Falafel burgers

More falafel than burger, these are a delicious served in toasted pitta bread with salsa and salad. There are lots of herbs and spices in this recipe, and the usual Little Chefs rule applies - if you don’t like it, don’t put it in!

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Ingredients (serves 2, making 4 small patties in total)

 

1 x 400g can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and dried with paper

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

A small handful of flat-leaf parsley

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

0.5 tsp chilli powder

2 tbsp plain flour

2 tbsp sunflower oil

1 small red onion, roughly chopped

Preparation

Pat the chickpeas dry with paper 

To serve

Toasted Pitta bread

Tomato salsa

Cucumber, Salad leaves

Method

1) Mash the chickpeas up in your bowl and mix with the onion, garlic, parsley, spices, flour and a little salt.

2) When your mixture is fairly smooth, shape into a pattie with your hands.

3) Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, add the burgers, then quickly fry for 3 mins on each side until lightly golden. Serve with toasted pittas, tomato salsa and a green salad.

Mozarella stuffed risotto balls (Arancini)

Our Little Chefs loved these, and what’s not to love - rice in a crispy ball with gooey cheese in the middle, yum! A great way to use up left over risotto or make it from scratch, starting a couple of hours before you want to eat as you want the rice to get cool and sticky.

Ingredients (makes 8 balls, enough for 2-3 for lunch)

  • 2 cups cooked risotto (made from 1 cup arborio rice as below)

  • 75g of mozzarella cut into 8 small cubes

  • 1 cup plain flour on a plate

  • 1 egg beaten on a plate

  • 1 egg, beaten in a cup

  • 1 cup dried breadcrumbs on a plate

  • Rice Bran oil, for frying

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Preparation (this takes 30 mins and needs to cool so start between one to three hours before you need it)

Cook the risotto: Make up 3 cups of hot stock using Swiss bouillon powder. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in the pan, add half an onion, finely chopped and 1 clove finely chopped garlic and cook 2-3 mins, then add the rice and stir well. Add the hot vegetable stock one cup at a time, adding as it is absorbed (this will take about 25 mins). When it is cooked it will be tender but firm. Leave the risotto to cool for at least 30 mins so it gets sticky for rolling.

Method

1) Stir the beaten egg from the cup into the risotto.

2) Now get a tablespoon of risotto and flatten it into the palm of your hand. Place one cube of mozzarella in the centre of the risotto and close the rice around the cube, shaping it into a ball.

3) Roll the risotto ball in the flour, egg then breadcrumbs. Set it on a piece of baking paper until you're ready to fry all your risotto balls.

4) Once you have made all of your balls, heat the rice bran oil in a deep frypan on the stove. When the oil is hot and ready (a wooden spoon should 'bubble' when placed in the oil) fry your arancini balls in single layer batches until they are golden brown.

5) Drain the arancini balls on paper towels.

6) Serve warm with tomato sauce, basil leaves and salad.

Mini Pizza Quiches

These are great for a light lunch and would work well in a picnic too. We’re not sure why they are called Pizza quiches as there’s no cheese in the recipe but you could easily add a bit of grated cheddar or feta to make them more pizza-ish. Delish.

Ingredients (makes 9 mini quiches)

3 x Large Tortilla Wraps 

4 x large free range eggs

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A handful of fresh or roasted red peppers, chopped (from a jar)

4 x cherry tomatoes, halved

Basil leaves

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 180C

To serve

Cherry tomatoes, cucumber & carrot sticks

Method

1)    Using a small bowl (about 12cm diameter) as a cutter, cut 3 circles from each tortilla wrap.

2)    Push the tortilla circles into the holes of a muffin the tin

3)    Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk with a fork.

4)    Pour egg into each tortilla until it is all used up

5)    Top it with pepper, half a cherry tomato and a basil leaf

6)    Bake for 15 minutes until the egg is set.

Colourful Pasta Bake (Gluten Free!)

We have yet to meet a child that doesn’t like pasta! This yummy bake is gluten free and meat free but easily edited to your taste. The idea is to layer it up with sauce and cheese - your little one will love helping spread, dollop and sprinkle this dish together with you.

Ingredients (enough for 4 children)

  • 8 serving spoons of cooked mixed pasta (which is about 4 large handfuls of dried pasta. We use Napolina Red Lentil, green Pea and Chickpea gluten free pastas)

  • I large jar of tomato pasta sauce

  • 400g Vegetarian mince (we used The Meatless Farm meat free mince)

  • 8 thin slices cheddar cheese

  • 140g sour cream

  • 4 cups grated mozzarella cheese

  • 1 small bowl of parmesan

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Prep

  • Cook all the pasta together to Al dente (so boil for just 5 mins), drain

  • Chop and brown 1 onion in a deep frying pan, then brown the mince and add a jar of pasta sauce, simmer for 15 mins.

  • Preheat oven to 180c.

To serve

  • Salad, Cucumber & Cherry Tomatoes

  • Garlic Bread

Method

1) Put half the pasta in a large ovenproof gratin style dish and spread it out evenly. Lay the cheddar cheese slices on top of your pasta.

