Free From Fridays – Link Up

This week I am co-hosting #Freefromfridays, a regular linky on www.freefromfarmhouse.uk featuring free from recipes from across the web alongside Emma, the linky host.

Firstly a massive congratulations to Emma, who has just had baby #2! Hats off to her also as she must be knee deep in nappies and sleepless nights once more and still finding time to inspire us all.

I have been an follower of Free From Fridays since trying to find exciting new meals to cook for my vegetarian, lactose intolerant and gluten sensitive hubby!!

I absolutely LOVED last week’s Baked Ravioli from I Say Nomato. It couldn’t have been more timely for me with my 10month old now deciding to baby lead wean himself and refuse the spoon. I have tried it ricotta, spinach and mushroom like in the awesome recipe but also with some other fillings like butternut squash and pea and mint. Stocking up this weekend on wonton wrappers but what a great way to get those veggies down your little ones. K who just turned three last week is also a fan and has been helping me make them!

Baked Ravioli

 

*Review* Dee’s Vegan Burgers, Sausages and Thai Curry

The lovely people at Dee’s Wholefoods kindly sent me a selection of their product range to sample recently.

Dees Vegan Burgers

I was super excited to try these, not only as I love my veggie mock meats but I am a big Dragons Den fan and had watched the clip of Dee, herself, pitching to the Irish Dragons.

These little packs of goodness are basically a free-from foodies’ dream come true. Free from gluten, egg, dairy, soy, wheat, GMO and low in salt, sugar and fat. Now, if you are anything like me, your initial thoughts are not going to be great but all I’d say is to give it a try, as it will surprise you.

I won’t lie however, it is not the same as having a spicy bean burger from a gastro pub (which possibly tastes so mouthwatering due everything naughty it will have in it), but let’s face it, if I was to eat that as much as I like eating veggie burgers, I would have no chance of fitting into my pre-baby skinny jeans.

Dee’s really has done a great job of putting the ‘healthy’ into something so stereotypically unhealthy and makes her range a great option to incorporate into meals for the whole family.

 

Dees Thai Veg Pot

I sampled the Omega Burger, Leek and Onion Sausages and Thai Veg Pot and here’s what I thought:

The Omega Burger
Dee’s suggests eating this in a pitta with hummus, sprouts and salad leaves. I was all out of hummus and didn’t have pitta in the house, when I planned to sample these so I had it on a piece of fresh bread, toasted with cheese and topped with garlic mushrooms. When I tried it just on its own, it was not as moist as a lot of the burgers you can buy off the shelf, but that is most probably due to the fact that there is no egg. Nevertheless, I could not tell when it was combined in my meal so loved it and I would have it again.

K had each of the above pieces but separately as burgers are still new for her. She had polished her burger and half her portion of garlic mushrooms, so thumbs up for the Organic Omega Burger from my little one also.

Leek and Onion Vegan Sausages
Another great, healthy, vegan alternative to veggie sausages. With these I ate just as suggested, with mashed potato and veggie gravy.

Thai Veg Pot
It is as if you can taste the health and fresh factors from each mouthful of this awesome curry. I had it with some steamed rice and veggies with the hubby and we polished off the whole tub. It is however, got a good kick of spice to it so it is not for the faint hearted and I couldn’t offer it to K to try as my kids don’t eat spicy.

 

Family Fever

Kale & Tofu Vegan Filo Pie with a Bell Pepper Sauce

Kale & Tofu Filo Pie

We are LOVING kale at the moment as you may have gathered from recent recipes! It is a standard component of mine and hubby’s lunch stir fry when our LO is at nursery (i.e. not eating what we are). I will confidently state that my Little Miss K will not touch Kale with a barge pole. So much so, that it is not even worth the fight. In all honesty, if I were a kid her age, I would run a mile also; it is bitter, rough with fibre and very ‘salary’, which translates into ‘not fun’.

As an adult however, we have developed more of an appreciation for flavours, textures and health benefits. Kale is one of those, which sits at the top of the list.
Not to say this is a recipe for kids as it is great for us bog kids also but for me, we have hit the dreaded summer holiday period and my beloved daughter is around for every meal!

So, to Kale or not to Kale?!? That is the question! Or is it? Should it not be, how can we keep this awesome bit of green-ness in our diet throughout the summer?

