Fabulous dairy-free fish pie

Fabulous Dairy-Free Fish Pie

There are so many nutritional benefits of adding fish to our diets. When my son was starting to eat solid food, good old fish pie was a favourite dish of mine to get him to eat fish, in addition to the childhood staple of fish fingers (of course!!).

I used to make fish pie with the traditional white sauce, but as he grew a bit older he started to refuse to eat it! I did some some internet research to try and find alternative recipes that hopefully would be acceptable to the increasingly fussy toddler. I came upon a recipe using coconut milk which I have adapted and made my own. It’s such a versatile recipe – you can add whatever vegetables you have in the fridge, and whatever fish you prefer. Typically avoid smoked fish, or add it in small quantities, as it has a strong flavour that not all kids will like.

I’m on a mission to ‘Make Veg The Hero’! Basically, I want to try and get my son to eat loads of healthy vegetables, which typically means disguising them as much as possible. This dish will allow you to sneakily introduce vegetables of your choice into the meal. WIN! The key step in this recipe is to use a food processor/small blender to blitz the vegetables into teeny, tiny pieces.

This also makes a great quick family supper – I serve it over egg noodles or spiralised courgettes. If you add more coconut milk it becomes more like a soup.

Ingredients:

– Half a small head of cauliflower
– Half a small head of broccoli
– 1 onion
– about 1 tablespoon of olive oil / coconut oil
– 2 cloves of garlic
– 1 red pepper (deseeded)
– 1 carrot
– juice of a lime
– a handful of flat leaf parsely – chopped (optional)
– about 600g skinless/deboned fish – e.g. salmon, white fish (I buy 2 packs of Sainsburys fish pie mix, but it does have smoked haddock in it) – cut into bite sized chunks
– 1 to 2 400g tins of coconut milk (add 1 tin and then you can add more later, depending on how many vegetables you have added, to get the consistency you want)

Method:

Note: You can substitute the vegetables with any others you might have in your fridge – green beans, courgettes are great alternatives. Obviously if you add some frozen peas, you don’t need to blitz them but you can add them just before the end of the cooking time. You can also experiment with the quantities of vegetables you add. Use the quantities above as a guide, but it is such a versatile recipe that you can amend it very easily.

Fabulous dairy-free fish pie

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large pot on a low/medium heat – you don’t want the garlic to burn. Blitz the onions into fine pieces and crush the garlic. Add to the pot and cook for a few minutes. Meanwhile blitz the remaining vegetables as you did the onions and add to the pan. Cook on a med/low heat for about 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft, stirring regularly. Add the tin of coconut milk, bring to the boil and then simmer on a low heat for 5 minutes. Add the fish to the pot, gently stirring so that the fish is covered by the coconut milk (add more coconut milk if you need to). Poach the fish for 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. TIP: Avoid stirring the fish around too much while cooking to avoid the fish breaking up into tiny bits.

 

Season with lime juice to taste, and add salt and pepper to taste (if adding). Serve with mashed sweet potato, rice, noodles or accompaniment of your choice.

Makes enough for 2 adults and 2 children with extra left over, depending on your portion sizes!

If you are feeding this to a little one as part of the weaning process, blend/pulse in a food processor to the desired consistency. Pop into Super Squish pouches and freeze or refrigerate if not using straight away.

Cheesy cauliflower mash

Cheesy cauliflower mash

Cauliflower is in season during October and, once cooked, is a fantastic vegetable for puréeing and also for finger food while weaning.  This cheesy cauliflower mash is a baby’s version of the classic dish, cauliflower cheese. It can also be used as a delicious alternative to potato mash in adult meals!

This recipe is for a large quantity to make the mash in bulk for freezing in ice cube trays or any other container of your choice, or to use straight away. You can defrost the cubes of mash and use in the Super Squish pouches for easy food on the go.

Ingredients:

1 cauliflower head
1 tablespoon of butter (or to taste)
1 and a half handfuls of grated hard cheese

Add a little water to a pan with a tight fitting lid. Add the whole cauliflower (without all the leaves) and allow the water to boil, then turn down to a simmer and steam the cauliflower until it is very soft. I check by piercing the cauliflower with a knife. Just make sure that the water doesn’t run dry!

