old school bread & butter pudding

bread & butter puddingbread & butter pudding

For me, bread and butter pudding is the absolute epitome of comfort food.  During the cool winter months I love to bake comforting desserts, the kind of dessert you can look forward to after a long cold miserable day, one that will nestle serenely in a big bowl upon your lap as you melt into a big comforting sofa escaping the cool evening air under a cosy throw.  Digging into a bowl of warm bread and butter pudding soothes the soul in the most magical way.

Bread and butter pudding also provides a healthy dose of nostalgia, its the kind of old school dessert most of us were happy to tuck into during our childhood where we first discovered the divine virtues of vanilla, custard and cinnamon.  I relish in passing on these classic comfort food traditions.  It’s definitely not something that we eat every day but on a special occasion a trip down heavenly memory lane is certainly something to indulge in.

This morning as I prepared the bread and butter pudding I was transported back to the times of my grandmother.  I could just imagine a young housewife clattering about her kitchen bringing together with a little homely genius the most humble of ingredients to create a truly wonderful dessert for her family.  In the days of my young grandmother necessity was most definitely the mother of invention and the limited ingredients of the day most certainly inspired ingenious culinary solutions just like this bread and butter pudding.

To create your own little slice of comfort simply…

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mediterranean vegetable tarts

mediterranean vegetable tarts

mediterranean vegetable tarts

Reasons I love baby led weaning…

  • I don’t waste time or energy steaming/pureeing/packaging/freezing/thawing/reheating baby food
  • Meal times are FUN!
  • Meal times are a special time for our family to enjoy food TOGETHER!
  • There are no silly choo choo eating games!
  • I get to watch Grace’s hilarious facial expressions as she explores and enjoys her food

and the number one reason I love blw is…

  • I get to watch Grace’s ‘creative’ eating style develop.  Each day little miss comes up with new and improved manoeuvres for ferrying the delicious food that rests in front of her into her little mouth and as I see her smile in delight when she succeeds my heart melts every time.  And I feel like one very proud mama seeing how beautifully her hand eye coordination is coming along.

And today as she sat happily in her high chair munching away at her mediterranean vegetable tart I couldn’t help but silently giggle as she demolished her way through the golden flaky pastry smeared with a lovely layer of lemon spiked ricotta.  Seeing her pick apart, carefully inspect then gobble up the toppings of grilled eggplant, zucchini, juicy cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives and boccincini provided me with another proud mama bear moment.  Ah the little things…

To make these tarts simply…

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banana choc muffins

banana choc muffins

banana choc muffins

Grace is nine months old this week and I couldn’t be any more in love with this age.

In my eyes Grace is no longer a baby but a teeny tiny little girl, chock full of vibrant personality, life and an unwavering desire to explore and try absolutely everything on offer.  With a full of beans little girl on my hands I now spend my days keeping her entertained and enthralled with a huge collection of books, toys, puzzles, blocks, singsongs, games and trips to the park.  With a similar routine most days Grace now knows and looks forward to our sunshine filled park adventures and the moment I begin to collect her sunhat and usual park gear Grace’s little face lights up with joy as she starts bopping up and down in excitement.  Melts my heart every time.

Part of our park ritual is to take with us a little fruit to nibble on along with a lovely little baked treat.  And thanks to two very sad looking overripe bananas nestled on the bench this morning todays baked treat was a batch of gorgeously moist banana choc muffins.

grace

When it comes to great baby led weaning snacks muffins have to be up there as one of the best.  When filled with fruit and yoghurt these muffins make a wonderful guilt free and delicious snack that are easy for the little ones to handle and eat whilst on the run.

After a push on the swing and play on the blanket Grace happily tucked into a plate full of sliced green apple and strawberries followed by a banana choc muffin.  Grace looked so happy digging in with her little face stained pink thanks to the extra juicy strawberries.

Here’s how to prepare the super simple banana choc muffins…

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blueberry scones

blueberry sconesblueberry scones

This morning I awoke with a distinct urge to bake scones and not just any old scone but a batch of brilliantly bright blue blueberry scones.  I blindly followed my baking instinct and flicked on the oven.  As I started preparing the scones I wondered why I felt such a deep need to bake these beautiful blueberry scones and it wasn’t until I turned on the morning news that I realised just like the rest of the global population I too have been swept up in royal baby fever.  These blue stained english beauties are quite obviously my subconscious’s way of celebrating the very cute teeny tiny new prince of Cambridge.

