Now that the days are long and hot we’re spending more and more time outdoors. Most balmy afternoons the kids play in the backyard, digging around in the sandpit, skipping through the sprinkler or playing in the cubby house right up until the sun begins to sink beneath the horizon turning the ever darkening sky the most beautiful shades of burnt orange.
It’s usually right at this moment I see the pangs of hunger flash across their tired and weary eyes and I quickly realise in the midst of the beautiful spring afternoon I haven’t yet prepared dinner.
These evenings I usually make a mad dash to the kitchen to rescue a stack of wholemeal pita breads from the pantry and get about making a simple pizza or two for supper. Tonight’s pizza’s celebrated the best of spring produce and were adorned with ribbons of fresh asparagus and zucchini and really couldn’t be more simple to prepare.
The pizza base’s were smothered in a generous layer of ricotta spiked with a little parmesan, lemon zest and fresh thyme leaves. Nestled in the ricotta were the silky ribbons of zucchini and asparagus as well as shaved morsels of turkey breast. And to top things off a thin layer of shredded mozzarella cheese was added along with a few dots of gorgeously green and beautifully fragrant basil pesto.
After a ten minute trip to a very hot oven the pizza’s returned golden and completely gorgeous. I popped the kids into a warm bath whilst the pizza’s cooled and once snuggled in fresh pyjamas we sat at the kitchen table and tucked into slices of delicious home made pizza alongside juicy wedges of fresh tomatoes.
Seeing their little faces eagerly devour our very simple supper of beautiful spring produce my heart sang and beckoned for more stunning spring days just like these.
To create the best spring time pizza ever simply…
We are off to Miss G.’s piano lesson this morning. The little doll began piano lessons a couple of weeks ago and absolutely loves it. Seeing her nestled in front of a grand piano smashing out a killer rendition of ‘hot cross buns’ melts my heart and makes me realise just how quickly time passes. It only feels like yesterday I was cradling my sweet smelling teeny tiny newborn in my arms and now she’s beginning to create her own lovely little adventures.
Mr H. is growing all too quickly too. He has completely mastered the art of crawling, constantly chasing after his big sister, much to her delight and I don’t think he is far off walking too. As you can see (pictured above) my little handsome fella has started to join in our cooking adventures as well and now I have two sets of chubby little hands to photograph.
Todays recipe is this gorgeously green casarecce pasta smothered in a zesty homemade broccoli pesto. This simple supper takes no more than 20 minutes to put together and makes more than enough for two family sizes portions. We enjoyed our pasta last night and have more than enough for tonight’s supper too.
The broccoli pesto is a gorgeous combination of tender broccoli, mint, chives, garlic, lemon zest, parmesan, pistachios and extra virgin olive oil. This pesto recipe makes quite a bit of the zesty sauce, so feel free to pop the extra pesto into a sterilised jar, top with olive oil and store in the fridge for a good 2-3 weeks. I plan on using our surplus pesto to adorn grilled chicken breast, smother over steamed vegetables and slather over toasted bread. Its delicious and such a lovely departure from traditional basil pesto.
To create your own pasta with broccoli pesto simply…
I adore winter. It truly is my favourite season.
As the days shorten and the weather turns frosty there is nothing I love more than retreating home to spend long lazy afternoons nestled by the kitchen bench slow cooking beautiful cuts of meat or baking up a storm. Filling our home with hearty warming dishes during these frosty winter months delights me like no other. I treasure these precious moments with my little family and love nothing more than spending an evening snuggled under a warm cozy throw watching movies and sipping my favourite glass of red.
There is, however, one down side to my love and adoration of winter and that is the nasty colds and flus that always seem to come with it. The last two weeks have been hijacked by one very nasty flu and unfortunately my little babies felt the worst of it. After lots of cuddles, a little pain relief, plenty of rest and a good dose of pumpkin soup I am very happy to say we’re all well and truly on the mend.
