Thursday, 27 March 2014

FIRST VEGGIES (For Babies 6months +)

Congratulations Mums and Dads!! Your little angel is half way to one... Yay!!This indeed is a very exciting time for parents (and overwhelming at the same time!), as it is an important milestone for your baby. Till this time your little one has been feeding either on breast milk or formula, and now it’s time for your baby to explore something new i.e. solids or food in simple English. So go Mum, get ready with some special bowls (cups are good)and spoons , oh and don’t forget to have some bibs (long ones)and keep some warm face washers hand. It is going to be outrageously messy! With time the sleepless nights are just going to get a little better, and your little angel will be a lot more effective communicator.
When your baby reaches 6 months the iron store that the baby is born with,(key for baby’s overall development),starts to diminish and needs to be replenished from other sources apart from breast milk or formula. Diet has a serious impact on the baby’s brain, immunity and they need the best food to be able to hearing, tasting, talking and doing all other normal activities well in life.
Here are some important nutrients that your baby will need:
Proteins: Available in meat, cheese, egg, pulses (lentils and beans)and grains
Carbohydrate: wholemeal breads, oats, brown rice and potatoes

Fat: Babies under 2 years need certain amount of fat to support their rapidly growing bodies. It plays an important role in their brain development. Fat is present in meat, cheese, egg, wholemilk, and yoghurt. Animal Food tend to contain saturated fat and is more likely to cause high cholesterol and heart diseases. Vegetables (Avocados) and fish contain unsaturated fats and oil, and they have more kilojules as saturated fat but are good for us.
Iron: The first iron rich food that should be introduced to your baby is iron fortified rice cereals. Red Meat and spinach has the highest iron store.
Calcium: Available in dairy, leafy vegetables, tofu.

Potassium: found in vegetables, fruit , grains. Bananas and rockmelons are high in potassium
Vitamins available in green leafy veggies, fruits, milk , cheese, egg etc. Spinach, cauliflower , lettuce, broccoli, are very high in Vitamin K which is essential for normal blood clotting.

Zinc: Available in brown rice, leafy greens, cucumber, carrots to name a few.

Is you baby ready yet ?
  • Your bay might show the following signs if he/she is ready for more than just milk.
  • Your baby might start to show a keen interest what you and everyone else are putting in their mouth.
  • Your baby must be chewing everything in sight specially hands or toys although that could be signs of teething too
  • They might just start demanding feeds more frequently and might wake up hungry at night.
  • Good head and neck control
  • To be able to sit upright.(with some support)

Getting Ready
When you know its time for your baby to start on solids you might want to get organised a bit. It just makes life a bit easy.
Blender: Although we may call them “solids” the consistency of your baby’s first food needs to be mushy rather runny, more that of a thick shake or smoothies. You may choose to mash food with a fork or may be pass it through a sieve, a blender  or a  hand blender will sure make your life much easier. Your baby is still learning to swallow and she will be taking food using her lips and not tongue. Blending will also help to prevent gagging. A flattish small spoon without sharp edges is recommended. Too big your baby is going to gag, too deep they will not be able to get anything off it!

First Veggies (why root vegetables??)
Root Vegetables are the best first food for your little ones. They are naturally sweet and from my extensive research on google I have found that orange fleshy vegetables like pumpkin, carrot and sweet potatoes are very rich in calcium, beta-carotene, potassium, protein iron and Vitamin C. They are very low in calorie and high in fibre too. These veggies are unlikely to cause allergies in infants and blend to a very smoother consistency. 
Start with carrot, pumpkin, sweet potatoes followed by broccolis, potatoes, parsnips, corns and  green peas.
Don’t rush it. Try one food at a time consistently atleast for 10 times. That way you will know what your baby likes and adverse reactions if any. Your baby’s digestive system is still developing so any harsh food is an absolute “no no”. Once your baby is used to rice cereals mix veggies in them. If you do not want to use blender try grating cooked vegetables. Get creative, mix it up. Try combination of veggies and fruits . Don't forget it is all new experience for your little one. When you put the first mouthful your baby will most likely screw up their face, food will be in and spat back  and they may look at you with an expression on their face that may say something like:“ what do you think you are doing and what was that”!! Stay amused. Stressing is not a solution.. trust me..its all part of the game ! and it 's only going to get better. Feed them before they get too hungry and tired, morning is the best time after they have had their normal milk feed. If they refuse to be fed try again later.
1/2 cup carrot peeled and diced
1/2 cup pumpkin peeled and diced

