Baby Vegetable Risotto

Risotto is very simple to make but does require stirring time - a perfect job for a little person, as long as you are around to oversee things.

Makes 4 servings 

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 15g butter
  • 4 baby leeks, sliced
  • 4 baby courgettes, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 250g risotto rice
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 55g petits pois
  • 85g vegetarian Parmesan cheese, grated

Method

1. Heat the oil and butter in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Add the leeks and courgettes and fry for 5 minutes until tender. Add the oregano and rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring continuously, until the rice is glossy and slightly translucent.

2. Add the stock a ladleful at a time, stirring continuously. Wait for the stock to be absorbed before adding another ladleful. Continue in this way until the rice is tender and creamy but still retains a little bite -it should take about 25 minutes.

3. Add the petits pois and three-quarters of the Parmesan cheese and stir well. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan just before serving. 

Guacamole

The creamy texture and bright colour of this Mexican-style dip really appeals to children

Makes 4 servings 

Ingredients

  • 1 large avocado
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 medium tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed

Method

1. Scoop out the flesh of the avocado, place in a bowl, then mash until smooth.

2. Add the lemon juice, tomato, mayonnaise and garlic. Mix well until combined. Store in a refrigerator before serving to prevent the avocado from discolouring 

Mini Potato, Cheese and Onion Pasties

These child-friendly sized pasties can be served warm for lunch or tea, accompanied with new potatoes and vegetables. They also make a great addition to a lunchbox.

Makes 10 pasties

Ingredients

  • 175g potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 25g butter
  • 4 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 70g canned unsweetened, reduced-salt sweetcorn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 40g vegetarian Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 375g ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten, to glaze

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Boil the potatoes in plenty of boiling water for 10-15 minutes until tender. Drain well and leave to cool.

2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a heavy-based frying pan and cook the spring onions for 2 minutes until softened. Add the spring onions to the potatoes with the sweetcorn, parsley and cheese.

3. Place the pastry on a board or work surface and roll out until about 3mm thick. Cut into 20 rounds using a 9cm cutter. Place 1 heaped teaspoon of the potato mixture in the middle of 10 of the pastry circles, leaving a gap around the edge.

4. Brush the edges of each pastry round with beaten egg and place another pastry round on top. Seal the edges using your fingers and crimp with a fork. Brush the top with beaten egg and make an air hole with a fork.

5. Place the pasties on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until risen and golden. 

Filled Jacket Potato

Wholesome, nutritious and easy to prepare, you can't go wrong with a jacket potato. Here are a few ideas for appetising and healthy fillings.

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 x 225g baking potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Scrub the potatoes and prick them with a fork in several places.

2. Coat the potatoes in oil. Bake them in the centre of the oven for about 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the skins are crisp and cooked through.

3. Remove the potatoes from the oven and cut them in half lengthways.

4. Serve with your choice of the following fillings:

Pesto and Avocado: Mash the flesh of a medium, ripe avocado. Add 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon vegetarian pesto and mix well. Spoon over the potatoes and sprinkle with vegetarian cheese.

Hummus and Roasted Red Pepper: Toss half a medium red pepper in 1 tablespoon olive oil, and roast for 25-30 minutes, turning occasionally. Cut the pepper into small pieces and combine with 4 tablespoons hummus. Spoon over baked potatoes.

Cream Cheese and Leek: Fry 1 medium sliced leek in 1 tablespoon olive oil for 5 minutes until softened. Remove from the heat and stir in 4 heaped tablespoons cream cheese. Spoon over the potatoes and sprinkle with finely chopped chives.

Breakfast Bubble and Squeak Cakes

Any leftover vegetables can be used to make these delicious potato cakes and they are a perfect way to encourage children to eat cabbage! Peas, carrots, green beans and onion can be used and a handful of grated Cheddar cheese mixed into the potato mash tastes great. Serve with grilled tomatoes, baked beans or a dollop of ketchup.

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 675g potatoes, diced
  • 175g Savoy cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten
  • Flour, for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, for frying

Method

1. Cook the potatoes in plenty of boiling salted water for 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain well and mash until smooth.

2. Meanwhile, steam the cabbage for 5 minutes, or until tender, then slice into tiny pieces.

3. Combine the potatoes and cabbage with the mustard, spring onions (if using) and egg in a bowl. Mix well with a wooden spoon and leave to cool.

4. Shape the mixture into 8 cakes. Dust each cake with flour until well coated.

5. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy-based frying pan. Fry 4 of the cakes over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden, then repeat with the remaining cakes. 

Golden Granola

Many commercial breakfast cereals contain unwanted additives and are often laden with sugar. With this recipe you can decide on which ingredients you use and include your favourite nuts, grains and fruits. It will keep for 14 days in an airtight container.

Makes 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 55g whole hazelnuts
  • 115g porridge oats
  • 85g barley flakes
  • 55g flaked almonds
  • 55g sesame seeds
  • 55g sunflower seeds
  • 50ml sunflower oil
  • 5 tablespoons clear honey
  • 55g banana chips, broken
  • 85g ready-to-eat dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 85g raisins

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 140°C, gas mark 1. Place the hazelnuts in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin until broken roughly. Put the hazelnuts, oats, barley, almonds and sesame and sunflower seeds in a bowl and mix well.

2. Heat the oil and honey in a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir the honey mixture into the nuts and grains and mix well.

3. Spoon the nut and grain mixture in an even layer onto 2 baking sheets and bake in the oven for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden and slightly crisp (the mixture will become more crispy as it cools).

4. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and add the banana chips, apricots and raisins. Mix well and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container until ready to eat. Serve with milk and fresh fruit, if you like

Photos and text by Camera Press