ricotta & cinnamon fruit toast

ricotta & cinnamon fruit toast

ricotta & cinnamon fruit toast

Ricotta and cinnamon fruit toast is officially our new breakfast favourite.

In an effort to escape the chilly winter mornings we smear hot toast with creamy pale fresh ricotta, top with fresh fruit and dust with the lightest kiss of ground cinnamon.  Both Grace and I love this toasty treat and along with a gorgeous cup of coffee (or if I am feeling virtuous a cup of herbal tea) I am set and fuelled for the day.

Although I really wasn’t trying I feel I have conjured up quite the healthy breakfast.  We use an organic spelt and chia seed loaf, fresh ricotta that is rich in calcium, beautiful fresh fruit filled with vitamins and minerals and cinnamon that according to my health friends is wonderful for regulating blood sugar levels and reducing cholesterol levels.  Yay.

Grace really enjoys this breakfast and I am sure most baby led weaning parents would agree with me, she also has a rather unique way of eating it!  I can see that she really enjoys the flavour combination of apple and cinnamon as well as the different textures; which keep her happily feeding herself whilst mummy enjoys breakfast too.  One of the very many perks of the baby led weaning approach.

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raspberry & lemon yoghurt loaf

raspberry & lemon yoghurt loaf

 

raspberry & lemon yoghurt loaf

Today I am sharing with you one of my all time favourite cake recipes, raspberry and lemon yoghurt loaf.  This cake is a fantastic recipe to bust the boredom these school holidays and get the kids up and in the kitchen having fun.  This recipe is super simple to prepare and absolutely divine to eat.  The reason I forever return to this classic cakey creation is its deliciously tender and moist crumb that has everyone heads over heels in love.  Adding yoghurt to the batter is really quite genius, not only does it give the cake a longer shelf life with its fantastic moisture adding qualities but it provides that cake with a little sour note that works beautifully with the zesty flavour provided by the lemon.

The kids can have this raspberry and lemon yoghurt loaf whipped up and ready for the oven in less than ten minutes.  This simplicity of this recipe means no heavy kitchen machinery is required, just a bowl, wooden spoon and appetite, all of which I am sure are in your kitchen.

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donuts

donuts

donuts

Its school holiday time once again so I thought over the next couple of weeks I would share a few of my favourite recipes that get the kids excited and in the kitchen.  Spending a fun morning or afternoon in the kitchen whipping up some delicious goodies or even preparing a simple dinner is a fantastic way to teach the kids a little about kitchen safety, seasonal produce, a few kitchen basics and of course nutrition.  For me, spending countless hours by my father’s side in the kitchen has given me a wealth of food and cooking knowledge that I am truly grateful for and I love sharing that same very knowledge and passion with my daughter.

Today, I decided to share with you one of my all times favourite breakfasts/naughty snacks…donuts!  My love affair with these light as air, fluffy, vanilla spiked, cinnamon sugar coated creations happened only recently, you see although I feel quite apt in the kitchen thanks to the teachings of my father there still are quite a few black spots in my cooking vision and prior to coming across this recipe donuts was very much one of them.  Donuts used to seem so difficult to me, yeast and resting periods were involved and to be honest I thought they were better off left to the donut professionals.

That’s until I came across a Nigella Lawson recipe, saved!  With a love of home cooking, a hearty appetite and a slight lean towards laziness Nigella possesses the most wonderful ability to take the difficulty out of any recipe and as if by magic deliver her viewers a delicious, easy-to-prepare delightful dish that looks achievable in any kitchen.  Nigella exquisitely achieves this with no unnecessary froufrou, pretentiousness or la-de-da intimidation needed, just good honest home cooking and that’s why we all adore her.  Watching the latest episode of Nigellissima I eagerly watched Nigella effortlessly prepare one of my greatest cooking fears, donuts.  Watching the donuts come together so easily I thought I can do that too, so I did and here they are for you…

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crunchy mac & cheese with bacon

crunchy mac & cheese with bacon

crunchy mac & cheese with bacon

To me, the classic macaroni & cheese is the ultimate comfort food.  Its creamy cheesy sauce and crunchy breadcrumb topping echo all things comfort and homeliness.  It’s the kind of dish you crave when life has kicked your butt and you simply want to run home, curl up on the couch and be consoled with a lovely bowl of warmth and comfort.  Really, macaroni & cheese, is the food equivalent of a cuddle from mum.

