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Beetroot and yogurt risotto

Beetroot is a vegetable I’ve only grown to love cooking with recently, most probably as I’ve previously written, my experience of it growing up was ready-cooked, sliced and in tins.

When it’s in season, beetroot features a lot in our weekly delivered fruit and vegetable box, and that’s encouraged me to try using it in different ways. I’ve blogged my most successful recipes to date: beetroot, feta and thyme muffins, pink (beetroot) pancakes and beetroot and yogurt dip. The dip is what got me thinking about making a beetroot risotto.

beetroot and yogurt risotto

Cook your beetroot in your preferred way (or buy it precooked to cook down on preparation time). I like wrapping them in one piece of foil and roasting them in the oven; there’s no need to trim or chop them. Once they’ve cooled, it’s easy to remove the skin. You can also cook them in the microwave.

Surprisingly, this risotto doesn’t taste overly of earthy beetroot and the yogurt gives it a lovely (healthier) richness and creaminess without adding the usual extra butter and parmesan at the end. Kids (and adults) will love the colour and Nicholas happily ate it. I used red wine to add to the colour and liked the extra depth of flavour it gave, but white wine would work just as well.

BEETROOT AND YOGURT RISOTTO

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20-25 mins
Serves 4 adults

400g cooked and peeled beetroot
1 tbsp olive oil
15g butter
1 onion, finely diced
350g risotto rice (I used Carnaroli)
250ml red wine
1 litre hot vegetable (or chicken) stock
150g Greek yogurt

Roughly chop the beetroot, put the pieces in a small food processor and blend until smooth.

Heat the oil and butter in a medium-sized pot over a medium-low heat. Add the onion and gently fry until softened.

Add the rice and quickly stir it so all the grains are coated. Add the wine and stir until it’s absorbed.

Start adding the stock a ladle at a time, letting it absorb then adding more. Keep doing this until the rice is ready (cooked but still with a little bite, about 15-20 minutes, and still moist). Remove from the heat.

Gently stir through the beetroot then the yogurt. Check for seasoning.

Tip: keep a small piece of beetroot aside and finely dice it to sprinkle over the top before serving.

What are you favourite ways of cooking with beetroot?

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Yogurt Week: Yogurt-filled strawberry apples

Yogurt Week: Yogurt-filled strawberry apples

We’re heading towards the end of Yogurt Week, but you still have until June 9th to enter the Food Stylist competition.

Yogurt Week 2014These yogurt-filled strawberries are a yummy quick snack or dessert that really aren’t any more time-consuming than chopping up strawberries and serving them with yogurt. Really!

I thought it would be fun to turn them into something else, so we have strawberry apples. Not quite in the same league as Heston Blumenthal’s meat fruit, but they’re still fun!

If you don’t want to turn your strawberries into apples, you could grate a little chocolate over the top (or simply plop a chocolate chip on top) or you could crumble a bit of biscuit over the top for a different take on a healthy strawberry cheesecake (you’re with me on the last one, right?!).

However you have them, they’re a yummy little healthy snack to pop into your mouth.

Yogurt WeekWash your strawberries and pat them dry. Slice the tops off, then using a small spoon (or the tip of a sharp knife), scoop out the inside of the strawberry. If you want them to stand up, also slice a small piece off the bottom.

Fill the hollowed out strawberries with yogurt and decorate as you prefer.

To make strawberry apples, cut out leaf shapes from a green apple or pear, and stems from licorice, and position them in the yogurt.

Eats-Amazing-Fun-Food-FridayI’m linking my yogurt-filled strawberries up to Eat’s Amazing Fun Food Friday, a weekly round up of fun and creative food.

Yogurt Week: Beetroot and Yogurt Dip

This is a super easy, super quick and healthy dip, celebrating the versatility of yogurt.

My often fussy little eater kept wanting to taste this as we made it. The wonderfully vibrant colour appeals to little eyes, just be careful of beetroot stains! If serving this to a little eater, give them a variety of foods in different colours to dip in. You can also use it as a spread in sandwiches or wraps.

You still have plenty of time to celebrate Yogurt Week as well as enter the exciting Food Stylist competition (details in my last post). Did you know there is enough plain yogurt sold in the UK every year to make at least 616 million kormas?!

Yogurt Week

BEETROOT AND YOGURT DIP

Prep time: 5-10 mins
Cook time: 0 minutes!
Makes 4 servings

250g cooked beetroot, peeled and chopped into chunks
70g Greek yogurt
A pinch of cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Put everything into a mini food processor and blitz until smooth. Taste and add more seasoning and cumin if needed.

Other uses:

  • use as a pasta sauce by stirring through hot cooked pasta
  • serve over rice
  • use as a crepe filling

Yogurt Week 2014Disclosure: I was compensated by The Yogurt Council to promote Yogurt Week.

