RSS Feed

Tag Archives: whole family

Smoked Bacon and Courgette Pasta

This quick and easy pasta dish, ideal for the whole family, is another recipe from Annabel Karmel’s latest book which I reviewed a little while ago.

Annabel Karmel macaroni, bacon and courgette pasta

The original recipe uses macaroni, but any short type of pasta such as penne or farfalle would work well. It also uses crème fraîche, which can easily be substituted with Greek yogurt or even soured cream if you don’t have it on hand.

The book says this dish is suitable for freezing. It’s not clear if it means you can freeze the whole dish or just the sauce. Either way I’m always dubious about freezing crème fraîche or yogurt when mixed with other ingredients as they have a tendency to separate (the water from the dairy product separating when frozen). I’ve never thought about freezing pasta (and I think Italian hubby would be horrified!). Has anyone tried it?

Nicholas is thankfully going through a slightly better period with vegetables (fingers crossed it lasts!), but he still picked out a lot of the courgette/zucchini. If you’re feeding this to a fussy eater, dice the veg as small as you can.

SMOKED BACON AND COURGETTE PASTA

Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Makes 1 adult and 2 toddler servings

150g pasta (any short type like penne, macaroni, farfalle or orecchiette)
3 thick sices smoked bacon, diced
2 small courgettes/zucchini, diced
1 tomato, deseeded and diced
2 tbsp snipped fresh chives
3 tbsp crème fraîche (or Greek yogurt)
50g parmesan, grated
salt and pepper (optional)

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling lightly salted water according to the packet instructions. Drain, reserving 150ml of the cooking water.

While the pasta is cooking, dry-fry the bacon for 2 minutes in a non-stick frying pan. Add the courgettes and fry for another 5 minutes until they are soft and lightly golden, then add the tomatoes and chives.

Add the pasta to the frying pan with the reserved water, crème fraîche and parmesan. Toss together over the heat for 2 minutes (be careful not to let the crème fraîche split by heating it too much).

Add seasoning if desired, then serve.

Advertisements

Orange and Soy Sole

As promised, here is one of the recipes I tried from Annabel Karmel’s new book, ‘Quick and Easy Toddler Recipes’, which I reviewed in a previous post and which is out today.

I’ll definitely be making this again. It’s very quick (under 10 minutes!), very tasty and perfect to make for the whole family. Even if your little one isn’t a huge fish fan, give this a try as the sweetness of the orange juice might change their minds. You could cut the fish into more manageable ‘fingers’, before dusting with flour, for little hands to feed themselves.

orange and soy sole

Serve with a side salad for adults and some raw vegetable sticks for toddlers (prepare a stash of these to keep in the fridge for a few days to save you some time).

Annabel’s recipe says two lemon sole fillets makes 1-2 portions which is confusing to me as the serving sizes throughout the book seem to be a toddler portion. For me, allow at least one fillet (one half of the fish) for each adult and 1/2-1 fillet for each child.

You don’t just need to use lemon sole with this orange and soy sauce; any white fish (cod, plaice, haddock, etc) would go well with the sauce. Next time I’m going to try it with salmon chunks for Nicholas.

ORANGE AND SOY SOLE

Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 3 mins
Feeds 1 adult and 1 toddler

2 lemon sole fillets, skinned
Salt and pepper
Plain flour, for dusting
A knob of butter, for frying
1 tbsp orange juice
1 tsp soy sauce

Season the fish fillets and coat them on both sides with the flour, shaking off any excess.

Melt the butter in a frying pan until foaming, add the fish and fry for 1 and 1/2 minutes. Turn them over and fry for 1 minute more.

Mix the orange juice and soy sauce together, pour it over the fish and let the sauce bubble away for 30 seconds.

Serve immediately.

Carrot and coriander soup

You can’t beat carrot and coriander soup. It’s simple, yummy, filling and cheap. My recipe isn’t very different to most you can find, but this is one recipe not worth experimenting with!

carrot and coriander soup

CARROT AND CORIANDER SOUP

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 15-20 mins
Makes 4 adult servings

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
500g carrots, roughly chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
1 litre hot vegetable or chicken stock
large handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Add the onions and carrots, and cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are starting to soften.

