Sometimes it’s hard to work out what to cook that we can all eat. For the most part these days Izzy eats the same food as us. It means that I have to think twice about what I put in our food.. Throwing in handful of dried chilli flakes may not be the right thing to do anymore. If I can I will make the same meal but in a separate pot/pan so that if needs be ours can have a little extra spice.
I am going to try to post some recipes occasionally of meals which are entirely suitable for ALL the family. The following is one of them. I only started using Gnocchi at home about a year ago, it was one of those ingredients that I just never thought to base a dish around. Now I love it. A lot. I make a tomato based gnocchi bake at least once a month and we all enjoy it – it’s one of Izzys favourites.
You can find the recipe here: www.munchiesandmunchkins.com/2012/09/25/eating-well-on-a-budget-simple-suppers/
Today’s recipe came about from wanting to get Izzy eating more broccoli. I know it’s one of those vegetables which children can begin to get fussy about so I’m trying to stop that from happening.
So anyway here is what you will need:
1 500g pack of Gnocchi – I use Il pasteio ( around 70p at Asda)
1 – 1/2 pints of prepared cheese sauce ( recipe link here ) I didn’t measure!
A squirt of garlic paste or crushed garlic clove
3 rashers of smoked bacon ( fat removed and diced)
2-3 handfuls of cooked roughly chopped broccoli
1 cup of breadcrumbs ( I blend mine with herbs and freeze ready for such dishes)
1 tbsp of chopped rosemary ( fresh or dried)
Cook your gnocchi as per packet instructions and drain. Brown your bacon with the garlic and set aside. In an ovenproof dish ( I use a large cazuela) mix your gnocchi, bacon, herbs and broccoli together before pouring over your cheese sauce ensuring everything is covered then sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and cover with breadcrumbs. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 20-25 mins until golden and crispy on top.
Serve with salad. Delicious.
This went down a storm with all of us. Tasty and comforting. Izzy certainly approved.
Last Sunday I decided to try out one of the recipes in the Slow Cooker book I received for Christmas – Chicken Fricassee. It sounded delicious. After following the initial first step of tossing my chicken in seasoned flour and sautéing until brown I realised I didn’t have two of the key ingredients I needed to make this dish but I was determined to make SOMETHING so I worked out what I did have and what I came up with was this amazingly rich and comforting chicken casserole. Afterwards I scribbled down the recipe as I assure you this is one I’ll be making again.
You will need:
2 tbsp olive oil
4 chicken thighs ( the original recipe called for thighs & drumsticks)
3 slices of smoked bacon chopped finely
2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned with salt&pepper
4 shallots, sliced
3 garlic cloves crushed
3 waxy potatoes and 1 sweet potato chopped into very small pieces
115g of sliced mushrooms
2 tsp of finely chopped fresh rosemary
150ml red wine
200ml of hot chicken stock
1 bay leaf
Salt & Pepper
Heat oil in a large pan, toss chicken in seasoned flour and then cook for 8-10 mins until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
Add your bacon and shallots and cook for a few mins stirring occasionally. Add your garlic, mushrooms, potatoes and rosemary and cook for 2 minutes stirring often.
Add your wine and bring to the boil then allow to simmer for 1 minute. Transfer everything to the slow cooker and pour in the stock, add the chicken and bay leaf cover and cook on high for 5 hours.
45 minutes before the end of cooking time use two forks to tear your chicken thighs into smaller pieces – this should be easy as it will be super tender, also at this time if desired add dumplings. These are a wonderful addition to the casserole but it would be perfectly lovely without them.
Serve with dumplings or fresh homemade bread – lots of bread recipes will appear shortly as part of my new challenge. I made soda bread to accompany our casserole.
““This post is part of the #FaveFamilyRecipes Competition with BritMums and Tilda Rice. Every pack sold will provide a meal to an expectant mum in need in support of the World Food Programme’s Mothers Helping Mothers initiative in Bangladesh.”
So a few weeks ago we arrived home from the most amazing four days at Camp Bestival in Dorset. Exhausted, grubby, tanned and very happy. I was excited before we went but I could never have imagined just how good this festival would be.
There was so much to see and do all day long that it was more than a little overwhelming, the size on the festival site is incredible and at first it seems that you will never find your way about but we quickly got to grips with everything and by Saturday we felt like Camp Bestival regulars.
It is so much more than a music festival. It’s somewhere I could have happily taken my parents as well as my child and I know that they would have enjoyed it.