Once the cauliflower is cooked, drain the water from the pan and break up the cauliflower with a fork. Add the butter and cheese and using a handheld blender blend the mash until it has a very smooth, creamy consistency. You can add a little water if you need the mash to be less thick.

Cauliflower smoothie

October’s cauliflower smoothie

When I decided to do the seasonal smoothie campaign I wanted to focus on creating smoothies that are predominantly made up of vegetables with just a bit of fruit thrown in for sweetness.

While there is nothing wrong with all fruit smoothies, I’m trying to be more careful about how much sugar my 3 and a half year old has during the day. There is less sugar in a predominantly veggie smoothie than one that is mostly fruit, so that ticks this box. Also, this type of smoothie is a fantastic way to get additional vegetables into him without him knowing! It goes without saying that the smoothie had to be enjoyed by my 3 and a half year old. I wanted him to ask me for more when his glass was empty! Quite a challenge to say the least. I’m pleased to say that this smoothie passed the test!

There is an abundance of seasonal veggies in October. The most obvious of them all is, of course, the pumpkin. However, I’ve chosen to focus on one that tends to be overlooked – the cauliflower. My mission was to make a cauliflower smoothie! I don’t think you can be ambivalent about cauliflower – either you like it or you don’t! It isn’t one of my favourite veg and I don’t cook it often, so it was a challenge to come up with a smoothie recipe that made it the star. The great thing about adding cauliflower to a smoothie is that it has a rather bland flavour, and therefore can be used to bulk up smoothies without affecting the flavour too much.

Seeing as beetroot is also seasonal (and I had some left over in my fridge) I decided to throw that in too for a bit of vibrant colour. Avocado may not be in season, but I was looking for something that would add a creaminess to the smoothie. It worked brilliantly!

Ingredients:
70g fresh beetroot peeled
100g cauliflower
half a ripe avocado
2 small very ripe bananas (one large banana would work fine)
15 frozen raspberries (any frozen berries)
a small handful of ice
350/400ml unsweetened almond milk (my favourite brand is the Rude Health almond milk (a mixture of almond and rice milk), as it is naturally sweeter due to the addition of rice milk). Add milk to taste and to get the consistency you prefer.

Blitz and enjoy this yummy cauliflower smoothie!

Oliver cauiflower smoothie

This should fill about 5 Super Squish pouches, with a kiddie-sized glass left over for drinking straight away.

Avo fab vegetable smoothie

Avo fab vegetable smoothie

I grew up in South Africa in an area where it was commonplace to see avocados the size of an average side plate, not the teeny varieties that the shops tend to sell!

One of my fond childhood memories is of my dad, heading off to the trees at the bottom of the garden with a special long stick, to go and collect the massive fruit during avocado season. We’d have to get to them before the monkeys did! He’d bring his haul into the kitchen, where we’d devour the ripe ones straight from the skins! So my love affair with avocados started very early in life. I definitely can’t say the same for my son, who refuses to eat them. As they’re a great source of healthy fats and loads of other good things, I have tried to disguise them in a few ways, including homemade ice cream (my own concoction, which was rather disgusting!) but without success.

Until this morning, when I made my new ‘avo fab’ vegetable smoothie, which was wolfed down by the adults and little kid in the family, much to my surprise!

I wanted to make a yummy smoothie that was predominantly made of vegetables as we had an abundance of them in the house. I wasn’t sure if that was going to work, but it did!

Here’s what went into the smoothie:

– 1 courgette
– 1 carrot
– half an avocado
– about 300mls of freshly squeezed orange juice
– handful of ice cubes

IFresh orange juice to add to the Avo fab breakfast smoothie have an orange juicer so made my own juice, but you could easily substitute with freshly squeezed shop bought orange juice (not made from concentrate).

I didn’t bother peeling any of the vegetables but roughly chopped them up and blended everything together. You can experiment with different quantities of the various veggies and the amount of orange juice you add, until you get the taste and consistency that you enjoy.

I found that if I added less orange juice, there was a definite avocado aftertaste which I was trying to avoid. You could probably add less orange juice if you added an apple to the mix and topped up the liquid with cold water.

 

 

Avo fab breakfast smoothieThis made enough for about 4 Super Squish pouches, or enough for 2 adult-sized portions and a little kid-sized one.

If you’re not popping this into pouches, simply pour into glasses, add courgette slices for garnish and you’ve got a fun addition to breakfast!