Roast vegetable tart with nut-free spinach / kale pesto

This classic easy dinner is a great one for children to help make. Rolling out and pricking the pastry, ‘painting’ it with egg and talking about different vegetables and how to prepare them gives lots of scope for involvement. Whizzing up the pesto is fun too – this one was devised with seasonality in mind…

Potato latkes

These deceptively simple potato cakes bring some serious symbolism to the table, as I found out when researching the recipe to include in a lesson at a local primary school. The children had been learning about Judaism so I included this dish, traditionally eaten at Hanukka – also known as the Festival of Lights. This…

Butter Bean Dip

Devised as a nut-free alternative to hummus, this healthy dip can be whizzed up in minutes from store-cupboard ingredients. It’s a great weaning food too, just leave out the salt. Ingredients 1 tin butter beans, drained 1 small clove garlic, crushed – go with half first, it’s easy to make it too strong 2 tablespoons…

Easy cheese girdle scones / bannocks

Makes 12 bannocks, or 8 triangular scones (as above) Ingredients 250g plain flour, plus extra for shaping 1 teaspoon baking powder 2 tablespoons butter, plus 1 teaspoon extra for cooking pinch of salt 2 tablespoons grated cheese, cheddar or similar 120ml whole milk Method Mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Rub the butter into…

Crustless Mini Quiches / Egg Muffins

These healthy, handy little quiches are quick and easy to make and are perfect for lunchboxes (yours or children’s), toddler meals, weaning feasts, substantial snacks and picnics. They also make great use of leftovers – you can put almost any old veg, cheese, herbs and shredded meat into them that you have lying around.  At…

Vegetable and lentil loaded Bolognaise sauce

This sauce has so many uses: on its own with bread mixed through spaghetti or other pasta (choose wholemeal if you can) top with mashed potato for a cottage pie turn it into a lasagne top with savoury crumble spoon over rice (again, brown is better) add kidney beans and chilli powder for a quick…

Giant oven baked potato rosti

A simple supper, making something out of almost nothing. It’s categorised under ’30 minutes or quicker’, but it’s on the cusp – 20 of that’s in the oven though, so you can just have a sit down. Serves 4 Basic ingredients 800g potato 1 egg 1 onion Black pepper & salt A knob of butter…

Cheap, quick and simple vegetarian courgette lasagne

  Much quicker than the usual bechamel/white sauce version, this is a good week-night lasagne. Flavour comes from the garlicky, herby tomato sauce and the cheeses; it’s a rich but healthy dinner which is popular with children and a handy fallback for a meat-free night. To make this more seasonal in the winter months, try…

Breaded hake with green sauce, pak choi and lentils

This works with any meaty white fish: pollock/coley, rock turbot, cod, haddock (and monkfish, but please only as a very occasional treat, there are question marks over its sustainability). Pak choi can be substituted for mushrooms or most greens: kale, spinach, spring greens and broccoli all work (though I clearly forgot to add any of…

Sweet potato and mackerel bites

Mackerel is one of those relatively strong flavours that I’m surprised how readily babies and small children take to – mackerel pate has been a favourite food of my daughter’s since she weaned. She’s always been a fan of various versions of these, but they’re definitely not ‘just’ for children; they make just as good a…

Thai-meets-Scottish crab cakes to celebrate Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight

The approaching end of Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight prompted me to devise this recipe showcasing one of my favourite local ingredients – crab. Our house in East Lothian almost dips its toes into the North Sea, and fishing boats are a common sight from our windows. Though there’s little white fish left, mackerel, langoustine and crab remain plentiful, the…

Sweet potato and chickpea burgers with halloumi

This is an incredibly cheap, quick, healthy and satisfying meal (don’t scrimp on the cheese). In these hastily executed dinner photos I decided to add the halloumi to the side salad – this was a mistake. It’s much better in the burger. The burgers would also be a great kid’s or weaning meal, and freeze…