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Tomato Free Vegetable Curry

This is a lovely creamy mild curry to offer babies and toddlers. I find it strange that we expect babies to start off with plain flavourless food, when actually I found Miles’ favourite meals were usually crammed with garlic and spices. Using spices and herbs means you can make food taste awesome without needing to use so much salt… so it’s easier to share a meal with your littlest ones.

The recipe makes an absolute mountain of food. I work part time, so this is something we will freeze and have later on in the week. We managed to make this stretch to 6 adult meals with 3 toddler portions. It’s also a tomato free recipe, as Miles has an allergy.

I have listed the spices I used in the curry. It really does make a difference to mix the individual spices, but if you have a ready made paste/blend then you could use that instead.

1 tsp brown mustard seeds

1tsp fenugreek seeds

2 tsps ground coriander

2 tsps turmeric

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1 fresh deseeded chilli

4 garlic cloves finely chopped

2 onions finely chopped

500g sweet potatoes peeled and cut into chunks

100g new potatoes cut in half

1 large carrot peeled and cut into chunks

bag of spinach, chopped

1 tin of butter beans

handful of trimmed green beans

1 tin of coconut milk

1. Chuck the fenugreek and mustard seeds in a dry hot pan and roast until you can smell them, maybe 30 seconds. Tip them into a pestle and mortar with the other spices and give them a bash. If you are using your own curry blend/paste skip to number 2.

2. Fry the onion until soft, then add the spices, garlic and chilli. Cook for about a minute.

3. Add the sweet potato, new potatoes and carrots and stir to coat in the spices.

4. Only just cover the mixture with water. Add the butter beans, along with the water from the can.

5. Leave on a medium heat. After 20 minutes add the green beans. Cook until all the vegetables are soft.

6. Add the tin of coconut milk and spinach to wilt at the very end.

Eating curry - somehow hilarious

Eating curry – somehow hilarious

We served it with naan breads which Miles used to dip into the sauce. We happened to have to carrots and new potatoes which needed to be used up so they were chucked in, really any vegetables would work. Miles is pretty awesome at using a fork and spoon, but a younger baby would have no problem in grabbing the big bits of potato, and the green beans. You could also use less liquid to make it thicker and more like a soup to dip.


Arndale Market Foodhall

We went into Manchester today for a nosey around the Christmas markets. It was lovely to get out of Glossop for the day, and Miles really enjoyed how busy it was, and spent most of the day waving at people in the crowds. We shared a waffle with nutella in the market, but needed to nip in somewhere for a proper lunch, and to warm up!

Me and my husband lived in Manchester city centre before Miles was born, and loved the Arndale market foodhall. There are a few new stalls, but apart from that was the same.

enjoying sitting on his own chair.

enjoying sitting on his own chair.

The food… There was loads of choice. You can find sandwiches, noodles, Greek food, Indian food, pizza, Mexican food, pastries… you get the idea. It’s so much nicer than the main food hall. I had some Greek meze  and Little Dudes Dad had enchiladas from Panchos Burrito’s. Miles had some of both, lucky boy! He loved the stuffed vine leaves and butter beans from my meze, and the meat in the enchiladas was slow cooked and really easy to eat.

The highchairs… We couldn’t find any! The little dude is 14 months old now (how on earth did that happen?!) and doesn’t mind sitting on his own chair. My meze came in a plastic carton, and he used the lid as a plate. He also had ago with some plastic forks and spoons.

Would I go again… Without a doubt. Reasonably priced, loads of choice, never too busy and the Arndale changing rooms are good. So a big thumbs up from us. 🙂

Mexican Breakfast

I always try and make a little bit more of an effort for weekend breakfasts, just because I can! The weekend is the only time we can eat breakfast together as a family. We are trying to be pretty frugal at the moment, so this was a great breakfast which used up things which were looking a little sorry for themselves.  This served 2 adults and a little person.

2 Large tortillas

A generous handful of grated cheese

Half a diced pepper Half a pepper just happened to be lurking in the fridge. A finely chopped spring onion would work well too.

