Indian Supermeals: Baby And Toddler Cookbook – A Review

When it comes to eating and especially with trying to get them to eat new foods, my boys can be……..well….challenging! They know what they like and they like what they know! Therefore when I was asked if I would like to review a new cookery book Indian Supermeals : Baby & Toddler Cookbook, I accepted with some intrepidation. I mean, how embarrassing if I reviewed a recipe from said cook book and then my children refused to eat any of it!

Indian Supermeals : Baby & Toddler Cookbook is written by Zainab Jagot Ahmed a mum who wrote the book after her experiences of weaning her own daughter and introducing spices and Indian cuisine into her eating experiences. The book is the UK’s first Indian cookbook for babies and toddlers and not only is it full of tasty sounding recipes for little taste buds aged from 7 months to 3 years, but Zainab also lists lots of useful and informative nutritional advice about the use of spices and how to introduce them gradually into your children’s diet.

I don’t make curries very often so its not a meal the boys are used to eating. Its not that I don’t enjoy them, its just that it isn’t a meal I always think about cooking. So I was excited, aswell as a little apprehensive, about cooking my first one from scratch.  I chose a curry recipe that had a tomato based sauce as opposed to a cream one, as the boys are used to this as I dont make many creamy dishes. I thought it would look familiar to them on their plates and therefore be more appealing. Well that was the plan anyway!

The recipe I selected is a favourite of Zainab’s as its her Mum’s own recipe for Chicken Karahi and this is how you make it.

Serves 2 adults and 2 children

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts, diced
(I used turkey as it what was what I had in my freezer)
75ml vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp minced ginger
1/2 tsp tumeric
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
300g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
salt to taste *
red chili powder to taste *
fresh coriander for garnish *

*I didnt use these ingredients, although next time I will add some chili powder to mine and OH’s portions (I cannot stand fresh coriander)

To Make It:

Put the oil into a deep saucepan and add the onions and stir fry on a medium heat for about 5 minutes
Then add the garlic and ginger and continue to fry for a minute
Add all the spices and cook for another minute

Pour in the tomatoes and puree, stir and and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes on a low heat so that the tomato sauce thickens

Add the chicken, stir and cover with a lid and simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes until the meat is cooked right through.

Meanwhile cook your rice (I added peas and sweetcorn to mine for colour and extra vegetable allowence!)

Then serve and enjoy

(if adding the salt and chili, serve up your children’s portions first and then add these to the sauce for the adult servings, and garnish with the coriander)

It was really easy to prepare and quick too, as it was made and served within about 40 minutes. And is low fat too great for those of us trying to curb our eating but still looking for flavoursome meals.

However, my toughest critics are my boys …….what would they make of something new and a meal which contains white meat and served with rice!!!!!???

Eeeeeeeeek!!

Welllllllllllll………. let me show you

It was a HIT!!!!!
I could not believe my eyes to be honest.
So it looks like I have a new meal that I can cook regularly. And it has given me the confidence to try another recipe from the book.

This great value for money cook book is a great read, filled with 60 delicious looking and sounding Indian cuisine recipes that are made using super spices and superfoods which are healthy and nutritious and aimed specifically at little mouths. Created by another Mum who has been through all the fussy eating stages too with her own little one.

Trust me, if my two faddy toddlers ate this curry, then I am sure yours will too.

Indian Supermeals : Baby & Toddler Cookbook is available to download from Amazon and Waterstones  from just £3.99

You can contact Zainab via one or all of the following social media sources

@ZainabJagAhmed


I was sent a copy of this cookbook for the purpose of this review. It was my choice to try a recipe and all comments about it and the book are my own and honest. Trust me I would not lie about my boys and their eating habits!
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Hello Fresh : A Review

A few weeks ago I commented on my blog that I was worried that my weekly meal planner was looking a bit samey and not very adventurous. In response to this remark, I was approached by 
Hello Fresh to try out their mail order meal recipe and ingredient service. 
Hello Fresh chefs create recipes that are balanced and varied; the Hello Fresh team go out and buy every ingredient required to make the meals and then deliver everything you need to cook a tasty meal right to your door each Tuesday. Typically the meals which require cooking only take 30 minutes and have a step by step instruction leaflet, with photographs, for you to follow – so even the most reluctant cooks cant go wrong!
I was sent a big box of goodies, the 3 meal box, which was very well insulated and kept all the ingredients fresh and cool, one Tuesday morning. I received enough meat, veg, seasonings and condiments to prepare and cook three meals. 
Here is an example of one of the meals I received and cooked:
XO Chinese Chicken With Stir Fried Sweetheart Cabbage
(serves 2)
you will need

