12 May 2020, by Flora Isabelle

Hearty (and easy) recipes for baby and the entire family

Woah I can’t believe it’s May already!

This is my second Mother’s Day and as Bubs is still too young to completely understand the significance of the celebration, I guess, for now, the day is about me honouring myself rather than him doing so.

“Mother is food; she is love; she is warmth; she is earth.”

I once came across this quote by Erich Fromm from The Sane Society (1955) and it can’t be more apt in our Asian culture. We tend to show our love and affection with food, either by cooking and baking or with recent technological advancements, via food delivery. (Psst, to husbands reading this, I read recently that there are now 32 Michelin-starred restaurants on GrabFood. Just in case you wanna surprise your wife 🤭)

Facebook reminded me recently (gotta love the Memories function!) that five years ago, I was quite the undomestic goddess. I could bake some (in fact I’ll share one of my very own recipes later in this post) but cooking, was something I wasn’t great at. Baking is like science, you follow the measurements and there are temperature settings for everything, and chances are, if you follow the recipe to a T, nothing will screw up. But cooking, on the other hand, is very much like art – condiments are based on gut feel, fire heat and control is based on real-time decisions and how much and how long to cook for, based entirely on experience. It’s kinda stressful if you ask me!

If you have been following me on Instagram, you would probably have known that bubs isn’t the easiest baby in the world when it comes to food. Unlike the majority of Asian babies who started their weaning journey with porridge, he hated porridge with a vengeance and despite many attempts, refused to touch it – even till today. Out of sheer desperation to get my baby to eat, I started experimenting more in the kitchen and bought so many cookbooks of every cuisine known to mankind – Japanese, Korean, Italian, Lebanese, Indian, Caribbean, Mediterranean… been there, done that. I amassed a whole collection of spices and herbs to flavour his food (since babies can’t take much salt) and found new ways and means to sneak and serve protein and vegetables. He would go through all these phases of refusing meat or vegetables (now it’s dairy – he refuses to touch anything creamy or milky, even ice cream 😱) and I would have to wreck my brains to figure out how to serve up something that’s nutritionally balanced while pandering to his picky tastebuds of the month. And from someone who couldn’t cook, overnight I became this person who could work her way around the kitchen, know the difference between sautéing and frying, understand the different herbs and spices and how they can be used to elevate a dish.

(Woah… elevate. Look at this, I can totally join the next season of MasterChef soon.)

Since the beginning of this year, I’ve upgraded to cooking all three meals since we are trapped at home and after months of trawling the Internet for inspiration, I’ve managed to put together a collection of go-to recipes that warms both the belly of toddler and heart of my husband. It honestly makes me soooo happy when both bubs and the husband who are SUCH picky eaters approve of my cooking. It’s harder than striking the lottery!

Bonus if the dishes are easy to prepare, cause who’s got time to spend hours slaving in the kitchen if we’ve got to work from home too, right?

So here are some of my favourite (easy) recipes for now, and hopefully, they will make your life that little bit easier as they have made mine!

Emperor Chicken

This is such a cheat I won’t even call it a recipe haha. Simply purchase the prepackaged herb mix from any supermarket, rub it all over a whole chicken and steam it for 2 to 2.5 hours for soft, dropping off the bones and fragrant chicken. Serve it with some white rice and stir-fried vegetables for a comforting and nourishing meal.

Chicken stroganoff

Via thechunkychef.com

This hearty chicken stroganoff by The Chunky Chef is such a hearty meal, I often find myself making it at least once a week. The best part? It is made in one pot and ready in 30 minutes, which makes it a perfect busy weeknight meal – with minimal washing up!

Minestrone Soup

Via Jamieoliver.com

With the recent rainy weather, I find myself craving for soups and stews. This minestrone soup by Jamie Oliver is really easy to prepare, have your kids eating vegetables happily and you can also make it a complete meal by adding chicken strips and macaroni to it!

Charred Avo and Eggs

Via jamieoliver.com

Find yourself missing Sunday brunch? This Instagram-worthy meal is extremely tasty and will make you have second thoughts about paying for overpriced avocado toast again.

Japanese White Stew

I first tried White Stew in Osaka many years ago and I can’t go back to regular stew since then! This version by Just One Cook Book is made with chicken, mushrooms, and vegetables and is so incredibly delicious, you just want to soak up all the creamy sauce with steamed rice or freshly-toasted bread.

Easy Fruit Crisp

Via acouplecooks.com

What’s life without dessert? This blueberry crisp recipe by A Couple Cooks is super easy to make and tastes SO good. The crumble topping is perfectly crunchy and the filling is pure, tangy blueberry – which makes dessert feel a lot less guilty and this is one great way to serve bubs a (healthier) treat!

Strawberry Shortcake 

And finally, a recipe by yours truly. I revisited this strawberry shortcake recipe recently when bubs refused to eat any fruits and somehow the presentation of this multi-layered confectionary pleased him enough to take a bite. The combination of the soft cake coupled with tart strawberries and sweet cream made him polish it entirely! If you’re making it for a younger child, you can halve the sugar or replace it with honey (not for kids under 12 months) or maple syrup.

I wish you all the best in your kitchen endeavours 💪🏻

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