I’m all for blending it up! Well, I am sure there are many many ideas out there to make leafy veggies like Kale, kid-friendly but here is just one I randomly tried and which worked (to my greatest surprise) and here are my top 3 reasons why:

  • Steam Steam Steam = Significantly reduced natural bitterness of the kale
  • Gotta love food processors = Mix it up by blending flavours so no taste is too overpowering
  • Homemade sauce = parental sugar control and lets be honest, the moment you mention the word ‘sauce’ to a kid, there is an association with ketchup and hence immediate excitement!

 

 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 3 large pies
Ingredients
Filling
  • ½ pack tofu 250g
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 4-5 sundried tomato, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 heaped tspn ginger, chopped fine
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Pastry
  • 3 sheets FILO pastry
Sauce
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper (small)
  • 1 orange bell pepper (small)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tsp sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp cornflour mixed in half cup water
Preparing The Filling
  1. Lightly press the tofu to remove the excess water. This can be done with a tofu press or wrapping the tofu several times in kitchen roll and placing on a wooden chopping board with a weight on top (eg a plate with some tinned cans on top). Leave like this for 10-15 minutes allowing the water to drain out
  2. Destalk, wash and steam the kale for 4-5 minutes
  3. Blend the Sundried tomatoes, garlic and ginger in a food processor
  4. Add the kale and blend again to form a paste
  5. Now roughly chop the pressed tofu and add into the food processor with salt and pepper to taste
  6. Blend again
  7. Meanwhile lightly toast the pine nuts in a fry pan over a low flame and stir into the tofu kale mixture
Preparing The Pies
  1. Place a sheet of FILO pastry on you work surface
  2. Place scoops of the mixture in a horizontal line about ⅓ of the way up the pastry sheet, leaving approximately 1.5 inches on either side.
  3. Brush some olive oil on the top ⅓rd and down each side before rolling, to ensure the pastry sticks. Roll the pastry bottom up and fold over, encasing the mixture, and press down each side.
  4. Place your rectangular shaped pie on a non stick baking tray and brush the top with olive oil. This will give it a golden finish once baked.
  5. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 180 degrees C.
For the tomato and bell pepper sauce
  1. Roughly chop the tomatoes and bell peppers.
  2. Blend together with the minced garlic, salt and sugar
  3. Add in the cornflour mixture and blend again
  4. Transfer to a pan, bring to the boil and summer and stir for 2 minutes.
Serving
  1. Remove the pies from the oven when golden and serve with the sauce.

 

Rainbow Fruit Ice Lollies

SUMMER HAS ARRIVED!!! With the weather starting to heat up for the summer, you can never go too wrong with an ice lolly. I recently made a batch with K, on one of our ‘project time’ afternoon activities.

Since watching ‘The Rainbow’ episode of Pepper Pig (Season 3 Episode 2 for those of you having produced avid Pepper Pig fans), K is obsessed with Rainbows so it was a piece of cake to get her involved in this activity.

Rainbow Fruit Ice Lollies

In terms of the difficulty scale, as long you own a food processor or blender of some sorts, fruit ice lollies are one of the easiest things to make and great fun for your little one. You also don’t have to be worried about dealing with a sugar-high, duracell-charged little terrior as with the natural sweetness of the fresh fruits, there is no need for sugar!

You can use any fruits or any combination of fruits, and here are just a few ideas to get you going…

  1. Blueberry and Apple
    • Peel, dressed and steam one apple with a box of blueberries. Blend mixture and lolly-fy. As blueberries can sometimes be a little sour, the apple adds a bit of natural sweetness.
  2. Strawberry and Raspberry
    • Just a handful of each fruit makes a great combination for the red colour. No need to pre-cook. Simply destalk, wash thoroughly, blend to a liquid and lolly-fy.
  3. Kiwi and Lime
    • Blend about 3-4 ripe kiwis with the juice of 1/2 a lime and lolly-fy.
  4. Classic Orange
    • Super simple. Just lolly-fy some freshly squeezed orange juice and drink up the rest.
  5. Pina Colada 
    • Blend together about half a pineapple mixed with 1-2 tablespoons of coconut cream and lolly-fy for a frozen version of this classic mocktail.

