Baba Ganoush, Baba Ganoush Can You Do The Fandango?

What a start to the school holidays! Rain, rain and more rain. 

 I love aubergine and my favourite way to prep it is just brush with olive oil and put it under the grill. No salting it, no shallow frying it in batches, and no need to turn on the oven especially to roast it.IMG_6851

I chopped one big aubergine in 3 lengthways pieces and stuck it on. It took about 10 minutes on each side with the grill on a medium heat. At this point I had no idea if I was making some sort of pasta with aubergine and tomato sauce for dinner or what. But it was bucketing rain so I decided to bring the warmth, middle-eastern style. We enjoyed Baba Ganoush with Fennel, Carrot and Apple Coleslaw served with Quinoa. Catchy name eh?

Aubergine cooked, it was time to settle down with my boys while it bucketed rain outside and have a Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back viewing. That’s two hours of PEW-PEW PEW-PEW PEW-PEW, a few very mild double entendres, and a shocking paternity reveal. Y’know; in case you haven’t seen it.

I looked at about three baba ganoush recipes and decided they were all different enough for me to just chance my arm with the basic ingredients. Also, some of them involved draining the aubergine of water for ages and sure I’d no time for that with the movie-watching and creme-egg-eating.

I lashed all the below into the blender and crossed my fingers.

  • Flesh of 1 grilled aubergine
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup of Glenisk Natural Yogurt
  • 1/2 tablespoon tahini (you can leave this out, but I love the taste)
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 teaspoons of dried mint (I have fresh mint in the garden most of the year, but I’m reliant on the jars right now)

Baba Ganoush is just the fancy name for a smokey aubergine dip. I lacked the smoke (barbeque or naked flame) but it came out great; nicely smooth and flavoursome. Pomegranate seeds on top would really set it off visually and give a sweet crunch. (That would only happen if I managed to meal plan though.)

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Finished his dinner, then finished the Baba Ganoush.

I cooked us up some quinoa (1 cup uncooked fed four) in Marigold stock and set about making a carrot, fennel and apple coleslaw for the side. This is a super healthy coleslaw – it’s a simplified version of a Winter Veg one that Jamie Oliver does – the dressing uses yogurt rather than any mayonnaise. My mum always made lovely fresh coleslaw when I was growing up, but somehow horrible claggy deli counter versions seem to have become the standard offering.

When I’m in charge it’s not dinner unless there’s a load of toasted seeds or nuts involved so in went the toasted sunflower seeds in with grated apple and carrot and chopped fennel.

The dressing is just these four, all mixed quickly with a fork.

  • A good glug of olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup of Glenisk Natural Yogurt

I gave the boys the apple and veg with some plain yogurt as the dijon is quite hot.

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You too can conjure up Arabian nights on a rainy spring evening in Dublin with a little help from Glenisk! But maybe add some gauzy veils rather than Penney’s pyjamas to really get the effect right.

Glenisk Paneer Tikka. Yum.

See over there on the left (or down the bottom on yer mobile)? Yeah that, the Irish Parenting Blog Awards! I’ve gotten a couple of nominations, and excitement is building in the IPB community. I don’t get out much and now I’ve a glitzy awards ceremony to look forward to. Eep!

One of the awards sponsors is the fabulous Glenisk – who I’m on record as loving already in case you think I’m sucking up. I’m gonna represent on behalf of vegetarians and show how we use their products outside Go-Yo’s in the lunchbox. We use them a lot.  So, me and the boys had a little think about dinner while we indulged in a breakfast smoothie…

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Bitta brekkie

We decided on curry. This particular one is a real treat meal, but still lacks the guilt of a takeaway. I dunno about you but I love curry. I have eight million herbs and spices but sometimes I want some shortcuts. I don’t like using jars so the compromise option for me is to buy a spice mix from Green Saffron (another great Irish company). As usual, the packet recipe is for a meaty curry, so I adapted it to suit us.

