Pimp My Patty

The wonderful world of Pinterest, combined with the mighty force of Baby Led Weaning can lead to an overload of patty recipes. So many ways to combine things and fry things! So this afternoon I took some inspiration from Pinterest where someone had “pinned” an idea to combine tinned tuna and hummus to make a patty.

I pimped the patty.

Yes there was1 small tin of tuna and 1 Tbsp hummus, but there was also leftover 2 Tbsp quinoa (from yesterdays meatballs) and an egg yolk. The mix made 6 patties which I fried in ghee. And they were pretty darn tasty. I had 3 and Possum ate the equivalent of 2 but was offered 3. I think if you squished together all the loose bits on her high chair and on the floor you could’ve pieced together a whole new patty.

Are you familiar with the meme “Nailed it?”

So imagine seeing a lovely picture of patties… Now here’s how they actually turned out…

Nailed it!

Nailed it!

But the important thing is they are healthy and the critic loved them 🙂

Tuna Hummus Quinoa Patties

Tuna Hummus Quinoa Patties

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Baby Led Weaning Recipe Win

Look at me go! Swimming lesson, check! Nutritous food made for my baby, check! Healthy homemade stock made, check! Excess baby stuff sold on Facebook, check! Swimmers washed before they grew mould, check! Pew pew pew!! Some days are easier to get stuff done. Hurray for today! (Just ignore the pile of dishes, the unpacked boxes or the trail of Possum destruction).

I’m wondering if it made up for my list of kitchen fails the past few days. I managed to grate my thumb into a middle eastern carrot salad which then turned out to taste like soap and smell like insect repellent (orange blossom water should carry a warning label). I also managed to pick a huge pile of kale from the garden to make kale chips for a guest, only to burn them all to a crisp. Then I also managed to make lentils and rice that smelt overwhelmingly like pee.

Making food for your whole family can be tricky. I always seem to find awesome recipes but then they either take too long, need obscure ingredients or have stuff in it that isn’t safe for babies such as honey. Plus I’m always a bit dubious about “kid friendly recipes”. They always seem to either leave out flavour all together or just be made up of bread, cheese or eggs. But I managed to find something that looked like I would eat it and it was a “baby” recipe, Beef Apple and Quinoa Balls. Awesome. Found some pork mince in the freezer, already had quinoa, just needed to buy an apple. The recipe calls for a couple of spices and some fresh herbs which made me hopeful these would be tasty little treats that my little one would enjoy (she likes things with flavour, funnily enough).

Pork Apple and Quinoa Balls

Pork Apple and Quinoa Balls

I was feeling organised today which meant I had these made up and had them in the oven before Possum woke up from her 30 minutes nap this afternoon. Managed to cook the quinoa while we were having lunch so it was cool and ready to go by the time I needed it. Can I just say though, coriander has a magical ability to work it’s way out of every little meatball I tried to roll. Cheeky, very cheeky. I am very grateful for the “cook time” setting on the oven as opposed to just using a timer. I got stuck with a sleeping Possum on my lap when I fed her after her nap, leaving me stuck in the rocking chair for an hour, listening to the beep of the alarm, knowing that the oven had turned itself off. Thank goodness!

I also managed to make chicken stock today! Was surprisingly easy and I could just leave it to bubble away for a couple of hours while I got on with other things. The nice thing about home made stock is it is salt free. An important point when cooking for bubs, but also just good for everyone’s health anyway. Cheap to make too. 1kg of chicken wings has made me 3-4 litres of stock using vegetables I already had in the fridge (carrot, celery and onion). Here is the recipe I used.

Knowing how productive I felt today, I’m preparing myself for a day or unexpected happenings tomorrow… what will happen to stop us getting to musical playgroup…

Homemade Chicken Stock

Homemade Chicken Stock

Beef Apple and Quinoa Balls

Affordability : EXCELLENT. Use whatever mince you’d like. I opted for some free range pork mince (500g) that I picked up on clearance for $3 at the supermarket. I already had a big bag of quinoa and the recipe uses lots of pantry staples. The recipe made around 30 small – medium balls.

Time Factor : MODERATE. You need to make the quinoa which takes around 20 minutes. Thankfully only takes a few minutes to mix together with your hands and make into balls. Then 30 minutes in the oven.

Complexity : LOW. The great thing about meatball recipes is how straightforward they are. And you can add or omit whatever you fancy. I once made really yummy lamb meat balls with dried apricot and kale in them.

Deliciousness : MODERATE. Not our favourite in the curry flavours so far but tasty none the less. Lego Man said it tasted the opposite of acidic. They certainly were tasty and easy to eat but didn’t make me go wow. They did make Possum pretty happy though. She devoured two medium sized meatballs at dinner along with roasted sweet potato “chips”, tomato, cucumber, grapes and blueberries.

