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

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Falling at the first hurdle, or a helping hand?

You’d think there wouldn’t be so many surprises the second time round. The learning curve with weaning of any kind is steep, as much for parents as for junior.

hey! this was a good plan mama
hey! this was a good plan mama

I can’t remember how Dom took to pre-loaded spoons.  But I know that he did master them, by a couple of weeks later than this stage with Theo.  In fact there’s a very cute video here. I’ve racked my brains and can’t think how it started, so I just went ahead and handed Theo a spoon  with an assortment of items (not at the same time) – porridge, bananacado, thick soup, and more often than not he flips the spoon and sticks the handle in his mouth.  So this evening, with a lack of anything else for dinner to give him, and parent no.2 not home I decided he could  have some of my massamam curry, with tofu, butternut squash and of course potato.  I use the Thai Gold brand of paste, which I’ve blogged about before here.

The pieces were in small cubes, and we’re not in pincer grip territory yet, so I thought I’d try the pre loaded spoon again. I gave it a wee mash up, to a good soft but lumpy texture, and added some natural yogurt to cool down the spice. FLIP off went the curry across the table and the spoon went in upside down.  I had a little lightbulb moment, he doesn’t know what he’s missing! I put some on the spoon, coaxed open that little mouth and SPOON FED him.  I did this 3 times with small amounts, then he shrieked when I took the spoon away.  You want it that bad baby?  Help yourself!  And he did, roaring indignantly each time I took the empty spoon back from him.

The spoon: it contains yummy stuff.  He just didn’t realise it.

Jill

(Thai) curry in a hurry

I love a good curry, and although I do most cooking from scratch I usually rely on shop bought pastes to start off a curry.  Another thing I’m pretty fond of is Thai food, but it’s very hard to be sure it’s vegetarian, due to the prolific usage of Nam Pla (fish sauce).  Most Thai curry pastes I’ve picked up in the supermarket have it – green curry seems to be the least likely to contain it from my unscientific survey.  Until now – there’s a brand called Thai Gold which surprisingly and delightfully is based in my home town of Wexford.

I’ve used their massamam, green & red curry pastes, all of which are clearly marked Gluten Free & Vegetarian.  The pastes themselves are the basic set up for your curry – they’re not swimming in oil, and require you to add the sugar/oyster sauce/fish sauce yourself in the cooking process. So they’re easily adaptable.  It may not be totally authentic, but I just substitute the oyster sauce & nam pla with some soy sauce and bobs your uncle.

I make them with tofu and veggies (spuds for the massamam) and some brown rice.  They’re a great dinner to make a big batch of for 2 days – the flavour seems to develop even more overnight.  And best of all – Dominic has declared them ‘is deliciousss mammy’.

Jill

I was not bribed in any way to write this post.  No-one ever sends me anything frankly.

Tomato & Aubergine Curry with Quinoa

One of these weeks, we’re going to do a meal plan.  We’re going to online shop and get it delivered in a late night cheapo slot.  Then we’re not going to phone each other at 5pm saying “any thoughts about dinner?”.  We’re not the worst in the world for store cupboard ingredients and there’s nearly always assorted fresh veg in the bottom of the fridge so I can usually rustle up something but it’s often a bit meh!

This tasty curry came from one of those evenings – sometimes I do hit the nail on the head.  After a lazy day out and about having fun I had a craving for something ‘good’ to eat.  The child is gone crazy for ‘teetos’ (potatos) lately so I’m trying to balance it out with slightly more exotic meal-bulkers hence the quinoa!  There was an aubergine in the fridge and a quick google led me to this tasty Aubergine Curry with Fresh Tomato.  You’ll notice I’ve switched the name round in the post title, that’ll be because I only had 1 aubergine handy, large though it was, it didn’t deserve top billing.  I added in mange tout to bulk up the veg quotient.

See, I have to show off these things, to balance out the chips & a 99 days.  Dominic absolutely lapped this up, and I loved it too.  Where possible, I don’t fry aubergine slices – I coat them with some olive oil using a pastry brush & stick them under the grill, turning once.  You get more done at once, they don’t need such careful minding, and they don’t soak up as much oil.  Whether you consider that a good thing or a bad thing now, is up to you…

Jill

Mulligatawny and rye bread, why that’s a mouthful!

can't say its name but i like it

From a quick perusal of the BBC food site, Mulligatawny is a fine veggie prospect and there’s lots of recipes out there for it.  However, we’re rather fond of our weekend morning cookery shows round these parts, and it was from Saturday Kitchen that Mark took this particular recipe.  Please ignore the 4 whole quail (!), and the garnishing onion rings.  Does anyone ever do garnishes if they’re cooking for people that live in the same house as them?  I mean, I’d stretch to a bit of chopped parsley or coriander, but life’s too short to deep fry a decorative onion ring.

The path to lunch almost got diverted, as I lifted the lids on the various pans to explore/commandeer activities and spotted some distinctly un-red lentils.   Hardened veggie that I am, and being in possession of a pair of eyes, I know my lentils/colours apart, and despite husbands cries to the contrary, there is certainly NOT a reddish tinge off the green lentils, and if you move the jar of green lentils slightly to the left in the cupboard, you’ll see a bag of bright orangey red lentils not really at all hidden behind it.  Perhaps they cast a hue across the green ones.

Anyway, unintentional ingredient substitutions and omissions aside, this was as dinner of a soup so it was. Atin’ & drinkin’ in it.  The curry powder gave it a lovely kick, softened slightly by a big spoon of natural yogurt stirred into Doms.  It was a good thick texture and excellent grub for spooning by oneself.

We ate it with a Lidl Artisan Rye loaf.  The words ‘Lidl’ & ‘Artisan’ should be an oxymoron, but their newish bakery sections (in some stores) are full of gorgeous treats, from pumpkin seed loafs to gouda rolls, to chocolate croissants.  I could see no loaves over €2, and no pastries over 69c.  They’re baked on the premises and everything we’ve tried so far has been really really good, and far less dependent on white breads compared to other higher end supermarkets (Superquinn I’m looking at you) bakeries.

69c pastries mean 2 each per adult unfortunately.

Jill

my first curry

This week, mama thought I should try some new tastes.  She made green curry, but with lots of coconut milk so it wasn’t too spicy for my little tum.  Also, she sucked the sauce off my fud a bit before I got to it so I was only getting a little taste.

I had baby sweetcorn which is yummy and easy to hold and chomp and carrot sticks and courgette and quorn pieces and rice.  Daddy didn’t think I’d be able for rice but I showed him.  You can eat anything if you grab it with your fist I find.  I made really funny faces because I was a bit surprised at the new flavour.  I think mama and dada thought it might have been a bad idea but then I kept eating so they figured I must have been okay with it.  Sometimes I can’t be bothered holding onto the food and I just suck on it for ages.   Like with courgette.  Its slippery to hold, so I just put it in my teeth and leave it there for aaaages.

I ate outdoors again this week.  Mama brought me to the War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge, and we went for a walk, and I had some snacks sitting on the grass – Organix Carrot Sticks.  Dada thinks they look like bad food but mama set him right.  She does that a lot.  I got a bit distracted by a tractor driving up and down, I know about tractors from my book “That’s not my Tractor”.  They bought me “That’s not my Dinosaur” this weekend because mama said dinosaurs can’t distract me from eating but I’m going to keep an eye out for them.

– Dom