Category Archives: Uncategorized

Ragi(millet), Almond & Cranberry Biscuits

Standard

FullSizeRender.jpgThe past week has been exhausting with the house move, K on a week-long break from school and of course endless list of errands that piles up from a combination of these two. As we finally have our wi-fi up and running and Keya is back at school, here I am dutifully posting the recipe I promised for these amaaaazing biscuits.

Packed with healthy ingredients, mildly sweet, these biscuits keep so well even in this god awful humid weather! Best paired with a glass of warm or chilled milk for the little ones for a quick after-school snack or a perfect to add to lunch-boxes. (Seriously, you will never want to dunk an oreo in a glass of milk again!)

Being equally popular with the kiddos and grown-ups (they’re so good paired with a piping hot cup of chai!) I usually end up doubling the recipe each time I make these 🙂

Nutrition note: Ragi (finger millet) is a rich source of calcium, protein and iron. It is also a good source of fiber.

Almonds are rich in fiber, Vitamin E, Protein, and Minerals (manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium), and have considerable amounts of essential fatty acids. They are also rich in beta carotene, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps boost immunity.

Ingredients:

Dry mix :

  • 3/4c. Ragi (finger millet) flour
  • 1/2c. ground almonds
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4c. dried cranberries (or mini-chocolate chips or chopped candied ginger)
  • a pinch of salt

Wet mix:

  • 1/2c. unsalted butter (soft)
  • 3-4 tbsp runny honey
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar

To decorate:

  • 1/4 cup of almond flakes

untitled-1

To make:

  1. Measure and mix all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Break up any clumps of dried cranberries (they tend to stick) to ensure an even distribution throughout the dough.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over gentle heat. Add the honey and brown sugar and whisk gently until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture looks silky smooth.
  3. Pour the melted butter-honey-sugar mix into the bowl of dry ingredients. Work quickly and stir everything together till it form a soft but crumbly dough (this happens as ragi / finger millet is gluten-free).
  4. Cover and chill the dough in the refrigerator for about 20 min. This makes it a bit easier to handle.
  5. Pre-heat your oven to 180 deg C. Line your baking tray with baking paper.While the oven heats up, scoop small balls of dough using a teaspoon onto your palms and roll them till smooth, tucking away any cheeky pieces of cranberries that try to escape.
  6. Place the rolled dough balls onto the baking sheet and flatten using gentle pressure from your finger tips. Dot each biscuit with a pretty almond flake.
  7. Bake at 180 deg C for about 15-17 min. Allow the biscuits to cool for a few minutes before transferring carefully onto a wire rack. The biscuits are a bit fragile at this point (but firm up as they cool completely), so be gentle!

 

These keep well stored in an air-tight container for about 8-10 days – IF they last that long 🙂

fullsizerender_1

Advertisements

Pumpkin & Cheese Couscous

Standard

ImageCouscous, a coarsely ground form of quick cooking pasta made from semolina is a common ingredient used in middle eastern and African cooking. Although it doesn’t have too much flavour on it’s own couscous is pretty yum when combined with a good sauce. Keya took a little while to like the granular texture. Initial episodes of suspiciously eyeing the new texture (when she was about 9 mos) did happen. But I persisted and she finally loves it! Hurrah! Nutritionally – couscous is akin to pasta. It is quick to cook and saves you a LOT of time on crazy days. Also, babies who are just getting teeth, learn to appreciate the granular easy-to-gum texture.

(Although couscous itself cooks in 5 mins, the sauce needs a little time. But I optimize my time by making 3-4 servings at a time and freezing the extra in ice-cube trays. Freezing is so convenient but in general I avoid giving Keya anything that was frozen for more than 2 weeks… thats my personal quirk so I usually use up my frozen baby food within 10 days.)

Keya loves the pumpkin-cheese sauce that I make for her. Its basically a thick version of pumpkin soup with lots of added cheese. I begin by baking the pumpkin because that’s my favourite way of cooking it as you can extract max flavour without losing any nutrients in cooking water as you would by boiling – But feel free to steam it in a veggie steamer  if you own one and/ or are pressed for time.

Nutrition report: This meal is a good source of fiber(from couscous), is rich in vitamins A, B, C, E and beta- carotene. The cheese packs in a lot of flavour and is an excellent source of protein.

ImageIngredients:

– 1-1/2 cups peeled pumpkin cubes

– 4 cloves garlic with peel (if roasting)

OR  1 peeled clove if sauteing in pan

– 1 small onion, sliced thinly

– 5-6 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

– 1 tsp dried oregano or basil (optional)

– 2 tsp Olive oil

– Salt & Pepper to taste

Method:

1.  Preheat oven to 200 deg C. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil. Toss the pumpkin and unpeeled garlic cloves in a teaspoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pumpkin and garlic onto the baking tray and bake @ 200deg C for 30mins. Cool.

2. Heat the remaining oil in a non-stick pan. Add the sliced onion and saute till soft and slightly golden brown. If you’re steaming the pumpkin instead of baking it with the garlic – add 1 clove of peeled sliced to the pan along with the onion. Allow the contents of the pan to cool.

3.  Place the cooled roasted (or steamed) pumpkin cubes in a blender or food processor along with the roasted(or sauteed) garlic and sauteed onions. Add a little water (about 1/4 cup) and puree everything till nice and smooth.

4.  Return the pureed mixture to the previously used non-stick pan. Add the dried herbs at this point and bring the mix up to a gentle simmer. Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese.

5.  To cook couscous – place 2-3 tbsp of couscous in a bowl (to make a single serving). Pour 1/3rd cup of very hot water (2 times the qty. of couscous) over the couscous and cover with a lid. Set aside for 5 mins allowing the couscous to soften. Uncover and fluff it up using a fork.

