Monday, February 18, 2013

Baby Cooking

Not cooking babies - cooking for someone with a baby.

My gorgeous friend S gave birth to a beautiful boy 5 weeks ago. But she is moving overseas with her partner and baby in April - so they have been getting rid of stuff, rather than accumulating it. Rather than giving them baby-related gifts, I read on Offbeat Families that one of the best things you can do is bring food, so the new parents don't have to worry about cooking.

After googling what foods to avoid while breastfeeding, thinking about transportability, and taking into account reheating options (no microwave, too hot for oven), I came up with these two good meals and a dessert - all of which I made double of, so we could eat, too.

A quinoa pilaf type thingie, with green peas, grated carrot, green beans and toasted almonds is full of protein, fibre and flavour. Some quickly sauteed mushrooms were served on the side, because I remembered (luckily) my friend's partner doesn't like them. And a braised lentil thingie added Andy's most important virtue of a meal: sauciness. I had planned to do this with puy lentils, but I made this when the flooding was on south of us, and apparently there was a run on green lentils at the supermarket. So I used brown. They were good and gravy-ey.

I put this into an aluminium foil tray, which they could heat in the oven if they wanted to, but this food was good cold. Andy and I ate it at room temperature the night we made it - with our mushrooms mixed in, and with broccoli added (apparently broccoli-flavoured breast milk can give babies wind. The things I'm learning!).

For dessert, I made sweet rice with mango. I only realised after soaking my rice that it was sushi rice, rather than sticky rice, but I forged ahead. The result was less than excellent, but better than good. For my friend, I packed the rice into a container, the coconut sauce in a jar, and the mangoes whole, so they could construct the dessert when they wanted it.

The other meal was more casseroley. I called it "eggplant thing with polenta" ... it had eggplant (obvi), grated sweet potato, white beans, some green olives, tomato, and spices like cumin and coriander. For my friends, I put this into a loaf tin and topped with polenta, casserole style. Again, they could reheat in the oven or eat cold. (We also gave them a chocolate cake to go with it, because - chocolate cake).

For our own dinner, we put the polenta into bowls and topped with the eggplant.

This was yummy - a nice change from our usual food, a good way to use up some of the million eggplants coming from the garden, and nicely portable.

I will probably do this a few more times before my friends move overseas, so give me ideas - what are your favourite meals to cook and give?


Kate said...

Wow what a lovely friend you are - looks delicious! Can you come over and cook for me? :)

Hannah said...

Um, so you're incredible. Your friend and her partner must have been so touched, particularly knowing you took the time to research appropriate/inappropriate foods! Aw you!

Joey said...

Whether it's for people with babies or not, I think food is one of the best gifts to give (and definitely one of the nicest to receive!)

Good on you for turning up with food. You'd be welcome here any day!

I'm guessing any one pot stew has got to be a good thing for the new parents (less washing up) and what about a cake of some sort? I guess they'll be way to buys to even think about dessert for a while.

sara said...

So kind of you to cook for your friend, and the food all looks great! I like to do lasagna rolls or enchiladas because they're easy to transport, easy to reheat.

Kari said...

You are so lovely Theresa! I am sure your friends appreciated this more than any store-bought gift, and the thought you put into it would have been really touching too. I'm glad you made double so you could reap some of the rewards of your work :-)

K said...

I def think that meals are one of the best gifts you can give. I have made before for friends: lentil quinoa stew, shepherds pie, lasagna, healthy fudge (made from mostly dates etc), ice cream and chia seed pudding