Thursday, September 30, 2010

Baby Food

My Mum has been saying to me for a while that she bets a lot of my blog readers would be interested in the food I make Harry. I said I think most of my readers are more into the baking side of things than the baby side of things, but I was talking to one of my good friends last week who has two gorgeous little girls and she said she thinks that people would be interested in ideas for baby food. So I have decided to do the odd post about food for babies.

Baking has always been my thing, but since Harry started on solids, I have found that I have a real love of and interest in food for babies. It is very exciting that he is almost 8 months, as a whole new world of food opens as he is able to have cooked milk from then. I actually introduced it a couple of weeks ago, as Harry is off the plunket scale in terms of weight and height, so as he is the size of a one year old, I figured two weeks early would be fine (and in the old days when I was a baby, babies drank whole milk at 6 months old and I am fine!).

There are two recipes I want to share. First is a very easy custard recipe. Tinned baby custard is actually yucky when you compare it to the home made version and the home made version is incredibly quick to make! All you do is combine 125ml of full fat milk in a small microwave jug with 2 tsp corn flour, ½ tsp vanilla, 1 egg yolk and I add ½ tsp sugar. Microwave on high for 1 minute, stir and then microwave again in 10 second bursts until the custard is thick. I then add some pureed fruit to give more sweetness and substance. This is delicious! Pureed pear is particularly nice.

The second recipe I made up in the weekend and is a chicken and cous cous concoction. I put ¼ c cous cous to soak in 1/3 c boiling water, covered and then set aside. I then softened ¼ onion, chopped in a little butter and then added 2 diced free range chicken thighs and browned them. Peel and chop a large kumara (sweet potato) and add to your pot. Cover with water and the juice of an orange and simmer until the kumara is cooked through. Blend the whole lot in a food processor until you get the desired consistency and then mix in your cous cous. It is surprising how tasty this is even without salt. I freeze the mixture in cubes and then bring them out when I need to. I also cook and blend green vegetables, freeze them in ice cubes and then bring out a cube of the required green vegetable to mix with my meat and starch base. Harry loves it!!

Please let me know if this post interested you – and credit to my gorgeous hand model Harry (excuse the blurriness though, as I had to take the photo quickly before he swiped the camera and the container of food!!)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

TWD - Tarte Fine

This week’s TWD recipe is Tarte Fine and was chosen by Leslie of Lethally Delicious. In the book Dorie says that a tarte fine is also known as apple pizza in the States and it is essentially finely sliced apples baked on a flaky pastry base. This isn’t a recipe that I would have chosen to make as while I love apple pie, I love the shortcrust pastry version – but I am not really a lover of flaky pastry.

I actually made this recipe in a hurry last night. I had bought the flaky pastry in the weekend but for some reason didn’t get round to making the tart. I had bought a roll of ready rolled pastry, but then forgot to defrost it, so I ended up putting it in the microwave which I know is a huge no no when it comes to pastry, but it didn’t seem to have any real detrimental effect. I made the variation of the tart and instead of using an egg wash, I brushed the apples with melted butter and sprinkled over sugar. Even though I was sceptical as to whether I would like this tart or not, it was the perfect speedy dessert (it probably took 5 minutes in total to prepare), it was actually delicious with vanilla ice cream. See if the other TWDers enjoyed it here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Gluten Free for Mum

My mum is gluten free and when she comes to stay, I like to experiment with different recipes to see if I can make a normal kind of recipe gluten free without having to go and buy fancy flours etc. The easiest way to do this is to pick a recipe that doesn’t have a huge flour quantity in it and then use rice flour and cornfour as a substitute. The peach and white chocolate friands are a good example of that, and because they have a large nut content, even you cant really taste the rice flour in them.