2)Dollop the sour cream over that and spread it out evenly with the back of the spoon

3) Dollop on half of the sauce and spread it out

4) Add another layer of pasta, then sprinkle over the mozzarella cheese

5) Add the rest of the sauce and top with grated parmesan

6) Bake in the oven until all the cheeses are melted.

Cheesy Gnocchi

A cross between pasta and potatoes, these Italian dumplings are fun and messy to make. Delicious with pesto or your favourite pasta sauce. It was a one-hit wonder at Little Chefs who are still scraping the dough off the chairs!

Ingredients (serves 4)

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  • 8 large baked potatoes, cut in half

  • 2 free range eggs

  • 300g plain flour

  • 4 tbsp finely grated cheese (a mix of parmesan and cheddar)

Preparation

  • Bake the potatoes for 1.5 hours and leave to cool before handling

To serve

  • Fresh pesto

  • Cucumber batons

  • Cherry tomatoes

Method

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  1. Scoop out the flesh of the potatoes into the bowl

  2. Mash the potato with a fork until it is smooth

  3. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk with a fork

  4. Put the egg into the potato mixture. Add the flour, grated cheese, then mix together until you have a smooth dough. If it’s too sticky, add more flour. It should feel a bit like play dough.

  5. Divide the dough into 4 balls and on a lightly floured surface roll the dough into long sausages.  Next cut with a knife this into 2cm pieces.

  6. Press each gnocchi with a fork to make a ridged pattern (this helps them to cook and also helps the sauce stick to them).

  7. Bring a large pan of water to the boil with a pinch of salt. Cook about 10 gnocchi at a time, gently lowering them into the water with a sieve or slotted spoon for about 30 second. When it is ready the gnocchi will rise to the surface of the water..

  8. Remove the gnocchi and put into a warmed bowl. To serve, stir in fresh pesto or other pasta sauce. Serve with cucumber and cherry tomatoes.  

Beany Burgers

This vegetarian recipe is surprisingly easy, and who doesn’t like a burger? Definitely best served with tatziki (yoghurt with herbs - a healthy alternative to ketchup!)

Ingredients (Serves 4, makes 8 small burgers)

  • 50g toasted pine nuts

  • 1.5 cans borlotti beans

  • 1.5 red onion finely chopped

  • 4 tbsp sundried tomato paste

  • 150g fresh breadcrumbs

  • fresh thyme leaves (about a quarter of a pack)

  • 2 eggs, whisked (or Olive oil)

To serve

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  • 4 Pitta Breads

  • Tatziki

  • Salad

  • Sweet Potato Fries

Preparation

  • Chop the onion

  • Bake sweet potato fries in oven

  • Prepare the salad

  • Halve and split the pitta breads

Method

1.    Put the borlotti beans into a large bowl and mash well with a potato masher or fork. Add the pine nuts, onion, tomato paste, half the breadcrumbs, the thyme and egg (or olive oil). Season to taste, then gently mix together until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

2.    With slightly wet hands, shape the mixture into 2 burgers. Coat the outside of each burger with the remaining breadcrumbs.

3.    To cook the burgers: heat a thin layer of sunflower oil in a large frying pan and fry for 3-4 mins each side until golden. Drain on kitchen paper, then serve in pitta breads with tzatziki, salad and sweet potato fries. Yum.

Haddock Puffs

Haddock Puffs (otherwise known as fish parcels) has got to be one of our all-time Little Chefs favourites, so we usually do it at least once a term. It’s so easy and yummy, you can do it at home with any kind of cooked fish, or just broccoli or spinach if you’re not a fish fan. One of our regulars, Kerry, even made it at home with shredded chicken and mayo and said it was soooo good!

Ingredients (serves 4, makes 4 puffs)

  • 4 small fillets smoked haddock
  • 1 big handful of watercress (washed & dried)
  • 4 tbsp crème fraiche
  • 1 roll puff pastry divided into 4 (wide) strips
  • Milk for brushing
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To serve

  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Carrot sticks
  • Cooked Broccoli

Preparation

  • Cook the haddock (poach or microwave)
  • Cook the broccoli
  • Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper
  • Preheat oven to 220C/425F/Gas 8.

Method

  1. Cut your haddock fillet with scissors into bite size pieces. 
  2. Add 1 tbsp crème fraiche to the fish and mix
  3. Tear off the watercress leaves and add them to the mixture, stirring it all together.
  4. Lay the pastry rectangle in front of you, with the short edge nearest you. Spoon the mixture onto the bottom half of the pastry, leaving a 1cm gap around the edge. 
  5. Brush the edges with a little milk then fold the top half of the pastry over the mixture, then press the edges down together. Put two slits in the top (to let the steam out) and brush it with a bit more milk.
  6. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper, and bake for 25-30 mins until the pastry has turned golden brown. 
  7. Serve with steamed broccoli and cherry tomatoes.   
     

Tortilla Nests

Easy but high impact, this is a good store-cupboard recipe to throw together for a lunch or midweek supper. We used vegetarian mince with ratatouille but you could even make it with left-over chilli or bolognese. Thumbs up all round! 

