WWW: Wonderful world of weaning

 

We’ve gone for baby-led weaning* in a big way in our house. Good food, one meal for everyone with as little effort as possible. Yes please!

HOLIDAY FUN!

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On a recent trip to Italy Elena caused quite a stir. She became known as, ‘The baby that eats everything!’ and ‘The baby that feeds herself!’ Baby-led weaning hasn’t quite hit remote towns in Southern Italy. As she picked up strips of frittata, I was met with a few ‘Madonna! Madonna’s!’ and looks of utter horror but, to my relief, it changed throughout the two weeks to amazement, and utter pride from Nonna. Elena even started to get an audience. She didn’t seem to mind (or should I say notice – she was too busy eating!).

RECIPE

I can’t get enough of Gill Rapley & Tracey Murkett’s The Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook . The recipes are fantastic but it’s also great if you’re creating your own and want to check if a certain ingredient is ok.

Here’s their Simple broccoli quiche.

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1 medium head broccoli (florets only)
250g shortcrust pastry (see Cook’s Tip)/ or use a readymade pastry case
1 small onion
3 grilled rashers of bacon, chopped (optional)
50-100g grated cheese (according to taste)
3 eggs
115ml (4floz) milk
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

1 Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/Gas Mark 5. Cut the broccoli into small florets and steam or boil for 2 minutes until just tender and drain.

2 To prepare your pastry case, either line a 23cm (9in) lightly greased pie/tart tin with pastry (or use a readymade pastry case). Spread the onion in the bottom of the pastry case. Add the broccoli (and bacon, if using) and sprinkle half of the cheese over it.

3 Beat together the eggs and milk and add the black pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the onion, broccoli and cheese, then sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. (The egg mixture should come at least 3 quarters of the way up the pastry case. If it doesn’t add another egg, beaten with 2tbsp milk)

4 Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes, until the egg is cooked through (test with a skewer) and the pastry is golden brown. Serve warm, sliced or in fingers, with new potatoes and either salad, green beans or asparagus for a main meal, or eat it cold for a light lunch.

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Cook’s Tip

I also like to use ready-rolled pastry for this too. To make the pastry from scratch use 85g diced butter, 165g plain flour. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Using a cold blunt knife, stir in 1-2 tbsp water a few drops at a time with a criss-cross cutting motion. Stop when the mixture starts to clump together. Gather into one lump and knead it lightly for a few seconds, until it forms a dough.

*Here’s a PDF from the NHS website about weaning – it includes a small paragraph on baby-led weaning. There’s a little more detailed info about it here on the NCT website.

 

 

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#18 FOOD NEWS: Italian tomato in London update, Sai’s salsicce supper & celebrating Martini!

KEEPING AN EYE ON ALL THINGS BRITALIAN…

Every monday

 

Italian tomato in London update

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Off to Calabria next week I’ll be enjoying some stunning spots along the west coast, exploring the mountainous countryside and visiting a few augritourismo along the way but of course one of my biggest priorities will be checking out Mamma Romeo’s tomatoes! So it was only right that this weekend I catch up with the Italian tomatoes in London first – and what a stunning crop they are:

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They’ve gone wild this past month. Mummy ‘E’s’ hard graft and dedication to watering the cause every single night has definitely paid off! With a gorgeous organic shape, they’re unripe at the moment but the stalks and leaves are giving off that gorgeous summer-tomato-foliage-smell that I would bottle if  I could – perhaps that’s just me?! At a plump and healthy 6cm, I can’t wait to see how the Italian tomatoes are getting on (again that’s probably just me).

For previous Italian Tomato in London posts:

#1 Food News
#4 Food News
#14 Food News

Sai’s salsicce e friarelli con patate al rosemarino pronto!

