A hearty, warming and richly-flavoured gnocchi.
This is a seriously substantial meal. If you can get fresh wild mushrooms, this will make a huge difference. But don’t worry if you can’t – it will still be worth all the cooking!
This recipe is adapted from the new cookbook by the founder of Planet Organic, Renée Elliott – Me, You & the Kids Too. Gwyneth Paltrow says, ʻRenée Elliottʼs cookbook is a kitchen essential for new moms and for those who need a little inspiration on how to feed the entire family. The delicious recipes cover babies, toddlers, kids and adults – and each meal is simple and healthy for everyone.ʼ
This book is very dear to my heart. I worked on it with Renée when I came back to work, after my maternity leave. I was working full-time (stressed and tired!) but knew that I wanted to cook nutritious food for Zoë, Peter and I. But I found that I was focussing on lovely purées for Zoë and then too tired to rustle much up for us. Renée’s innovative idea for cooking for a family made total sense to me – and she taught me to think of recipes that I could make for us and then make a purée for Zoë from. Brilliant! And here, at last, is the book I wish I’d had in my hands back then! Cook up Herb-Crusted Fish, for example, in just 30 minutes from start to finish. While you’re preparing the main dish, you can follow the mini-variation recipes to make a Salmon with Broad Beans & Sweet Potato Purée version for your 6–9-month-old or a Herby Salmon with Broad Beans & Sweet Potato Purée for your 9–12-month-old. In this book you’ll find recipes for all situations, including quick breakfasts and lunches for everyone, indulgent, romantic dinners (yep!) to have with your partner after you’ve fed your little angels, bathed them and read them their favourite stories, and meals you can cook for friends when you actually get your social life back!
What’s more, these recipes are bursting with goodness. Renée is all about adding nutrition whenever you can. So you’ll find inspiration for those health food products you’ve never known what to do with, as well as ways to make things like chocolate brownies actually healthy. In this recipe, you use super-healthy sardines instead of the more usual salmon/cod. Sardines are hard to get little ones to eat as they taste fairly strong but made this way, you’ll be able to. (Zoë won’t eat fresh or tinned sardines but she loves making these (hence the less-than-perfectly-shaped fishcakes in the picture!) and will then gobble them up.) Sardines, like all oily fish, are full of omega-3 so they’re wonderfully good for boosting brain development. And, of course, they’re a great storecupboard ingredient so you can whip these up with minimum hassle.
I changed the breadcrumbs to gluten-free breadcrumbs (which you can make very easily by putting some bread – crusts and all – into your food processor and whizzing a little).
Serves: 2 adults, 1 kid and a baby Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 30 minutes
- 400g/14oz potatoes, diced
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 180g/6¼oz tinned sardines in oil or water, drained
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 3 tbsp chopped parsley leaves
- 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
- a large pinch of cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 75g/2½oz/¾ cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for frying if needed
- lemon wedges, to serve
- salad, to serve
- Put the potatoes in a steamer and steam, covered, for 10 minutes
or until soft. Transfer to a large bowl and mash coarsely.
- Mash the sardines with a fork in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs, onion, mustard, parsley, lemon zest, cayenne pepper, salt and breadcrumbs and mix well. Add to the mashed potatoes and mix until well combined. Using your hands, divide the mixture into 10 equal pieces and shape each one into a fishcake.
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan over a medium-low heat. Working in batches, carefully add the fishcakes to the pan and cook for 3 minutes on each side until browned and heated through. Repeat with the remaining fishcakes, adding more oil to the pan as needed. Serve warm with lemon wedges and salad.
- Sardine Purée variation for a 6–9 month old baby
Put 4 of the sardines and 3 tablespoons water in a blender. Blend for 30 seconds, adding extra water 1 teaspoon at a time, until smooth. Serve warm.
- Sardine, Onion & Parsley Mix variation for a 9–12 month old baby
Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a low heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the onion and cook for 10 minutes until completely soft. Transfer to a blender and add 4 of the sardines, 1 teaspoon of the parsley and 3 tablespoons water. Pulse for 15 seconds, adding extra water 1 teaspoon at a time, until the mixture forms a lumpy purée. Serve warm.
Onto week 2 of the 4-week Cleanse 28 from Arise & Shine – the Gentle Phase… Week 1 – the Mild Phase – has been easier than I anticipated (although I’m conscious that it’s referred to as Baby steps by the company!) I started getting some cleansing reactions on day 4, but they have been mild – just some slight dizziness and nausea. I’ve also been waking early and finding it hard to go back to sleep again (so I am getting tired) which feels like it’s due to feeling hungry at that time of the early morning. And I’ve been experiencing some emotional cleansing, too – with some outburst of tears! But, apart from that, so far, so good. I’ve lost over 3kg in weight, my skin is looking clearer and I feel more vibrant and clearer-headed.
The hunger aspect of this detox is proving to be fascinating. Generally I eat heartily – not masses, but certainly full plates of food. I’ve never been one of those people who has gone on starvation-style diets to lose weight, and I don’t usually skip meals as I feel too hungry if I do. I normally eat healthily, but I don’t pay particular attention to calories. I won’t eat loads of sweet food and I won’t eat junk food – because they’re unhealthy – but I don’t particularly restrict the amount I eat.
Just before I started this detox I decided that I wasn’t going to let fear of hunger become an issue during the program. I decided that I was simply going to see how I get on. And so far it feels like it’s not an issue. Certainly I don’t feel full at the end of a meal in the way I normally do, and certainly I am feeling hungry throughout the day and night. But I’m eating large platefuls of veggies and fruit and it’s proving to be enough – and I’m finding that I’m not dwelling on it as a problem. In fact, I’m even finding it ok to make Zoe’s meals and sit happily with her as she eats them. Phew!
During the week I’ve had fresh juices and some soaked nuts in the mornings and often salads at lunch (as this is much easier at work.) In the evenings I’ve either had steamed veggies (wow, steamed broccoli tastes good!) or quinoa with different types of veggies, either steamed or raw. I’ve also been making the Alkalizing Vegetable Mineral Broth from the Arise & Shine Sample Menus in the Program Guide, and this tastes really good.
Arise & Shine Alkalizing Vegetable Mineral Broth (made with organic ingredients) – often also known as Potassium Broth
The recipe below is for a simple version. You can spice it up with a dash, or more, of cayenne pepper or raw apple cider vinegar. Fresh or dried herbs such as parsley, oregano or thyme, or any salt-free, msg-free herbal seasoning blend can be added for extra flavour. And truly, any organically-grown vegetable can be added to the broth.
- 3–4 unpeeled potatoes of any variety, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3–4 celery stalks, thinly sliced
- 1–2 carrots, thinly sliced
- 1 large handful of greens, such as kale or chard (I can’t get either at the moment, so I’ve been using cabbage)
- 1 sweet potato or yam, diced (optional)
- Put all the ingredients in a very large, heavy-based saucepan. Pour in 3.4 litres/3 quarts/generous 13½ cups bottled or distilled water. Cover with a lid and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Turn the heat down to gentle and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Strain all the liquid through a sieve, discard the veggies and drink the broth either warm or cold.