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Posts tagged ‘parenting’

Desi Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Tuna

With just TWO WEEKS to go until the launch of my book, here’s another exclusive recipe to try! It’s suitable for toddlers from 10 months and up and it’s delish, delish oh and did I say delish? I tend to bulk cook this one and serve it as a family meal. Everyone loves it and Aaliyah has a particular love for tuna so it always goes down a treat.

Desi Mac 'n' Cheese in book


Desi Mac’n’Cheese with Tuna

An Indian twist on a British school dinner classic… loaded with complex carbohydrates vital for energy (courtesy of the macaroni pasta), this meal is extremely versatile. Exclude the tuna for a vegetarian meal, chop up cooked macaroni for spoon-feeding, or keep the macaroni pasta whole and serve as a finger food.

Desi Mac 'n' Cheese with Tuna

Total preparation and cooking time: 30mins
Makes 5 servings
Suitable for freezing

80g (3oz) macaroni pasta

Tomato masala:
1 tbsp olive oil
½ onion- peeled, chopped
½ tsp minced garlic
½ tsp minced ginger
1 tomato – washed, chopped
¼ tsp dried oregano

White sauce:
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp plain flour
350ml (12fl oz) of whole milk
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground black pepper
1 x 185g (6½oz) tinned tuna (in spring water) – drained
30g (1oz) medium Cheddar cheese – grated

Cook the macaroni according to packet instructions. Once cooked, drain and set aside.

Tomato masala: Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onion and stir-fry on medium-low heat for 2mins until soft. Add the garlic, ginger, tomato, oregano and stir-fry continuously for a few minutes until the tomato chunks begin to soften, and set aside.

White sauce: In a pot, melt the butter on low heat and spoon in the flour. Stir continuously until a paste is formed, then pour in the milk a little at a time and whisk vigorously to avoid any lumps appearing. Once all of the milk has been poured, add the nutmeg, black pepper and flake in the tuna. Bring to the boil on low heat and simmer (uncovered) for 4-5mins, stirring occasionally. Once cooked, add the cheese and the tomato masala to the sauce and stir. If the sauce looks very heavy, add
some extra milk. Toss the cooked macaroni into sauce and combine well. Serve to baby warm.

 

Hardcover front coverRecipe extract from Easy Indian SuperMeals for babies, toddlers and the family. Order from Amazon today.

Recommended by Prima Baby & Preganancy and Mother & Baby

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Easy Indian SuperMeals in Mother and Baby!

OMG OMG OMG! I had to blog about this one. This really is the cherry on top of the cake for me! My Big and Small Kofta Curry recipe along with my new book Easy Indian SuperMeals for babies, toddlers and the family has been featured in Mother & Baby!

Give the recipe a go today. The small koftas on their own make for a great finger food. Alternatively puree the small koftas with some curry sauce for less experienced chewers.

 

Mother & Baby Kofta Curry

 

 

Hardcover front cover
Pre-order Easy Indian SuperMeals for babies, toddlers and the family from Amazon.

 

Matter Paneer (V)

Well yesterday was definitely an experience I won’t forget! My first LIVE cooking appearance on the BBC. It was a nervy experience but simultaneously FANTASTIC; I had a great time!

BBC Radio Leics Interview

I was invited to appear on Rupal Rajani’s show on BBC Radio Leicester and was asked to prepare two recipes from my forthcoming book – Easy Indian SuperMeals for babies, toddlers and the family. Rupal requested her favourite meal – Matter Paneer, followed by a sweet dessert – Gajar Halwa.

My yummy Gajar Halwa recipe is sugar-less so is suitable for babies from 7 months and up. You can find the recipe here. And my Matter Paneer recipe is a delicious family meal suitable for children from one year and up.

Both recipes are very SIMPLE and only take between 20-30mins to cook – this includes preparation time! I however, had slightly less time to cook both recipes on the show as we got started 15 minutes later than what I was told, and I had to cook on an electric cooker! YIKES!!

Anyway, I got my head down, peeling and chopping carrots, chopping tomatoes, lightly frying the paneer all whilst being interviewed. ‘The hubby’ even got in on the action. Imagine his surprise when he got a microphone pointed in his face. HAHA… priceless!