4 slices of chorizo, chopped By which I mean sandwich chorizo. You could also use diced ham, or cooked bacon.

a sprinkling of paprika to try and Mexican the whole affair up a bit.

5 eggs

  1. Put the eggs on the hob to scramble with a splash of milk.
  2. Brush the tortillas with olive oil on one side. Sprinkle this side generously with grated cheese,  diced pepper and finally a flurry of paprika.
  3. Grill until the cheese has melted.
  4. Spoon the scrambled eggs over the top and serve. We added some dried chilli flakes to our serving.

Other ingredients which would work well would be sweetcorn, avocado, tomatoes, roasted peppers or beans (not of the heinz variety!). The eggs could be poached or fried, but I think scrambled works best for the little dude. The rest of the tortillas in the pack can be used for quesadillas, wraps at lunch or maybe a burrito for tea.

This is tasty mama!

Miles really enjoyed taking it apart, and eating the egg separately, and picking up the tiny pieces of pepper.  He likes to have a go at using his fork now, and the egg was nice and soft and easy to spear.

And then an apple for dessert!

Manchester Art Gallery

Apologies for my rubbishness with this blog! I am finding it really hard to find time to write anything at all. I’ve also felt quite uninspired, as I feel we’ve come to the end of the weaning journey. It’s not weaning any more, it’s just eating! I don’t feel I have to adapt our meals very much at all. Although we are trying to introduce cutlery at the moment, with mixed success, so I might write about that soon.

Miles has been unwell for the last few days, so is snuggled up on the sofa next to me, so thought I’d write a quick review while he is snoozing.

The food... There is a separate kids menu that was pretty good. We went for the salmon fish fingers with chips and peas. . The fish was really great quality, and he had great fun picking up the peas from a little bowl.

The highchair… It was a wooden chair without a tray. Lovely and clean, and there was quite a few which I could see. As always, I can’t give full marks unless it is an ikea antilop.

The staff… A problem we sometimes have when eating out is that his food is brought out piping hot, and he doesn’t have the patience to let it cool. So me and little dudes dad have to do the blowing on food until it cools down routine. Little dudes Dad asked if they could wait until it was a little cool before bringing it out. The staff were absolutely great about, and didn’t look at us like we were nutters.

The gallery… well it’s super in there isn’t it?! The Clore gallery on the first floor is designed with children in mind. Lot’s of space to run around, and things to do at child level. We sat making a city scape out of perspex tubes for ages.

Would I go again? Yes I would. The restaurant is lovely and big, with plenty of room for loads of prams. The changing facilities are some of the best in the city centre.
I forgot to take a camera, like the fool that I am, so here is a photo of Miles eating his birthday breakfast 🙂

Birthday breakfasts rule!

Chicken in Coconut Milk

This is a recipe adapted from Clarissa Dickson Wright’s one pot recipe book, Potty. I’ve turned it into a soup… It’s so flavoursome you won’t need to add any salt at all.

As much chicken as you want – I used 3 chicken thighs ad 3 drumsticks, and it fed 2 and a half with a portion left over. I urge you to use chicken on the bone! It stays more juicy, which makes it easier to eat for little ‘uns.

A tin of coconut milk

2 chopped onions

1 deseeded green chilli (Miles likes mildly spicy food, but you know your own baby! So put in as much or as little as you like)

2 garlic cloves, crushed

A generous pinch of turmeric

A thumb size piece of ginger, chopped

2 tsp of ground coriander

1 tbsp of peanut butter

2 Kaffir lime leaves (we already had these lingering in the cupboard. If you don’t have them, just some lime zest will do)

2 lemongrass stalks, sliced

  1. Chuck the onion, garlic, ginger, peanut butter, spices, lemongrass and chilli in a food processor with a little of the coconut milk. Whizz to a paste. Then pour in the remaining coconut milk and give it another whizz.
  2. Put the chicken in a big old pot, and pour over the coconut milk mixture. Bring gently to the boil, and allow to simmer uncovered until the chicken is cooked. – I haven’t specified a time because it depends on the enormity of your chicken pieces! We had some huge thighs and it took about 25 minutes. Use your noggin and test the chicken at its thickest part after about 15 minutes.
  3. When the chicken is cooked, take out of the milk and allow the liquid to bubble away and thicken slightly. Meanwhile take the meat off the bone.
  4. Add the meat back to the pan just before serving.

lovely stuff!

