Avocado Pesto Pasta: The Smart Baby Cookbook – Lauren Cheney

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Smart Baby Cookbook by Lauren Cheney (Murdoch Books RRP $24.99)

 

AVOCADO PESTO PASTA

A deceptively light and summery pasta, combining a dizzying array of flavours and textures, this dish will be a firm family favourite in no time.” p112

Making time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

180 g (6¼ oz/2 cups) pasta, such as spirals or bowties
1 tablespoon olive oil
150 g (5½ oz/1 cup) grape tomatoes, quartered
Basil leaves, to serve
65 g (2½ oz/½ cup) crumbled feta cheese

Avocado, Spinach & Basil Pesto
25 g (1 oz/½ cup) baby spinach leaves
2 avocados, halved
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
50 g (1¾ oz/1 cup) basil leaves
50 g (1¾ oz/¼ cup) pine nuts, toasted
3 tablespoons olive oil
25 g (1 oz/¼ cup) grated parmesan cheese

 

Cook the pasta according to the packet directions. Drain, reserving a little of the cooking water.

Meanwhile, make the pesto. Wilt the spinach leaves by pouring boiling water over them in a bowl and stirring well. Drain and squeeze dry.

Scoop the avocado flesh into a food processor and add the spinach, lemon juice, garlic, basil and pine nuts. Process until smooth, drizzling the oil in slowly. Finally, add the grated parmesan.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the tomatoes and toss quickly, then add the pasta, pesto to taste and enough of the reserved cooking water to make a sauce-like consistency. Gently toss until just combined.

Remove baby’s portion before scattering with basil leaves and crumbled feta.

FOR BABY:
Purée to the desired consistency or cut into bite-size pieces to serve as finger food.

ALL GROWN UP:
Serve with a sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. If you like a bit of heat then add some finely chopped chilli.

SMART TIP
Avocado is nutrient dense with more than 20 minerals and vitamins.

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Post Script: All Day Cafe – Stuart McKenzie

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All Day Café

Café Style Food At Home

Stuart McKenzie

Murdoch Books

ISBN: 9781743368404

 

Description:

100+ recipes for scrumptious cafe food you can cook at home.

 

A blend of delicious food and urban lifestyle, All Day Café offers more than 100 recipes for sublime café meals you can cook at home. On the menu are easy seasonal ideas for every meal of the day: from Salmon eggs with red onion and dill salsa or French toast with balsamic strawberries for a fresh spring breakfast; Raspberry friands and Cherry pie with Vanilla ice cream for a summer teatime treat; Pulled pork burgers with apple slaw or Mushroom and leek tart for a long autumn lunch; and Pappardelle with beef cheek and gremolata or Scallop, roasted fennel and lemon risotto for winter supper with friends. All dishes are, of course, served with a touch of urban café style!

 

Author bio:

Stuart McKenzie ran a string of successful cafés and restaurants before opening his own café, called South of Johnston, in Melbourne. A passion for interiors gives Stuart a strong sense of design and the confidence to achieve a new kind of café – one that feels more like an extension of the most stylish, vibrant and comfortable living room. His food is fresh, delicious and thoroughly accessible. This is his first book. southofjohnston.com.au

 

My View:

In this book you will discover lots of our old favourites, BLAT, smashed avocado, Bircher muesli, French toast, minestrone soup, chicken noodle soup, lemon tart, terrine, scallops, tomato soup, brownies, pulled pork…and many soon to be new favourites. I love the fresh twist given to some of the classics, the emphasis on fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables, the helpful pictures of the finished dish (don’t you think good food photography is a must for a good cook book? I need to have a visual reference when serving /or to see if I have indeed succeeded in reproducing the recipe, and there are some great images).

 

Along with a huge array of easy to make recipes you will discover the secret to making aioli, marinated feta, pesto, dips, dukkah, ( and there is a sweet dukkah which sounds amazing), kasundi ( my all-time favourite sauce/condiment), dressings, relish and so much more.

 

This book has it all and definitely has a place in my kitchen library.