sweetcorn pasta salad

sweetcorn pasta saladsweetcorn pasta salad

It’s not often Miss G. becomes fanatical about her food but of late our little miss has become utterly obsessed with sweet corn.

Each and every time I make my way into the kitchen and stand at the bench I hear the chants of a toddler demanding ‘corn, corn, corn’ pacing incessantly behind me.

So not to disappoint (or more importantly to avoid the dreaded terrible toddler terror tantrum) I’ve managed to work the bright yellow kernels of sunshine sweetness into most meals of late and this sweetcorn pasta salad is our favourite corn incarnation by far.

Not only is this gorgeously zesty salad chock full of nutritious goodness but it couldn’t be simpler to prepare.  It can be on the table and ready to devour in the time it takes to boil a little pasta and stored in an air tight container nestled in the fridge this salad is just as wonderful the next day.

Although Miss G. concentrates most of her eating efforts on the corn and pasta, she also manages to gobble up a good amount of fresh tomato, cucumber and mint as well, making for a very happy mummy.

To create this gorgeously fresh and zesty sweetcorn pasta salad simply…

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festive pasta salad

festive pasta saladfestive pasta salad

I love this time of year.

The air is filled with the scent of just cut grass, the market shelves are groaning under the weight of mangoes, cherries and stone fruit and afternoons are spent escaping the hot sun in the back yard wading pool.

The long hot summer days leading up to Christmas are just wonderful.

summer days

During the summer months I love to take full advantage of this beautiful weather so we usually begin our day with a huge walk around the park, building up a sweat, breathing in the fresh air and soaking in the early morning still tolerable sun.

Returning home we dive into our summertime breakfast of mango smoothies, alongside a little stone fruit and toast and then the summer times fun begins.

With a one year old on my hands, keeping little Miss entertained and busy through the extra long days is challenging so I usually devise a rough plan or to do list for the day and travel around an array of fun little activities I have set up.

We spend the day playing, reading books, riding trikes, enjoying the park playground and our favourite summer past time swimming in the pool.

Tuckered out from all of the action, Miss G. usually winds down for a early afternoon nap which gives me a chance to run around like a mad woman and accomplish a few chores and hopefully get onto dinner.  I love to get dinner done and out of the way before evening rolls around.  I find the more relaxed I am around bed time, the easy little miss is to get to sleep.

Thanks to a few extra loads of washing today I didn’t quite get to dinner before Miss G. was awake.  So with my lovely little helper by my side I put together this super simple pasta salad of perfectly aldente calice, fresh juicy tomatoes, punchy herbs, olives and creamy bocconcini all smothered in a gorgeous basil pesto dressing.

This pasta salad is a family favourite and the perfect salad to serve christmas day.  It’s fresh, light, full of flavour, easy to prepare and a complete crowd pleaser.

To create this wonderfully fragrant pasta salad perfect for the entire family simply…

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chicken tacos w’ grilled corn & avocado salsa

chicken tacos w' grilled corn & avocado salsa

chicken tacos w' grilled corn & avocado salsa

Miss G. is officially walking!

YAY!!!

Watching her take those first wobbly steps, smile beaming, eyes lit up with a mixture of amazement and excitement was just beautiful.

R. and I cheered her on whilst her beautiful tubby little legs carried her across the living room floor all the time knowing it was one of those magical family moments we’ll treasure forever.

To celebrate her big girl moment I decided to put together one of our favourite family meals, chicken tacos.

Miss G. loves mexican food, especially salsa so I knew this was the perfect simple supper to celebrate with.

Todays taco incarnation consists of softly toasted tortillas topped with lightly spiced chicken and a gorgeous salsa.

The chicken nestled in these tacos is perfect for the little ones because I ditched the usual hot and spicy flavours usually associated with mexican food and instead opted for a more mellow spice mix of a little cumin, sweet paprika and lemon zest.  The coating is just enough to give the chicken a sweet subtle flavour without any of the heat, Miss G. loved it!  Also, rather than chopping the chicken, I decided to roast the breasts whole then use a couple of forks to shred them creating the perfect shape for little hands to hold and nibble on with ease.

Whilst the chicken was baking I decided to grill a little corn to add to the salsa and am so happy I did.  The sweet kernels of just charred corn added a beautiful brightness to our usual salsa of avocado, cherry tomatoes, coriander and lime and had us coming back for more.  And more.  And more.  It’s seriously moreish.