It was impossible to see everything we wanted to but I managed to see/try most things on my list which you can read here
Here is my Camp Bestival Diary 2012:
Day 1: We arrived at around midday on Thursday 26th and found out car park and camping plus plot with ease. Camping Plus is something I would definitely recommend. It costs an additional £100 per plot (not per person) but your camping spot is laid out for you, nobody can go into your space and there are posh showers and toilets just for camping plus customers. There are also special cafes/stalls which rarely had huge queues. I would do this again for sure. The rest of the evening was mainly wandering around the site and then chilling outside our tent watching what seemed like an Olympic contest for biggest and best tent going on all around us.
As I am not earning at the moment (maternity leave) we were hoping to keep to a fairly small budget for eating out so we look lots of foodie bits with us as well as the camping stove. New blog post coming soon all about camping food. After a lovely relaxing meal in the sunshine ( today has been so hot) we got set up for bed and had an early night.
Day 2: On waking up and setting up for breakfast we discovered our gas bottle was in fact now empty. Oops. We made a short trip into town and then back to the beautiful festival site just in time for a quick lunch at the tent and back into the midst of things..
It’s hard to explain how much there is to do, eat and watch here .. You could walk around all day long and still not cover everything. So far today we have watched extreme sports, various bands and musicians, eaten ice cream, drank coconut water straight from the shells as well as trying tightrope walking , had lots of freebies and sun bathed. What a glorious day.
When you are in a crowd of 30,000 people you don’t expect to bump into people you know let alone people you vaguely recognise from a profile pic on twitter but that’s what happened.. After an organised meet with the lovely Aresidence,Melkshammum and bluebearwood earlier in the day I bumped into Abi (midwifetomum) Neil (higheight) and their gorgeous daughter Bo whilst taking an evening stroll, it was really nice to meet the people behind the tweets and we arranged to meet for drinks the following eve.
We ended day 2 watching Hot Chip with a sleeping baby across my lap sprawled on the grass near the castle. Perfect end to a pretty perfect day.
Day 3: All of the activities and fun seem to be wearing Izzy out and she had a lovely long sleep last night. Yay. This means we are all bright and refreshed today and ready for an action filled day. A nice big bacon butty breakfast by the tent and we head down to the castle stage to watch The Gruffalo.. A huge crowd of tired and hungover parents are soon cheered by an unbelievably lively albeit slightly inappropriate Dick & Dom and when The Gruffalo starts every childs face in the audience lights up and its amazing. Izzy unfortunately slept through most of The Gruffalo but she woke up in time for Mr Tumble and I’m so glad she did as he was fantastic. I hadn’t really appreciated how good he was until he was on stage but he was fab, myself and Izzy loved it.
Quick break back at the tent for lunch then it was off to meet Shrek. Woop. Should I really have been more excited than my child to see the REAL Shrek in person?! Probably not but I was and we even got to have a pic with him and Donkey. Fun. Izzy is obsessed with her shrek toy and she seemed happily shocked to see a lifesize version.
It’s a little cooler today which is good news as although I love the sun it’s been a constant struggle to keep Izzy cool then warm (in the shade) and she is covered in a thin sheen of suncream at all times. Having said that the camp bestival site has plenty of shaded areas to chill out in for when the sun is just too strong as well as baby chill out areas and soft play tents. The chill out tent had lots of bepathen freebies too which was nice.
After a lazy few hours of strolling along eating ice cream and allowing myself a cheeky glass of Pimms whilst doing the hump watching The Rizzle Kicks we headed down to the Kids field to meet up with the lovely Abi,Neil&Bo. We walked down to the bandstand and sat down ready to chill out listening to Howard Marks reading an unusual version of Jack and the beanstalk. Lots of fun. This was a unique experience. His melodic voice calmed even the most boisterous children and five minutes in they were hanging on his every word. His version of Jack and the beanstalk with explanations of what a widow is and his own take on the moral of the story was truly a delight. Probably one of my fave CB experiences.
After the bedtime story we were hungry and had the most delicious chicken nachos from the funky and friendly Luardos. If you see their pink van at any festivals you just have to try their food. It’s the best street food/festival grub I have ever tried. Sprawled on the grass eating our food whilst Izzy played with new friend Bo we listened to Gekko- I’ll be honest I’d never heard of these guys prior to this and maybe if they hadn’t been on immediately after HM I wouldn’t have thought to watch them but I’m so glad I did. I loved their set and loved their obvious shock and glee when the enthralled audience demanded an encore. Will be keeping an eye/ear out their future gigs. After the it we checked out the Young British Foodies tent.. This as my third visit to the tent as I just loved walking round the stalls but we made our first and only purchase there which I think was the best decision we could have made.. RIBS! Seriously the best Ribs I have ever tasted from the Ribman. Ahh heavenly.