6. Serve the couscous mixed with the pumpkin sauce to make a hearty- healthy meal. Sprinkle some extra grated Parmesan on top if you please 🙂

Yummy yum yum!!

11 (3)

Beetroot Cutlets

Standard

IMG_4573Coming up with interesting and fun ways to incorporate vegetables into children’s food is a stumbling block every young parent I know has encountered. Every family has a list of vegetables that is on their regular grocery list – cauliflower, beans, broccoli, carrots, okra, cabbage, eggplants and leafy greens are on ours. Then there are the occasional buys – like mushroom, pumpkins and bell peppers. I have a third list that consists of vegetables that I LOVE but know only so many ways to cook – like bitter gourds and beets. Growing up the only way I remember eating beets was boiled. More recently I started to enjoy Beetroot+ Apple juice when I have the chance. But boiled and juiced beets are not usually on a kids favorite foods list. Its more often than not the vegetable most kids show little to no enthusiasm for. Yet  beets are of exceptional nutritional value; and I was therefore keen to weave them into Keya’s diet. These cutlets are a complete hit with little Keya as well as her beet-hating (now beet-loving) dad! 🙂

Nutrition report: Rich in iron,vitamin C, folic acid ,manganese, potassium & fiber.

photoIngredients:  (makes 6-8 cutlets)

– 1 med. raw beetroot, peeled & finely grated

– 1/2 cup raw oats, coarsely powdered

– 1/4 cup crumbled paneer (optional)

– 2 cloves garlic, peeled & grated

– 1 small onion, very finely chopped

– 1 egg, beaten (optional)

– 1/4 cup dried bread crumbs

– 1-1/2 tbsp dried basil or mint

– salt & pepper, to taste

To make:

1.  Place grated raw beets, oats, paneer, onion, and garlic in a mixing bowl. Add the dried basil or mint leaves and season with salt and pepper.

2. Crack one egg in a seperate bowl. Whisk lightly. Pour the whisked egg into the beet mixture followed by the breadcrumbs. (For vegetarian kids, leave out the egg and add only breadcrumbs. I’ve tried this recipe with and without the egg. Both are just as good.) For recipe with egg, you might need a little more breadcrumbs to help soak up the excess moisture.

3. Once the mixture is well combined, divide it into lemon sized balls. Roll around between your palms to make the ball and pat down gently to flatten into a cutlet.

This recipe freezes very well. I prefer to make up a batch of 6-8 cutlets and freeze these to be used over the next few of weeks. Once you make all the cutlets, you can place them on a non-stick paper and freezer till hard, then transfer the frozen cutlets into a ziplock freezer bag to store in the freezer. Please thaw frozen cutlets to room temperature before cooking. 

4. Heat a little olive or vegetable oil in a non-stick pan. Lightly fry the cutlets on both sides till a nice crusts forms on the outside. Place cooked cutlets on a paper napkin till they’re cool enough to feed your child. Cut up into age-appropriate sizes before offering to your child.

These are outstandingly delicious when sandwiched with toasted bread or burger buns and some tomato ketchup 🙂 Great for meal times, snacks and also lunch boxes for older kids (and parents!)

I came up with this recipe when Keya was about 13 months old. But am positive this recipe can be used for babies as young as 11 mos – specially those who have 6-8 teeth and enjoy chewing on their food.

Baby’s Chicken soup with ginger & veggies

Standard

IMG_2693Today, I am in a wee bit of a rush. As Keya was busy playing by herself, I grabbed my chance to update my other food blog (http://chomp-chomp-gulp.blogspot.sg/) … And as I was just starting to write this post, I realised what the time was and that I need to get this done super quick as I also need to organise lunch for us and little K. So I am going to cut my usual jibber-jabber short and just give you a quick note about the recipe.

I made this chicken soup for K two weeks ago when it seemed that she was on the brink of a cold. She seemed loved the flavours that the fresh ginger and sesame (her first exposure a south-east asian inspired flavours). I know it made her feel better as she slept well that night inspite of being a bit sniffly.

Nutrition report: Great source of protein and vitamins (due to added veggies), fresh ginger and sesame make this especially comforting to have during an illness.

IMG_2692Ingredients:

– 1 cup chicken, cut into small dices

– 4-5 tbsp grated carrots (or finely chopped for an older child)

– 2 tbsp finely chopped broccoli (optional)

– 1 small onion, finely chopped

– A small piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped

– 1 tsp white sesame seeds

– a pinch of salt and pepper

To make:

1. In a pot, boil the diced chicken till cooked.  Skim off any foam that rises to the surface during the cooking. Retain the cooking water.

2. In a non-stick sauce pan heat a teaspoon of olive oil. Add the fienly chopped ginger along with the sesame seeds. Saute for a minute and add the finely chopped onion. Saute onion for a few more minutes and add the grated carrot and broccoli. Stir well and add 1/2 a cup of water to the pan. Cover and cook for a few minutes till the vegetables are cooked and soft.

3. Add the boiled chicken pieces and the water from the boiled chicken (stock), to the pan and stir. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a full boil and then turn off the heat. Cool down till its at a safe temperature to feed your baby.

As Keya still is still learning to chew, and cannot yet handle chicken pieces, I simply pureed the soup and added a bit of cooked brown rice for some familiar texture.  For an older baby who is willing to experiment, you can add some soya sauce instead of the salt.

This soup is best consumed within 24-36 hours of making (when in the refrigerator), although it will keep well if the unused portion is frozen immediately for up to a week. ( I haven’t tried freezing it longer that that)