Saturday, 2 November 2013

Aussie Style Thermomix Tomato Sauce (Ketchup)

Last week I made the Tomato Sauce in the Thermomix EDC, but something wasn't quite right with the sauce.  I couldn't put my finger on it.

I reverted to the old trusted family recipe and adapted the quantities (original recipe made about 3 litres!)

I like this recipe as it has the right balance of spices and takes me back to my childhood.

This version is very much your typical white bread type tomato sauce with no frills. Kids tend to love having it on everything and anything.

Aussie Style Thermomix Tomato Sauce (Ketchup)

Aussie Style Thermomix Tomato Sauce (Ketchup)
500g very ripe tomatoes, quartered
1 granny smith apple, cored and quartered, skin on
1tsp Salt
100g White Wine Vinegar (or plain white vinegar)
100g White Sugar (or caster sugar)
Pinch each of Ground Cloves, cinnamon, allspice and cayenne pepper.  Add more cayenne pepper if you like it hot!

1. Add tomatoes, apple, vinegar and salt to thermomix bowl. Cook at 100 degrees for 30 mins, speed 1, no MC.

This step is to preserve the colour of the tomatoes so you have a lovely red sauce,           not a pink one!

2. Either pour over fine sieve and discard seeds and skin, or for a more rustic version, just blend on speed 4 for 10 seconds.

3. Add sugar and spices and cook for further 30 mins, 100 degrees, speed 1, no MC.  It may be quicker or take longer, depending on the consistency you prefer. Cook for longer for a thicker sauce. 

Makes approximately 500 mls.

If properly stored in preserve jars, will last a year.  The old wives hint is to wrap the jars in aluminium foil if you are going to store them, it preserves the rich red colour.

Otherwise, will last at least a month in the fridge.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Baby advice from a parenting non-expert

My cousin recently gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy. I really do loathe giving unsolicited parenting advice. I remember only too well the millions (NOT an exaggeration) of little titbits given to me over the life of my 5 kids that I not only didn’t care for, but didn’t ask for.

My baby
So think of this post not as parenting advice, but a survival post.

First thing new parents need to learn is to smile and nod their heads and disregard the information that will come their way from ‘parenting experts’.  It always amazes me that these so called experts will pop up telling everyone that children and babies are individuals, and then proceed to prescribe their one size fits all approach.  You know your child best, always remember that. I always found advice from mums and dads of many kids the best, because every child is different and generally what works will one will not work with the next – they totally get that! Simply because they have had more kids – they have more ideas and will usually give you 3 or 4 to try.

Breastfeeding is awesome.  It is also really bloody hard and hurts a hell of a lot.  Don’t beat yourself up about it – if you can do it – do it, if you can’t – well, you’re lucky we have awesome formula available to provide nutrition to your baby. I bet you a million dollars you can’t guess which one of my 5 kids were formula fed.  If you are exhausted and breast feeding isn’t working for you at a particular feed – try a bottle of formula.  It will give you and your baby a well-deserved break and some peace. Sometimes taking that pressure off yourself is all that is needed to get the milk flowing again and give you and your baby some breathing space.  Contrary to popular mother guilt creating – it will not ruin your chances of breast feeding if you give your baby the odd bottle of formula.

When your boobs are hurting like hell and feel harder and heavier that Uluru – jumping in the shower and expressing some milk will not give you mastitis or ruin your milk production.  It will give you instant relief!  And water!  Oh my goodness!  Drink all the water!! Make a water bottle your best friend! What you eat doesn’t change the ‘flavour’ of your milk, any more than it changes the ‘flavour’ of your blood.  It CAN change the chemical composition of your milk however.  But don’t go thinking you can’t eat something because your baby doesn’t like the taste through your milk.  That is searching for answers.

Routines – different people have different ideas.  I know this to be true – don’t even attempt it until your babe is around 6 to 8 weeks of age. Just spend those precious first weeks getting to know each other and soaking in the glory of a newborn babe.  Otherwise it’s just banging your head on a brick wall.  There is so much pressure to resume ‘normal’ life once you have a baby. Here’s a tip for you -  there is no more ‘normal’ life – you just had a baby!  Doesn’t matter if it is your first baby or your tenth – your life has changed.  Best advice for newborn mums – sleep when the baby sleeps because you never know when that may be.  The saying “sleep like a baby” is bullshit.  Babies don’t sleep half as much as you would think.

Routines vary from person to person, as do their ideas of routines.  The best routines are ones that aren’t programmed for every minute of every day.  Think of a routine more of a groove – one action follows another – not a clock followed, strict, rigid program. Kids of all ages generally cope better with knowing what is happening next.  Simple.

5 or 10 minutes taken preparing for the next day will save you hours the next day.  This is the truth.

Mothers Groups – fantastic social outings or can also be a source of making you feel like a complete failure!  Take what is said with a grain of salt. As parents, we will always tend to glorify the good and gloss over the bad with our kids (no matter their age).  The parent that says their kid has slept through the night from birth may well mean that their baby sleeps from 11pm to  4am.  Not what I would call through the night but each to their own!

Walk away.  Putting your screaming baby down in their cot and walking outside for a few minutes to count to ten (or one hundred) and take some deep breaths and just absorb a different environment can work wonders!  Not only that – it will give you the strength to continue on.

Eat finger food.  Babies have an uncanny knack of stirring as soon as they hear cutlery hit the plate.  Finger food means you avoid that, and if they do happen to wake up – you can still eat! Try to have some finger food in the fridge or cupboard that you can grab and eat because, surprisingly, some days you just won’t have time to make anything.  Babies are fantastic time vacuums.

Trust in yourself.  You won’t always have the answers, as incredibly frustrating as that may be. But believe that you are doing the best you can with what you have.

Relax! Keep a sense of humour.  Sleep!! At every opportunity.  Enjoy it – it goes way too quickly.  What may seem like climbing Mt Everest at the time, with foresight you will see it was just a molehill.

Feel free to tell well-meaning friends and family members (including your cousin) to fuck off with their unsolicited advice.  You’re entitled to! But remember, your cousin is always just on the other end of the phone if you need to vent xx