Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Herby Garlic Bread

Oscar came running into the kitchen the other day to politely enquire as to the whereabouts of his lunch (well actually he yelled 'Mummmeeeyyyyy, Nunch!' at full volume and stood there looking at me with his hands on his hips), I explained that the garlic bread was nearly ready to which he replied 'No!  No thanks mummy, no Giant Dread'!  Great, not a particularly encouraging start and I hadn’t even got it on his plate yet. 

He is still as fussy as ever, although there have been a couple of glimmers of hope recently - firstly when he ate a hot dog (having ‘peeled’ it first of course) and secondly when he had a few bites of a tuna sandwich – both firsts, so great results.  I was still reasonably confident that he would eat this garlic bread because he loves bread. He will also happily eat garlic butter and although he doesn't like big 'trees' (herbs) in his food, I had chopped them so finely that they were hardly visible to the naked eye.

As usual this is really simple, quick to make and is a great accompaniment to pasta dishes.

Makes approx 8 slices

1 part baked baguette
3 tbsp butter, at room temperature
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp finely chopped herbs (I used parsley and rosemary)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 handful grated cheddar

Heat the oven to 200°c

1. Heat the olive oil in a small pan and gently fry the garlic for 1-2 minutes.

2. Mix the garlic, oil and herbs into the butter.

3. Cut longways down the baguette (don’t cut all the way through to the bottom) and fill the baguette with the herby garlic butter.  This is much easier than spreading the butter in each slice.  Sprinkle with grated cheese.  I wrapped mine in foil, taking it off towards the end of the cooking time to brown the cheese, but I think it could have gone straight into the oven without foil.

4.  Put the bread on a baking tray and into the oven for 8 minutes (or however long is recommended for heating your baguette).  Cut into slices and serve.

Oscar wasn’t sure about his “Giant Dread” to start with but he did eventually eat 2 slices.  I think he’d give this 3/5 and I’m happy with that.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Tropical Porridge

Oscar’s favourite meal of the day is breakfast.  He seems to follow the advice of eating ‘breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper,’ because breakfast time usually sees him wolf down a huge amount of food.  He’s not so fussy at breakfast either which always makes for a good start to the day so, despite this blog being entitled ‘Oscar’s lunch,’ I want to share successful breakfasts too.

Tropical porridge is Oscar’s all-time No 1 breakfast and he can put away a surprising amount.  For this recipe I’ve used the portion size recommended on the cereal box, but just adjust the amount of Ready Brek and milk to suit your kiddie’s appetite.

This makes 1 portion

30g ready brek
120ml hot milk
1 banana
1 mango, peeled and cut into chunks
juice of 1 satsuma

1. Blend the mango using a hand blender.  Put half in the fridge or freezer for another day.

2. Heat the milk and mix with the Ready Brek in a bowl.

3. Mash the banana into the Ready Brek with a fork then stir in the mango and satsuma juice.  Decorate with slices of banana and cubes of other favourite fruit to serve.

You can use any fruit you like in this recipe.  I often make ’pink porridge’ with strawberries and blueberries or just use whatever fruit is around at the time.  When I don’t have any Ready Brek I use rolled porridge oats, soaking them in milk overnight because I believe that makes them easier to digest.

Nutritionally it’s a great way to start the day especially as mangoes are said to improve concentration and memory!

Every last scrap of this will vanish whenever I make it for Oscar.  Very satisfying, even for a half asleep Mum.   Oscar’s Lunch score: 5/5 

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Chicken Savoury Rice

With last weekend’s firework excitement having fizzled out, leaving us with dreary and foggy weather, this week I’ve felt the need for comfort food.

Enter Chicken Savoury Rice, which ticks all the boxes for me when it comes to comfort eating – easy to cook, warm, satisfying and full of flavour but best of all, it contains very little fat so can be eaten in large quantities virtually guilt-free. Brilliant....a filling yet healthy lunch for both of us.  

Oscar's Granny (Mum-in-law-Margie) often cooks this for us when we go to visit and every time, without fail, we polish off the whole lot.  This version is a little different from the great original, partly due to Oscar's fussy ways (chicken chopped to almost powder) and partly because I'm trying to use up what is currently in the fridge (spring onions). However, Granny has taught me well and it was delicious.

This served 1 hungry Mum 1 not so hungry Oscar with a small amount left over.

1 cooked chicken breast (or equivalent amount of leftover roast chicken), chopped
1 bunch spring onions, sliced
handful frozen peas
120g basmati rice
300ml hot chicken stock
olive oil

1. In a small casserole dish or saucepan with a lid heat a little olive oil and gently fry the spring onions for 2 minutes.  Add the chicken and continue to cook for 2 minutes.

2.  Add the rice and stir well to coat all the grains in oil, then add the hot stock and peas, give it one stir then put the lid on and turn the heat down as low as it will go.  Don’t take the lid off whilst it is cooking.

3. After 15 minutes (no more), take the rice off the heat but leave it for a further 5 minutes before removing the lid, then serve.

Oscar ate some of his rice, removing spring onions and peas as he went but I don’t think he was very hungry after a big breakfast.  I would definitely make this again as he didn’t totally reject it, and I loved it, so that’s a triumph in my world.  Oscar’s lunch score – 3/5.

I didn’t have any garlic, but you could add some crushed garlic with the onions to help keep your kids ‘winter-cold-proof’.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Toffee Apple Flapjacks

My sister Katie (aka Auntie Grubs) is having a party tonight for Bonfire Night and there is much excitement.  The garden of their new house backs on to a field where the Chipstead fireworks display is held, and that sounds like a great excuse for a party to me!  I’m not sure what Oscar is going to make of the whole firework idea, I’ve explained about the bangs and the pretty sparkles and he seems excited so fingers crossed.

As a treat I’ve made Toffee Apple Flapjacks.   I made them yesterday, they are absolutely scrummy.   With my habit of picking as I cook, it is actually quite surprising that there are any left today especially after Nick’s impressive efforts, which included flapjacks for breakfast this morning (he's a bit of a fan of this recipe). 

This will make about 15-20 small flapjack squares

For the flapjack -
125g caster sugar
85g golden syrup
125g butter
225g porridge oats
1 apple, peeled and chopped into small pieces

For the toffee -
85g caster sugar
75g water
red food colouring

1. Heat the oven to 180°c. Line and grease a loaf tin or similar small tin.

2. Melt the butter in a pan together with the caster sugar and golden syrup, stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Add the porridge oats and apple and mix together well.

3. Press the mixture into the tin and put it in the oven for 25 minutes.   Then leave it to cool in the tin.

4.  Once the flapjack is cool, turn it out and cut into squares (they are rich so small squares are better).

5.  To make the toffee, put the sugar, water and a few drops of red food colouring into a heavy pan.  Put it on a medium heat for about 10 minutes.  I can’t be bothered to test with a sugar thermometer  so I think when it coats a spoon thickly it is about ready (test it on one flapjack to make sure you are happy though).  Drizzle over the flapjacks, let the toffee cool and enjoy. 

Oscar has been eyeing these up but hasn’t asked to try one yet so I haven’t pushed it but let’s see what happens later.  I will report back.  
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