These tacos are a joy to prepare and a complete pleasure to eat.  A beautiful way to celebrate.

To create these gorgeous chicken tacos with grilled corn and avocado salsa simply…

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simple spaghetti

simple spaghetti

simple spaghetti

In the midst of midweek madness this supper of simple spaghetti is what I cook most often.

It ticks all of the boxes.

Simple.

Easy-to-prepare.

Delicious.

Healthy.

And best of all this easy peasy dinner can be on the table in the time it takes to boil a little pasta.

The trick to this pasta’s simplicity is its no cook sauce of extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon zest and juice.  And along with delicate ribbons of zucchini, juicy cherry tomatoes and tonnes of fresh basil leaves this little pasta dish is super fresh, vibrant and gorgeously zesty.  The only extra adornment this supper requires is a few pale creamy bocconcini balls nestled a top the spaghetti along with a few shavings of parmesan.

Miss G.

To create your own sublime simple spaghetti simply…

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tuna bean salad

bean tuna salad

bean tuna salad

Earlier this week I cooked up a penne supper filled with gorgeously charred roasted mediterranean vegetables and much to my delight Miss G. absolutely adored the dish, quickly making her way through the plate full of roasted capsicum, zucchini, eggplant and cherry tomatoes.

Knowing it was such a big hit this morning I decided to pull out our gigantic oven tray once again and whip up another mountain of lovely roasted mediterranean vegetables.  And with the help of a can of cannelini beans and tuna nestled in the pantry I decided to forgo the usual pasta route and opted for a tuna bean salad instead.

To bring the salad together I combined the roasted mediterranean vegetables, tuna and beans along with with a few handfuls of rocket and a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and squeeze of zesty lemon juice.

Today Miss G. just as eagerly enjoyed her lunch of tuna bean salad thanks to her new love affair with roasted vegetables.

To create this full of goodness tuna bean salad simply…

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roasted mediterranean vegetable penne

roasted mediterranean vegetable penne

roasted mediterranean vegetable penne

Grace really adores roasted vegetables.  She has come a long way since repeatedly turning her nose up to any type of pureed vege!

Before we began our baby led weaning journey I never would have imagined I’d see the day when Grace would perch in her high chair and happily gobble down a lovely little pile of roasted vegetables but watching her today at lunch pick up shards of golden roasted capsicum, zucchini, cherry tomatoes and eggplant and devour them in between bites of pesto covered penne I have to admit I felt like one happy mama.  I am not sure if it’s because Grace sees me eagerly enjoying the vege filled pasta dish or whether its the intensified sweetness of the vegetables thanks to the roasting process that has her smitten but I am happy nonetheless.

For me, creating this type of pasta dish is a pleasure mostly because its an absolute breeze to prepare.  This dish is basically a combination of cooked pasta and roasted mediterranean vegetables all stirred together with a little helping of basil pesto.  To finish I grate over a little parmesan and that’s it.  Dinner done.  And its the perfect pasta dish for a meat-free monday!

To create your own roasted mediterranean vegetable penne simply…

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tomato ricotta tart

tomato ricotta tart

tomato ricotta tart

Pastry always seems to be my ‘go-to’ default dinner or lunch when I am short on both inspiration and time and this morning I was feeling the short comings of both after yet another sleep deprived night.  Grace is in the painful midst of cutting a couple of new teeth so our nights are punctuating with a few more tears and cuddles than usual leaving me weary eyed to say the least.  Thanks to an injection of caffeine via my sanity saving morning espresso I was able to pull myself together just long enough to retrieve a sheet of short crust from the deep freeze and stir together a little ricotta topping to create an off the cuff, easy peasy tomato tart for lunch.

I have made this type of tart more times than I can count.  Its basically a shortcrust pastry base adorned with a creamy cheesy concoction of ricotta, parmesan, lemon zest and fresh herbs studded with a punnet of halved bright red and gorgeously juicy cherry tomatoes.  Sometimes I’ll weave through thin shavings of zucchini and prosciutto or stud with a few kalamata olives but today I kept it simple with the tomatoes as Grace absolutely adores them.  After a quick visit to the oven the golden crispy tomato tart was ready to be enjoyed for lunch alongside  a small rocket salad drizzled in a little extra virgin olive oil.  Grace and I devoured our lovely little slices of tart on the balcony soaking in the delicious rays of sunlight that filtered through the trees before heading off for a much needed afternoon nap.

To create your own tomato ricotta tart simply…

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