2 chicken breasts
1 nest of noodles
120g sweetheart cabbage
1 orange
1/2 cup of coriander 
(I didnt use this because both my OH and I cant stand it!)
2 cloves of garlic
50g banana shallot
10g fresh ginger
1 red chilli
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp of XO sauce
(if like me you dont know what XO sauce is, its a concoction made from shellfish, garlic & chilli)
1 tsp Chinese 5 spice
 Then you need to:
peel and finely dice the garlic and shallot
dice up as much chilli as you can stand (I did half)
coursely chop the coriander (if you use it of course!)
grate a 1/4 of a tsp of the orange zest, squeeze out the orange juice and finely shred the cabbage
bring a small saucepan of water to the boil ready for your noodles
turn your grill onto a medium setting
dice your ginger (the guide explains how you can peel ginger)
mix together the orange juice and zest and add a tsp of chinese 5 spice and a good grind of black pepper and stir
butterfly your chicken breasts (again the guide explains how you do this) and coat both sides of each breast with the XO sauce and drizzle some of the orange marinade on each side too (keep the rest back for later)
grill each chicken breast for about 6 minutes on each side, drizzling with more of the marinade when you turn them over
then simply
simmer noodles until ‘al dente’ and 
when you add the noodles to the wok, add the remainder of your zesty marinade too and cook for 1 more minute to allow the marinade to thicken into a sticky sauce
then simply slice the cooked chicken and serve on top of the noodles and veg and its ready!
My Thoughts Of Hello Fresh
I think that if you lead a busy life and find it hard to do a regular grocery shop, let alone think up meal ideas, then Hello Fresh is a fantastic concept. Rather than grab a meal deal/convenience meal from the local supermarket or have a take away, to have fresh, good quality ingredients delivered to your home once a week would, I think, be a help to many professional working people.
The costs to have this service is as follows:
 Current Available Boxes From Hello Fresh:
3-Meal Box for 2 – £39 (Vegetarian option available)
3-Meal Box for 4 – £59 (Vegetarian option available)
3-Meal Box for 6 – £89 (Vegetarian option available)
5-Meal Box for 2 – £49
5-Meal Box for 4 – £89
5-Meal Box for 6 – £129

Which when you consider that all your meals are planned, all the shopping has been done for each meal and everything will be used – ie no wastage – then I think if you can afford this meal delivery service then its brilliant! I think the prices are quite reasonable eg. the 5 meals for 4 people at £89 works out at just £4.45 per person per day. If you tend to rely on ready made meals or take aways, then the food boxes would be a cheaper and healthier alternative I would imagine.

I think a downside is that you don’t know what meals you will be making each week which means that if, like me, you cannot stand coriander, to have that as a prominent ingredient and flavour is not one I would choose to have. However, the quality of food is fab, I was also sent prawns and duck breast for my other 2 meals, and it is exciting to receive a box that you have no idea what will be contained inside. A food lucky dip if you will.

My only other slight criticism, is that the portions are not that big – healthy size yes, but as my OH said he would have liked a bit more on his plate!!

Personally, with a family of four and as a Mummy who cooks from scratch for the majority of the time, Hello Fresh is probably a tad expensive as I can create meals for less than £17.80 a day. However, I can totally see how this concept is great for many people, and if my two boys were ever away for a few days then maybe I will use Hello Fresh for my OH and I.

If this kind of meals-to-be-on-wheels delivery service sounds of interest to you, then check out their website




I was sent a food box from Hello Fresh for the purpose of this review. The recipe is theirs, but all opinions and remarks are my own.

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Slow Cooker Turkey Lasagne

I have always loved lasagne, and made my very first one when I was 13 for my Dad and brother as my Mum was in hospital at the time. I had often watched her make one so thought I would give it a go, and I made it all from scratch including the cheese sauce. I have never looked back really.