Water to steam or cook.

1.Steaming your vegetables is the best  as it helps to lock in the nutrients. You may use a vegetable steamer and steam in microwave for about 5-6 mins and then blend to a smooth puree adding some left over water from the steamer.
2. Alternatively, In a saucepan take enough water and add the carrot and pumpkin. Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender. Blend them with the left over stock in the saucepan to get a smooth puree.
3.Pressure cooking for atleast 3-4 whistles will do the job as well. You may then blend the vegetables using the left over stock in the pan to a smooth puree.
These  veggies can also be blended using breast milk or formula. Best is to steam them and blend using formula or breastmilk whatever your baby takes.

Other Great Combos:
Pumpkin, sweet potatoes, broccoli
Pumpkin, carrot and apple
Pumpkin, carrot and parsnip.
Green Beans and sweet potatoes
Pumpkin and Potatoes
Carrot and green peas and apricot
Potato, carrot, cauliflower
Avocado and Pumpkin and Sultanas
Broccoli and Potato or Pumpkin
Some Do’s and Dont’s
Do’s : Do give your child meat, fish, cheese, yoghurt, fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh fruit juices rice cereals, grains, pulses, legumes
Don’t : give your child salt, sugar,tea, honey, sugary drinks such as store bought juices, sweet and salty biscuits, chocolates. lollies ,nuts  and the like. It is okay to use cows milk in your baby's food however cows milk is also not recommended as a drink until 12 months.
Sugar is not good for your baby’s teeth and they might develope a sweet tooth once they grow up. Salt is harsh on their tiny liver and kidney which is still growing. Adding salt to your babies diet can lead to serious illnesses including high blood pressure and kidney failure. It is important they enjoy the natural flavours of fruits and vegetables. Honey causes serious illness in some babies too called botulism. Hence it is not recommended until the first year.

Ingredients :
1 teaspoon( a knob ) of unsalted butter or olive oil.
1 cup finely diced vegetables (any combination of onion, carrots, celery potatoes, pumpkin, green peas, broccoli, sweet potatoes)
a small stick of cinnamon.(discard before blending)
11/2 cup chicken stock.(depends on consistency)or just water if you prefer.
( I have used pumpkin, carrot and green peas)
In a pan heat butter and add all the veggies and sauté them for 5 mins. Cover with water or stock and bring to boil. Simmer gently for 15-20 mins until the vegetables have cooked through. Check with a fork.
Turn off heat and blend into a smooth puree or fork mash it.
For a more meaty meal add chicken or beef in the soup. You may blend to a smooth texture or else flake it into thin strings with your hands before serving at about (8 months +) for a combination of texture. Remember your baby can chew even with her gums.

As your baby grows and gets used to variety  try a few variation:

Adding pasta or rice to soups adds body. Add them into soup before the chicken stock or water and cook until done
Use your instincts and watch your baby closely. Try different taste and texture depending on what your baby likes. When your baby has good hand control you may even offer lil bread fingers or steamed vegetable fingers to explore. But never ever take your eyes off them while they are eating in order to avoid choking.

BANANA CUSTARD( 7 months +)

1/2 cup cows milk (full cream) ( or formula)
1 small or 1/2 large ripe banana mashed
a few drops of lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
2 tsp custard powder (use only eggless) / or cornflour

In a saucepan prepare custard using milk, custard powder and cinnamon powder (follow packet instruction)
Once custard is ready, cool custard
Mash the banana with some lemon juice and stir into the custard and serve immediately. Remember to check temperature before serving.