For these gluten free friands, I took my usual friand recipe and simply substituted rice flour for flour. The rest of the recipe is exactly the same. I made the friands in cupcake cases, as even though I have friand tins, I do find it quite frustrating trying to get the cakes out of the tins, and then cleaning the tins is not easy. I used ground macadamia nuts in these friands, but you could use ground almonds instead, and I have also used coconut which is a more cost effective way of making friands. These friands are white chocolate and peach, because that is a combination that my mother loves, but I have also made them with coconut and added raspberries and white chocolate, almond and pear is another good one. If you don’t need to make these little cakes gluten free, just use normal flour.

Gluten Free Peach and White Chocolate Friands

150g butter, melted
6 egg whites, lightly whisked together just to break them up
1 ½ c icing sugar
1 c ground macadamia nuts
1/2c rice flour
150g white chocolate, chopped
1 drained tin of peaches

• Combine the melted butter, egg whites, icing sugar, grounds nuts and rice flour. Stir in the chocolate
• Spoon into friand tins or cupcake cases and top each cake with two slices of peach
• bake at 170c for 25 minutes or until cooked through

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

TWD - Coffee-Break Muffins

This week’s TWD recipe is Coffee Break Muffins and was chosen by Rhiani of Chocoholic Anonymous. I try to have muffins in the freezer for my husband for his lunches at all times, so it was appropriate to make these as I needed to make muffins to stock up the freezer in the weekend. The only thing is that neither my husband nor I are coffee drinkers, so I usually wouldn’t purposely make something coffee flavoured. This muffins are quite strongly coffee flavoured as well, using a cup of coffee instead of milk and also having an added tablespoon of espresso powder.

I decided to add chocolate chips to the muffins to give them a little more oomph and to perhaps add something extra to detract a little from the whole coffeeness of the muffins. While the chocolate was a great addition, I must say we were pleasantly surprised by the muffins – the coffee flavour wasn’t strong enough to put off a non coffee drinker. I would make these muffins again as they were really easy (as muffins usually are) and I imagine if I was a coffee drinker they would go well with a cup of coffee. See if the other TWDers agree here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

TWD - Cranberry Upside Downer

This week’s TWD recipe is Cranberry Upside downer and was chosen by Sabrina of Superfluous. I made this cake for pudding on Saturday night when my Mum and Dad and sister and her partner were staying. The cake was delicious and the 5 of us who ate it (Mum is gluten free) ate two helpings each, demolishing the whole cake! That in itself is testament to how good this cake is.

Cranberries are not a common berry in New Zealand and I only had some in the freezer as I had bought them last Christmas to make cranberry relish and as I was pregnant at the time, I never got round to it. You could easily substitute blueberries or raspberries for the cranberries and Dorie suggests substituting peaches. Peaches would work well, but I liked the berries as it didn’t matter how you placed them, the cake still looked good. Dorie didn’t say to line the bottom of the tin for this up-side down cake, but I did, just to make sure that it came out of the tin easily. We had this cake slightly warm with whipped cream. It was delicious and I would definitely make it again. See if the other TWDers loved it too here.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

TWD - Peanutbutter Crisscrosses

This week’s TWD recipe is peanutbutter criss crosses and was chosen by jasmine of Jasmine Cuisine. This is a recipe I have been wanting to make for a while. Peanutbutter cookies, filled with salted peanuts. Yum! I made a half batch of these – I was going to make the full batch as my sister and 9 year old nephew were meant to be coming up for the weekend to visit from Christchurch, but unfortunately they were flying out on Saturday morning and the earthquake meant that they weren’t able to come. Thankfully for my family, neither my parents nor my two sisters who live there have suffered any material damage, but it has been a very scary few days.

The criss crosses on my cookies don’t really stand out, I think because I accidentally reversed the quantities of baking soda and baking powder, putting in a larger amount of baking powder than baking soda. This meant that the cookies puffed up more rather than staying flat. It made me realise how important the kind of raising agent you use is. The cookies are actually quite crispy – I imagined that they would be a bit more chewy. But they do taste delicious and I will definitely be trying the chocolate version of these as suggested by Dorie.

See what the other TWDers thought here.