Mess : LOW. One bowl and two roasting trays. Just be prepared for sticky hands. Personally I love hand mixing stuff like this. I reckon you can taste the love.

Tummy Filling Factor : MODERATE – EXCELLENT. Depends who you’re talking about. They were great to snack on at 5pm while Possum ate her dinner, and it’s great to be eating the same thing as each other. Possum was certainly full and chose the meatballs over nearly everything else on her tray. The few grapes were gone before the meatball even made it to her tray!

Possum Friendly? YES. Very happy with how much she enjoyed these. They have been put away in 3-4 balls per bag in the freezer to grab quickly for lunch when out and about, or an easy lunch/dinner at home. Or maybe a snack for a hungry mummy. Being high in protein, low in salt and sugar, these are a great snack for a busy mummy. Much better choice than chips or chocolate.

Would I make it again? Yes but I would add more spice and some kind of onion or garlic to give it a bit more pow.

Possum approves

Possum approves

It’s the nuts that make it

Something I love about cooking is the entertainment of my senses. Generally you get to eat something yummy at the end, but it’s the unexpected delights along the way which make it. Tonight, it was the smell of onions cooking in ghee (totally expected to smell delish, but every time I find myself saying it out loud to no one in particular), the smell of sliced almonds toasting in a pan, the sizzle as the almonds got added to the curry. Only the cook will get these added bonuses to the meal. It’s like a nifty little secret between the dish and the creator.

Onions in ghee

Onions in ghee

The dish tonight was Winter Vegetable Tofu Korma from 101 cookbooks. This site is a treasure trove of vegetarian deliciousness. I often will print out recipes from the internet. After cooking they will either end up in the recycling bin or in my Pink Folder of Wonder (PFW). All recipes from here are in the PFW.

Winter Vegetable Tofu Korma

Winter Vegetable Tofu Korma

I made a double batch tonight full of pumpkin, sweet potato, potato, zucchinni and carrot. I had the luxury of having my beautiful (and pregnant!!) best friend over this afternoon to entertain Possum while I chopped 2kg of vegetables. Thankyou!! I used my cast iron casserole pot and once the veg and water was in, baked it covered in the oven for just over an hour at 200C. This worked a treat. I was worried the bottom would cook (or burn) before the veg on top was done properly, as the pot was so full.

Winter Vegetable Tofu Korma

Affordability : EXCELLENT. A massive pot full of delicious spiced goodness for a bargain. the almonds would’ve cost about $4 and same for the organic firm tofu. Would guess at about $1/serve.
Time Factor : MODERATE. ~30 minutes prep plus 60 minutes oven time. Thankyou to my best friend for baby entertainment. Life saver! Worth the investment in time for the number of serves you get at the end. Freezer is full after tonight and last night making a big batch of spag bol sauce.
Complexity : LOW. A lovely one pot wonder.
Deliciousness : EXCELLENT. Quotes from Lego Man tonight: “Is this vegetarian?”, “It’s the nuts that make it”, “You always pick out good recipes” (which I had the remind him about the stuffed vegetable incidents), “this is really tasty”, “did I say that this is really tasty?”.
Mess : MODERATE. Few pots but lots of garlic skins, ginger skin, onion skin… smelly fingers…
Tummy Filling Factor : EXCELLENT. Yes it’s vegetarian but you have 3 sources of protein with tonight’s meal. Quinoa (optional extra), almonds and tofu. I couldn’t finish my bowl (that hasn’t happened in a while!).
Possum Friendly? EXCELLENT. She loves curry and this has lots of nice soft veggies for her to munch on. She has had almond milk and almond meal already with no reaction but be wary if this is the first time your baby will be exposed to nuts.

Would I make it again? Certainly, but with the volume I made I won’t need to make this again until 2016.

I'm full

I’m full

On a side note… Possum went a bit crazy for the risotto from last night. Another Baby Led Weaning win!

Freezer Surprise

Ah sweet freezer surprise. You are always welcome in my home. As I sat with my baby and patted her to sleep, my mind wandered to my stomach. And to the silence coming from the kitchen meant Lego Man wasn’t cooking up a solution to my quandry. The kitchen is not the natural habitat of Lego Man. Outdoors, yes. Man Cave, yes. Office, yes. But this week was a week of no plans. No recipes on the counter. No plan on the fridge. Back to old ways. Back to eating somewhere between 8 and 9pm. Thank goodness for freezer surprise.

And behind Door Number 1………..!

Stuffed Eggplant Mousaka and Tuna Pesto Pasta. Not often freezer surprise is a two course feast. In order for the eggplant to be defrosted we did need to press “Auto cook” on the microwave about 15 times. I remembered they weren’t fab first time round so added some things that would hopefully help. Salt, pepper and cheese. It helped enough to make it much easier to eat. I thought I had a photo of the meal for you but one was really out of focus and the other my finger is taking up half the photo… this is what happends when you’re a hungry mummy!