Leave the mixtures overnight to freeze properly. As for the ice lolly makers, I am sure you can get them anywhere and everywhere. Mine are a set of 6 from Ikea.

 

Free From Farmhouse
Gym Bunny Mummy
The Twinkle Diaries

Hotch-Potch Pasta Bake

A favourite from my own childhood and still a hit with my own little one. Quick and easy to make with great flavours from each of its components.

HotchPotch Pasta Bake

Hotch Potch Pasta Bake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 cups Conchiglie (shell) pasta
  • 1 medium green pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
  • 20-25 mushrooms, destalked, skinned and sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 large tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1 can baked beans
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • Olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper (optional)
  • Grated cheese to sprinkle layer baking dish
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Place pasta in salted boiling water to cook, whilst you prepare the sauce as below.
  3. Heat a generous swig of olive oil in a non stick pan and salute the onions and green peppers for 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add in the garlic and mushrooms and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until the mushrooms soften.
  5. Now add in the chopped tomatoes and simmer for a further 5 minutes until the tomatoes create a paste-like sauce.
  6. Drain the pasta once cooked.
  7. Once the tomatoes are cooked and soft, add in the baked beans, ketchup, salt, pepper and cooked pasta and mix well.
  8. Set in a baking dish and sprinkle cheese on top and bake in the oven for 10 minutes until cheese has browned slightly.

 

Classic Chocolate Orange Biscuits

‘K you have been an angel and you can have a treat for being so good. What would you like?’
‘Mama, I wanna make biscuits..’
Can’t make this stuff up – love it!! Operation biscuit is a GO!

Chocolate Orange Classic Biscuits

I based these biscuits very heavily on BBC Good Food’s Basic biscuit dough recipe and added my own flavouring. The basic biscuit dough here gives quite a sticky, gloopy dough so if you want to do any specific shapes, then it is essential to chill the mixture.

I have added some notes on chilling the mixture and how to melt chocolate below so have a little read if you are not already familiar with the techniques.

 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 20
Ingredients
  • 250g butter (soft) or margarine
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 large orange
  • 300g plain flour
BASIC BISCUIT DOUGH
  1. Mix together the butter and sugar until fluffy
  2. Add in the egg yolk, vanilla extract and orange zest
  3. *There are some great videos on youtube on how to separate the yolk using an empty plastic bottle
  4. Sift in the flour and mix together to form a wet dough
CHILL
  1. Press out the mixture on a sheet of baking parchment
  2. Place another piece of baking parchment on top and roll out the mixture until it ends up in an even, flat layer
  3. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours
BAKE
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C
  2. Remove the dough from the fridge and remove the top layer of baking parchment
  3. Carefully and quickly cut out your desired shapes and place on baking tray
  4. *Do this whilst the dough is cold or it will be difficult and you will need to refrigerate again
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges start to brown or go golden
  6. Remove (they will be soft) and place on a cooling rack to firm up
DECORATE WITH CHOCOLATE
  1. Melting chocolate can go horribly wrong if you don't do it properly or have the patience to wait it out
  2. I used Galaxy chocolate (simply because I love it)
  3. Place chunks of chocolate into a decorating bag (i used the Wilton disposable decorating bags)
  4. Boil some water in a pan and turn the gas off
  5. Place a bowl over the water but most importantly, don't allow the bowl to touch the water
  6. Place the icing bag in the bowl and cover with a lid
  7. Once melted, cut the edge and decorate the biscuits as you wish

 

Spinach & Kale Pesto Pizza Pie

Spinach and Kale Pesto Pizza Pie
It goes without saying that Kale is the ‘in thing’ in terms of healthy eating and fresh vegetables. In all honesty, it is hard enough to get kids to eat spinach these days and then when we now throw in Kale, which is all the more bitter in taste and tougher to chew through, we are asking for a challenge!

Why so popular? Kale is one of the most nutritious greens available in stores today and packed with vitamins A, K and C. To put it in perspective for you, a cup of steamed kale has over 1000% more vitamin C than a cup of steamed spinach.

So the question is, how to I pack these nutrients in a kid-friendly way? Answer, hide them and pizza-fy them.