That said, to ward off any future winter born bugs I’ve been incorporating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables into our diets as well as a gorgeously green smoothie most mornings (I’ll be sharing our smoothie recipe next week). I’ve also made a conscious effort to incorporate as many healthy ingredients into our baking repertoire as well. My latest love is H2CoCo’s delicious organic virgin coconut oil. I’ve been using it in lieu of olive oil when I cook and have even managed to incorporate it into our baked goodies including these apricot pistachio quinoa bars and blueberry banana and chia loaf.
Today’s wholemeal lemon, ricotta and chia muffins also use the organic and 100% raw and natural oil. The coconut oil not only provides the muffins with gorgeous moisture to create a very tender crumb but gives the muffins a slight coconut flavour that works beautifully with the lemon and ricotta. The kids absolutely adored them for morning tea and gobbled up a muffin each along with a few sliced perfectly ripe strawberries.
To create your own batch of wholemeal lemon, ricotta & chia muffins simply…
These zucchini studded pancakes spiked with fresh basil and lemon zest make the perfect baby led weaning simple supper, especially when served alongside our beautiful caprese salad.
And these gorgeously golden pan fried babies couldn’t be simpler to prepare. I was easily able to whip these up with my two little cherubs dancing around my feet in well under 15 minutes. Simply whisk the wet ingredients into the dry, add the shredded zucchini, basil and lemon zest and get frying.
To serve alongside our pancakes I decided to put together a family sized super simple caprese salad because after a naughty mother’s day lunch we were all in need of a good hit of nutritional yumminess. This salad is a simple arrangement of ripe juicy tomato slices, pieces of creamy bocconcini and torn basil leaves drizzled under a light blanket of pesto lemon dressing.
If you’re looking for a meat free dinner idea I really can’t recommend these pancakes enough. They are light, fluffy and totally scrumptious.
To create your own batch of zucchini studded pancakes and tomato basil salad simply…
I don’t think a week goes by without me frying up a batch of gorgeously golden vegetable fritters. Easy for little hands to pick up and nibble on and jam packed with wonderfully nutritious vegetable, fritters make the perfect baby led weaning food, especially for blw beginners!
I also adore the fact that fritters freeze beautifully and last up to three months in the deep freeze. When days go to the doghouse and I have no chance (or desire) to rustle up dinner I often pull out a few fritters from the freezer for a simple stress free supper.
This weeks batch is made up of sweet corn, carrot, zucchini, sweet potato and flavoured with a little lemon zest and fresh basil and they are delicious.
After stirring the batter together, I decided to add another egg and more flour to create a little more batter around the veggies. This helps them to cook evenly and also makes the fritters easier to flip. I recommend frying a ‘test’ fritter to begin with to check that you have the right consistency, i.e. the fritter holds shape. If you’re having a little trouble simply add another egg and a further half cup of plain flour. I also recommending cooking these fritters in a non stick frypan over low to medium heat. A lower heat will ensure the fritter cooks evenly and through the middle without over browning on the outside.
I served these fritters alongside a very simple salad of tomato wedges and fresh basil leaves and the kids gobbled them up.
To create your own batch of easy peasy vege packed vegetable fritters simply…
Keeping lunch time fun and interesting day after day can be quite the challenge.
Most days we resort to either left overs from the night before, a simple salad based sandwich or a snack plate of cheese, tomato and crackers.
Yesterday however I decided to tempt Grace into the kitchen and away from the steaming hot sandpit outside to cook an extra special lunch and we came up with these gorgeously golden ricotta and sweet potato pizzas.
These pizzas, although a lovely treat, are no way challenging to cook. Simply smother two pita bread with a lovely ricotta mix spiked with lemon, basil and parmesan, top with sweet potato ribbons and cheese and grill. Miss G. and I had the whipped up in less than 15 minutes.
I love making pizzas using pita bread pockets. Even after a quick grilling they remain tender and soft making them perfect for little ones, especially those new to baby led weaning.
Grace devoured her pieces of pizza along with a simple blueberry banana smoothie for lunch before returning to the sandpit.
To create your own easy peasy ricotta & sweet potato pizza simply…
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…