It was a tall order but I managed to prepare both dishes with 10 minutes to spare. There were plenty of willing tasters at the BBC too who sampled both recipes. And the verdict – well there was plenty of ‘umm this tastes delicious’ comments flying around the kitchen which I was very pleased about, and within 10 minutes all the food had disappeared. My first LIVE COOKING SUCCESS!

For those of you who didn’t manage to tune in, you can read some tweet highlights below, along with the Matter Paneer recipe I cooked yesterday for you to try.

twitter feed

 


Matter Paneer (V)

A South Asian vegetarian classic, matter (peas) and paneer, a commonly used unsalted full- fat Indian cottage cheese. Once only available in specialist Indian grocers, is now readily available at most supermarkets. Paneer is protein-rich and an excellent source of calcium, essential for building strong teeth and bones.

Matter Paneer

Total preparation and cooking time: 20mins
Serves a family of four
Suitable for freezing

225g (8oz) paneer – cubed
50ml (2fl oz) olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp minced garlic
3 tomatoes – washed, chopped
1⁄4 tsp ground turmeric
100ml (31⁄2fl oz) of water
1 tbsp tomato puree
225g (8oz) peas – frozen, washed
Salt to taste (optional)
Red chilli powder to taste (optional)

 

Drizzle olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan and lightly fry the paneer on medium-low heat until the cubes turn golden. Remove from the pan, place on a paper towel and set aside.

Using the same frying pan, add the 50ml of oil, cumin seeds, garlic and stir-fry on medium- low heat. When they begin to splutter add the tomatoes and stir-fry for 2-3mins. Then add the turmeric, water, tomato puree and allow the sauce to simmer on medium heat for a few minutes until the sauce thickens.

Once cooked, add the paneer, peas, stir and simmer for 2-3mins until the peas are tender, stirring occasionally.

Remove a serving for your little one and set aside. Then add salt and red chilli powder to the main pot and stir. Return to the heat for a further 1-2mins to lightly cook the chilli if you wish. Serve with roti.

 

Hardcover front cover
Recipe extract from Easy Indian SuperMeals for babies, toddlers and the family by Zainab Jagot Ahmed available for pre-order now from Amazon.co.uk.

Simple Chicken Paella

chicken paellaAaliyah is a massive fan of chicken and rice. When I say chicken and rice, I mean chicken curry with rice. It’s her staple. I know if I’m serving this up for dinner, there will be no complaints – no little fussy pointy fingers coming out – ‘mummy what’s that?’, she’ll gobble it down and will have a full satisfied little belly. Not just Aaliyah’s though – the hubby’s too.

Whilst this is great, I’m not overly keen on feeding Aaliyah the same meals; I don’t want her to get ‘comfortable’ with what she knows. I’m trying my best to keep meals interesting for her so I decided to cook up a variation of chicken and rice.

Introducing my BIG FAT FAMILY PAELLA! This is delicious! It includes two of Aaliyah’s favourite ingredients – chicken and rice, but it’s a totally different cuisine. And the fact that paella’s are so bright and colourful is really appealing to kids. I’m not going to lie – this does create some extra washing but it is totally worth it.

Aaliyah’s verdict – well initially she looked at her bowl and said ‘where’s the REAL chicken and rice’ but as you know Aaliyah is not a fussy eater; she’ll happily try new things. She ate, scoffed and loved! Another one to add to the list!

Chicken Paella 2
Total preparation and cooking time: 35-40mins
Serves family of 4

 

425g (15oz) white basmati rice
1 litre (1¾ pints) chicken stock – reduced salt variety
½ tsp ground turmeric
Pinch of saffron
30ml (1fl oz) vegetable oil
700g (1lb 9oz) chicken breast fillets – skinless, boneless, cubed
6 cloves of garlic – peeled, minced
Salt to taste (optional)
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2 chillies – red and green (optional) – stems chopped, pounded to paste
2 bell peppers (green and red) – washed, deseeded, chopped
Fresh coriander (cilantro) or parsley for garnish – chopped

 

Add the rice, stock, turmeric, saffron and oil to a large pot and stir. Bring to the boil and simmer (covered) on low heat for 10-12mins until the rice is tender.

Whilst the rice is cooking, stir-fry the chicken cubes with garlic, salt to taste (if you wish), black pepper and chillies (if you like a little heat). Stir-fry until tender and set aside.

Finally, grill the peppers on a griddle pan for a few minutes to give them a lovely smoky flavour. I like to do this at the same time as stir-frying the chicken to save time.