Next on our list of things to do was heading to the castle field to watch Kool and the gang. I was so excited as growing up my dad loved them and so I often heard their songs around the house. Kool and the gang were in a word EPIC. I rarely use that word but wow I loved it. A few songs they started with were well before my time I’m sure but we bopped along anyway but when they began to play their biggest hits such as: ladies nights, get down on it, Cherish ( my dads fave) and the massive crowd pleaser Celebrate it just became one of my favourite festival experiences ever. Such a happy lively group of singers and so energetic! The crowd were happy and it’s one of those songs which everyone will have personal memories attached from parties and their own previous celebrations. If you get a chance to see KOTG live – Do it.
Day 4: Tired today after a busy day yesterday so we have a lazy morning and wander around the festival site we then queue to see The Wall of death making sure Izzy has her ear defenders on. What a fab experience! If you see the wall of death at any events or festivals make sure you go and look inside. So much fun and Izzy was enthralled. We have a quick lunch and then head to see Rolf Harris take over the Castle stage. This was fun, we sang along and listened to his stories before going to The Dingle Dell for some poetry followed by a secret gig! Lianne La Havas was this years secret performer and she has an extremely beautiful voice and it was nice being part of such a small performance. We headed back to the tent after the secret gig and packed everything up ready for our journey home tonight and within the hour we were back out and ready to treat ourself to some festie food..after all we had packed the stove away.
I chose to have a lamb flatbread kebab.. Yum. I was even inspired weeks later to make flatbreads after eating this, you can find that recipe here and Andrew chose Chicken &Chorizo Paella both were from lovely food stalls in the castle stage field. We also had some fresh lemonade from the Paella stand which was gorgeous. Whilst munching the opening song of Dub Pistols set started and the crowd loved it, We have seen Dub Pistols perform live 3 times and they are an amazing live act that really get the crowd going. We couldn’t have ended the festival on a better note. We left just as The Happy Mondays got started and it was a peaceful exit and journey home which I imagine would have been slightly more stressful if we had left on the Monday morning.
Overall it was an absolutely amazing festival experience. We are really hoping to go again next year and I would say its suitable for ALL ages.
Check out our Camp Bestival photo diary
Early bird tickets are available now so go to www.campbestival.com and buy yourself a guaranteed fantastic holiday experience for next year!
* I was lucky enough to be offered free tickets for this years festival in exchange for an honest review.
A few weeks ago I realised that I was feeding Izzy a lot of ready made baby foods. Ok so I had an excuse as we had been away and it just wasn’t possible to prepare food for Izzy at festivals otherwise but since being home I have been determined to change her diet and introduce new foods and textures.
In the last few weeks we have tried lots of new foods with various levels of success.
You can find the recipe here
I adjusted the sugar levels slightly as was a little too much for my liking but otherwise I kept it the same.
Izzy had these for breakfast served slightly warm spread with unsalted butter and she loved them! She also had some the following day served cold as a snack.
We ate them too with lots of maple syrup and they were so good.
Cheese and tomato slice
I used puff pastry sheets cut into squares, I then scored a 2cm border around the square and poked a fork in the middle a few times just to break the surface not to go through completely. I then put a little passata in the middle and spread it with a knife, sprinkled with cheese and added some chopped cherry tomatoes and peppers. For mine and Andrews I added red onion and freshly ground pepper. I baked in the oven until puffed up and the underneath was cooked completely.
Izzy really enjoyed this immediately which I didn’t expect as I thought the texture would be too different for her but it was a success and we enjoyed them also served with a light salad.
Best served warm straight from the oven but obviously check it has cooled enough for your child especially the tomatoes!
You could add almost anything to these.
Omelette/scrambled egg combo
Spinach (baby leaf)
Full fat milk
Chop spinach and tomatoes into very small pieces and saute until soft in the butter. Beat eggs with some full fat milk (Ingredient amounts depend on how many of you are eating) and pour over your spinach and tomatoes then sprinkle with grated cheese. Leave egg mixture set and then used a fork scramble it up and ensure egg is fully cooked before dishing up.
Izzy absolutely loves this and her dad does too.
I realise these recipes probably don’t seem very exciting to us adults but to a baby discovering new food it’s a whole new world of flavours.
I have also noticed that on the days Izzy has protein rich dishes such as omelettes or chicken curry which she also loves that she seems to sleep longer and is more settled. Yay.
I know you are all eagerly awaiting my Camp Bestival review which should be posted later this week but just to whet your appetite here are some of my favourite pics from this years quite frankly amazing festival of fun:
Izzy in her little tent while we put up the big tent..she got tagged:
Dining alfresco, one of my camping creations:
Playtime with dad:
Sleeping through the Gruffalo:
Dancing to Rolf Harris:
Uh oh I’m being watched…
Gonna carry on anyway..