Over the past few days I have to admit I have been pretty intent on not missing one detail about Kate, William and their new prince.  As a relatively new mama myself I know the kind of wonderful emotional roller coaster the lovely royal couple is surely journeying on, experiencing for the very first time the highs and lows of caring for a new life and relishing in the wonder and amazement of their newborn bundle of joy.  Its such a special moment in time.  Peering over at Grace sitting proudly in her high chair eagerly watching me rub together the butter and flour I simply can’t believe how quickly time passes, it wasn’t too long ago I too was bringing home my new born baby.

Just like any other scone recipe this one too is also very simple to prepare.  Simply rub the flour into the butter, add a little butter milk and egg, tumble in a few blueberries and bake.  Here are your step-by-step instructions…

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pea bruschetta

pea bruschetta

pea bruschetta

These lovely bundles of golden garlic smeared toasts topped with creamy, cheesy, lemon spiked smashed peas came about in an attempt to incorporate a little more vege into Grace’s diet.  Like most mama’s I am always looking for ways to increase the amount of vegetables Grace is eating and whenever I feel like she’s not getting quite enough I always revert back to the classic recipes I love and adore when I am feeling in the need of a little vege restoration myself.  Usually I would whip up a batch of fritters chock full of zucchini, sweetcorn or sweet potato but today with an overflow of almost stale sourdough nestled on the kitchen bench I decided on a little pea bruschetta instead.

I love these smashed peas and make then quite often.  During winter I often whip up a batch to adorn the top of a beautiful puffed and golden meat pie, or nestle them next to a piece of grilled salmon and during the months of spring I stir these gorgeously sweet smashed peas through a big bowl of freshly cooked pasta with a generous handful of just picked mint.  Divine.  I not only adore the versatility of these smashed peas but absolutely love there sweet and delicious flavour and with the addition of shaved parmesan gorgeously creamy texture.

Like most of my recipes this recipe pretty much involves placing all of the ingredients in a food processor and blitzing.  Today I toasted some bread too.  Minimal effort, maximum results. This is how I did it…

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coconut bread

coconut breadcoconut bread

This morning we had an early start; a grey, dreary, foggy 5.34am start to be exact.  From under the warm, cosy and all too comforting covers I kept wishing for just another ten minutes of blissful, soul quenching, much needed deep sleep, but unlike an alarm clock bubby’s most certainly do not have a snooze button.

Through my motherhood journey I have had a few aha moments and stumbled across a couple of little zen discoveries of my own.  One of the most important mantras that helps me remain a happy, centred, joyful mama is to look at the glass as half full.  The perspective of looking on the bright side of life is an absolute sanity saviour. And this morning in my weary eyed, messy haired, early morning haze I opted to begin the day with a little joy in my heart, kiss Grace on the head and thank the universe that an early rise means catching the breath taking sunrise.  I would much rather be watching the inside of my eye lids but alas here I am nestled on the sofa with my lovely little daughter playing on my lap peering through the window soaking in the first sun rays of the day.

Once the sun was up, Grace and I made our way to the kitchen and stirred together this simple but unbelievably delicious coconut bread.  When cradled in the oven, baking away, the delicious aromas wafting from the gorgeous loaf of coconut bread was yet another lovely blessing to give a little thanks for.

For morning tea, Grace and I tucked into a couple of slices of the still warm coconut bread along with and a punnet of sliced red strawberries.

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hummus w’ pita chips

hummus

hummus w' pita chips

Hummus and toasted pita chips have quickly become our new favourite morning tea/afternoon tea/anytime snack.

The lovely Middle Eastern dip made up of a delicious concoction of chick peas, garlic, tahini, lemon, sea salt and pepper is creamy, luscious and beautifully savoury.  For us, it’s the perfect accompaniment to a whole arrangement of healthy dipping edible utensils.  Grace’s favourite dippers lately are carrot sticks, bright red tomato wedges and of course the lovely crispy golden homemade pita chips.

Watching Grace dig away eagerly at the hummus using her carrot shovel is just so adorable. I smile as she carefully surveys the hummus pile and excitedly excavates using her tightly clutched carrot stick all the while carefully watching the entire process with her mouth wide open ready for the next mouthful, she melts my heart.

Making your own hummus couldn’t be more straight forward.  You simply place all of the ingredients; chickpeas, lemon juice and zest, tahini, garlic and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until all wonderfully combined and creamy.

And the chips are just as easy; cut pita bread into triangles, arrange on a baking tray, drizzle with a little olive oil and grill for a minute or two, just until they are lovely and crisp.

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