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

The Collective Suckies – Fancy Yogurty Goodness

Just yesterday I set off to work in a black dress and black tights.  As the day progressed, the previously unnoticed blue gel toothpaste splodges dried to a paler and paler colour, until mid afternoon when my lower half colour scheme was more Friesan Cow than black is the new black.  Point being, my kids are messy feckers.

suckies

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A sort-of fro-yo

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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.

Jill

I think we have a milk-product addiction.

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Grown up yogurts, full of seeds and such, sugar-free kids ones and sugar-packed fromage frais. Baby yogurts, a big tub of natural yogurt for everyone, a big tub of Greek yogurt because why not?

Some kids yogurt tube things, frozen for a pretend-it’s-an-ice-pop treat. (Never mind the Ben & Jerry’s, and mini Lidl magnum knock-offs)

Creme fraiche and sour cream – are they even that different?

Butter, salted & unsalted – waiting to become cake.

Dairygold spread- for weekend toast.

Milk, ‘pink’ and half or full-fat, to fulfill gender stereotypes

Mozzarella, 2 packs which might go to live on a pizza. Emmenthal & cheddar for sandwiches and the rest. Parmesan for cooking. Cream cheese for crackers for everyone. Feta for muffins & spanokopita. Cashel Blue for grown up treats. Halloumi for griddling with lemon juice & chilli…Sweet cheeses, that’s a lot!

Oh, there’s a lonely mini Baby-bel, bought in a net of its friends, on offer and mostly only played with.

This isn’t a list of things we buy over time – this is a list of what’s in our fridge right now. There’s another whole plethora of potential milk-based goodness that might be in there any other week (cream, ricotta, marscapone, the very occasional novelty cheese-string)

My sons are 3.5 and very nearly 1. The younger only has daily yogurt and some cheese in meals, he isn’t even drinking cows milk yet and yet still, this is what we get through as a family.

I dread to think of their teenage years, the pair of them hanging out of a fridge door downing milk straight from the carton. Actually I’m going to have to start looking for those massive American containers I’ve only ever seen on TV aren’t I? (What is a quart anyway?) I’m going to need a 3rd job, as if bringing up two boys and working full-time outside the home wasn’t enough. I’ll need to get my salary lodged straight to a dairy farmer.

We display no obvious allergies or sensitivities to any of the above but I can’t help thinking you can have too much of a good thing. Our diet is generally balanced (‘5-a-day’ is a minimum under my roof) and I quite like alternative milks to cows’ in my coffee – like rice, or almond or soya. So at home I wonder should I replace some of that lot with these? Or would it just be a homeopathic dose – a drop of almond milk in a bath of the cows kind?

Having written this post, I saw the Dairy Free Kids blog latest post this morning,  it’s inspired me to make some changes.  Have you or your family cut down on dairy and found tasty alternatives? I’d love to hear.

Jill

Liked, and shared

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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!
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Heady hazy days

The forecast keeps saying rain.  And it keeps being warm and mostly dry.  So I’ve had to keep a good stash of cooling snacks to hand for after a hard day’s play.  I’ve frozen Innocent Fruit Tubes  and Petit Filous Frubes.  In our house these are known as “a lick” and “a yogurty lick” respectively, stemming from us asking him “Can I have a lick?” as soon as he started in on one.   I bought ice lolly moulds that turned out to be way too big.  When your 2 year old actually offers you some of his icelollypop you know it’s too big.   So off I popped to Homestore & More and picked up a tray of 6 little rocket shaped ones – much better for toddler paws.

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Snackasaurus

yep we're those parents now

We went on our holidays.  Again!  This time we kept it local (reasonably) and went to West Cork.   We stayed in a gorgeous cosy holiday home which belongs to the family of a friend of mine.  We did a mixture of eating in & cafes & restaurants.  However the presiding memory of Dominic for the week, was the ever present plaintive cry of  “sack, sack, sack” (snack).

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Raisins, grapes, sawbrees (strawberries), organix cheese n herb puffs/carrot sticks and the new top favourite:  Ella’s Kitchen Smoothie Fruit pouches.  We did a big shop on the way to the house, and as I threw treat after treat into the trolley for grown ups (cake, wine, crisps, assorted fancy things that don’t feature in our weekly shop usually) I thought Dominic could do with a treat too.  They were only 85c each so what the hell.  We deployed these mostly when the parents wanted a treat too.  A big creamy pint of Murphy’s shaped treat.  Trouble was he sucked them back in about 20 seconds, and then harangued us for more and more and cue 2 desperate parents mere sips into their ale trying to get last drops squeezed out for de child.

nyom nyom

Everything was done for convenience this week.  Dinners for Dominic were simple frittatas, pasta & fresh pesto, potato cake from leftover mash, bits of our grub when out.

He seesawed & swung for Ireland, met donkeys out on long walks, splashed around the beach in his new wetgear, played with the neigbours doggie, crossed the new bridge at Mizen Head, and fed the local duckies (mostly fed himself while watching us feed them). And with that much fresh sea air, his appetite wasn’t lacking.

howyis lads

We’re trying to get into snack control though!  He’s starting in the morning with a few dry shreddies, that’s before he heads to creche and eats 2 weetabix there.  Then this evening he had leftovers for his dinner, then a kiwi, then I made parental dinner after I came in from work, at which point he sat between us begging like a puppy from our forks.  After that?  “Snack?”  I wouldn’t mind but his 12-18 month pants are still falling off his skinny bum!

– Jill

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.

we have an idea

Hello all!  I’ve been very busy with my friends in the creche.  I’ve turned into a little savage I love my brekkie and now I love my lunch too.  It’s because I’m so busy playing and crawling and now I like having a good stand up too.  It takes a lot of energy so I need a lot of food.  My bockles are getting smaller and I’m eating more proper food.

my berry nice beard

Daddy was making my breakfast last sunday, and I was shouting at him to hurry up.  He was making pancakes, which means its the weekend which is when it isn’t a creche day.  I had already eaten all the plain yogurt already.  He went off running up to mama which is what he does when he doesn’t know what to do and then he came back and everything was okay. We had blueberry yogurt in our pancakes instead and they were still yum.  So now we know.  I had lots of berries with them too and my handies and face were funny colours then.

– Dominic