Five Family Dinners


If you follow me on social media (and if not why not? No excuse now, buttons are on the right or underneath on mobile) you’ll know how often I meal plan. I mean, I post a picture of it each time I do, so I know it’s not that frequent – I guess that’s about every few months. Right now, I have some potatoes in the oven baking, and I’m trying to get some writing done before yer man gets in with the two Tasmanian Devils. We decided on baked potatoes about half an hour ago, while he was getting up from his desk to leave work and I was on the bus home. Plan-schman. That makes me an idiosyncratic parenting/food blogger really; to neither meal plan, nor batch cook. We’ll soldier on…

Here’s a selection of family dinners we’ve eaten recently, old favourites and new attempts. The one thing they have in common is I’ll make them again. We all ate them happily, including the fussier four year old. (Proof is below!) Continue reading

Progress Report: Not exactly progressing

I'd rather eat fork.
I’d rather eat fork.

I’m gonna have to be honest here. We did have a big hit a few weeks ago with Kidney Bean & Walnut burgers but sure, baby likes to keep me on my toes.  When I made them again 2 out of 3 of my menfolk happily ate them up with me for dinner but not the little fella, not tonight.  He had them plated up with no bun and showed absolutely no interest but did chew some of the bun when offered afterwards. Doh.

It’s just, that now, at very nearly 9 months old Theo barely eats.  Barely at all, as far as I can see.  And that’s the crux of the matter – I’m starting to take it personally!  He eats in creche, oh yeah, loves his porridge each morning.  I offer him porridge an hour earlier and end up running late for work wiping it off the floor and wall.  Noms up chicken stew and all sorts with his minders.  Happily eats a yogurt, mandarin segments, grape halves.  (Main meals mostly mean spoon feeding in creche) Husband assures me the young fella eats a decent selection of small portions around him.  But me, oh no! I think I walk into view and all he sees is two giant boobs on legs.  That’s not how I look, not these days anyway.  He started in full time childcare a few weeks ago, and has gone from drinking maybe a total of 7 oz of formula during the day at the start, to today, where he drank none at all.  It’s called Reverse Cycling (he feeds very little during the day, and feeds at night instead), and it’s new to me this time round. Breastmilk may well be all I represent to him at the minute.  So that’s ok, but does this mean I can be excused from dinner duties?  Yeah right…

Storage in bib optional.

One simple quick lunch I can recommend is “quesadilla”.  The inverted commas are very necessary.  I don’t think if it would pass a Mexican test somehow.  These have proved popular  and I love them.  I’ve made these with 2 full size wraps and shared them with the kids, and done them with a mini wrap folded in half just for his nibs.  They’re dead handy, and super tasty whatever size you make them.

  • Stick a wrap under the grill to warm briefly while you prep your filling.
  • Grate cheese, grate apple or pear, or mash up some avocado.
  • Take wrap and  scatter grated cheese & fruit, or spread avocado and top with grated cheese.
  • Give it a quick grill.
  • Top with another wrap, and warm that a little.
  • Cut into wedges.
  • Yum.

I’ll keep ploughing on.  I can only urge my readers to please, offer me encouragement, and support, and use the archives to find all the wonderful food that stuffed 6, 7,  8, 9, 10… month old Dominic to the the gills.


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.