Ingredients (serves 4)

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  • olive oil, for greasing
  • 4 large flour tortillas
  • around 175g cooked beef mince or soy mince
  • 1 can cooked kidney beans
  • 1 can tinned ratatouille
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 60g/2 oz cheddar, grated

To serve

  • cooked rice
  • salad
  • cucumber batons
  • sour cream

Preparation

  • Preheat the oven at 180C/350F/Gas 4
  • Grease the holes of one or two muffin trays (or do it in two batches – you’ll need 16 holes in total)

Method

  1. Fold the tortilla wrap into four then cut along the folds with scissors so you have 4 quarters. Press each quarter of the wrap into each muffin hole.
  2. Mix the mince, kidney beans, ratatouille and paprika together in a bowl.
  3. Divide the mixture between the wraps in the muffin holes (don’t worry if the wraps overlap) Sprinkle over the cheese. 
  4. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Chicken Spring Rolls

Spring rolls have become a firm favourite with our little chefs and the grown ups who come with them to the group. We always get comments on how simple this recipe is and it’s easy to adapt to your own tastes. We’ve tried a few different options for fillings and this has been the most popular combination so far. The usual Little Chefs rule applies – if you don’t like it, don’t put it in! 

Ingredients (serves 4, makes 8 rolls)

  • 200g carrot, grated
  • 200g beansprouts
  • 200g cooked chicken pieces
  • 8 tbsp sweetcorn (tinned or frozen)
  • 16 squares ready-rolled filo pastry (2 sheets per roll)
  • sweet chilli sauce or plum sauce
  • vegetable oil, for greasing
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To serve:

  • Dipping sauces
  • Rice
  • Cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper
  • Prawn crackers

Preparation

  • Grate carrot
  • Cook rice according to instructions on packet
  • Preheat oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7

    Method

    1. Mix the carrot, beans, beansprouts, chicken and sweetcorn together in a bowl. 
    2. Add 1 tbsp sweet chilli or plum sauce of your choice and stir well.
    3. Lay a piece of filo pastry on the work surface in a diamond shape with one corner pointing towards you. Brush with a little oil, then cover with a second piece of pastry. Brush with more oil.
    4. Spoon a good dollop of the filling onto the corner nearest you (remember the filling mix should be enough for 8 rolls). Fold this corner towards the centre and tuck it under the filling. Fold the two outside corners in towards the middle so it looks like an envelope. Brush with oil, then roll up the pastry into a parcel. Repeat with the remaining mixture and pastry.
    5. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until crisp and golden-brown. 
    6. Serve with rice, extra dipping sauce, prawn crackers and crunchy colourful veg sticks

    BBQ & Veggie Kebabs

    Welcome to the Little Chefs blog! A glimpse into what happens at St Peter’s at midday on a Thursday (term time only) and the place to pick up some delicious, healthy, tried-and-tested-on-two-year-olds recipes to make at home.

    For our first post we’re sharing our end-of-term special from July - home made burgers and kebabs, in case we have another burst of BBQ weather before autumn kicks in! Here served with a Little Chefs favourite – cucumber batons. 

    Ingredients (serves 4)

    For the burgers:

    • 500g beef mince 
    • 1 egg
    • Small handful of breadcrumbs (you can make these by toasting bread in the toaster and crumbling it into fine crumbs)

    Vegetarian alternative:

    • 1 pack halloumi cheese
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      For the kebabs:

      • 1 courgette 
      • 1 small pack of cherry tomatoes, 
      • 1 peppers
      • 1 small pack button mushrooms, 
      • wooden kebabs sticks

      To serve:

      • sliced cheese, 
      • lettuce, cucumber, tomato (optional)
      • ketchup
      • burger buns 
      • cucumber
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      Preparation

      • Wash hands and wipe surfaces
      • Toast bread and make breadcrumbs
      • Chop courgette and peppers into good-sized chunks
      • Cut cucumber into batons
      • If you are using them, wash and tear lettuce and slice tomato and cucumber for burger fillings. 
      • Cut halloumi into 1cm thick slices
      • Split burger buns

      Method

      For the burgers:

      1. Combine the mince and egg in a bowl and squash together with your hands until well combined. 
      2. Add breadcrumbs and continue to squish until it is not too sticky and forms a fairly firm burger patty. Wash your hands well after this stage. 
      3. Cook the burgers on the barbeque, making sure you cook both sides (or use a frying pan with a little oil). Cut into one of the burgers to check it is cooked all the way through. 
      4. Barbeque the sliced halloumi as a vegetarian alternative (or use a griddle pan) 
      5. Build your own perfect burger with buns, tomato, lettuce, cucumber, cheese and ketchup. 

      For the kebabs:

      1. Thread the vegetables onto the skewers – only use the vegetables you would like to eat later! 
      2. BBQ the kebabs for a few minutes until the veg has softened. You can also drizzle with a little oil and grill the kebabs, checking them regularly so that they don’t burn. 
      3. Serve alongside the burgers and cucumber batons.