IT’S the 27th of May and I’ve had the heating on for several hours today. I know Ireland isn’t known for its glorious sunshine but it’s like winter out there, it’s gone beyond a joke at this stage.
Watching The Beast banging his head off the back door this afternoon while dolefully repeating ‘Is still raining Mama, is still raining’ I decided I had better do something with him, so we broke out the baking gear.
As you know, I’m not a baker. I don’t weigh anything, I can’t follow a recipe to save my life and things usually end up like, well, this:
But, I have one ace up my sleeve, one recipe that never fails me, that always turns out lovely, my super dooper, healthy but delicious, cheesy, tasty Baby Led Weaning Cheese and Spinach Muffins.
Baby Led Weaning is a method of weaning distinct from the traditional style, where you wait until baby is 26 weeks to start, then skip entirely the puree/spoonfeeding part of it, and go straight to finger foods. Baby eats what you eat, right from the start. No purees, no blending, no mashing, no food processors, no ice-cube trays of food, no watching your dinner go cold as you feed the little one. You just plonk dinner down on the tray in front of them in the high char, and off they go themselves. It’s a method that worked extraordinarily well for us, in fact both Yer Man and I agree that it is the best parenting decision we’ve made so far. There’s a book that goes along with the method, which also includes some recipes that are suitable for babies and toddlers along with the rest of the family.
Enter the cheese and spinach muffins.
Containing no sugar or added salt, these muffins are packed full of iron and calcium and are a tasty, healthy treat, perfect for little hands to feed themselves. And, if we’re being honest, perfect for Mammy to stuff into her gob while making orgasm noises.
They’re that good.
Well, I like them anyway. Mainly because every time I make them they turn out right. I’ve yet to fuck them up and for me, that’s saying something. Also because you can make them in just a bowl with a spoon, you don’t need a blender or a food processor so there’s less washing up.
So this afternoon I decided ‘cheesy buns’ as The Beast calls them were the only way to go.
What you’ll need:
Spices – the original recipe calls for cayenne pepper but I found that too hot and overpowering, so I use a splash of paprika and a sploosh of chilli powder instead, along with some cracked black pepper. You can add in any spices you like, but these are the ones that generally work best.
Splash of milk
Spinach – I use the frozen stuff, two or three little cubes of it, microwaved and the excess water squeezed out.
Grated cheese. Any kind you like, though generally cheddar works best.
A willing helper.
You’ll notice I haven’t included any quantities above. This is because I don’t really weigh anything, I just kinda throw stuff into the bowl? It’s probably about 150/200g of flour, then however much spice you like and a couple of good handfuls of cheese? You’ll work it out yourself, trust me!
Microwave the spinach, couple of cubes in a bowl with a splash of water, for about two mins. Squeeze out the excess water and set aside.
Put the flour and baking powder in a bowl, then add your spices. Add in an egg and a splash of milk and mix thoroughly.
Add in your spinach and your cheese and mix thoroughly.
Voila! The mixture is now ready. That’s right, ready already, it’s pretty much just mixing.
Put a dessert spoon of mixture into a paper case and repeat. (If you have it, spray one spray of FryLight into each paper case to prevent the muffins sticking, or brush with a little melted butter if you have it.) I get about 12 muffins out of this. I have tried putting the mixture into a loaf tin to make cheesy bread kind of thing? But it wasn’t the same, the mixture tends to work better in individual cases.
Stick into the oven for about 12-15 minutes at about 200 degrees C. They come out warm and fluffy and cheesy.
The only thing with these muffins is that generally they’re only good for about 24 hours, 48 at a push, even in an airtight tin. They’re best really really fresh. So don’t make an enormous batch if you’re not going to eat them fairly sharpish. They do however freeze brilliantly. Just pop them in a freezer bag and then when you want one defrost in the microwave for a minute or two or leave on the counter in the morning, to eat at lunchtime.
Another great thing about this recipe is that little hands can help – shaking in the spices, mixing the flour, adding in the handfuls of cheese, it’s easy enough that babies can really get involved.
And just as a recap, here’s The Beast with a list of the ingredients you’ll need:
So there you have it, cheesy buns for a miserable, grey Irish summer day. Enjoy!
I’VE been taking part in the lovely Bumbles of Rice’s linky challenge this week looking at what real families eat for their dinner every night.
Since The Beast came along we’ve been making an extra effort to cook from scratch and to use fresh ingredients and also to try to include vegetables and fruit at every meal. We did Baby Led Weaning with Seán so he eats what we eat, which is great, as I’m the laziest mother you can imagine.
Anyway! To the dinners!
Monday: we had Cheat’s Pizza. Basically a grilled Mediterranean wrap with pesto, ham and cheese (popped back under the grill to melt the cheese) topped with vine tomatoes and a green leaf salad. Seán didn’t have the tomato and salad but he made up for it by horsing into a banana and half a punnet of blueberries after!
Tuesday: we had turkey burgers, garlic bread and roast vegetables. I made the turkey burgers myself and they’re REALLY easy and tasty. It’s just turkey mince, shaped into patties, dipped in egg and then rolled in breadcrumbs. I add basil and parsley to the breadcrumbs to give them a bit of flavour. Fry then in a little olive oil until they’re cooked through. I served them on some garlic bread and roasted mushroom, courgette, red pepper and tomatoes. Seán also had peas as he’s mad about them.
Wednesday: we had pasta Bolognese. I just bung mince into the pan then add mushroom, peppers and whatever other veg I have going in the fridge, chuck in a tin of tomatoes, some tomato puree, some basil and some garlic (all dried) a spoon of sugar and then let it simmer. Voila! A firm favourite here, it was gobbled up.
Thursday: I went out for dinner with the girls! The Beast and Yer Man fended for themselves while I had Dim Sim to start followed by scallops and prawns in a ginger and soy sauce and apple crumble for dessert. SCRUMPTIOUS!
Friday: The Beast was packed off to his Nana’s with pasta pesto, ham, tomatoes and peas so we had a Tesco Dine in for Two meal. We had a cheese and leek filo pastry yoke, with maple roast vegetables and some mash. Was really yum! We generally don’t eat ready meals as they’re high in salt so we wouldn’t share with Seán and it’s a pain to have to cook separately for him, so we usually only occasionally have junk, when he’s not here.
So there you have it! Our Monday to Friday menu this week. It was a bit of an unusual week as I’m normally not out for dinner and we wouldn’t normally have a ready meal either but if every week was the same, it’d get very boring.
Tell me, what’s your weekly menu like? Head over to Bumbles of Rice to read what everyone else is having for their dinners. Thanks to Sinéad for the idea, it’s been really fun!