5.0 from 1 reviews
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 1 (with extra pesto to spare)
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch kale (approximately 200g)
  • ½ bag spinach (approximately 100g)
  • 1 pack basil, chopped (30g)
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • Generous swig olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed (depending on strength preference)
  • Salt to taste
For the Puff Pastry Pizzas
  • I pack ready roll puff pastry (refrigerated not frozen)
  • 300-400g medium or mature cheddar cheese (or vegan cheese)
  • 100-150g cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh basil
  • Handful of black sliced olives
  1. Roughly chop and thoroughly wash the kale and spinach.
  2. Steam for 5-10 minutes until wilted down.
  3. Meanwhile, place the pine nuts and garlic in a food processor until the pine nuts are ground.
  4. Add in the steamed kale, spinach, olive oil, basil and salt and process once again until a smooth paste is formed.
  5. Taste and add any further salt or olive oil if required.
For Spinach and Kale Puff Pizzas
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Roll out puff pastry to fit a 12-14 inch non-stick pie or baking dish.
  3. Place the pastry in the oven for 5 minutes and remove.
  4. Spread a generous layer of Spinach and Kale Pesto on the puff pastry pastry
  5. Sprinkle between 300-400g of medium or mature cheddar cheese on top of the pesto.
  6. Then add chopped tomatoes (halved), fresh basil, olives and any other toppings you wish and bake in the oven for a further 15-20 minutes until the pastry has browned and become crisp.

 

 

Eats Amazing Fun Food Friday

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Win £50 of goodies for National Vegetarian Week!

Happy Vegetarian Week!

Fancy winning an awesome YumBox and a bunch of Organic Goodies? Join me in celebrating National Vegetarian Week by taking part in my snack box brainstorm and you could win a little bundle for your little one, worth £50.

My Hungry Little Veggie loves her new YumBox and is forever munching on her favourite packs of Goodies Gingerbread Men biscuits (which she affectionately refers to as ‘teddy biscuits’.)

I (the food provider) am constantly striving to think up healthy, fun and vegetarian meals for her lunch or snack box.

National Vegetarian Week is organised by the Vegetarian Society and aims to share and promote yummy vegetarian food and vegetarian living. Join me by entering my snack box challenge.

To inspire you to take part, the lucky winner will receive a YumBox worth £24.99 and a selection of Organix Goodies worth £25.

All you have to do is enter with the below and you get a chance of winning! Look forward to all your ideas…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competition terms and conditions:

  1. Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding anyone professionally associated with Hungry Little Veggie, YumBox or Organic.
  2. Only one entry per person.
  3. The prize will only be delivered to addresses within the UK.
  4. No responsibility is accepted for entries which are lost, corrupted, incomplete or for any failure to capture entry information. Use of false details will result in disqualification. The entry must be made by the person entering the competition – entries sent through third parties, agencies or by automated means (such as scripts and macros) will not be accepted.
  5. The prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative.
  6. The prize draw starts at 12.00am GMT on 18th May 2015 and closes at 12.00am GMT on 24th May 2015.
  7. Entry for competitions must be received by the stated closing date. All entries received after this date will not be counted.
  8. Hungry Little Veggie reserves the right to amend the competition end date at any time.
  9. Entry is free and must be made by commenting on this blog post. Entrants can gain bonus entries by visiting Hungry Little Veggie on facebook, @hungrylittleveg on Twitter.
  10. Incorrectly completed entries will be disqualified.
  11. The name of the winner will be published on this website within 7 days of the competition closing.
  12. The competition winner must come forward to claim their prize. In the event of a prize going unclaimed for more than 28 days after notification, Hungry Little Veggie may, at its discretion, declare the prize unclaimed and no longer valid, and draw a new winner. An unclaimed prize may not be awarded.
  13. It is the responsibility of entrants to notify Hungry Little Veggie of any change of contact details.
  14. Proof of identity may be required.
  15. Hungry Little Veggie’s decision on all matters is final and binding on all entrants. No correspondence will be entered into.
  16. Hungry Little Veggie reserves the right to suspend, cancel or modify the prize draw at any time (and for any reason) without notice.
  17. If the advertised prize is not available, Hungry Little Veggie reserves the right to offer an alternative prize of equal or greater value. The payment of all costs and expenses involved in claiming a prize are the responsibility of the winner.
  18. By taking part in this competition you agree to be bound by the competition terms and conditions.
  19. Hungry Little Veggie reserves the right to disqualify any entrant and / or winner in its discretion and without any notice in accordance with these terms and conditions.
  20. Once the winner has been selected at random using Rafflecopter, I will inform Organic and YumBox of the winner’s name and address, they will then send on the prize. Hungry Little Veggie will not be held responsible for prizes being lost in the post or arriving late.
  21. Hungry Little Veggie shall not be responsible for damages, losses or liabilities of any kind, including without limitation, direct, indirect or consequential loss or damages arising out of or in relation to the prize draw. Nothing in this condition shall limit or exclude liability for death or personal injury as a result of Hungry Little Veggie negligence.

