A sort-of fro-yo


Ireland is experiencing the kind of heat wave we barely dream of.  They thought it couldn’t happen.  It has.  I’ve ditched the staple under-frock leggings and opaque tights and have been bare-legged in Ireland, in the office, more times in the past 2 weeks than in the past 4 years I would say.  Dominic was in the playschool (brand-new) paddling pool at 845 this morning.  Teddy’s curly mullet is sweatily-glued to his neck.  Am seriously considering a Beckham/Ginola style hairband for him.

Now, are you paying attention?  I made some impromptu frozen yogurt concoction, sick of doling out sugary mini Magnum things and also feeling sorry for Teddy looking balefully on with no cold treat forthcoming.

  • Get a banana from the freezer. What? You don’t freeze bananas? Hello! Pancakesbanana bread…I mean who eats bananas with even one black spot on them? Not me that’s for sure. So there’s always 2 to emmm, 7 (honest) in my freezer.
  • Peel & chop it into chunks. If it’s straight from the freezer peel it with a vegetable peeler.
  • Chuck into blender.
  • Add about 4 large dessert spoons of Greek or Glenisk natural yogurt.
  • Throw in a couple of handfuls of frozen raspberries and sense the casualness of this recipe.
  • Add a dash, a tablespoon I guess, of maple syrup. Leave this out or use agave if you like.
  • Blend for a bit.

Watch your husband and two sons bow down to your dessert-whipping-up-awesomeness.

You could add more frozen ‘nana for a thicker texture, or do this a little in advance and then refreeze it to make it more ice-creamy.

I’m having this again for breakfast.  You can’t stop me.


Liked, and shared


As I once again loaded up the recipe for banana pancakes on the blog this morning, I noticed the date on the post – jan 28 2011 – more than 2 whole years since I last raved about them on here. Honestly you would think I’d know it off by now.

This morning I decided I could mention them again as I looked at my new family configuration enjoying making and eating them. Dominic did his one handed egg cracking trick and enthusiastically mashed the banana. He also licked some spilled flour off the countertop. I didn’t teach him that. Theo gobbled up strips, some dipped in berry juice, some plain, some in yogurt. I forgot to put a bib on…

They have easily been the most liked & shared recipe – and not just in a Facebook sense, in a real sense. Sisters, new mums, friends over for brunch, other bloggers, Facebook groups, tweets.

They’ve been adapted (apple sauce, flavoured yogurt, wholemeal flour) and enjoyed by mums, dads, regular human adults and kids.

So it’s Saturday morning…raise your mug of coffee – to weekends & to pancakes!
Continue reading

Rusks. No really.

First little boy never had a rusk.  I remember too well eating Liga and Farley’s Rusks as an older child myself, snuck into the supermarket trolley as a comforting treat and I recall it was the sugary sweetness of the latter I loved so much.  I just kept things like rice cakes to hand.  I had a wee google of them there, and now they splash all sorts of ‘Wholemeal!’ and ‘Reduced Sugar’ claims, but to that I say a big fat hmmmmmm.  I think I’ll be sticking to my Organix snacks for treats when that time comes.

Then a few weeks ago at lunch in our friend Jennifer’s house, she brought out home-made rusks.  Well, duh!  Why didn’t I think of that!  She originally found the recipe on a forum, but adjusted it a little.


Semolina is an ingredient that I associate with 80’s kids TV  & magazines – school lunches in Grange Hill and my weekly Bunty – but I searched it out in the baking section.  I actually wasn’t even sure what it is.  Since then I’ve found the most tasty of uses for it – Roasted Spuds ala Nigella (hold the goose fat!)

You could leave out the maple syrup in this altogether, or use agave.  I had maple syrup in the fridge though, and figure maybe .5ml went into each rusk, so I’m gonna get over that!  It’s not exactly a slippery slope to Wham! bars from there.

I made them a bit smaller, maybe my thumb-sized, so I got about 25 from the recipe.  I would ask that my thumb be inducted into an official measurement book of some sort now.   Because of this, they also cooked in about 18 minutes, though my oven tends toward hot, so keep a close eye.

Banana and Cinnamon Rusks: 
50g wholemeal flour 
100g plain white flour
75g semolina 
1/4 tsp of cinnamon. 
1/4 tsp of ground ginger 
75g butter
1 medium ripe banana 
1 tbsp maple syrup

1/ put the flours , semolina , spices into mixing bowl and rub in the butter

2/ mash the banana well and stir in the maple syrup . Add to the mixing bowl to make a smooth , pliable dough

3/ roll out onto lightly floured surface and cut into shapes with biscuit cutter. Roll each one up to make a cigar shape . 

4/ Brush with an egg and place on lightly greased baking tray in an oven preheated to 200 degrees Celsius for about 25 minutes until golden and firm 

These keep well in an airtight container for up to 5 days or can be frozen .