Being a first time mum and managing your baby without much help and support of your immediate family ( like myself) is not only hard it can get quite challenging and stressful at certain moments. But if you look at the positive aspect you are the boss. It feels so nice to share all that I have learnt and experienced over the last three years, and thought might be useful and handy to other mums as well. It is fun to do things differently. My message to all mums out there, be kind to yourself and be proud of yourself. Use your own instinct and do whatever makes you and your baby happy. Always remember, it is only you who knows your baby the best. And most of all enjoy your bubs.. they grow up freaking fast!
And now that you have made it till the end of this post take a  deep breath. I am taking mine, Lol. I hope I have been able to cover all those important aspects that you need to know before your baby is ready to start on solids for the first time. It is just handy to have all useful tips and ideas compiled under one roof to make life easy and simple. If you need any clarification regarding anything related to this post or share any thing in particular that might benefit other mums please feel free to leave a comment here or a message on facebook. I hope to add some more  baby and toddler  friendly recipes in the coming weeks.

The idea and inspiration of todays post is adapted from the book :"The Yummy Scrummy In Your Tummy Cookbook" by Sofie Toomey. For more advice on feeding your baby, your babies dietary needs and concerns please talk to your family health nurse or doctor.

Notes:Any excess puree can be frozen in  an airtight containers suitable for freezing baby food. Always allow the food to cool down before freezing and use within 24 hours. You may defrost and reheat in microwave when needed. Always discard any uneaten purees or food and never ever re-offer it to your baby the second time. The saliva mixed with the food gets contaminated with bacteria and your baby can be seriously ill if fed. I have never frozen baby foods and always preferred to make them fresh in small quatity. For more tips on food safety visit this page


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With deep care
EAT as you LIKE


Sunday, 23 March 2014

KISH MISH KALIA - FISH in RICH RAISIN GRAVY - Flavors of Colonial Kolkata!!

"Poila Baishakh" or the Bengali's New Years day is just around the corner. It is a day celebrated in the Indian state of West Bengal and Bangladesh to mark the beginning of the 1st day of the Bengali Calender. Poila Baisakh falls usually around the 2nd week of April i.e 14th or the 15th of April. "Poila' in bengali meaning first and "Baishakh" is the first month of the Bengali calender and is traditionally greeted as Subho Nababorsho among all Bengalis. In Bangla, 'Shubho'= Happy or Auspicious and Nababorsho is  a  brand New Year. Exchanging sweets and gifts among family and friends, wearing new clothes, seeking blessings from the elderly members in the family are some of the popular customs to bid goodbye to the past and greet the coming year. This is also an auspicious day when traders and shop-owners start their new accounts called "Hal Khata".

Food as usual plays a very vital role. Naboborsho special lunch includes popular Bengali delicacies of fish, meat and rice in addition to different traditional sweets such a payesh,malpua,kalakand,rosogolla to name a few. I am drooling already! Are you ??:D :D

