Secrets from the Wee Nippers Kitchen

At Wee Nippers we are proud of the wonderful meals and snacks that our wonderful cooks Nicola and Lyn create every day for your children.  Our Healthy Heart Award certification is just the (very healthy) icing on the (also very healthy) cake! In our newsletters we share the recipes for some of the children's favourites.

Home-made Pizza Dough

1¾ cups flour
1 tablespoon dried yeast
½ teaspoon of sugar
1 cup warm water
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine yeast, sugar, warm water in a bowl. Set aside in a warm place for 15 minutes until frothy. Combine salt and flour in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture and oil and mix until all ingredients form a soft dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a large bowl. Sit the dough in a bowl and cover with a damp clean tea towel. Stand in a warm place to ‘prove’ until the dough doubles in size for about 45 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 220C. Lightly grease an oven tray or use a pizza stone. Push your fist into the middle of the dough to knock it down. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for I minute. Cut the dough into 10 or 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a circle to form the pizza bases. Place the bases on the greased oven tray and spread with tomato paste. (Make a homemade one from a can of tomato puree, an onion and some herbs if you have time.) Top with a selection of toppings and bake for 20-30 minutes in a pre-heated oven or until golden brown. 

Oven Baked Rice, Mushroom and Spinach

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
250g button mushrooms, chopped
50g Baby Spinach Leaves
1 1/2cups (300g) White Rice
4cups (1 litre) Vegetable Stock
1/2cup (40g) Finely Grated Parmesan
Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 180C. In a 5 cup-capacity (1.25L) ovenproof dish add the rice, stock and stir to combine. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove from oven and scatter over chopped mushrooms and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until most of the stock is absorbed and the rice is al dente (firm to bite). If it needs some extra liquid, a little boiling water will do the trick. Stir through the spinach and parmesan, season with salt and pepper. Serves 4

Fish Pie

1 Head of Broccoli (cooked)
1 Head of Cauliflower (cooked)
4 Fillets of Fish (cooked) - we use Hoki
6 Potatoes cooked and mashed
1 Cup Cheese Sauce

Place Broccoli and Cauliflower into an oven proof dish. Flake the fish into the dish. Pour over the Cheese Sause. Cover with Mashed Potato. Heat until warmed though.
Cheese Sauce: Melt 2 Tbsp. Butter. Mix in 2 Tbsp Flour and 1/2 Cup of Milk. Cook on high for 1 minute. Stir and add 1/2 Cup Milk and cook for a further 1 minute 30 seconds. (may require more cooking or more milk). Finally add 1/2 Cup of grated Cheese.

Chicken & Lentil Curry

1kg chicken breast 
1 tin Indian lentils 
1 tin coconut milk 
1 small onion 
2 potatoes 
1 small kumara 
1 cup frozen peas  

Dice chicken and fry until cooked.  While this is cooking dice potatoes and kumara and boil until nearly cooked (still firm and holding shape). Add diced onion to chicken and fry until it starts to soften, add tin of lentils and coconut milk along with cooked potato, kumara and peas. Simmer for 15-20mins stirring every few minutes. Serve with rice.

Cottage Pie

350g minced beef
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
2 tbsp beef stock powder
2 tbsp gravy powder
2 cups cold water
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 medium potatoes
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup milk

Peel the potatoes and cut into quarters. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Cook until tender. In a frying pan, brown the mince and onion. Add the carrots, peas, corn, Worcestershire sauce and one cup of water. Put a lid on the pan and cook for 8 mins until the carrots are tender. Stir the 2 tbsp of gravy powder into a cup of water and stir into the meat and vegetables. Cook until it thickens. Preheat the oven to 180C. Mash the potatoes with the butter and milk. Pour the meat and vegetable mix into a casserole dish. Top with the mashed potatoes and using a fork, fluff up the surface of the pie until it's all rough looking. Bake the "pie" in the oven for 25 mins.

Apple Muffins 

1 cup self-raising flour 
2 large green apples 
½ cup brown sugar 
1 egg 
½ cup wholemeal flour 
2/3 cup milk 
½ teaspoon cinnamon 
60g butter, melted 

Turn oven on to 220°C (425°F). Grease 12 muffin pans. Sift flour into a bowl. Add sugar, wholemeal flour and cinnamon. Peel then grate the apples. Stir them into the bowl. Mix egg, milk and melted butter. Add to bowl all at once. Stir with a fork. Stir until just mixed. It is supposed to look lumpy. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with butter and Jam if you like.

Honey, Coconut, Banana, Lemon Loaf 
(Can be made dairy, gluten and refined sugar free)

Coconut oil (for dairy-free) or butter ½ cup
Honey ½ cup
3 large, ripe, mashed Bananas
3 Free-range eggs 
1 pinch of salt
2 cups shredded coconut
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
1 cup flour (e.g. plain or wholemeal flour) or buckwheat flour (gluten-free) 
1 teaspoon baking powder (check it is gluten-free if you need to) 

Preheat oven to 180 degC. Gently melt honey and coconut oil/butter together in a small pot. Use a fork to mix mashed bananas, coconut, flour, honey mixture, eggs, lemon zest and juice, and salt together in a large mixing bowl until well combined. Pour into a greased loaf or cake tin and bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. The loaf will keep (unsliced) in an airtight container for up to 5 days. It also freezes well. A slice of this is delicious warmed up and spread with a little butter!

Eltham Slice

100g butter
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
½ tsp vanilla essence
1 egg-beaten
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup mixed dried fruit   
Icing sugar to dust.

Preheat the oven to 160°c. Grease and line the base of a standard 20 x 3 cm swiss roll tin.In a saucepan, melt together; butter, sugar, golden syrup and vanilla essence- Cool. Add the egg to the cooled mixture and beat well. (if the mixture is hot it will scramble the egg). Sift the flour and baking powder together and stir into the saucepan with the coconut and mixed fruit. Spread in the prepared tin. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes until cooked. Stand in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out to cool on a rack. Dust with icing sugar and cut into slices or squares. Store in an airtight container.Variations: add 1 teaspoon of grated orange rind; use brown sugar for a more caramel-like flavour; use treacle instead of golden syrup.