Combine everything and garnish with a little chopped parsley or coriander. Serve immediately.

Sweet Red Pepper Chicken Curry

I realise it’s been a while since I’ve last blogged about any family meals. So here you go! I created this curry because my little one absolutely LOVES bell peppers! She’ll quite happily eat them raw (washed and deseeded), and frequently munches on a whole pack of three whilst watching her favourite show – Peppa Pig. In fact, one of the best ways I’ve found to keep her occupied is to literally whack a bell pepper in her hand and let her munch on it. It’s fresh, colourful enough for the kids and is rich in vitamins A and C, and B vitamins. Winners all around!

Red Pepper Chicken Curry_low

In this curry I’ve used a red bell pepper to form the main base of the curry sauce. It still contains all of those lovely aromatic Indian spices, but this curry has a unique taste that is loved by our whole family so I thought I’d share it with you.

Try it for dinner tonight… it only takes half an hour.

Total preparation and cooking time: 30mins
Serves a family of 4

50ml (2fl oz) olive oil
1 onion – peeled, chopped
3 whole cloves
1 small cinnamon stick
3 cardamom pods – green
4 black peppercorns
1 red bell pepper/ capsicum – washed, roughly chopped, deseeded
6 garlic cloves
Ginger root – 1” piece, peeled
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 ½ tsp ground coriander
200g (7oz) tinned peeled plum tomatoes – crushed
1 tsp dark brown sugar
Salt to taste
Red chilli powder to taste
500g (1lb 2oz) chicken thighs – cubed, fat-trimmed

Heat the oil in a pot and add the onion, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and peppercorns. Stir-fry until the onions are browning.

Whilst the onions are browning, place the red pepper, garlic cloves and ginger into a blender and blend into a paste. Once the onions have browned, add the red pepper paste, turmeric, cumin and coriander and lightly cook the spices for 1-2mins stirring continuously.

Then add the tomatoes by gently crushing them with your hands and dropping them in, followed by the brown sugar, salt and red chilli powder. Then let the sauce simmer on medium-low heat for about 5mins.

Add the chicken to the sauce and cook covered for 15-20mins or until the chicken is tender. Stirring occasionally.

Garnish with freshly chopped coriander/ cilantro and serve with freshly cooked rice, naan or roti.

Note: If you don’t want to include salt or chillies in your little ones serving, cook the entire curry as described above but without adding these two items. Add them at the end when you have removed a serving for your little one.

YHardcover front coverou can find more tasty family recipes in Easy Indian SuperMeals for Babies, Toddlers and the Family. Available to buy now from Amazon UK.

Baked Potato Thins (V)

A HERBY FINGER FOOD RECIPE

Baked Potato Thins

In my previous finger food post – Simple Banana Sticks with a Touch of Cinnamon, I mentioned how I was keen to keep my little ones finger foods interesting as I was already cooking with aromatic spices in her main meals. So adding a touch of flavour would simply enhance the taste of basic fruit and vegetables she had already become accustomed to.

So here is another very simple, yet extremely tasty finger food for babies aged 7-8 months and up. Having thrown quite a few of them in my mouth myself (don’t worry – it wasn’t when my child was hungry!), they really are a smooth, buttery delight. And the hint of parsley adds a very simple additional layer of flavour. This is great for helping to broaden little palates as serving the potato thins without the parsley, will offer your little one a very different taste.

White potatoes are high in starch content so if you do serve this to your little one, just be sure to offer some other vegetables alongside the potato. These could be steamed, squished peas or steamed carrot sticks.

Total preparation and cooking time: 35mins
Makes 2-3 servings
Suitable for freezing

½ small white potato – washed and scrubbed, peeled, cut into 1cm slices
Drizzle of olive oil
Sprinkle of dried parsley

 

Pre-heat the oven to 160C/ 325F/ gas mark 3.

Add the olive oil and parsley into a bowl and stir. Then drop in the potato slices and combine well.

Place the potato slices in a single layer on top of a foil-covered baking tray and cook for 30mins or until tender (turning over halfway). Serve to baby warm or at room temperature.

Tip one: any leftover potato thins can be mashed or pureed with the remaining vegetables and served as a new meal. This ‘new meal’ can also be frozen.

Tip two: if you prefer, you can cut the potato into stick shapes rather than slices if you feel your little one will be more comfortable holding this shape, as an alternative.