 So, today I will share with you this very special and delectable fish recipe which is an absolute stunner. Kish Mish Macch  which is traditionally a 'Kaliya' - a rich preparation for festive occasion. I tried this recipe few weeks  ago, and saved it thoughtfully to share it just before the onset of this festive season. I am sure most of you are still planning your lunch menu for this special day and if you wish to try out some thing new and different this is one recipe you must try. I can assure you it is sure to impress your loved ones. For all my special readers who are not celebrating the occasion it is still worth trying out this beautiful delicacy from the colonial times. It is super easy and quick.
This recipe is borrowed from Ms Purna Chowdhury who is the founder of a very popular food forum on one of the social networking site. It is my privilege to come across such a vibrant and wonderful group and a lovely personality like hers. Ms Chowdhury was more than happy for me to share this recipe with all of my readers right here. THANK YOU SOO MUCH Purna di for sharing this recipe with all my readers of EAT as you LIKE!
The original recipe called for rohu fish but I have used snapper belly cutlets to make my version of "Kish Mish Maach". You may use any big fresh water fish or sea fish such as Salmon, Snapper etc. whatever available to you. There is no souring agent, red chilli used in the preparation of this dish, garam masala paste and raisin paste impart a very distinct flavour and taste to the gravy. Raisins act as a natural sweetener and with its wholesome goodness this fish curry will be unbelievably popular with the kids. I have followed here recipe to the T excepting a few minor modifications.
Before we take a plunge into the recipe lets see what Ms Chowdhury herself has to say about the KISH MISH MAACH or FISH in RAISIN GRAVY:
"Flavours of Colonial Kolkata- Rui Machher Kishmish Kaliya ( Rohu Kaliya in Raisin Gravy)

Adding dry fruits to traditional Bengali dishes came to Calcutta possibly the Awadhi way, but one rich distinction between East Bengali and the Metropolitan Kolkata cuisine has always been the relative earthiness of the former, its reliance on seeds and grains to create magical flavors, and the extravagance...
of the latter, with its addition of butter, ghee, milk and dry fruits and nuts to embellish the traditional fare. One such lavishness of the 19th - early 20th century Kolkata is 'Rui Machher Kishmish Kaliya', a dish that has become obsolete in a city that has increasingly moved away from regional flavors. Enjoy a historical gourmet delight, or surprise your guests with your retro, decadent touch!In my apprentice days, my mother-in-law had told me Fish kaliyas could also be had with Luchis; I did not believe her then, I do now!"

Ingredients for KISH MISH MAACH:

4 Snapper Belly Cutlets (medium to large)
Mustard Oil : 4-5 tablespoons
Bay leaf: 1-2 small
Cinnamon Stick : 1" (2)
Turmeric powder 1-2 teaspoon or just enough to season the fish cutlets
Salt to taste and extra to season the belly cutlets
Sugar to taste
1''cinnamon, 3-4 green cardamom pods and 3-4 cloves along with 3/4 cup raisins  made to paste with very minimum water ( u may soak the above ingredients in water for a while before making a paste)
2 medium onions grated
1 tablespoon ginger
extra raisins to garnish

Step 1: Smear the belly cutlets with turmeric and salt, set aside.
Step 2: heat oil in a large non stick skillet and lay the fish cutlets in batches and fry until golden.

Step 3: In the same oil add bay leaf, cinnamon stick  and add the grated onions and sauté until golden brown
Step4: Add ginger paste and then sauté until fragrant.
Step 5 : Add the fish steaks now. lay them side by side
Step 6: Add the raisin and garam masala paste , simmer  and cook until the oil separate. At this stage if you need , you may add little water, cover and let the steaks cook in the raisin and garam masala gravy.
Step 7 : Remember the gravy will be thick  and should wrap around the steaks.
Step 8 : Garnish with extra raisins.
Enjoy with steaming rice or Luchi ( deep fried Indian bread)

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With deep care

EAT as you LIKE..


Thursday, 13 March 2014


When it comes to cooking for my little ones I am always on the look out for new ideas. Some thing different in terms of taste and texture. Offering variety to your child helps in developing healthy eating habits. So today's recipe is meat balls made with minced chicken and herbs cooked in delicious creamy raisin tomato and yoghurt gravy. Meat as we all know is an excellent source of protein and iron to satisfy your child's hunger and provide essential nutrients for their healthy growth and development. Eggs are another fabulous source of protein but it can be a cause of serious egg allergies in some children. The below recipe contains egg, so please be mindful of your child's dietary needs or issues if any. In addition to meat, fish and egg, veggies and fruits form a very essential part of your babies diet. Bear in mind that if your child is picky and not a greatest fan of veggies you are not alone. Having said this, there are means and ways of adding vegetables into your little ones diet.
Grating or blending veggies into meat balls, soups or sauces to add to pastas is a brilliant way to sneak and hide some extra goodness. Grated zucchini is barely visible! And so is carrot or broccoli. . The only side effect is your child will not learn to like vegetables. It is very important to remember that every kid may have to try a food ten times at least before they learn to accept it. So try to be consistent by offering variety in terms of taste, texture and striking a balance to do a bit of each, blending, grating and offering some veggies as a whole. This is my experience  that I have gathered and learnt over the last 3 years and it gives me soo much joy to be able to share it with you all today.