Quick salmon pasta sauce with crème fraiche and dill

This recipe is actually my hubby’s creation, which I’m stealing! While I’ve made something similar in the past, our approaches to cooking for Nicholas are rather different. I focus on speed of cooking and the fewer things to clean up afterwards the better. Hubby sticks to his Italian roots and does things ‘properly’!

My version of this cooks the salmon in milk in the microwave, then everything else goes in the same bowl as the salmon (why dirty another bowl?!). Hubby’s version is a bit different…

Quick salmon pasta sauce with crème fraiche and dill

Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Makes 1 toddler serving

30-40g fresh salmon fillet, with skin removed
Drizzle of olive oil
2 tbsp crème fraiche
A pinch of salt and pepper (optional)
1/2 sprig fresh dill, chopped

Chop the salmon into small cubes (about 5mm). Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a small frying pan over med-low heat. Add the salmon and cook for a minute or two until just cooked.

Take off the heat and stir in the crème fraiche. Season, if using. Add your cooked pasta and mix in the pan. Sprinkle over dill and serve.

Variations:
– Use fresh or tinned tuna instead of the salmon
– Replace the crème fraiche with yogurt or cream
– Use chives or parsley instead of the dill

Other uses:
– Use the sauce as a crepe filling
– Dollop the sauce over a baked potato

Frozen yogurt strawberries

A very quick post before we load up the car and spend the Jubilee long weekend abroad. Our spell of hot sunny weather has finished here in the UK, but hopefully it will soon return and this is another recipe that’s perfect for hot days, and not just for your munchkins.

I came across this simple idea on Pinterest (how I love Pinterest!) but unfortunately there was no link. It is, however, very easy to figure out. Use whole strawberries for adults and quartered strawberries for little ones. I’ve also seen (yes, still on Pinterest) blueberries pierced on bamboo skewers, so you have blueberry ‘kebabs’, dipped in yogurt and frozen. Yum! You could try sliced bananas, raspberries, let your imagination go wild!

FROZEN YOGURT STRAWBERRIES

Dip quartered strawberries into plain yogurt (the thicker set yogurt is best simply because you get a good coating).

Place on a tray lined with baking paper that you can fit in the freezer.

Put in the freezer for a few hours until the yogurt has frozen.

Eat!

How do you keep your little one cool in the hot weather?

Kofte

There’s no doubt my offspring loves meat. How could he not when he’s half Australian?! The other night I made him a fish pie. He’s had something similar before and eaten it but not with any great enthusiasm. This time I put a nice topping of mashed potato and carrot on the top with some fresh bread crumbs and grated cheese. Lots of grated cheese. I was hoping the cheese (one of his favourite foods) would encourage him to eat the fish. To skip to the end of the story, he had slow cooked lamb for dinner, part of the leftovers we were eating, and was very happy about it!

This recipe has a little bit of spice in it (ground cumin). If you’re not sure about your little one having spices, you can leave it out without any problem.

KOFTE

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Makes about 16
Freezable

400g lamb mince
1/4 onion, diced as finely as possible or coarsely grated
1/4 tsp ground cumin
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
A little oil for greasing the grill pan
Yogurt to serve

Heat a grill pan over high heat.

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together until combined. Shape into short sausages about 5cm in length.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turn the grill pan down to medium heat and brush the bars lightly with oil.

Cook the kofte for about 10 minutes until just cooked through (they’ll be quite chewy if you cook them too long), turning every few minutes onto each of their four ‘sides’ so they cook evenly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serve with yogurt as a dipping sauce.

Variations:

  • use 1 shallot instead of the onion for a lighter sweeter flavour
  • used dried herbs rather than fresh
  • add some herbs to the yogurt dip
  • hide some vegetables in the mixture

Other uses:

  • dip them into houmous
  • serve in a pita bread or wrapped in a flatbread with salad

Creamy mushroom pasta sauce

Pasta. What child doesn’t love pasta? My Italian husband’s very happy that Nicholas absolutely adores pasta. And the amount of pasta Nicholas can eat in one sitting constantly amazes me. Lunch after his swimming class at the weekend was a chunk of lasagne at Carluccio’s, from their lovely children’s menu. A chunk of lasagne that looked like an adult’s portion. He didn’t eat all of it, but almost all of it!

While this isn’t a pasta sauce you’d make several servings of and freeze, you can whip it up very quickly in the microwave while the pasta is cooking.

CREAMY MUSHROOM PASTA SAUCE

Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Makes 1 serving

6 closed cup mushrooms
2 tbsp water
1 large basil leaf, finely chopped
1 tbsp plain yogurt

Chop the mushrooms into cubes about 0.5cm. Put them in a small microwave-safe bowl with the water and cook on medium for 5 mins.

Stir in the basil and yogurt until combined.

Serve over pasta.

Variations:

  • add a small squeeze of lemon juice
  • use fresh parsley instead of basil

Other uses:

  • eat with rice
  • use as a crepe filling for toddlers and adults