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 tbsp coconut oillf nat big pot
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped.
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 pack of paneer
  • 1 pack Green Saffron Tantalizing Tikka Spice Mix
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1/2 a courgette
  • 75 mls Glenisk low fat yogurtImage courtesy of Green Saffron
  • 75 mls Glenisk creme fraiche
  • 1/2 lemon, juice & zest

To garnish:

  • 1/2 cup of cashew nuts
  • Some coriander
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Jamie Oliver has a paneer recipe. But it comes in a pack too!
  1. Heat 1.5 tbsp coconut oil in a large pan. Sweat the onions, garlic & ginger with the lid on til they’re all nice and soft.
  2. In the meantime, chop the paneer into cubes. Melt the other tablespoon of coconut oil at a medium-high heat in a non-stick pan, and toss in the paneer cubes. It takes about 6 minutes each side to crisp up a bit. A spatter guard will come in handy. You’re frying cheese here people, you’re frying cheese. Mmm, fried cheese…
  3. Back to your oniony mix. Add half the spice mix, and stir for a minute or so. Yes! Good news, I find half of the 25g is enough to feed two adults and two kids, so you can get two full meals out of one packet.
  4. Add your tomatoes and simmer for ten minutes.
  5. While they simmer away, chop up your veggies nice and small. You want them to cook through in the sauce and you don’t necessarily want the kids to notice huge chunks of veg. Get your lemon zest done now too. Quick! The kids’ tv show is nearly over and you set up Netflix not to automatically play the next one in a fit of good parenting.IMG_6822
  6. Move the pan off the heat and blend the tomato sauce. I really recommend a stick blender in your kitchen gadget arsenal.
  7. Put it back on the heat, add your veggies along with the Glenisk yogurt and lemon juice.
  8. Let this simmer gently for 20 minutes.
  9. Add the cooked paneer, Glenisk creme fraiche and lemon zest, and simmer for another 5 minutes. Ta-da! Done.
  10. Toast the cashew nuts on a dry pan for a few minutes. Keep a really close eye, they can burn very easily.

Now, in case you think “ah here, I’m never going to get through all this lark the kids will be all over me looking for their dinner” I like to chop up extra veggies and just leave them on the side as if they’re an ingredient, and then, just watch them disappear. They sneak in and grab them, thinking they’re hilarious. Joke’s on you kiddo, you just ate raw veggies.

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He thinks he robbed these from me.

Serve up your curry on a bed of brown basmati rice with a sprinkling of coriander and the crushed up toasted cashews scattered on top for a protein boost.

I made an extra serving of yogurt with some dried mint and more lemon zest mixed in. My kids are generally ok with a mild curry, but I often add yogurt to their dinner just to cool the temperature when they can’t wait to get stuck in.

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Dinnertime!
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Hungry after a good run about outside.

During dinner prep we even managed to make a bit of dessert. Lime (veggie) jelly with raspberries and blueberries. I stuck it in the freezer so it would be ready after dinner. The colour of the fruit ran so it wasn’t as pretty after. Never fear, it was eaten, but we had run out of yogurt to serve with it.

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Pack shot images courtesy of Glenisk & Green Saffron

Who needs hamsters, we have Hexbugs!

There’s not many things my kids can play with nicely together. They will fight over crayons and tiny little super hero figures and get very worked up indeed over the ownership of particular Lego bricks.

Dominic got a Hexbug set for his birthday, a wee one which nonetheless entertained them both, sometimes together but mostly separately. One single buzzy little Hexbug was not cutting it. I had to get the set out for Ted when big bro was in school and sneak it back up on a high shelf before he got home.

I posted this tweet and resigned myself to heading to the toy shop for some additional bugs; resigned because I have a pathological fear of “spoiling” my kids. If it’s not a birthday or Christmas or you don’t deserve a little something then there’s no new stuff coming your way “just because”.

Then, the Hexbug mothership decided they couldn’t stand to see a forlorn toddler and a large box of panels, pipes and FOUR new Hexbugs arrived five days later. The elder treated it like a YouTube toy reveal video, listing all the pieces as he pulled them out of the box (he is obsessed with this one kid who builds Lego kits).

