food with potato, Zac made green with rice, Andy made orange with tofu and Michelle (the winner!) made red with white bean.

My overall favourite dish for the night was Michelle‘s white bean dessert – I can’t resist posting a photo since it was so beautifully presented:

If you’re interested in our first Masterchef Beijing challenge, you can find it here!

Gnocchi balls

I hadn’t made gnocchi for a long time. One reason was that the last time I made them back in Adelaide, we used wholemeal flour, and didn’t gnocchi, we made bricks. It didn’t taste bad, you just couldn’t eat more than a few.

However, I found myself totally inspired by this blog, and consequently, this amazing looking recipe. It was a perfect recipe. I cooked it one night, with homemade pesto from my ‘garden‘ and it was delicious!! The gnocchi was light and fluffy, and had a great flavour.

I made a huge amount of dough, and wrapped up the leftovers and kept them in the fridge. 2 or 3 days later I pulled out the dough to make myself another delicious batch. The dough was incredibly sticky. Incredibly. I think a lot of the water, previously stored in the potatoes, had slowly leeched out. I added more and more flour until I realised they just wouldn’t hold together when being boiled.

Plan B. Fry.

YUUUUUUUUM! Totally would recommend fried gnocchi. It was delicious!!

Eating through Zhejiang

Every holiday turns into a culinary adventure, whether we like it or not! Here are some of my foodie memories.

I pulled out the camera way too late on this one! Fried prawns with preserved seaweed (or other related water weed). So good, we went back again another day. Hangzhou.

This was a little strange. It was deep-fried tofu. It kinda stuck to the roof of your mouth. And the sauce was scary. Hangzhou.

One of the specialities of the area – dongpo pork. Basically, it’s braised pork with a massive layer of fat. Delicious, but not nutritious. Hangzhou.

Another local speciality – prawns and longjing tea. But the prawns weren’t as fresh as the ones in the first photo. Hangzhou.

THE MOST AMAZING DISH IN THE WORLD. We found ‘tudoubing’ (umm… potato cakes?) at a tiny little place next to the bus station. We devoured one plate, then ordered two more serves for the bus trip. We were the envy of every passenger. I have since found out that these are only good with Zhejiang potatoes. I intend to experiment anyway. Hangzhou.

Large whitebait at a She Minority Village. Outside Jingning.

Freshly made hotpot with a fish we chose from the pond out the back. Outside Jingning.

Deconstructed Duck. Jingning.

OMG. We found it AGAIN! Jingning.

We had a choice of freshly caught seafood everyday. Nanji Island.

Nanji Island.

These are a b***h to eat. They are so spiky and seem intent on ripping your skin off. I have since been told that if I master my chopstick skills, I can whip these out in a second! Nanji Island. 

 Nanji Island.

The most amazing fish in the world. And superb eggplants – thin and sweet. Nanji Island.

Nanji Island.

Tofu wrapped tofu. Shaoxing.

Pork and prawn in crunchy noodley things. Lovely garnish. Shaoxing.

Bus photos from our Zhejiang Travels.

Curry class

The wonderful girls I work with are also so interested in the contents of my lunchbox when I bring leftovers to school. It got to the point were they were poking their chopsticks around in it, querying about what vegetables and seasonings I’d used. So, we decided to do some cooking classes together! I most often bring leftover curry to work, and so we decided that I’d first teach them how to make a curry! This recipe is my husband’s, and it’s a Thai-Indian mix.

Unfortunately, there’s not much in the final-product-photo department, but we have process!

Sophie has her recipe in hand. I didn’t have time to prepare a chinese version, so the girls translated theirs as we went.

Pretending to be a scary TV cooking host.

Aerial view of cooking adventures (clockwise from top: Yuan yuan, Vivi, Sophie and Tara)

Doing some serious crushing.

Zac’s Delicious Curry

Ingredients:

1 red onion

3 cloves garlic

2 pieces of smoked tofu

Assorted vegetables

1 can coconut milk

1 can of soaked chickpeas

2 tsp. red curry paste

1 stick cinnamon

1 tsp. crushed peppercorns

5 crushed cardamon pods

1 tsp. crushed fenugreek

Method:

Fry up onion and garlic in oil.

When brown, add curry paste.

Fry for 5 minutes, then add tofu and vegetables.

Fry for another 5 minutes.

Add all other ingredients.

Simmer for half and hour.

Serve with rice, pappadums and chutney.

Baked Potatoes – Indian style!

I’m a big sucker for a baked potato… and my favourite Jamie Oliver cookbook has a great section on gourmet ingredients for potatoes. Yum!

I’ve been cooking a lot of Indian food recently, mainly inspired by some mysterious ingredients left with me from my India-expert Nic. So, I thought I’d try an Indian-style baked potato!

To replace sour cream/cheese, I used coconut milk that I infused with lemongrass. A sprinkling of curry powder, a sneak of lemon pickle and a big dollop of homemade chutney. Delicious! Served with baked beets and salad.

After I took the photo, I had a moment of genius and sprinkled the top with some smashed up puppadum. Textural excitement!