Thank goodness tonight is planning night.

The plan and weather is looking a bit like this:

MONDAY/ rain 21 

Baked Farro Risotto with Lamb Chops and Vegetables

TUESDAY/ early shower 22

Winter Veg and Tofu Korma with brown rice and quinoa

WEDNESDAY/ partly cloudy 26

Broccoli Crunch and Salmon with brown rice and quinoa

THURSDAY/ sunny 20

Grilled Chicken Salad with pineapple, macadamias and chilli (taste Magazine Jan 2014)

FRIDAY/ partly cloudy 17

Take away, freezer surprise or BBQ

SATURDAY/ weather forecast not available yet…

Take away, freezer surprise or BBQ

Thankyou to my facebook page (just search for pea fritters) for the baked risotto idea. I was trawling one of my favourite sites, 101 cookbooks, when I saw she had a baked farro risotto. Perfect! Thursday’s chicken salad is a dish I made a couple of weeks ago and it was amazing. Will write out the recipe for you later in the week.  I’m also hoping to make a Brown Butter Spice Loaf to get us through the move. It’s spicy buttery goodness.

No scale for tonight’s dinner sorry.

Though here is a cute photo of Possum’s happy feet while she ate her dinner of Possum Love Puffs, avocado and apple. She and I had a lovely time at baby wearing yoga today.

Happy Possum Feet

Happy Possum Feet

Sticky fingers and surprise success

I started today’s dinner yesterday. I was planning on making it yesterday. But sometimes life has other plans.
Today I slowly made Crunchy Quinoa and Pumpkin Croquettes (if any one would like the recipe just ask and I will write it out). I love daggy chicken and corn croquettes. I remember they used to sell them in our school canteen. I’m pretty certain the only real food in them was the corn. They were otherwise grey centred, crunchy, salty and oily. Delish! The idea of making something similar but made with real food was quite enticing. Even more so since buying some ghee. Mmmmmmmm things fried in ghee…… *drool*

Quinoa mix

Quinoa mix

This is not a dish that I would make regularly. Maybe if there were a bevy, yes a bevy, of people eagerly wanting to help out in the kitchen. Sure! Maybe if I had minions, even better. Alas my baby girl is too young to wield a knife or handle hot oil, her minion status will have to wait.

chop chop chop

chop chop chop

There’s chopping and boiling and mashing and simmering and measuring and more chopping and mixing and whisking and shaping and rolling and dunking and more rolling and frying. It’s messy and uses lots of stuff in the kitchen.
The good thing is, they are delicious! And possum loves them too.

Mmmmmmm fried

Mmmmmmm fried

I initially attempted to shape the croquette mix into the specified 10-12cm shapes. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to handle sloppy mashed potato but it is impossible to shape this mix into the desired shape let along then maintain the shape whilst you roll it in flour, dunk it in egg then roll in panko bread crumbs. Mine were more blob shaped. I ended up using a lot of spoons to mould, transfer, roll, dip, dunk, splice, dice…. you get the idea. The finished product was satisfyingly crunchy on the outside and squishy on the inside. The currants in the mix gave a bonus little burst of unexpected sweetness.

The problem I find with recipe where you need to dunk in egg is you end up with a plate of wasted flour and a bowl of wasted egg. I decided to experiment. What would happen if i mixed the two together with a little water, baking powder and a big handful of sliced shallots. Delicious shallot pancakes is what you get! Booya!

The batter

The batter

Nearly ready

Nearly ready

Affordability : EXCELLENT. I keep quinoa in the pantry along with rice and pasta so this wasn’t something new I had to buy. If you haven’t used it before it’s a high source of protein and can substitute pretty much any carb staple. The recipe makes alot of the mixture.
Time Factor : LOW. Too many steps and pots. Not great with a baby. Like I said, I just need minions.
Complexity : MODERATE. Lots of steps but simple steps.
Deliciousness : EXCELLENT. In my head anything fried is delicious. This isn’t true. Fried bread is just yuck. These are delicious though. Nothing at all like fried bread.
Mess : HIGH. Lots of bowls, plates, saucepans, frypans, spoons, knives. Thankyou dishwasher for being in my kitchen.
Tummy Filling Factor : MODERATE. Depends how many you eat! I beefed it up with some smoked salmon, my shallot pancakes, left over roast chicken, salad and fruit. If you didn’t already know I am a hungry lady.
Possum Friendly? EXCELLENT. Reasonably healthy, high in protein, loaded with flavour, easy to hold onto. Winner. Took some along to picnic lunch with a couple of mummy friends today. I ended up covered in food, but most of it was eaten. Turns out Possum also loves smoked salmon.