We met Shrek!!!
Bopping away to Mr Tumble:
Playing games outside the tent with Dad:
And on the last night waiting for Dub Pistols:
We have spent the last five days at Blissfields Festival in Winchester.. It was an unexpected success and we had a fantastic time. I say unexpected as even though I knew the festival would be fab (having attended last year) I was slightly worried about how Izzy would react to the crowds,noise,new place and most importantly how she would sleep.
Before we left I wrote and rewrote numerous lists of baby related items that we HAD to take and then some extras that I just wanted to take and well I’m not going to lie to you there was a lot but panic not I am here to tell you what we used and needed so you and your baba can relax and enjoy.
Ear defenders: we bought Edz kids ones from Amazon which Izzy loved wearing
Wet wipes – think of how many you normally use in that space of time and maybe double it.
Nappies- as above..you never know when an explosive poop day will occur
Food-if your baby is really young then foodie items may be limited so take more than you will need
Kettle- for sterilising,heating food and equally important cups of caffeine(for you of course not baby)
Blankets and warm clothes- tents get very cold in the night and also handy for sprawling on grass
Suncream- no explanation really needed here..even in the UK an unexpected ray of sun will shine
Rain covers- its the UK there will probably be rain
A few toys and comforters
Calpol- this wondrous potion saved us on a night of extreme teething
Bibs and many clothes- Izzy had about 3 changes a day on average
Sling or baby carrier- we used the Hippychick mostly as she’s getting fairly big!
Now the things which aren’t essential but really handy if you have the space:
A travel cot- this means you get some uninterrupted sleep (hopefully
Baby walker or ride along car etc -It helped us relax and enjoy the festival a lot and they can’t move too fast due to the grass 😉 if you can fit it in its a real bonus.
Toys- the more the better really
Stroller type buggy- I spoke to more than 1 parent who didn’t take one to save space and regretted it. Izzy napped in hers and sat in it to eat.
I hope the list above helps you but please ask if you have any questions.
This is the first family festival we have been to with Izzy but we would like to do more possibly Camp Bestival next year and of course Blissfields again for sure. I’m not sure of the set up of other festivals but at Blissfields there is a huge area devoted to young children and babies called Angel gardens this is really fab, there are tents to chill out, toilets just for children, special cafes and you can even bathe your baby there. This year there was a circus theme and Izzy enjoyed it so much!
When the music got a little loud we put on her ear defenders and she didn’t even attempt to take them off which was great, she loved sitting on mine or her dads shoulders and bopping about to the music. I think she will become hooked on festivals as she gets older.
Izzys (my) highlights of the festival were : King Charles, Dub Pistols, Subgiant and an amazing kids band which I cannot remember the name of!
Many more pics to come but here is Izzy on day 1 of Blissfields 2012.
* just for the record she slept incredibly well. 3 naps a day and long nighttime slumber. In fact if I wasn’t on unpaid maternity leave I would book into every family festival this summer.
I love anything which has chorizo in it, it’s a beautiful ingredient which has the most incredible flavour and a little goes a long way.
Chicken and chorizo paella
You will need:
A paella pan or cazuela
400g Chicken cut into 1 inch pieces- thigh is best for flavour but breast is fine too.
Chorizo – you can use as much as you like here. I use about a third of Asda extra special chorizo sausage diced into small cubes
1 large onion diced
2 red peppers chopped
2 garlic cloves crushed
Some chopped red chilli or a squirt of fresh chilli paste
1.5 litres of chicken stock
2 teaspoons of smoked sweet paprika
400g paella rice – you can use other rice but it just won’t be the same.
*optional ingredients –
A pinch of saffron
2 handfuls of frozen peas.
Heat your pan slowly with about a tablespoon of olive oil.
Brown the chicken.
Add your chorizo, garlic and onion
When your onion is soft add your peppers, chilli, paprika (and saffron & peas if using) and after a few minutes add 1 litre of your stock.
Preheat your oven to gas mark 4.
Leave the ingredients bubble away on a medium heat for 15 mins.
Now add your rice and stir thoroughly.
Put lid on pan or a tinfoil roof if you don’t have one and place in oven for 15 minutes ( if your pan is not ovenproof simply continue to cook on hob but cover your pan)
After 15 minutes take the paella out of the oven and add remaining stock ensuring you give it a good stir.
Place back in oven for 15-20 mins and Tada you should have a beautifully cooked Paella.
I serve mine with a rocket based salad.
This makes a lot! It serves a family of 4 or 2 very hungry adults with lots of leftovers!
Also I am still getting used to writing recipes out so please let me know if they do not make sense or if you have any questions.