Given their small size, they defrost really quickly.  I took out 3 one afternoon and an hour later Dominic requested something to eat.  I chanced my arm and offered him a ‘biccie’.  He ate all 3, and I took more out.  I can defrost them at a really low wattage in the microwave in about a minute either.

So, a rusk that babies love, preschoolers think are biscuits and have next to no sugar?  Winner!  Now, if anyone could point me towards a recipe to make recreate Liga…


Away we go!

My little Teddy bear is 6 months old since yesterday. Over the festive season we’ve been leaving bits and pieces in front of him, casual as you like, just to see what happens.  The kid is plenty big, he’s totally thriving on mama’s milk, and having been here before I know the extra logistics involved in your day to day life when baby takes a trip to solids-town.  So I was in no particular hurry to introduce this element to our reasonably unstructured days.

But I’m a compliant soul at heart – believe it or not I don’t rock the boat for the sake of it – and he will have a developmental check in a month.  They will ask is he eating 3 meals and seeing as he won’t be (at least not in the public health nurse’s understanding of such) then I want to be able to confidently present my healthy boy and proudly tell them the things he can eat rather than the things I feed him (there’s a difference). Then a mere month after that again he’ll be joining his brother in the crèche where spoonfeeding will definitely happen, so the kid needs to be at least used to some quantities of non boob milk based grub! And now that I’ve started, I’m actually quite enjoying it again.

No worries here – he’s totally into it after a really speedy learning curve.  I envisaged a couple of weeks of swiping things around the table, maybe picking some bits up.  Nuh-uh.  The guy is liking the new tastes for sure. He started on Christmas Eve, with banana, has progressed through sucking homemade hummus off pitta fingers, sharing a mandarin with his brother, having some teething relief with cucumber, enjoying a cheese omelette and then yesterday, on his 6 month birthday – well he plain ol’ robbed my apple.

With regard to making your own hummus I read this article on How to make perfect hummus in The Guardian, and stuck fairly closely to their “perfect” recipe. I used tinned chickpeas (as I do always), added more than a pinch of ground cumin, and added a good glug of olive oil while blending. They didn’t include ‘will it be eaten with a spoon by a nearly 3 year old and relished by a tiny tot and 2 grown ups equally?’ in their judging criteria, which I feel is a mistake. Because although I purport to serve up regular human food for all the family, really, that question rings in my head before every dinner time. Anyway, if they’d factored that in, *my* hummus would have been right up there with Nigella & Yottam Ottolenghi’s versions.

The thing I’m most concerned with right now is young Dominic.  He’s pretty tickled by the idea of his little brother eating food like all of us, so I’ve to drill into him that he shouldn’t ever give Theo food, that he needs to ask mama and dada if it’s okay for him and that we will give it to him. So while yeah, it’s absolutely fine for Theo to take my apple while he’s sitting on my lap – as happened in this picture – it’s not so good for him to share his snacks generously while I’m emptying the dishwasher/cooking/on Facebook/closing my eyes pretending it’s midnight and everyone is asleep.

Does anyone know of a place where I could buy eyes for the back of my head?

– Jill

What’s the difference between a tangerine and a mandarin?

Tangerines have a medium fibre content, mandarin low… Who knew?

WARNING: this post contains poo!

One of the biggest changes in my life when I had a baby, was the amount of time spent thinking about, discussing and generally dealing with poo.  Months go by when it’s not a big deal,  and it’s just another part of your day when you and your partner ask each other or the minder in creche “poo today?”

Then once in a while, it becomes a focus – there’s too much, or not enough.  Right now there’s not enough.  I nearly had words with the pharmacist yesterday so vexed was I by her quizzing – no, he doesn’t even eat bananas, he has weetabix & porridge for brekkie, his diet hasn’t changed, he gets enough fibre I think given his general diet… I think it was caused by teething initially a couple of weeks ago – that catch all ailment that explains away so many things.

She seemed happy that that could be the main trigger and recommended 2.5 mls of Duphalac twice a day and keep going past the point of it improving.

But I’m on a mission now to solve the problem at source, as I can only listen to my little guy shouting ‘sore bum bum, no poooooo’ as he grips onto my shoulders for so long.  Lunch of brown bread and baked beans and dinner of brown rice, babycorn & green beans with marinated tofu.  And, the biggest treat of all, we’ve been giving him watered down prune juice.  It’s gross, but he thinks its christmas as it’s usually water or milk all the way in this house.

I found this link to the Dietary Fibre Content of Common Foods  really helpful in sussing out my meal plans.  Obviously common sense played a part, but when I was marinading tofu I had no clue how high or low fibre that is (low).  It’s also made me rethink his snacks for the week – for example – convenient Organix fruit pots (apple & peach) and grapes are out, the pear & kiwi puree I have in the freezer is in.  I always puree any fruits I don’t think we’re going to get through, and they come in handy for a snack.  In fact, the same puree even went into the pancake mix this morning instead of banana!