Over the years I have made variations on a beef lasagne and made vegetable ones, seafood ones, chicken and bacon ones, bacon and cauliflower cheese ones and turkey lasagne. It is a a turkey lasagne which I am going to post. Although beef is my favourite (and certainly it is my OH’s who moans whenever I sway from the beef mince lasagne path!), I think turkey makes a nice change and it is cheap and lean and in using turkey mince, you are giving your family a superfood too!
You will need:
For the ragu:
500g turkey mince (I use thigh)
100g smoked pancetta cubed (or you could use smoked bacon)
1 large onion, chopped finely
2 large carrots, grated
1 large courgette, grated
2 peppers, chopped
Olive oil
Garlic – 1tsp (I use the Lazy already chopped up garlic in a jar)
500g passatta ( I use the one with added italian herbs)
1 knorr chicken stock pot gel
Dash of black pepper for seasoning
For the cheese sauce:
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
500ml milk
A dash of english mustard
250g grated strong cheddar ( I used the half fat version to be a bit virtuous!)
Lasagne sheets
Method
For the ragu:
Add a glug of olive oil to a deep saucepan and fry the turkey mince until it changes from pink to a grey/brown colour (about 5 minutes)
Remove from the heat and drain off the fat and place into the slow cooker
Then return the saucepan to the heat and add some more olive oil and the garlic. 
Fry off the pancetta on a high heat for about 3 minutes until it starts to change colour, then add the onion and reduce the heat a little.

After about another 3-4 minutes add the carrot, courgette and pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes on a low heat.
Remove from the heat and drain off any excess fat then add to the turkey in the slow cooker
Add the passatta and the chicken stock pot gel, and mix well.

Turn slow cooker to the lowest setting and allow to cook for about 7 hours or overnight
Once cooked, taste and season with black pepper as required.
For the cheese sauce:
Add the butter to a medium sized saucepan and when it is stating to melt add the flour and stir well until combined. Keep stirring and very soon the mixture will come away from the sides, once this happens the mixture must be cooked for 1 minute and it must be continually stirred.
Once this has happened remove from the heat and add a few glugs of milk to start with, and stir the pan so that the flour mixture and the milk combine. You may find that using a whisk helps here. The idea is to get rid of the lumps before you return the pan to the heat.
Once the lumps have gone, return the pan to the heat and while stirring all the time, allow the milk to heat up. Add the rest of the milk and after a couple of minutes you should feel the sauce thicken. Now add your cheese, probably in three parts, and again keep stirring.
Once the sauce comes to the boil, keep stirring and allow it to cook for 1 minute.
Remove from the heat and add the mustard and stir well. The cheese sauce should be lovely and thick now.

Once both sauces are ready, get a large square/rectangular oven proof dish and lightly grease the bottom of it
Line the bottom of it with the ragu sauce
Add a layer of lasagne sheets
Add a layer of cheese sauce
Repeat layers, making sure the final one has cheese sauce on the top

Cook in a Pre- heated oven of 180oC/160oC (fan) for about 45 minutes – until the top browns.
Serve with a side salad and jacket wedges to make the lasagne go around further
(This recipe easily feeds 4-8 people, depending on portion size!)
I am posting this recipe as part of the Britmums Lean On Turkey Competition
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Hidden Vegetable Recipes – Sauces & Soup

I make a lot of meals where I hide vegetables within the sauce, in order to make sure my boys (and that includes their daddy!) get the nutritional benefits they need without any “me not like that mummy” comments/ ‘turned up nose’ looks!

So I thought I would share some with you which work with my family, and you never know might help get yours to eat more veg too, if yours don’t already of course!

Now I don’t wish to tell anyone ‘how to suck eggs’ here, but one really quick and easy way to get them to eat an assortment of healthy veg is to simply roast some and then several different meals can be made.

For example:

Take
an assortment of vegetables eg. 1 butternut squash, 2 courgettes, 3 peppers, 2 onions, 8 large tomatoes
Prepare
them and chop them into medium same sized pieces
Add
a few cloves of garlic, some basil and a good glug of olive oil


Roast in the oven at 180oC (fan oven) for about 40 minutes


Obviously, if you and your family will eat them like this then great! However, as I mentioned earlier the name of the game in my house is ‘hidden’ vegetables!

Allow to cool slightly, then blend until a thick sauce is created (you may wish to add some black pepper). The colour of the sauce is great – really vibrant and it’s just full of such goodness 🙂


This will make a great pasta sauce which you can leave as vegetarian and maybe add some cheese. Or you can add some meatballs or another meat (chicken, ham, bacon, sausage) to make a meaty pasta dish (you may wish to season this sauce with extra salt or a little sugar to balance the flavour of the sauce – do what you think taste best as each vegetable has a different flavour).

I have also used this as a pizza sauce in place of the more traditional tomato sauce you might usually use for the base.

To make this into a soup, simply add about 400ml (depending on how thick/thin you like your soup) of chicken or vegetable stock and blend again. Re- heat gently when ready to eat.


Simples!

I am sure many of you already do this yourselves so apologies for telling you things you already know. BUT if you haven’t and you don’t, then why not give it a go!

It works with my children!

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