For Miles we served this with sticky rice and green veg. He liked the chicken because it was so tender, and really enjoyed trying to pick up individual rice grains.

You could make this vegetarian by substituting the chicken with sweet potato.



Giraffe at Spinningfields Manchester

I’ve heard a lot of great things about Giraffe, so when we found ourselves hungry and on Deansgate we gave it a whirl.

mmm, what shall we have?

The Food… I ordered the mexican breakfast. Scrambled egg, chorizo, black beans, sweetcorn, avocado, salsa and manchego cheese on a tortilla. And it was pretty tasty! I was especially impressed with the scrambled eggs. They are so easy to get right, but so easy to get wrong! They were beautifully soft, and not rubbery at all. Slightly disappointed the chorizo was sliced sandwich style chorizo and not big chunks of chorizo sausage. Put I’m just being picky 😉
Little Dudes Dad had half a rack of ribs. The meat was falling off the bone! I wouldn’t have thought about ribs for Miles, but the meat was so tender he loved it. I might try ribs when we get home.

We ordered from the kids menu for Miles. He’s getting so efficient at eating. If all his lunch came from our plates, then there would be nothing left for us! We chose a beefburger with chips for £4.25. He really liked the burger, but found it a bit tough. It didn’t stop him having a good go and sucking out the juices though! He also had some of my scrambled egg and avocado and Marks ribs. I’d have liked to have seen some more veggies in the kids meals, and maybe some fruity desserts?

2 soft drinks, 2 meals and a kid’s meal came to £27, which I thought was just reasonable.

Mama and Milesy eating

Highchairs… Wooden with no tray. They were a good height and he sat right up to the table. I always prefer a tray at the moment, so he doesn’t have to eat off the table. I can’t trust him eating from a porcelain plate just yet!

Howdy everyone!

Staff… Efficient! Our food came quite quickly, and everyone was nice. Miles was waving at people (as normal), and one of the bar staff came over and gave him a little plastic giraffe, which was cute.

Would I go again? I would. But there are so many other places around I haven’t tried in Manchester! So not for a while.

National Football Museum

Little dudes dad was itching to go ever since he heard it was opening in Manchester. I wanted to go to, as I love the Urbis building.

Food… There wasn’t alot of choice, just sandwiches really. I had a cheese and ham, and the ham was pretty nice. I gave a little to Miles, but I was please he had a packed lunch with him.

Highchairs… Now I don’t expect the red carpet rolled out for me wherever we go, but I was a little disappointed. There were no highchairs out, and when I asked for one: “Oo I think we might have ONE, I’ll go and find it”. So the solitary highchair was brought out. It was pretty filthy, but OK after a wetwipe wipe. It was a wooden one, with a strap between the legs and Miles was pretty happy in it.

hello everyone!

The Museum… It is set over 4 floors, we foolishly started at the top. When we wanted to go down to the next level we had a very long wait for the lift. So long that we just carried the stroller down the stairs. We visited on the 2nd week it was opened so I’m hoping it has been ironed out now.

There is a super children’s area on the 2nd floor. There is a soft area just for babies, and one for older children. Lots of tables and chairs with colouring activities. Miles really enjoyed standing up infront of the full length mirror near the fancy dress costumes.

Milesy and Daddy

playing with scarfs in the baby area.

would I go back again? Yes I would! Not for the food, but it was a good free day out. I think next time we go we’ll give the cafe a miss. You could always take a picnic if it’s a nice day and sit out on the green near Urbis.