If you have managed to read this far, then you must be a parent, and you’ll be pleased to know: there was a big result before bedtime without half as much discomfort as last time. Anyone any other tips on how to help this along naturally?


I’m taking over

I know that mama and dada are always talking about those pancakes they make for me and for them too.  They make them every day that they don’t go to work except for one of the days when we might have porridge or weeties bix. The other day that they don’t go we have pancakes.

Sure I know how to make them now. I’m 20 months this week which mama says makes me a big boy but I’m her big boy and her little baby too which is confused. I climbed on my stool in the kitchen that the box lives on. The box that goes outside in the big green wheely box that the monster in the truck eats.

First I mushed the nana. I ate some nana too.  Mama thought I didn’t like it but I ate this bit.  I eat things now that I didn’t eat before like cheeseonitsown. I only liked it in dinner before.

Mama put the flower in.  It didn’t look like flower usually in my books n all flower is colouredy like the butterfly. Then she put in the eggs which looks like fun so I will do that next time and the yogy milk.  I gave it all a big mix and got some on my digger and my green nappy when I was trying to take the mix out to taste the pancake because it didn’t look like pancake to me.

I let mama put it on the sizzly pan aswell.  She made it hard because she held one of my handies and one spoon of pancake and kept shouting hot hot! hot! when I tried to let go of her handy.  But because she is big and lets me help her make pancakes now I will do what she says.

Everyone should have these for breakfast when they don’t go to work because they are num yummy.


Fruit Machine

Am single handedly keeping the massive greenhouse that is Holland in business at the moment.  Dom cannot get enough fruit into him.  That is, except yellow fruit.  A mango or banana shall not sully his lips intact. (He’s had his banana pancakes and a Glenisk banana yogurt this weekend, but he won’t eat a full ‘nana at all)

Okay so the bit about Holland isn’t fully true, our berries are definitely Irish.  I try to buy at least European fruit if not Irish, but I know that the more tropical choices are coming a long long way, organic fairtrade or not.  But, guess what came from Meath this week?  Grapes!

Dominic’s Oma grows grapes in her conservatory.  Bunches hang heavily along metres of vine pinned along the top of the windows.  She grows a lot of fruit and veg, and we get random bits and pieces throughout the year.  (It’s not fairtrade either, we give nothing in return) These grapes are gorgeous, smallish, and really flavoursome. They have seeds, something my spoiled self avoids when picking grapes in the supermarket, but actually they’re not bothersome for any of us.  When I send grapes into creche I halve them, but at home I just keep a close eye if they’re small like this.  I still get a bit nervous mind. This was the first time we had him pick them off the stalk himself.   Later he decided to show off his new picking prowess – in our friend’s yard he began to pick her not quite ready tomatoes.  Oops.  (She has everything from cauliflower to corn growing in pots & crates, am feeling quite inspired, for next year mind.  But no bananas.)


He’s churning out the new words this weekend too – Goat!  Bat!  It’s a boat! (yes his first sentence, and it was, indeed, a boat) But, unfortunately, his furry green fruity friend’s proper moniker eludes him. We’re getting regular mid-dinner calls for a wiwi?  weeeweeeee? mama wiwiiii?

Might have to make fruit flashcards…


Mixing it up with Eggy Bread

Owing to a lovely gang of visitors yesterday, we’ve much food leftovers to get through. So we started with breakfast.  I’d bought lots of lovely bread in Lidl to go with all our salady bits, and so before I froze it the remainder for toast, I kept back a few slices for eggy bread.  It’s actually kinda brownish so I think it might be sourdough even though it said Country White on the basket label.

The recipe I was working off was for french toast but used great big slabs of bread, and a tablespoon of sugar.  I guess you could call what I made french toast but I think that might be giving it notions above its station – this, was eggy bread.  I had 4 not particularly thick slices set aside. In fact they were cut in the slice-a-nator machine in store, which has no less than 3 thickness settings so I happen to know these were 14mm slices!  Shame on you if you cannot recreate this perfection at home with your breadknife.

Mix 2 eggs, 100mls of milk, and 1 scant tsp of caster sugar.  Soak bread on both sides.  Fry up in a little butter on a non-stick pan.

Serve baby’s with natural yogurt, banana & finely chopped walnuts. Serve own the same, subbing maple syrup for yogurt.  Sneaky.

Sit back and gape in wonder at how much bread one small boy can fit in his mouth.

Giving it another go

There’s not that many things Dominic doesn’t like.  We offer things repeatedly that he hasn’t taken to but banana is always a fail.  The reason I tried again is that we were told he piped up “‘nana” in the creche at the sight of his little pal’s snack.   Well I thought if he’d added to his limited repertoire of words then he might be showing enthusiasm for it.  Like his true loves: ball, dada & ack acks.

Nana. No thanks.

This photo tells a lie.  He took one bite then broke the whole thing up.   We’ll continue hide the potassium powerhouses in his pancakes so…