Spinach Puffs Recipe

OK so when you give this to your little ones to eat, you’d better have the hoover ready. My husband seemed to delight in sharing a video with me of the mess she had made as I commuted home, and then realised that he was the only one around to handle the clean up. He was later seen wafting our beloved child in the garden, shortly followed by her high chair in a bid to de-flake.

After getting lots of inspiration from the thoughtfully compiled set of Ella’s Kitchen recipe books – it suddenly dawned on me whilst going through The Big Baking Book aka The Yellow One of the series – that combining puff pastry and yummy fillings would solve the two issues I’ve been having with sending Adelyn off to the childminder’s with her packed lunch; 1) homemade and 2) easy-to-feed-herself portioned food.

I get mildly anxious about ensuring Adelyn gets enough iron in her diet so this recipe has been somewhat of a Godsend given her reluctance to eat bolognese (like seriously, how can anyone fail to enjoy spaghetti bolognese??) The Big Baking Book helpfully reassures me that “spinach is rich in iron and calcium, making it perfect for superhero-style bones and brains.”

And look at these crispy beauts! Note: I made a change to the original recipe and made my puffs smaller.

Ingredients:

150g spinach

125g ricotta cheese

50g Parmesan, grated

Good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

250g ready-made puff pastry (I use ready rolled)

1 egg, beaten for glazing

Sesame seeds (I only had black at home!)

  • Preheat the oven to 200C and line your baking sheet with parchment.
  • In a sizeable saucepan (must have a lid too), pop your spinach in and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of water. Cover and heat the spinach gently for 5 minutes till wilted. Tip the spinach into a sieve or colander and press out the juice as you don’t want soggy filling! Then roughly chop.
  • Drain off any liquid from the tub of ricotta and place in a large bowl along with the Parmesan and nutmeg. Mix together. Then add the chopped spinach and mix till evenly combined.
  • Assuming you’ve bought the ready-rolled sheet of puff pastry as I do, roll it out and leave on the parchment. Cut in half widthways and lengthways and then quarter those rectangles too so you have 16 rectangles.
  • Divide the filling amongst 8 of the rectangles and you’ll have something that looks like this:

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  • Brush the edges lightly with the beaten egg. Cover with the remaining 8 rectangles and press the edges down with a fork or finger.
  • Carefully place your puffs on to the prepared baking sheet. Cut a little cross in the top of the pastry and then glaze with the remaining egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake in the oven for 20-25minutes until wonderfully puffed up and golden!
  • Delicious served warm (but can be eaten cold). Store in an airtight container for up to 24 hours.

 

Review; Wyld Afternoon Tea at Dandelyan

I was about to write this as a “Family Friendly” edition because hey – there was a little baby there with her mum but in truth, I cannot attest to the baby-friendliness of Dandelyan as Adelyn was left at home having Daddy Time on account of this being an Afternoon Tea WITH COCKTAILS.

Mother and I have been to most of the Afternoon Teas around London, it’s our decadent treat to ourselves. I wanted to find something suitably cheeky to treat my darling Mum and found Dandelyan.

Based on Southbank on the ground floor of the Mondrian Hotel, with a view of the River Thames – Dandelyan is an award-winning bar, offering it’s Wyld Afternoon Tea (Thurs-Sun).

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The Bar – well stocked, well staffed, well tasty

Afternoon Tea traditionalists, look away! They don’t offer scones here, but what they lack in clotted cream carb-loading, they make up for in their thoughtfully created botanical-inspired Cocktails, four of them to be precise, served as part of the Wyld Afternoon Tea.

You have three courses, with a Cocktail to start and then another after each course, plus your choice from the tea menu – all for £55.

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Lime, Basil, Cacao Liquer, Orange Bitters & Prosecco – with a lemon marshmallow, topped with pistachios

The finger sandwiches at the start weren’t your usual fare either. Our faves? The Bacon Jam Pinwheels and the Elderflower Compressed Cucumber Sandwiches.

Admittedly disappointed that they don’t offer refills though (yes I asked) as we’d happily have enjoyed a bit more.

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The Savoury Course

We very much enjoyed the Sweet course too, which consisted of a slice of Battenberg Cake, and a range of petit-four sized treats.

It was around this time that my favourite cocktail came out – very refreshing and classy.

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Planter Cocktail (I think) – Pineapple Gin, Sloe Oolong, Citrus & Peychaud’s Bitters

Thankfully I am well past the age where Malibu, Vodka and Coke was the epitome of a cheeky cocktail.

All 4 cocktails were wonderfully crisp and complimented the courses quite well, I expected no less.

We left quite merry, being Asian-ladies of petite stature, yet the cocktails were perfectly sized to match the occasion (i.e. a classy afternoon out) and we very much enjoyed the quality and variety of the food.