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When I met a bunch of crazy Italians in Chiswick over 10 years ago (one of which I married), I also met Sai, my fellow Englishman, who helped translate what the hell was going on when 5 Italians, all on their feet were deep in animated conversation. Like me, this rich culture  is now firmly in Sai’s blood and clearly so is the food with his delicious recreation of  this Naples classic:

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Serves 4
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 35 mins

For the patate al rosemarino (rosemary potatoes)
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
1kg new potatoes, cut into pieces
1 (preferably red) onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic,  finely sliced
handful Rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
120g of pancetta (or streaky bacon)

For the salsicce e friarelli ( sausages and broccoli)
375g Chipolatas sausages (or any sausages preferably with herbs or a chilli kick)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chilli powder (you could also use chopped up dry chillies)
1tbsp powdered dry sweet peppers or paprika (or you could use chopped up oven roasted peppers)
1/2-3/4 glass white wine
350g Tenderstem broccoli (or wild ‘Friarelli’ broccoli if you can find it)

1 Preheat the oven to 200’C, 180’C fan, gas 6. Grease a baking tray with the olive oil, then add the chopped potatoes, onion, rosemary and garlic. Drizzle over the olive oil and toss to coat. Scatter over the pancetta (or streaky bacon) and roast for 35 mins.

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2 For the sausages and friarelli, heat the oil in a large lidded frying over a medium heat, add the sausages and fry, turning occassionally, until browned. Add the chilli and powdered dry sweet peppers and half a glass of white wine, allow to simmer for a few mins, then add the broccoli.  Cover the frying pan and cook on a low to medium heat for about 5-9 mins.

broccoli sausage pan

3 Check the broccoli is starting to tenderise and maybe add another quarter a glass of white wine if the base of the pan is starting to dry up.  When the sausages are cooked through, halve, if liked, then divide between four plates with the broccoli and serve with the potatoes.

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Marvellous Martini

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Any exhibition that lets visitors climb into a Martini glass Dita Von Teese-style is a must for me. 8 public figures and characters including James Bond and Elizabeth Taylor will each be represented by an art installation. Legends of Martini, Royal Academy Senate Rooms is on until 31st August. Free entry. Tasting sessions £15. For session times visit the Belvedere website.

 

#16 FOOD NEWS: Gourmet glamping, Aperol Spritz & London design festival

KEEPING AN EYE ON ALL THINGS BRITALIAN…

Every monday 

Gourmet glamping

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Forget cold beans and an energy bar. I may not have Hunter wellies [yet] but whilst in the New Forest this weekend I experienced a touch of glamping for the first time. A sound sleep on a decent camping mattress, with a proper double duvet and pillows followed by a delicious breakfast is definitely the way forward.

As the smell of barbecued bacon wafted over the campsite for our luxury bacon butties (topped with a flourish of baby salad leaves I might add), inspiration struck for my entry for the Parmigiano Reggiano cross cooking challenge to re-create a typical dish from my culinary culture using this delicious Parmesan cheese:

Barbecued Britalian bacon butties

Recipe here

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Stay, eat, sea

For a great campsite in the New Forest happy to accommodate one night stays try Hollands Wood campsite, Brockenhurst.

Get fantastic gastro-pub style food in the hamlet of Bank at The Oak Inn www.oakinnlyndhurst.co.uk.

Afternoon tea by the sea? It had to be done. Beachcomber cafe, Barton-on-Sea.

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Going, going, gone

aperol

Aperitvo or ‘getting-the-taste-buds-going’ as I like call it, is a whole other level in Italy. We ordered an Aperol in Undine – this promptly appeared with a huge plate of Orecchiette alle cime di rapa which left me mouthing to Giuseppe, ‘do we have to pay for this?’ (this was met by an Italian tut). How was I to know? They charge £2.50 for a bowl of peanuts in London. Delighted, I sipped my Aperol and tucked into the pasta. So it was a real treat last weekend when my sister-in-law brought out the Aperol before Sunday lunch. However she supercharged it by making an Aperol Spritz which did get-my-taste-buds-going but also demanded a pre-dinner snooze. That stuff is strong.

For Aperol spritz you will need 3 parts of Prosecco to 2 parts Aperol to 1 part soda water, pour over ice and finish with a slice of orange. Aperol costs around £15 for 700ml, available at most major supermarkets. For more info visit aperolspritzuk.co.uk

Design time

Officina Alessi "La Conica" Espresso coffee maker designed by Aldo Rossi

Look out for designjunction showcasing the very best in furniture, lighting and product design from around the world at the iconic 1960s Sorting Office in New Oxford Street. Italian design brand, Alessi are bringing a pop-up cafe and bar to the ground floor space.  The on-site cafe has been realised by designer Mario Trimarchi, and will serve coffee the Italian way. Alessi will also run a pop-up shop for the duration of the event, presenting the Super and Popular collection, a selection of 70 of Alessi’s most familiar and successful objects. Part of  The London Design Festival 18th-21st September.