They built an “upstairs” and tubes that go nowhere until reluctantly, bedtime arrived. By this time Dominic had deduced their name comes from the hexagonal panels (see: educational too!) So, I wonder are they spoiled now? Well, we’ll see if they give postman an earful the next time he arrives with just boring bills.

But for now, from us to you, thank you Hexbug!

We received these courtesy of Hexbug UK. They didn’t request a review but I want to share the love anyway. All opinions are our own. The boys’ opinions amount to: “COOOOOL!”

 

 

Because I Needed Another Challenge. A Trip To The Library.

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I convinced my children to come to the library this week – they love reading/being read to but they also love running around shouting so we don’t go as often as I’d like. They have the ability to reign it in slightly and briefly on arrival in the local library’s Junior section so off we went. Once again I had the misguided notion that I might pick up a couple of books for myself. These usually come from the closest shelf to the Librarian’s desk, grabbed by me in between the librarian stamping the myriad of kids selections, me reaching for my random reading material while stuffing umpteen books about underpants* in my bag while corralling the toddler with my left leg.  The Dublin City Library catalogue is vast, but yes, I have to pick from the twelve books within my reach on any given visit.**

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Now We Are Two And Three Quarters

With Mother’s Day coming up on Sunday,  I thought it was time to paint a little picture of the second of my major achievements in motherhood. After all, Boy Number One gets plenty of airtime. So, the younger, he’s two and three quarters and it’s everything you’d expect from the terrible twos.  Terribly loud, terribly emotional, terribly cute, terribly funny.

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Selfie With A Black Eye And A Split Lip

Resilience is Ted’s middle name. As a second child vying for attention he might be a tad dramatic, but that same familial position does bestow upon him a lot of thumps. He roars and screeches, and knows well how to say “Dominic do it” when the accused was clearly in another room at the time of the incident. It must be said though, that mostly, Dominic did do it. Also, Ted gives as good as he gets.

Clingy is his other middle name. He loves me to hold him close. He loves not to walk and to be carried. He dislikes walking up or down the stairs yelling “Hold me UP! Hold me UP!” no matter which direction he wants to be brought in. I tried a toddler carrier which he tried to fling himself out of kamikaze style. No handy back-carry for me; no, he wants to be locked on my hip or my front blocking my view and preferably while I’m trying to get somewhere fast.

He loves to rock out, enjoying nothing more than giving nursery rhymes a sort of spoken-word-metal hybrid treatment, as above. He bashes his drum kit and his ukelele. He sings constantly, on the Luas and in the supermarket. And I could listen to his warbling all day.

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He refuses to show any interest in potty training. There have been tantrums over bin-bound stinkers which he would prefer back on his bum. He lies about when he’s done a poo despite the cat slinking out of the room in disgust and nearby flowers wilting.

Delaying tactics are his forte. Running late for school pick up? Ten minutes to accept the fact of wearing shoes, then it’s time to insist on climbing in the front of the car and putting on some music before getting into his own seat. Everything on his own terms.

He’s got marvellous hair. It’s thick and shiny and I’m loathe to cut it beyond keeping it out of his eyes but suncream season approaches and I nearly always give in to practicality then. Unlike his older brother, he won’t let me play with it and tie it up in bunches. The meanie. He does love to brush my hair and if I’m good, he lets me brush his. Santa put a small hairbrush in his stocking for this reason.

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This Took Most Of A Day.

He loves to “help” around the house; getting an egg from the fridge for his lunch – splat; getting his own snacks generally because I would give him one yogurt where he takes two. He likes to sweep neat piles of dirt all around the floor while I have gone to fetch the dustpan. His version of helping in the garden is the excuse I’m using for my pathetic attempts of GIY thus far…

I forgive him all of it.

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Mother’s Day. Where I Don’t Ask For Much Really.

I’m not talking about pampering spa days and drowning in bouquets of flowers. I’m not talking about jewellery and lunches in establishments with white linen tablecloths.* With Mother’s Day coming up next weekend, this is how I’d like my ideal day to go: Continue reading