Seasonal Meals & Precious Playtime

I’m back at work over 3 months and feel like I’m just getting my head around it all now. We are in a routine that works (most of the time!) and most importantly, Ellen is well settled with her child-minder. It’s very tough being away from her during the day but it makes me treasure the time I have with her in the evening. I read somewhere that you should get down on the floor and play with your baby for at least 15 minutes a day so I make sure to do that every day. It doesn’t sound like a lot but with only 2 hours to spend with her in the evening before she goes to bed, it’s something to aim for in between getting dinner out, bath time and getting ready for bed. I try to keep the tidying up and preparation for the next day until after she goes to bed, and I’ve been wondering what I used to do with my evenings before she came along!

Cooking is not the luxury it used to be – it’s more about getting something on the plate, rather than spending time over new recipes. So our dinners have been fairly plain over the last few months, which actually makes it easier to give Ellen a portion of what we are eating. But I’m gradually getting back to experimenting with new dishes again.

I love this time of year as the ingredients in season are perfect for one-pot Winter warming meals. You’ve probably seen the seasonal produce on offer in the supermarket – carrots, parsnips, butternut squash, and turnip. These are all delicious when they are chopped and added to a stew and slow cooked. Or you can steam or boil them and mash to serve as a side dish. They’re great for the freezer too if you can’t face eating mashed turnip for a week at a time!

Kale is another vegetable in season at the moment. It has grown in popularity in recent years and is used a lot in smoothies and salads. I had a bag of kale in the fridge this week and decided that rather than just steaming it, I would do something different. So I made the ultimate comfort food – Colcannon. It’s basically mashed potato with cabbage mixed through it! You can use any cabbage and even if you don’t like kale or cabbage, I guarantee you will love Colcannon. Try it (recipe below)!

Delicious served with any meat or fish – try salmon fillets or lean pork chops grilled with wholegrain mustard. This is suitable for all the family. Just adjust to the right consistency for your baby.


Ingredients

4 large rooster potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks 1 bag kale, washed 100ml low-fat milk Freshly ground black pepper 1 tsp rapeseed oil

Method

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to the boil and cook until tender (about 20 minutes).  Drain and mash the potatoes.   Meanwhile add the rapeseed oil to a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat.  Add the kale to the pan.  It will seem like a lot but it will wilt quickly.  Stir fry the kale for about 5 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly and chop the kale roughly on a chopping board.   Warm the milk slightly.  Add the milk, kale and black pepper to the mashed potatoes.  Mix well and serve hot.