These are just perfect to make on a rainy afternoon, and eat them all up whilst they are still lovely and warm. I have a very picky toddler and seems like my baby girl is following her big brother’s footsteps. Lucky me. Not. I was hoping that at least one child of mine will eat properly. Nope, I can keep envying other parents with their small children eating raw carrot stick and steamed broccoli, but non mines. Anyway, that is why I try to smuggle some extra healthy ingredients into their dishes and also hoping that they will venture beyond the usual tastes and textures.
Muffins, both sweet and savoury are usually big hits in our house. I normally need to avoid whole pieces of vegetables being visible and use lots of cheese, for the savoury muffins to get green light. This recipe meets both criteria. Also contains more of the “friendly” veggie (butternut squash) and less of the “unfriendly” one (broccoli). Great for snack or even as a lazy main meal with some more cheese or healthy spreads like hummus.
Tip: by adding lots of fresh rosemary instead of chives, these muffins can be turned into more of a grownup’s snack.
Yield: 12 muffins
250g plain flour
100g butternut squash diced
80g broccoli (4-5 small florets)
1,5 tsp bicarbonate soda
1 tsp baking powder
50g butter melted
100g feta cheese crumbled roughly
half a tsp salt
1 tbsp of chopped chives
some grated cheddar to sprinkle on the top (optional)
Steam the vegetables until they’re tender. With a hand mixer, blend the butternut squash into a smooth paste. I guess it could work with just mashing it with a fork. As a smooth paste, it adds some extra liquid to your batter (so does the broccoli). After this, I normally just add everything one by one in no particular order and just mix it quickly (with a wooden spoon, by hand).
Preheat oven to 160C. I found that because of vegetables, they bake a bit slower than without them, but they can burn just as easily. Therefore, it’s better to keep it around 160C instead of 180C. So the baking time is slightly longer than with normal muffins: 12-14 minutes.
They are lovely warm or cold, or even reheated in the oven.
This was a treat meal for my hubby as he loves smoked salmon. I wanted to make something light and summery but still a full meal at the same time. A healthy manly meal 🙂 It’s very easy and quick to prepare. The whole trick is to use a lot of herbs and the strong flavour of dijon mustard. The unusual combination of the raw, smoked salmon paired with steamed and fresh vegetables, does work very well. The cream cheese topping on the salmon softens the dijon mustard’s bite. It makes a perfect midweek dinner, so easy and quick.
Yield: serves 2
150g smoked salmon
2 tbsp of spreadable cream cheese
1 tbsp of mayonnaise
handful of fresh chives, chopped finely plus some more to decorate the plate
For the salad:
300g baby salad potatoes
150g broccoli florets
half a cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
handful of fresh parsley, chopped roughly
1 tsp of dijon mustard
1 heaped tsp of butter
salt and pepper to taste
Steam the potatoes and the broccoli. The broccoli should be just al dente, so either steam them separately or remove the broccoli after 8-10 minutes steaming. Test it wih a fork. Slice the cucumber. Add them to a bowl with the fresh parsley, the mustard and the butter and mix them together until the steamed vegetables are still warm enough to melt the butter. Add some salt and pepper to taste.
Prepare the cream cheese topping: whisk the cream cheese (best at room temperature) with mayonnaise, a pinch of salt and the chives. When serving the slices of salmon arranged on the plate nicely, drop half a tablespoon of the cream cheese topping on every piece. Sprinkle some fresh chive all over.
Serve it immediately, although, it’s also very nice when cold.
I normally have this in the freezer all the time, for Bobcat and for the days when he’s extra picky and won’t eat anything substantial. Pasta can always come. So it’s a good idea to add as much healthy and nutritious ingredients to a pasta dish as you can. Very simple to prepare, a real comfort food for him. If you cook everything really soft, it’s a great weaning meal too. The recipe below will give you 3-4 toddler portions.
half a head of broccoli, broken into florets
150g pasta (any kind of, really)
2 small garlic cloves, minced
150ml whole milk
50g medium cheddar cheese grated
half a tbsp of flour
1 tsp of fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Start to boil some water in a medium pan and steam the broccoli above it. It takes around 15 minutes to soften, but depends on how tender you want it. In a small pan poach the salmon for 10 minutes in 100ml milk on low/medium heat, add the garlic and the parsley. When it’s cooked, set it aside. We keep the milk too, don’t throw it away. Start to cook the pasta and simultaneously, in a small pan melt the butter, add the flour and simmer for a minute. Add the milk from the salmon pan and keep stirring on low heat when it starts to thicken, add some more milk and the grated cheese. Add some salt and pepper if you wish. When everything cooked, flake the salmon. In a bowl mix everything well. The broccoli should just break into small pieces. Serve it with a some grated cheese on the top.