I know I have said that this is in no way a food blog. However, I feel the need to share some of my kitchen kudos.
I don’t profess to be a good cook. I’m an OK cook. What I never cook is an English breakfast. What I always cook is chicken stir fry. What I LOVE cooking are meals for my little girl. My husband says she eats better than we do – I do profess that this is correct.
She has a good appetite and since she’s been on solids has pretty much liked everything she’s tried. Lucky. The weaning process is a quite scary at first when you’re not too sure what or how much to give. I’m sure Annabel Karmel almost called the police on me for stalking her – I’ve read every recipe on every page in every book.
Recently, a few friends have mentioned that my daughter is a good eater (variety over quantity). She was born 10lb 4oz so she wasn’t a slight baby. She’s very tall for her tiny nine months and despite her likkleness, she chows down on most things (give or take a sprout, which I discovered last night). She absolutely loves anything with beef, salmon and tomato, of course not all together. She’s not too keen on cod or cauliflower. I have not come across anything that she absolutely hates.
My husband and I are trying to ensure she eats as much Italian’ised food as possible so I have been concocting a few recipes of my own. So, after slaving over a hot stove this evening for the best part of three hours, I thought I would share a few of my principessa’s favourite dishes to provide a bit of inspiration to those friends who are about to embark on the journey that is “proper food”:
*note: I don’t weigh or measure anything. Everything is done by a bit of this and a bit of that…
Baby Beef Spezzatino (stew)makes 4 portions
1tbsp of extra virgin oil
1 garlic clove
2 shallots or 1/2 red onion
100g of Organic stewing stake (I always use organic beef)
Handful of chestnut mushrooms (just because they’re tastier)
1/4 of an aubergine (cut into small cubes) (you can replace this with carrot too)
1/2 sweet potato (cut into small cubes)
1/2 can chopped tomatoes
100ml of water (from the kettle, not the tap)
Ok, here goes: put the oil in the pan and when it’s hot throw on the garlic (don’t burn it!). Then, throw in the beef and when almost all the pink bits are brown throw in the shallots and stir for a minute. Then throw in the aubergine – its important not the put the aubergine first as it will soak up the oil like a sponge and the pan will burn. After stirring in the aubergine for a minute or two add in the sweet potato and tinned chopped tomatoes. Stir through for about two minutes and then add the water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about forty-five minutes until the beef is soft and the sauce has become more of a mush. Blend and serve – easy peasy!
Principessa’s Salmon and Spinach Pasta makes 4 portions
25g square of unsalted butter
75g of baby pasta shells (conchigliette)
1 fresh salmon fillet, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 tin chopped tomatoes
3 leaves fresh basil
Handful of fresh spinach (I’ve tried this with frozen spinach but it wasn’t as nice. Try frozen if you wish).
On your marks > melt the butter in the pan and then add the onion, stir until almost browned. Add the red pepper and stir until almost soft. Add the salmon until almost cooked and then add the chopped tomatoes and basil. Stir and bring to the boil then simmer for about five minutes before adding the spinach.
In the meantime, prepare the pasta shells in another pan and when all of the above is ready, sieve and add the shells to the salmon and spinach sauce and you’re all done!
Hope you find these little recipes useful and if you do by any chance try them out and they’re a success, please please please do come back and leave me a comment. I have plenty more if you’re interested!
Buon Appetito Bambini!