pumpkin choc pancakes

pumpkin choc pancakespumpkin choc pancakes

With Halloween {& Miss G.’s birthday} just around the corner we decided to get into the spooky spirit this morning and create a gorgeous batch of pancakes spiked with cinnamon roasted pumpkin and deep dark choc chips.

And these orange hued choc studded babies are delicious.

Since our baby led weaning journey began I have created so many incarnations of pancakes/pikelets/hotcakes.  Why?  Because they’re so simple to prepare and the shape and texture of pancakes are perfect for little hands to grip and nibble on with ease, especially for beginners.  A batch of fruit laden pancakes make the ultimate fuss-free blw breakfast, lunch box addition or on-the-go snack and they also keep wonderfully in the deep freeze!

Todays pancakes are really all about the pumpkin.  Rather than boiling or steaming, I decided to smother the pumpkin in cinnamon and roast until gorgeously golden and amazingly sweet.  And once pureed the intensely sweet pumpkin added so much natural sweetness to the batter there was very little need for sugar other than a little drizzle or two of maple syrup.

But I did decide to add dark chocolate chips to the batter because what would Halloween be without a little naughty treat.   And I’m so glad I did because the warm gooey pockets of melted dark chocolate are divine and were a huge hit with Miss G.  So much so, she was fishing them out of the batter before we’d even had a chance to cook them.

To create your own halloween inspired pumpkin choc pancakes simply…

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apple, cinnamon & hazelnut loaf

apple, cinnamon & hazelnut loafphoto-2159

We moved house over the weekend and it was the single most stressful experience of my life.

Packing up your entire existence whilst caring for a newborn and almost two year old should be an olympic sport.

It’s tough.

Really tough.

Looking back and considering the feat, we did pretty well.

And I have to say that settling into our new home feels wonderful.

Especially the kitchen.

The first creation to emerge from my new favourite place is this wonderful little apple, cinnamon and hazelnut loaf.

Loaf cakes have become a bit of a go-to for breakfast of late.  Jam packed with fruit and able to be whipped up and in the oven in less than 10 minutes they’re a great breakfast alternative to the usual toast or cereal routine which can get pretty boring after a while.

Today’s apple, cinnamon and hazelnut loaf is not only completely delish but really good for the little ones too.  I managed to get 4 apples into this little darling, and because of the natural sweetness from the apples I used a mere half cup of brown sugar in the entire loaf.  If you’re keen to skip the sugar completely, simply replace with a half cup of maple or a third cup of agave syrup which would also work beautifully.

The hazelnut meal in this loaf is genius.  It not only creates a tender and wholesome crumb but a gorgeous earthy nutty flavour that works beautifully with the classic apple and cinnamon flavour combination.  And the smells that wafts from the oven as the loaf bakes to gorgeous goldenness is simply divine.  So much so that Miss G. kept hovering around the oven saying ‘yum yum’ until it was finally cooked.

This loaf is also the perfect texture for little ones just beginning their baby led weaning journey.  The abundance of apple strewn throughout the loaf creates a dense and moist crumb that won’t be too easily squished by little hands making it simple for beginners to hold and nibble on with ease.  Just slice the loaf into thick batons and your little one should have no trouble at all.

This apple, cinnamon and hazelnut loaf also freezes wonderfully.  Simply slice and wrap individual pieces in a little cling wrap, pop into a freezer safe container and stash in the deep freeze for up to 3 months.  Allow to thaw by simply resting on the bench or in a lunch box.

To create your own apple, cinnamon and hazelnut loaf simply…

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raspberry & pistachio loaf cake

raspberry & pistachio loaf cakeraspberry & pistachio loaf cake

I know I’ve been a little quiet lately, but I have the most wonderful excuse…

cutie pie

I’ve been busy baking this little cutie pie.

Although I did manage to post a few recipes during my pregnancy, constant morning sickness made cooking, photographing and writing about food pretty unbearable.

Now that I am feeling human once again, I am thrilled to be back in the kitchen alongside my lovely little helper to share more of our favourite baby led weaning recipes and today with our beautiful little man fast asleep Grace and I crept into the kitchen to put together this wonderful raspberry and pistachio loaf cake.

This pistachio flecked and raspberry studded gorgeously golden creation is delicious and thanks to the use of the food processor couldn’t be simpler to prepare. We had the cake nestled in the oven in less than ten minutes.  And Grace loved loved loved using the processor, anything with buttons!  If you do ever have trouble getting your little ones eating, my top tip is to get them involved in the cooking whenever possible.  Now that Grace is that little bit older she really loves spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing dinner most evenings.  And seeing her beam with pride when we sit down to eat is just lovely.   In fact her new favourite game is to name the ingredients as she quickly devours them and today was no exception.  As we sat down to morning tea with two slithers of loaf and a little fresh fruit, Miss G. recalled the ingredients giving her own unique pronunciation to most of them.