The Tea Menu itself consists of a modest choice of 6 tea leaves, but c’mon – we were definitely there for the Cocktails, not the tea. However – if you are attending as a teetotal individual, they also offer the Boozeless Wyld Tea.

Highly recommended as an alternative to the usual Afternoon Tea scene; I look forward to going again in future.

Family Friendly Outings: Flat Iron, Henrietta St

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The Flat Iron steak, with sides of Roast Aubergine and Dripping Cooked Chips – served with Peppercorn Sauce*

Environment: This is the only Flat Iron I’ve been to and I hear it’s the biggest of the three locations. Beautiful frontage, with a window to have a nose at the Butcher butchering away and the ice cream counter at the front (more on that later). You can just about wheel a Bugaboo around in there, if you don’t mind being glared at by other patrons. They don’t take reservations though so if you’re hungry and heading there with a little one in tow, you might want to plan to get there shortly after midday to get a table. They’ll only seat you if all of your party are present too.

There’s a tempting bar to wait at, should you find yourself waiting for a table and you’re not, y’know – breastfeeding. Ginger beer for me then…

Facilities: The grown-up loos are located downstairs, but there is a changing table in the disabled toilet to be found on the ground floor. Please note that no matter how nicely you ask (we tried!) they are unable to provide hot water in which to warm milk with. Health and Safety *rolls eyes*

High chair: your standard wooden high chair.

Food: Ah the food – this is what you’re coming here for! My eyes are often bigger than my stomach – so when the flat iron steak was placed in front of me, I wilted a teensy bit if I’m perfectly honest BUT it was actually a great size to enjoy – as you’ll want to partake of the sides on offer and have space for that freebie ice cream at the end of your meal. Actually – looking at the photo, it looks substantial so perhaps I had my husband goggles on as I know he would want to demolish this x3.

So the flat iron (US) steak, aka the butler’s (UK) or oyster blade (Aussie/Kiwi) steak – to be found in the shoulder. It’s a cheaper cut, thus the most excellent price point. Rich in flavour and delicious when eaten Medium/Medium-Rare (cooked any more and I expect your jaw would be in for a bit of a workout).

The chips were crisp and more-ish – as you should well expect as they’re cooked in beef dripping! And I loved the creamed spinach over the aubergine. Went really well with the steak, as did my fave steak sauce – Peppercorn.  At £10 for a flat iron steak, including a little pot of salad leaves – I’ve not felt the need to try the other cuts that they also have on offer  yet.

This is also the only branch that gives you a free ice cream cone at the end of your meal, just take your receipt to the counter on your way out and they’ll give you a scoop. Salt Caramel, dunked into dark chocolate shavings – oh my. There’s a whole history to it too – I believe historically there used to be a fella who would give out ice cream in this part of Covent Garden, so Flat Iron have honoured his generosity.

Overall: I’m going to say this because I am one – there were a hilarious amount of Asians in there both times I’ve been.  What can I say – we love good food at good prices! I’m a fan of Flat Iron – the service is friendly, even on New Years Day. The food comes quickly – perfect for is your infant is having one of those days. I wouldn’t place it as an immediately family friendly restaurant however, because of the no-hot-water thing. Also because you have mini cleavers on your table, so watch those tiny wandering hands if they’re within grabbing distance. If you have slightly older children though, the whole family will be able to enjoy an affordable steak, with free ice cream to boot – what a treat!

*photo courtesy of my dear friend Lucy – because I have not gotten the quick snapping of food thing down yet mostly because I am hungry a lot of the time, as is Adelyn!

Book Review: I Can Do It Myself by Stephen Krensky

In case you’re looking for gifting ideas for the very little ones in your life… 🙂

I’ve been reading to Adelyn since she was 6 weeks old – OK she was usually drunk on milk and a bit glazed over – but I think this has really helped to foster her love of books at almost 11 months old now.

Personally, I’m a massive fan of children’s book illustrations and this would be one of my dream vocations in life – to be able to create images that capture the imagination of a child and stay with them for a lifetime. I still remember the favourite books of my childhood, not necessarily by their story but by the colours and feelings that the pages conjured.

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This is one such book that I think will stay with Adelyn for years to come.

Illustrator Sara Gillingham kept the colour palette bold and simple, with a nostalgic 70s retro feel. I chose this book for Adelyn specifically because it’ll hopefully encourage her to be independent and to try things for herself – and also as a positive role model as the little girl in the book is also recognisably big-eyed and black haired!

The board book is 12 pages long, with simple rhyming text that I imagine will be fun for Adelyn to read when she gets to that kind of age.

For now, she loves turning the pages by herself and finding the little yellow chick.

There’s a whole series of these Empowerment books by Krensky and illustrated by Gillingham, which I hope to add to our library.