Thursday, 18 September 2014

Recipe: Easy and yummy minced meat pasta sauce (Philips)

I have had my fair shares of jar baby food which I am not proud off. Even when the jar had a label which read OPEN IN EMERGENCY (which I labelled) or were hidden at the back of my pantry so that I might forget that I even had them in the first place and despite making a promise “I would only reach for it on my crazy days - i.e. when things get out of hand or I am hiding in the toilet crying because I was dealing with post delivery blues - I failed to stay away from them. Maybe because promises are meant to be broken hence I found myself reaching for these jars of baby food more often than I should have.
It's not that I am against jar/tin/pouch baby food but homemade food is much healthier because I know the quality and the hygiene of what goes in it. You save a lot of money by making your own baby food because most ingredients needed to make this food is usually what you already have in your fridge anyway. Another motivator to make my own baby food was the taste test. Have you ever tried processed baby food? I did, all the time and it is not yum people. It has an awful fake food taste which is hard to describe and if it wasn't fit for my taste buds, it would have been very unfair to make my child eat it.

However, there is a downside to making your own baby food and that is, it takes the same amount of time and mess as preparing adult food. Even if you are using just a couple of ingredients, it is a messy affair because of the peeling, steaming, blending etc, and there is no guarantee your baby is going to eat what you painstakingly made for her. This my friends was my biggest challenge.

I enjoyed trying new recipes. Didn't even mind the time and effort that went into preparing it but every time she spat out my food with a big "YUCK!", I found myself staring angrily at the amount of kitchen utensils waiting to be cleaned in the sink. As if that wasn’t enough, she would turn my kitchen wall into a canvas where she'd display her work or art with her food! A Picasso in the making, my husband would humour in a bid to stop me from fuming further.

But all that is in the past thanks to my final small kitchen appliances review by Philips (for my other reviews please go to My Recipes page). I am not saying that this product guarantees 100% success at getting your child to eat but it provides the opportunity for you to prepare baby food in a jiffy with minimal effort as opposed to without it.

Behold, Avent combined steamer and blender which promised nutritious food, made quick and easy with minimal noise, and it did not disappoint!

Within 30 minutes I had delicious baby food ready to serve! This recipe I tweaked from the original recipe that came in a booklet together with the blender was good enough that my older children didn’t mind sharing her meal. This made possible as you are able to control the consistency of your food, from chunky to smooth puree to suit young babies to toddlers and some older children too.

What do you get in your Avent steamer and blender box

You will receive a recipe booklet which comes complete with 12 age appropriate recipes which are separated into 3 weaning stages, information on weaning and some professional advice. It comes complete with picture guides to help you throughout the cooking process although it's rather straight forward to work this little gadget. The only important note is the amount of water used, when steaming your food and it is best if you use the measuring cup that comes with the steamer and blender to avoid any unnecessary fault or damage.

If you have been following me from the beginning of my baby food affair with Philips (Jan 2014 Babytalk issue), you would note my penchant for keeping my kitchen utensils to  bare minimum because I hate washing up, I give this product 5 stars because I steamed and blended in one container! Thanks to its steam and flip jar over to blend ingenuity. How exciting is that!?

Steam, flip, blend and serve. It cannot get any easier than that!

The only additional item is my kitchen knife and chopping board


Minced meat pasta sauce

The recipe

95 gm minced meat of your choice sourced from a reliable supplier/butcher
3 ripe organic tomatoes
1 organic carrot
1/2 organic celery stick
1 organic onion
Some dried Italian herbs
Water for steaming

Measured straight into the bowl/jar

The method

Dice all vegetable and put it into the blender together with the minced meat and the herbs. Add the required amount of water as recommended into the steamer vent and allow it to steam. Once its done steaming, turn the blender over and blitz the food to your choice of consistency. I did mine in two batches - chunky for my older children and removed halt of the sauce into a bowl and the remainder I blended for a further minute so get a fine and smooth sauce.
You may serve this with pasta or rice.

The verdict

I really love this gadget and wished I had known about it much earlier, especially during my child's stage 2 weaning, where mere mashing fruits alone wasn't sufficient and was the right time to introduce meat. 

The steamer is a smart "don't meddle with me when I am working" type of gadget, which freed a lot of my time so I managed to whip up dinner for the whole family at the same time as the steamer was preparing my toddler's food. 
Pictured below my dinner, fish and mushrooms all chopped up, seasoned and ready for the oven.

It was an exciting experience and if you are a mother struggling to keep up with the demands of rearing a child or two, this little nifty gadget might prove to be quite handy where food for baby is concerned.

Some product details
  • safety lock system for lid and bowl
  • 70cm cord length
  • can hold up to 800gm solid / 450ml liquid
  • uses BPA free* material
  • RM459 

Disclosure : I did not receive any compensation writing this review. I did receive a demo steamer and blender from Philips (which has been returned) to help me share my experience using it. This article was featured in Babytalk magazine (September 2014 issue)

For more recipes, please head over to my Recipes page

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