Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese is a staple in virtually every home, and I’m sure it’s especially so for people with kids. It’s super easy to make and my girls absolutely love it, so it’s an almost weekly feature on our dinner menu.

We’ve all got that good old faithful family recipe that we’ve perfected over the years, but I thought I’d share mine for those seeking a bit of inspiration. It’s really simple but so delicious, and so perfect for the busy mom.

spaghetti bologneseIngredients

500g pack of lean mince
1 large chopped onion
Olive oil
2 tins chopped tomatoes (adding two tins makes it extra yummy and stretches it much further)
Small pack of tomato puree (can also use ketchup)
2 large carrots
15ml dried Italian herbs mix or dried origanum and basil
Salt and pepper to season
Garlic
Half glass of red wine (optional)
Dried spaghetti (how much you need depends on size of your family)

Method

Heat a good dollop of olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot.

Sautee the chopped onion in the olive oil until translucent, then add the mince to brown.

Once the mince is browned, add the herbs, plus salt and pepper to taste.

I usually then chuck in the grated carrots and cook for a few minutes before adding the tinned tomato and tomato puree. Once this comes to a nice simmer, I add crushed garlic (usually about three cloves – we like it garlicky!).

Turn the heat down and allow to cook slowly for at least 40 minutes, until everything is cooked through.

An option for a bit of extra flavor is half a glass of red wine. (I stopped adding this when we had kids, but there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the glass while you cook – in fact I highly recommend pouring yourself a nice glass of wine while cooking!)

While the Bolognese sauce is simmering, boil the spaghetti in a big pot of water with a pinch of salt until el dente.

Then serve up and enjoy!

P.S – It’s also yummy with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese (or any hard cheese of your choice – my kids like cheddar).

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Fairy cupcakes

These delicious cupcakes are my no-fail, go-to recipe for any occasion. Cupcakes are great as they’re so diverse and you can change the flavours and colours to suit any theme. I mean, who doesn’t love a good cupcake?!

I made them a while back for my twins’ spring picnic birthday party and they were a big hit.

The recipe comes from some ancient recipe book of my mother’s from the 60s – but cupcakes never get old, they just continue to be yummy!

cupcakes

Ingredients for cupcakes

½ cup (120g) butter

¾ cup (180g) sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

1¾ cup (210g) flour

2 eggs

2 teaspoon baking powder

¼ to 1/3 cup milk

½ teaspoon vanilla essence

Method

Cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla essence.

Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the butter and sugar mixture alternatively with the milk.

Half fill cup cake cases with the mixture.

Bake on 180 degrees C for 15 to 20 minutes. (Make sure the rack is not too low as it’s easy to burn the bottom if left too long). All ovens vary so it’s worth testing it out first with a small batch.

Ingredients for icing

100g butter

200g icing sugar

10-15ml milk

1ml vanilla essence

Optional for a different flavour – add 1ml of almond essence

Optional – food colouring

Method

Mix the butter and icing sugar together, adding the milk and vanilla essence slowly to ensure the right consistency.

Ice and decorate the cupcakes as you wish, sit back to admire your work, and then gobble them up!

Book Review: Annabel Karmel’s New Complete Toddler and Meal Planner

20160531_140249When my girls started solids I really needed some inspiration for mealtimes, and it came in the form of this wonderful book: Annabel Karmel’s New Complete Toddler and Meal Planner.

The book covers feeding from first stage weaning for babies through to feeding toddlers, and provides great recipes and meal plans in all the main food groups. It’s easy to use and full of bright colours and illustrations, which make for a pleasant read.

I found some great recipes in here, with some of my girl’s favourites being the chicken and apple balls and the cocktail meatballs with tomato sauce.

I can highly recommend this book for anyone needing inspiration when it comes to feeding their babies or toddlers, and especially for those just starting out with solids.

I’ve been fortunate in that neither of my girls have been particularly fussy eaters and they love their proteins and veggies, but lately they have been a bit more picky about what they eat. I’m hoping it’s just the latest teething episode that has caused this, but I think perhaps it’s time to open Annabel’s book up again to get some ideas. First on the list I’m going to try Mummy’s Favourite Fish Pie.