I’ve cooked mac & cheese a million times and have experimented with endless twists to the traditional recipe, this recipe however is by far the best version of the classic I’ve ever cooked and eaten.  It’s a seriously delish dish.   The genius in this particular recipe lies in the topping.  Let me spell it out for you, crispy crunchy panko bread crumbs spiked with golden juicy chunks of bacon, all held together with molten melted golden cheddar.   And I know just like me you also save the topping of the macaroni & cheese until the very last bites.

I also adore this particular recipe because it ensures lovely leftovers, my favourite words.  And once you’ve tasted this macaroni &  cheese you’ll also be so very grateful you’ve got a lovely stash of leftover mac and cheese nestled happily in the fridge.  A.K.A comfort on standby.

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raspberry & chocolate muffins

raspberry & chocolate muffins

raspberry & chocolate muffins

Grace and I were off to a first birthday party Sunday afternoon to soak in some much needed sunshine, giggle with friends, play on the grass and eat cake.  Along with a little gift for the completely gorgeous birthday girl we decided to take along some of our favourite muffins, raspberry and chocolate.  I felt a small pang of guilt watching Grace eagerly devour her muffin, I kept thinking oh god I’ve got her addicted to sugar and chocolate already, perhaps I should be one of those baking mothers who uses ingredients like agave syrup, gluten free flour and coconut oil rather than sugar and white flour.  I quickly let go of the silly mother guilt and realized we were at a children’s birthday party, the one place on earth that all things naughty, sugar and chocolate included are fine celebrated.

And these muffins are a celebration indeed.  They are jam packed full of lovely molten dark chocolate pieces, laced with swirls of tart raspberry and cooked to golden perfection creating a gorgeous cakey crust topping.  The top of the muffin is always my favourite, and after watching Grace hoe in, I now believe it’s hers too.  A small disclaimer; when feeding the little ones these lovely little muffins be prepared for a complete raspberry and chocolately mess.  Grace was so enthusiastic with ferrying her muffin into her mouth she managed to get crumbs, raspberry and chocolate absolutely everywhere.  But that’s all part of the baby led weaning fun.

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muesli bars

muesli bar

muesli bars

I don’t think there is any other snack more included in the lunch box every single day than the muesli bar.  I remember the humble muesli bar being the highlight of my morning tea at school and have adored them ever since.  I absolutely love the sticky gooeyness that holds together an array of gorgeously chewy oats, sweet dried fruit and crunchy roasted nuts.  And the hit of energy they provide is fantastic for the kids (big and small).

Buying muesli bars from the store if perfectly okay but there is something so much more special and not to mention delicious about whipping up your own batch!  Not only do you get complete control over what goes into the bars but they are a breeze to prepare and once you realise how easy they are to make you’ll never buy store bought bars again.

In today’s bars, I decided to celebrate the cool weather and opted for ingredients that echoed the winter season; dates, sultanas, pumpkin seeds and pistachios.

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shepherd’s pie

shepherd's pie

shepherd's pie

Today I am bringing you another much loved family favourite of ours, shepherd’s pie.  To me, this shepherd’s pie recipe is everything your soul craves in a winter dish, it’s hearty, warm, comforting and delicious and fills the house with the most gorgeous pie filled aromas that evoke a sense of snuggly comfort that only a baking pie can do.  When the days are cold and chilly and respite is in need, this pie is certainly a go to recipe and one that will bring much reassuring happiness and cozy comfort to your home and family.

With this version of shepherd’s pie I added a whole lot of vege for the sake of Miss G and have jam packed the mince with a huge helping of peas, carrot, onion, beans and brussel sprouts.   I love this shepherd’s pie recipe, not only is it hearty and delicious, this recipe also guarantees leftovers which suit me just fine.  For me, there is nothing more comforting than knowing I have a freezer stocked full of delicious, ready to go dinners.

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