Sous chef extraordinaire. Customer not so great.

Looks all innocent here.

Oh he’s a great little helper alright.

“Mama I see! I see!”  half dragging half pushing his stool over to the counter.

“Stir in the bowl” I hand him a wooden spoon.

“Chheeeeeeessse! More cheeese” as he bites off part of a carefully weighed ingredient and I snatch it from him. Okay that’s not true, it’s the more the ‘that’ll be enough that bit that’s left there’ school of cooking.

Buttons on coffee machine & kettle are pushed, weighing scales upended, toy tools are carefully fed lumps of mashed black eyed bean and all the while I try to keep the show on the road and the child out of danger.

Ta-da!  Quesadilla!  With extra mashed up avocado inside!

Didn’t touch them.

These are in fact delicious and we’ve eaten them up lots of times, with whatever tinned beans that seem like they might be vaguely mexican oriented in the cupboard – black beans, black eyed beans, kidney beans.  Its a Domini Kemp recipe from the Irish Times but as it’s over a year old you’ve to pay to see it so here it is here.

Blackbean tortillas 

This would serve 4-6 as a light snack. Serve them on their own or else purée a couple of avocados with some garlic, a splash of Tabasco sauce, a squeeze of lime juice and some salt and pepper for an easy dip.

1 tin (400 g) black beans

100ml crème fraîche (approximately)

80g strong cheddar, grated

1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed

Salt and pepper

4 flour tortillas

Olive oil

This couldn’t be simpler. If you want to jazz it up for grown-ups, then add a pinch of ground cumin or ground coriander or chilli flakes to the black beans. Preheat an oven to 200 degrees/gas mark six. Drain and rinse the black beans. Mash them to a bit of a lumpy paste with a potato masher. Add the crème fraîche, cheese, garlic, and season well. Mush them up a bit more.

Oil a roasting tray. Place a tortilla on the oiled roasting tray and spoon half the mixture into a circle on the tortilla, leaving a good three-centimetre rim around the outside. Smooth it down, top with another tortilla and smear or brush the top with some more olive oil. Bake until it’s crisp on the bottom (eight minutes or so). Flip it over, bake for another few minutes then remove from the oven and place on a chopping board. Allow it to cool and settle for a moment, before slicing and serving.

These are so easy you could just set up a mini conveyor belt and keep churning them out. You will be very popular.

Le sigh. Sometimes I wonder why I bother.

My daddy makes me the best dinners.  He got me from the creche last night when mamma was still in work and we went home and played for a while we did trains and jumping.  Then he went to the kitchen to make dinner and one Handy Manny later it was ready.  We had sausages and then  out of the white beeping  box we had potatoes, carrots & broccoli.  I nommed it up.  Sausages are new to me, mamma won’t eat them with me and dadda but sometimes she has special ones from the brrrfreezer and dadda and me eat them too.

Today my mammy chopped up 2 big oberjeans and put them in the dangeroushotoven. Mostly I like to see what she’s doing but it was taking her ages today and I didn’t bother. There were tomatoes and pasta too and cheese on top and it took so much time that I had a bath and everything.  Then we all had dinner together. Doma had dinner and dadda had dinner and mamma had dinner but only mamma loved dinner.  I don’t think dadda likes oberjeans very much and I said my tooth hurt and it was better when I had milk then my other tooth hurt and I drank more milk and it was better so I stopped eating dinner and had a yogurt and mamma said she thought i mean my tung hurt and she shouldn’t have put chilli in the dinner.

Dom

2 strikes and we’re out

Oh dear!  A streak of bad luck has befallen our cooking!

First up, yesterday for dinner I made Vegan Yum Yum’s Crispy Sweet & Sour Tofu.  This a great site, full of imaginative vegan grub, and lots of beautiful food photography.  I had a bit of an urge on me for good old fashioned radioactive coloured sweet and sour sauce, like the very first Chinese take out I had age 12 in my cousin Carmel’s house.  I thought it was so exotic.  It was, compared to our standard fare.

