Well I can tell you now for nothing, that goulash with boiled potatoes is the single most traditional dinner I have ever cooked. I’m not sure that I’ve ever cooked a stew of any kind in fact, even a beany one. Well, I’ve gone and done it now.
Did you think I’d forgotten about you? I hadn’t at all, but it’s fierce hard mammying two young fellas, working full time outside the home and writing for deadly new Irish parenting website parent.ie (See my cute tree over there on the left) I’m very proud of it, and my association with it, but with all that going on I’ve been neglecting my own little space over here.
My boys are flying. Doing too well almost, if we stay in the house for the day the endless requests for snacks just grinds me down. These snacks can be bananas and mandarins now, it’s not necessarily rubbish though “noooo, something from the red box” is the most common refrain. Obviously this old biscuit tin is where I kept my biccies and chocolate undisturbed by small sticky hands til they wised up to me. For years I got away with having the balance of power food wise in the house. Now the eldest is very forthright about what he does and doesn’t want, and true to the nature of second siblings, his younger brother is showing single mindedness in every regard at a younger age. We have a rule with the elder, you can’t say you don’t like it if you don’t try it, inspired by these crazy Yo Gabba Gabba guys (it’s on Netflix, Season 1 Ep 1 – Eat!)
And though I don’t always get my way, we’ve hit a happy medium. Tonight we were having some ‘smashed’ roast potatoes (broken slightly with a potato masher half way through cooking), roast veggies and then some quorn fillets (fillets of what! The name weirds me out a bit, but if I’m going to eat fake meat I can deal with it I guess).
I stuffed the ‘fillets’ in the manner you would with a chicken breast, so you can do the same with that if you like.
Supercharged cream cheese & pesto stuffed quorn fillets with panko breadcrumb coating
4 quorn fillets
2 tablespoons fresh pesto
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 tablespoon flaxseed.
Mix these 3 up in a bowl. I used Linwoods Milled Flaxseed Almonds Brazil Nuts Walnuts & Co-Enzyme Q10. That’s quite a mouthful eh? I love the crunch of the nuts through the flaxseed.
Defrost your quorn fillets either in the fridge overnight, or with a little water in a bowl in the microwave for a few minutes – low wattage, 5 minutes.
Cut the fillets in half and spoon the filling in, close the fillet again.
For the coating:
50g of panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon flaxseed
Mix these 2 together. I get the panko breadcrumbs in Tesco, €1 for 150g.
Brush the stuffed fillets with olive oil, and coat in the crumb mixture.
Bake at 200c for 25 minutes.
Now, here’s the rub. I had a willing audience for these in the form of the 22 month old and 4 year old. But dear reader, my veggie ways hold no sway with my husband when he decides he is going all roar, caveman and eating meat. He decided nothing would do him but to cook bloody venison steak on the griddle pan. Both little beggars pushed their plates towards his and pleaded in their unique ways for a share. They ate their flax-laced veggie dish, and they ate some medium venison steak. “Eat Bambi” I hissed resentfully at the toddler, “go on”. And he did, and then he pushed his plate to me and said “more!”, indicating seconds were required of the first course. Truly a mix of both their parents, and happy healthy eaters to boot. I know I can’t complain.
Mammy is mad for making me try new things. Her and daddy eat sandwitches but I like to just eat the bits out of it and then other bread on it’s own with NO BUTTER unless I do want butter in which case they better know that I wanted butter that time. I like bagels a lot with NO BUTTER.
…in fact she’s very handy.
That Annabel Karmel, she’s very useful you know. I could have gone down her route for the easy life when approaching solids – for buddha’s sake she’s got weekly meal planners. The organising is done for you. What’s not to love? But I like stressing myself out staring in the fridge at the tumbleweed behind the halloumi & yogurt & almond butter and deciding what to give Dominic for dinner so I chose baby led weaning!
But in all seriousness, having been given not one but two copies of the Complete Baby & Toddler Meal Planner book by one mum I trust muchly (my sister) and by a friend whose friend has recommended it as a new mum gift, I knew there was something to it. So we refer to it relatively often – I had some purees dutifully frozen near the start for get-some-food-into-him style days, which I ended up offering on pitta. More recently I’ve found it comes into it own once you read the recipes that just end in ‘and now puree it’ and then, just don’t puree it. We’ve been using the 9-12 month recipes recently, ooo, controversial. For the most part her food is parent friendly too (but not diet friendly, she loves butter & cheese – no matter in this house, we don’t do dieting). This is important to the baby led weaner. Monkey see, monkey do. Like with the apple.
So, in the past week, I’ve made Cottage Pie and Popeye Pasta. The former was okay, the latter a big hit. The cottage pie was our fault really. Mark did a dash into the supermarket on the way home and in lieu of Linda McCartney mince (preferred over quorn mince in this house) had to get Quorn Beef Style Pieces. Bleurgh. Like dog food with the jelly gone. Well, I can only vouch for that in a visual sense. Anyway, the flavour of the food and the cheesy mash on top was good, so I’ll definitely try it again with the proper veggie mince in. If such a thing can ever be deemed proper.
The next one up was Popeye Pasta, specifically given the thumbs up by Dominic’s two elder cousins, Ella & Ríodhna, both connoisseurs of all things pasta.
He cannot get it into his mouth fast enough. Because I can’t leave things well enough alone, we had some sauteed courgette also. Some was eaten, some was frisbee material. I doubled the recipe amount in order to feed us 3 & have leftovers for Dom the next day.
At the weekend his intrepid father brought him for a night out at Oma & Opa’s. After meat experiment number one, he hasn’t actually had any more since, so Mark decided to make him a salmon with chive sauce number. I’m told it went well, though I have no photo evidence. The leftovers didn’t go down well the next day anyway, with anyone. Dom removed it all from the bowl but wouldn’t eat it. I think he was just tired. Anyway, in it went to the cats bowls who regarded it with suspicious til we got rid of it 3 hours later. I wasn’t having fish sitting out in our kitchen. I think they’re too used to a veggie house and do not know the marvellous world of scraps. That’s got to be a major cat owner flaw.
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.