the holy grail: saag paneer at home (baby led weaning cookbook)

I LOVE Indian food.   Restaurant, takeaway (especially Bombay Pantry‘s Kofta Curry), curries at home.  It’s so good for veggies.  We’ve discovered through trial & error that Dom isn’t mad about hot (as in chilli hot) food.  Now I’m really cautious because I don’t want him to outright reject food i’ve just made so it’ll probably perpetuate the dislike.  But with Indian food we can keep introducing flavour with things like cumin & garam masala and coriander etc so it’s not like it’s bland food he’s getting.  Just not hot.

We’re well accustomed to making curries – veg, lentil, chickpea, bean etc – the odd biryani, and I like to make dhals.  But I’ve never cooked with paneer before though it’s one of my favourite things to order as a takeaway.  I spotted some in a Tesco I don’t usually shop in a few weeks ago and bought it with this in mind.  I haven’t seen it in any other supermarket since, but I believe making paneer is very simple – Jamie Oliver has a recipe in one of his first books from way back when.  Some sunny day perhaps…

Dom’s a big spinach fan, the little popeye head on him.  I’m thrilled about this frankly.  And now, unless the spinach is used in a salady way, I’ve been using frozen spinach.  It’s ridiculously quick to cook (defrost & heat really I suppose) so I used it in this recipe too.  When we’re just in from work and trying to feed the 3 of us asap, speed is often a priority while trying not to compromise on home-cookedness.

Because of the aforementioned heat-aversion I cooked a quarter of the chilli with the onion for a few minutes, then removed it before I added the spinach.  I don’t know if I’m fooling myself but hopefully that kind of thing will introduce a bit of  heat gently to his baby palate.

I yam what I yam and that's all I yam!

I know this photo doesn’t exactly scream enthusiasm for the dish, but honestly he ate all of it.  Every bit.  I think he was just taking a moment!

Next up, I’ll have to find a veggie kofta dumpling recipe.

– Jill

i am one!

I had a birthday! That’s when its the same day as the day you’re born except a year later.  It was lots of fun.  I saw all my cousins and my aunties and uncles (except nearly-auntie Brenda who was sick) and some of mama and dada’s friends and Lily and James who are other babies but not my cousins.

Mama and Dada made lovely food for my birthday party.  I couldn’t eat it all I’m not allowed eat everything yet.  Good thing  because I don’t think the adults left any spare birthday cake for me.  I had cheese straws from mama’s special cookbook for me.  I shared my food with the other babies and Opa who’s diabetic.  They’re yum and even though mama said they were party food I had them as a snack in the creche.   I think she might make them again, i saw her make them and they took no time at all.


cheese straws, in a box

Aswell for me there were carroty muffins from the same book.   They were tasty but I was busy with my new toys and books and all the excitement so I had fun smushing them into the floor.

My cousins had pizza at my party.  I think they would have preferred hammy ones I don’t think they think courgettes belong on a pizza. My mama would eat courgette on her breakfast she likes it a lot.   Mama was going to make pizza for the party too but dada bought some instead.  She made some before my birthday.  I didn’t have any.  I don’t mind because mama and dada didn’t really seem to like it either.  My special cookbook is sometimes great and sometimes not so great.  Dada said the bottom of the pizza was like scones.

I might make mama try and make pizza again because I loved it on our holidays in Italy.  She’ll have to find a new recipe.  Now, it’s past my bedtime.  Night night

– Dom

While Dom noshed on the above, we ate a very delicious non baby friendly birthday cake – Delia’s basic all in one sponge with fresh cream and raspberries in the middle and covered in chocolate topping from the Jamie Oliver party cake recipe.  It was so easy that I made two, one for family and one for friends the next day.

In a bold move, we drank espresso martinis (equal parts espresso, kahlua, vodka & white creme de cacao) – YUM!  In hindsight probably a bit boozy for a 1st birthday but there was only 1 per adult!

– Jill

Baby Led Weaning cookbook – Sugar Free Banana Bread

I’ve made banana bread before, sure I know what I’m dealing with.  This right here is my favourite recipe for it evhs. Good ol’ Delia – I’ve made it many times, and I can’t say that about too many recipes.  In fact I’m not sure I’ve ever met a banana bread I didn’t like. Until now.

please sir, can I have some sugar?

There was something missing, and patently, that something was sugar.  The mixture was very low in the tin, no matter thought I, it’ll rise.  It didn’t really, and one of the major disadvantages of the BLW cookbook is that there’s no pictures.  So I don’t know if it was supposed to be flat-cake or not.  Y’know, cake like a traybake type thing.  I suppose these kind of snacky things aren’t really aimed at me.

The positive outcome of this is that Dom genuinely liked it.  The child evidently doesn’t know what he’s missing in the sugary stakes.  I will make it again, as I’m having some guilt issues over our what looks like a sponsorship deal with Organix/Goodies when you open our kitchen press.  Freezing about half in slices is probably a good idea – it didn’t keep too well, and it didn’t go down well with adults.


Baby Led Weaning cookbook – Frittata

Now, in fairness, any ol cookbook could probably tell you how to throw together a frittata.  But what I do continue to enjoy about the BLW cookbook is that it acts as a guide.  Helpful suggestions as to whats suitable for babys to have a go of, and added options for variations on the recipes.  Mark made the basic recipe and added in orange pepper.

It was a success.  Yussssss!  We’ve been experimenting with the fork a bit recently. So this was good for stabbing bits and pieces.  The child has atrocious table manners, so we’ve either been putting food directly on the table in front of him, or pre-loading spoons or forks.  If he doesn’t want whats in front of him he just swipes the food off the table onto the floor.  If he gets hold of the plate or bowl he tips it down his front.  I have to work that one out.  Any tips?

Have you noticed the pattern in our house?  I have a notion of what I might cook and look at about 6 recipes then make it up out of the fridge/my head.  Mark picks a specific recipe and heads to the supermarket.  Which is why he has made nearly all the stuff out of the cookbook, and then I write a flimsy post about it!

On the plus side, as I type this, I have homemade baked beans in the oven.  But I put in pinto beans not haricot beans.  What?  WHAT?


Baby Led Weaning cookbook – Macaroni Cheese

#let it snow let it snow#…hang on, i mean, #snow snow go away#

Sure who has time to be cooking dinner and blogging when the country’s covered in a fluffy white blanket/lethal ice rink?  Between trying to get in and out of work on time and uninjured, it’s really all about lazy dinner & takeaways come the evening.

Oh. Wait, that was every year before this one.  Snow can’t stop us when we have a small human to feed well and keep extra safe and snug and healthy in this horrible weather.  Damn this ongoing parental responsibility lark.

setting off

There’s a split in the camp over popeye pasta.  The menfolk are still happily wolfing it down, but frankly, I’m heartily sick of the stuff for now.  Luckily Mark has found an equally dairy-filled comfort food.  Good thing too, as I had a strop over his intention to make Tuna & Tomato Pasta (BLW cookbook).  So on the opposite page lay a recipe for Macaroni Cheese.  Dominic ate an adult portion nearly and the same again for leftovers today.  I steamed some broccoli to go with it, because personally I crave veg with dinner almost always.  It was really tasty, though I’d like to look up a non-baby focused version of this – I’d say it could be even thicker and richer (and probably, boldly, saltier).  My only previous experience of macaroni cheese is Kraft Dinner.  Weird, tasty stuff.  I think i’ll leave Dominic discover that on his own come J-1 time.