So in this recipe, the tofu method was spot on.  I didn’t have any egg replacer, being not of the vegan variety, but the tofu went lovely and crispy using the cornflour alone.  But, it was thrown across the table by his nibs, who clearly prefers my other tofu dish.  As for the sauce, hmm, I think I’ll keep looking.  It was a great consistency, but I think it was the ketchup I didn’t like in it.  Pineapple might not be authentically Chinese (or is it?  is ketchup?) but I think this might be what this dish was lacking for me.  Hungry Dom does not tolerate new foods for long if he doesn’t like the first bite, so it was forkfuls of plain white rice for the rest of his dinner.   Actually, the rice was perfectly cooked, using this method – Rinse basmati really well in a sieve, cover with water – 1.5cms approx above the rice (I start with boiling water).  12 mins covered on a low simmer. Voilà.

nooooo!

Today, it was husbag’s turn.  He turned a blind eye to the whole supermarket shop I did yesterday after his head was turned by The Good Cook on BBC.   Off we went to Fallon & Byrne for some gorgeous overpriced veg, and a trip to the offie for Vermouth.  He likes an aul cheffy dish (read: using every saucepan and utensil going) and made this Braised Fennel with Butter & Parmesan for a light dinner this evening.  Fennel cooked like this is so good for baby led weaning – perfect fingers of sliced fennel to hold, soft enough to chew easily.  To our adult taste buds, this was divine.  The vermouth is not a strong taste and the alcohol is clearly gone.  I know fennel is divisive, but one quick chew and it was spat out by our cantankerous toddler.  Talk about barely giving it a chance!

Honestly though, this is the kind of dish I’d serve as part of my meal if I were on Come Dine With Me.  Child doesn’t know what he’s missing.  He had a yogurt and 2 kiwi’s for his dinner instead.

To make up for such rejection, I decided I’d make a sure fire winner, with none for baby!  Step up the fabulous Babaduck, whose baked goods are becoming legendary via their pale imitations round here.  Husbag asked in a urgent worried tone if any of these were going into work with me as I took them out of the oven. Take that baby boy… we’re eating all of these now you’re gone to bed…

Jill

here’s a tip for you

"thoughtful with quorn"

BLW cookbook  – Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Don’t try and make meatballs this using quorn mince!  I had a feeling this might happen, there’s no fat inherent in quorn mince to make the meatballs really stick together.  They had the usual egg & breadcrumbs, and looked like perfect roundy specimens as they chilled in the fridge.  But as soon as they hit the oil they kinda crumbled.  Figured in for a penny in for a pound and just crushed them all up.  So we had a good ol fashioned “mince”y tomatoey dinner.  And it was really tasty, simmered in the tomato sauce.

I’m guessing we’re not the first people to try making quorn mince meatballs though, so after a quick google, I’ve found this recipe on the Baby Led Weaning site, which involves smaller meatballs and baking them in the sauce so definitely going to try again.

It’s a little hard to judge whether Dominic likes things or not at the moment.  His current 2 top food related words nooooo & “moh?” (more).  No, in this case, doesn’t always mean no. He’ll often say it then happily keep eating, or take what you’ve offered.  More is usually a demand for more pasta, more grapes, or more yogurt.  He can have them!  “Wuh wuh” (water) is also fierce popular, but as much for its messing abilities as its thirst quenching goodness.  He often has snacks like a breadstick or a few grapes while we’re preparing dinner post creche.  It’s pretty hard when we get in the door from creche, throw the bags down and try to start dinner.  There’s only ever one parent home at that point, and it’s tough to chop and season and sauté while Dom stands arms up towards either you or the food cupboards.   So I might be filling him with snacks before dinner is ready.

We’re doing pretty well at meal planning at the moment.  We’ll have 4 things decided that we’ll make during the week, but we’re not good at making things in advance.  The furthest I’ll go is chopping some stuff before work in the morning. And in this house that’s ultra prepared…

Giving it another go

There’s not that many things Dominic doesn’t like.  We offer things repeatedly that he hasn’t taken to but banana is always a fail.  The reason I tried again is that we were told he piped up “‘nana” in the creche at the sight of his little pal’s snack.   Well I thought if he’d added to his limited repertoire of words then he might be showing enthusiasm for it.  Like his true loves: ball, dada & ack acks.

Nana. No thanks.

This photo tells a lie.  He took one bite then broke the whole thing up.   We’ll continue hide the potassium powerhouses in his pancakes so…

Jill