To create your own raspberry & pistachio loaf simply…

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caramelised banana dutch pancake with fresh strawberries

caramelised banana dutch pancake with fresh strawberriescaramelised banana dutch pancake with fresh strawberries

I adore everything about winter.

The cosy clothes, endless cups of hot tea and days spent with the slow cooker bubbling away in the kitchen are my idea of heaven.

The late winter sunrise also guarantees a greatly appreciated sleep in most mornings and when Miss G. finally stirs she is more than happy to huddle, snuggle and cuddle under the warm cosy covers until we finally pluck up enough courage to face the frosty morning together.

Most mornings we make our way straight to the kitchen to heat up our beloved oats with a little stewed apple but this morning I decided something a little extra special was required so we put together this super simple caramelised banana dutch pancake with fresh strawberries.

Although I have a very special place in my heart for traditional pancakes, on a frosty winter morning when immediate warming nourishment is required I much prefer the fuss free nature of the Dutch pancake.  There is no standing over a fry pan endlessly flipping pancakes, simply pour the batter over a little caramelised fruit and pop into a piping hot oven.  Fifteen minutes later a perfectly puffed and gorgeously golden fruit studded pancake emerges ready to be devoured.

Todays incarnation of our fuss free pancake included caramelised banana and fresh strawberries and really was baby led weaning winter breakfast perfection.  The texture of the pancake is perfect for little hands to hold and nibble away on with ease and when served alongside fresh strawberries and a little yoghurt, this breakfast will have your little one satisfied all morning long.

To create this winter warming caramelised banana dutch pancake with fresh strawberries simply…

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zucchini choc loaf

choc zucchini loaf

choc zucchini loaf

Miss G. is feeling much better.

Over the weekend her teething symptoms all but vanished and we were able to get in  plenty of giggles, play time and fun.

So with my bright, bubbly little bubby back in full force I pulled out this zucchini and choc loaf recipe I’ve been lusting after for quite some time and decided to have a little baking session with Grace this morning.

I have to say I absolutely adore this age.  Its seems Miss G. gets a little more cuter each and every day as well as more and more interested in the goings on around the house, particularly my cooking.

So with a cooking bench set up at the right height for her to stand at we got our bake on.

She watched and giggled as I cracked the eggs, chopped the chocolate and grated the zucchini and when I started to stir the dark, gleaming batter together she insisted on helping.  I have to say the cheeky grin of excitement she had as we popped the zucchini choc loaf into the oven completely melted my heart.

After a little nap Miss G. awoke to enjoy a small slice of the amazingly dark, rich zucchini studded loaf alongside a generous helping of her favourite strawberries.

To create your own gorgeously dark and chocolatey zucchini loaf simply…

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roast pumpkin & feta couscous salad

roast pumpkin & feta couscous salad

roast pumpkin & feta couscous salad

This weekend we’re heading down the coast for a day at the beach.

Beach.

Sunshine.

Sand.

Ice blocks.

Sunscreen.

Sandcastles.

All the makings of a perfect weekend.

To have with us on our travels I decided to put together this little roast pumpkin and feta couscous salad.

So simple to make and chock full of fresh herbs this delicious couscous salad is the perfect lunch for a day at the beach.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

To create your own roast pumpkin & feta couscous salad simply…

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strawberry oat bread

strawberry oat bread

strawberry oat bread

Last week we baked a lovely banana oat bread.  It was delicious.  Grace really enjoyed it and I really enjoyed the fact she was eating a healthy loaf chock full of banana, oats and yoghurt.

Ever since I have been racking my brain for a reason to bake another loaf and with a bench full of fresh strawberries teetering on the edge of over-ripeness I took that as a sign from the food gods this morning and pulled out my mixing bowl to stir together a lovely little strawberry oat loaf.

This recipe is as complicated as mixing dry ingredients into wet and can be easily stirred together and in the oven in less than ten minutes.  And once nestled in the oven the baking loaf fills the kitchen with the delicious fragrance of baked strawberries and cream.  Divine.

For morning tea Grace happily gobbled up a slice of the strawberry and oat studded loaf along with a yoghurt cup adorned with a fresh strawberry.

To create your own loaf of delicious strawberry oat bread simply…

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