Cheesey Courgette Scones

Cheese Courgette SconesIn search of something filling enough for my little one’s lunchbox and vegetable-y enough for her continual development, I came across the concept of cheese scones and had some left over courgettes from my ratatouille, so added them in also.

Result? Exactly what I wanted. They are great hot or cold, with filling and without.  A great snack-come-light bite.

 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 15-20
Ingredients
  • 1 small courgette (about ⅔ cup)
  • 300g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 cup grated mature cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup full fat milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice, squeezed from a fresh lemon
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
  2. Add the lemon juice to the milk and leave to stand for 5 minutes
  3. Meanwhile, grate the courgette and wrap up in about 5 paper towel sheets, removing the moisture
  4. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour and add the cheese, courgette, sugar and a pinch of salt.
  5. Add in the milk mixture little by little until a dough forms (don't be hasty and use it all)
  6. On a floured surface, pat the mixture down until it is 1.5 inches thick. Then cut out with your party cutter to scones at a size of your preference.
  7. Place the cut, raw scones on a non-stick baking tray
  8. Rework the dough and cut more scones out, repeating this procedure until all the dough is used up
  9. Lightly brush the top of each scone with milk
  10. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown
  11. Serve with butter, cream cheese or any topping of your choice.

 

Fruit n Nut Chewy Breakfast bars (Vegan & Gluten Free)

Fruit n Nut Granola BarsThere are days when breakfast just doesn’t seem to work and you need an on-the-go alternative. Today was one of these days and these breakfast bars did the trick. Not only are they packed full of the good stuff, but they are quick to make, filling for little (and big) tummies and have a sweet kick, making them taste great and a perfect snack or breakfast bite.

Now, I looked up a lot of breakfast bars online before trying my hand at my own version and the majority require a whole cup of honey or agave syrup. This in my opinion made it way too sweet and sticky for something i would feel comfortable giving my toddler for breakfast, so I tried adding more dried fruits and less syrup to give it the same binding ability. Not quite as compact as the ‘original’ versions but it does stick less to your teeth and from my point of view, I feel much more comfortable giving it to K.

Another great thing about these bars is that you can pretty much adapt the recipe to suit your own preferences. I like pistachios and cranberries as they add some colour but you can pretty much choose any nuts or dried fruits which you like.

Bars will last for up to a week in an airtight container. When packing for ‘on-the-go’, simply wrap up the individual pieces in cling film and pack it away.

Anyhow, enjoy and here’s the recipe.

 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 20-25 pieces
Ingredients
  • 1¾ cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • ¾ cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup unsalted cashews
  • ½ cup chopped pistachios
  • 2 tablespoon chia seeds
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ½ cup dates (medjool and preferably seedless) roughly chopped
  • 4 tbspn agave syrup
  • 1 tbspn coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In a pan of boiling water, place the chopped dates, raisins and cranberries and allow to soak for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place the cashew nuts and desiccated coconut in a food processor and chop until coarsely chopped.
  3. Add in the remaining ingredients, including the soaked fruits (which you should drain the water before)
  4. Mix in the food processor for a minute and then open and mix with a spoon. Then mix for an extra minute once more.
  5. Line a 9 inch square baking pan with greaseproof paper and transfer the mixture into the pan.
  6. Spread out to cover the entire area, firmly pressing it together so it is sticking together firmly. The harder you press, the better it will stick. (Don't be afraid of getting messy and use your hands for the best result).
  7. Even it out, trying to get a smooth surface and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
  8. Cut into squares (size of your preference) and store in an airtight container. e

 

 

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