Okay, so now over to the recipe.

To make 20  medium meatballs you will need:

500 grams chicken minced
1 medium read onion finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic crushed and finely chopped
1/2 zucchini or carrot grated
1 tablespoon sweet soya sauce
1 egg lightly beaten
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon light soya sauce
some lime juice
seasoning of white pepper
1 cup bread crumbs
2-3 tablespoon of finely chopped coriander or parsley or combination of both.
1/4 cup tasty cheddar or parmesan cheese works great, if you may. ( I did not add cheese this time)
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Canola Oil

(For Adults you may spice it up with some chilli and black pepper!)

Step 1: In a bowl mix mince, garlic, onion, grated veggie, egg, breadcrumbs, sweet soya sauce, tomato paste, lime juice and breadcrumbs. Mix everything together and roll them into balls. In order to get perfect meat balls take some warm water in a bowl , wet your palms each time you roll the them. This will prevent the meat balls from sticking.
Once ready refrigerate, covered with a cling film for about 30 mins. 
Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook meat balls turning 8-9 mins each side for approximately 20 mins or so or until browned. Transfer to a plate. If you are planning to serve the meat balls on their own here you have them ready.

Allow to cool , check temperature before serving. You may serve with their favourite dip or sauce.
These meat balls are great snacking option and  make excellent finger foods for your little bundle at about 8-9 months. I have pan fried them in this recipe as you can see, baking is great too.. specially for young babies. Simply preheat oven to about 180 degrees and slide in the meat balls nicely arranged on a grease proof baking sheet for about 15-20 mins or until they turn golden.
You do not need to add any extra salt or sugar in the recipe. The Meat balls get enough seasoning from the soya sauce and the tomato paste. The chicken stock used in the gravy  will have enough salt that is needed and the raisins are the natural sweeteners. Recently I have learnt (from a very knowledgeable source) that raisins act as cleansers and are excellent for kids. I have also read that raisins are rich and concentrated source of energy, vitamins and minerals such as iron and calcium to name  a few.
To make Korma Curry you will need the following:
1-2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil/or any other cooking oil that you prefer
1 medium red onion grated.
1 teaspoon each of ginger garlic paste
1 teaspoon each of coriander and cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 cup yoghurt
1/4 cup raisins/sultanas made to paste (use chicken stock to make paste)
1/2 cup diced tomatoes /canned.
1/2 cup chicken stock or water.
1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder
coriander of parsley finely chopped to garnish
Step 1:In a large non-stick wok or pan heat oil and add the onion. Fry the onions till they change color .
Step 2: Add ginger, garlic paste. sauté for a few minutes   
Step 3: Add turmeric, coriander, and cumin powder. Again sauté for some more time and add the tomatoes. Keep sauting until the tomatoes change colour absorbs moisture.
Step 4: Add the raisin paste that you made. Cook for some more time add chicken stock. Remember the korma gravy is thick and not runny. Bring to boil and as the sauce start to thicken add the meat balls carefully, give it a gently stir. Simmer and cook with a lid on for about 7-8 mins or until the meat balls are cooked. 
Step5 :Remove lid and stir in the youghurt. Sprinkle garam masala powder and the herbs.
Your meat balls are ready to serve. Serve warm with Rice, Pilaf, or cooked Couscous.Couscous is cooked semolina that you can get in supermarkets, cook as per instruction on the packet. 


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With deep care


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