Break­ing in the lit­tlies

A new cook­book serves up healthy meals for fussy tod­dlers

Life & Style Weekend - - EASY EATING -

DE­PEND­ING on the child, in­tro­duc­ing new flavours to them can be messy, fun or a bit of a night­mare. Food tech­nol­o­gist Amie Harper, who has more than 10 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing for con­sumer goods com­pa­nies, ac­knowl­edges how hard it can be to get tod­dlers to try new things. Harper’s lat­est cook­book, Lit­tle Pip Eats the Colours of the Rain­bow, is a fol­low-up to her first recipe col­lec­tion, Baby Pip Eats, which she wrote af­ter hav­ing her first baby.

Mini mous­sakas

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS: ◗ olive oil, for fry­ing ◗ 1 onion, finely chopped ◗ 3 gar­lic cloves, finely chopped ◗ 1 tbs oregano, chopped ◗ 500g lean lamb mince ◗ 1 x 600g jar tomato pas­sata ◗ 3 large or 4 small egg­plants, sliced hor­i­zon­tally 1cm thick ◗ 260g plain yo­ghurt ◗ 1 egg yolk ◗ 200g ched­dar cheese, coarsely grated

METHOD: Pre­heat the oven to 180 de­grees. Heat one ta­ble­spoon of olive oil in a large fry­ing pan over a medium heat and cook the onion, gar­lic and oregano un­til soft and fra­grant. Add the mince and cook un­til lightly browned.

Add the pas­sata and sim­mer for 15 min­utes. Heat an­other large fry­ing pan over a medium heat. Add two ta­ble­spoons of olive oil and fry the eg­g­plant slices, in batches, for three min­utes each side, or un­til lightly golden. Re­move from the pan and place on a paper towel.

Whisk the yo­ghurt with the egg yolk un­til com­bined. Line the bases and sides of six 10cm in­di­vid­ual ramekins with the slices of eg­g­plant. Spoon the meat sauce into each ramekin un­til three-quar­ters full then pour the yo­ghurt sauce on top of the meat. Sprin­kle grated cheese over each one, and then bake for 20-25 min­utes, or un­til lightly golden.

Sweet po­tato gnoc­chi

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS: ◗ 400g sweet po­tato (2 small or 1 large) ◗ 185g plain (all-pur­pose) flour, you may need a ta­ble­spoon or two more if the mix­ture is too wet ◗ 1 egg yolk ◗ 25g parme­san cheese, finely grated (op­tional)

METHOD: Pre­heat the oven to 190 de­grees. Line a bak­ing tray with bak­ing paper. Roast the sweet pota­toes (whole) for 50 min­utes, or un­til soft when pierced with a skewer. Re­move from the oven and, once cool, re­move their skins.

Com­bine the cooled sweet po­tato flesh with the flour, egg yolk and parme­san in a mix­ing bowl. Place the dough on a lightly floured work­bench and knead lightly. Di­vide evenly into four balls. Roll each ball gen­tly into a 2cm thick sausage log. Slice the logs evenly into 2cm pieces, press down gen­tly on each with a fork, then set aside.

Cook the gnoc­chi in a large pan of boil­ing wa­ter un­til all of them rise to the sur­face. Drain. Serve with your favourite sauce such as a creamy mush­room sauce (see be­low) or basil pesto.

FOR THE PER­FECT SAUCE: Heat a ta­ble­spoon of olive oil in a fry­ing pan over a medium heat. Add a chopped onion and cook for five min­utes, or un­til translu­cent. Add two crushed gar­lic cloves and cook for a fur­ther minute be­fore adding 200g of sliced but­ton mush­rooms and a small hand­ful of thyme. Cook for five min­utes, or un­til soft­ened. Add 300ml of thin (pour­ing) cream and bring to a gen­tle sim­mer. Re­duce the heat and cook for five min­utes. Stir through finely grated parme­san and serve with the gnoc­chi.

Mini mous­sakas and, right, sweet po­tato gnoc­chi from Amie Harper’s Lit­tle Pip Eats the Colours of the Rain­bow.


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