Add the ground coriander, some salt and pepper and cook for another minute.

Add the stock, bring to the boil then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes until the carrots are soft.

Take off the heat, add the fresh coriander and purée until smooth. Check if you need to add any seasoning.

Roasted carrot soup for the whole family

Happy International Carrot Day! Bet you didn’t know that even though this year marks a decade of celebrating the root vegetable. I certainly didn’t!

After our Easter indulgences, I though it was time to return to my mission of getting as many vegetables into Nicholas as possible (and soup’s the least stressful way). I’m sure the exhausted Easter bunny would also happily relax with a large bowlful.

This is a super simple soup (try to say that quickly as many times as you can!) the whole family can enjoy from weaning babies (omit the seasoning) to adults. It freezes well and can also be used as a pasta sauce for a quick healthy lunch.

roasted carrot soupRoasting the carrots and onion, before adding them to the stock, creates an extra depth of flavour. Ordinary carrot soup becomes something more interesting to the palette. While roasting the vegetables means the cooking time is longer, you can always roast them earlier in the day (if you’re at home) or even the day before.

Like most soups, don’t be too worried about exact measurements; slightly less or slightly more carrots won’t make much difference to the end result. If you don’t have enough carrots, add some other root vegetables like parsnip, turnip or potato.

If you’re not serving this to a baby, you can add some warming spice like coriander (you could sprinkle some ground coriander over the vegetables before roasting).

ROASTED CARROT SOUP

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Makes 4 adult servings
Freezable

750g carrots, roughly chopped
1 large onion, quartered
1 tbsp olive oil
1 litre vegetable or chicken stock
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Lay the chopped carrots and onion in a single layer on a roasting tray. Drizzle over the oil, and season with salt and pepper (if using). Roast for 3o minutes or until the vegetables start to turn golden.

Heat the stock in a medium to large pot until lightly boiling. Turn the heat down to low, add the vegetables and thyme, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Take the soup off the heat and let it cool a little if you have the time. Purée until smooth. Check if you need to add any more seasoning.

Variations:

  • use a mixture of carrots and parsnips
  • sprinkle the vegetables with ground coriander before roasting (you can also add fresh coriander later)

Other Uses:

  • Mix through some cooked pasta (or rice) for a quick lunch

Leftover chicken soup (family recipe)

Do you ever roast a chicken, then the next day you scratch your head wondering what you can do with the leftovers apart from chicken sandwiches? Well here’s something filling and warming to try, that will feed the whole family. It would also work really well with leftover turkey.

I used onion, carrot, courgette/zucchini and peas in my soup, but you could easily put in other vegetables (it’s actually a great way to use up those last few vegetables that you’re not sure what to do with at the end of the week). And remember, taking a little bit more time to chop the vegetables into smaller pieces, will shorten the cooking time.

leftover chicken soup

If serving to a baby, don’t season after pureeing. You can either serve them just the pureed vegetable soup, or add some chicken and peas to their portion and puree again.

Nicholas likes searching for the chicken and peas in this soup, and I’ll often add some cooked pasta just to his for him to discover. Adding pasta is also a way to make the soup last for a couple of meals.

If you have a toddler who’s fussy about eating vegetables, puree the vegetables they’re less keen on and keep the ones they do like whole. Or you can puree all of it to hide lots of vegetables!

LEFTOVER CHICKEN SOUP

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 20-25 mins
Serves 4 adults
Freezable

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, roughly diced
2 large carrots, chopped
1 large courgette/zucchini, chopped
1 tbsp dried sage
1 litre chicken stock
200g leftover chicken, skin removed and diced
150g frozen peas
salt and pepper

Heat oil in a large pot over a med heat. Add the onions and cook for about 5 mins until they’re starting to soften.

Add the carrots, courgette, sage and stock. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 10-15 mins until the carrots are cooked.

Remove from the heat and puree the soup until smooth. Season to taste.

Put the soup back on the heat, and add the chicken and peas. Simmer for 5 mins and serve.

Variations:

  • add some cooked pasta to make the soup more filling and to go further
  • use leftover turkey instead of chicken
  • use other vegetables such as potato, leek, butternut squash, frozen corn, etc.