Ella’s Kitchen Coconut Dhal & Hearty Red Chicken Soup.


Another week has gone by, where has the time gone!? The last few days I have been enjoying my last week with Reuben before starting back at work. I cannot believe it’s been over a year since I turned my out of office on filled with excitement and trepidation as to what lay ahead of me. It turned out to be the most exhausting, traumatic, yet wonderful experience of my life, but that’s a story for another time!

So, I’m a bit of a recipe book geek, I love them! I read them when I go to bed, eating my lunch, drinking my luke warm cuppa (yes…it always seems to be bordering cold these days, anyone else have this problem?)  Whenever I see a new one about to be released I cannot help but pre-order it. I’m trying to get better at using the library, but I find that if I like the book I’ve borrowed I want to keep it, so I end up buying it anyway!

Over the last few years I have become really interested in healthy eating, nutrition and learning more about cooking. When I found out I was pregnant, my interests naturally started to gravitate towards reading about caring for yourself when expecting and breastfeeding, but also the weaning stage. I was really looking forward to that part. I know a lot of Mums dread it, but what have you got to be fearful of fellow mums? You have just grown this tiny human for 9 months, given birth to them, and cared for them day and night for the last 6 months. You have achieved two of the most incredible and scary things that only us women can do, so you should absolutely trust yourself to nail the weaning phase because let’s face it, you nailed the other two! There are a tonnes of weaning books, blogs, websites, friends and family that you can visit/speak to, to help yourself gather the knowledge that you need, but never ever think that you won’t do it right, because you will in your own way! 6 months + is a really fun time where you can introduce so many exciting foods into your little ones diet and help them create a positive and healthy association with food for the rest of their lives!

A child’s diet, in my opinion (and lots of health food authors/ dieticians/nutritionists from books I’ve read) should be nutrient dense and jam packed full of veggies, protein, fruit, good carbs and full fat dairy so that we really see them grow, be healthy and happy. There is no such thing as ‘children’s food’ there is only food that we choose to allow them to eat. I always wonder how chicken nuggets, fish fingers, burger, chips and beans have become the norm when we think of children’s meals, they are on the majority of menus in restaurants. From seeing this, Parents begin to think that it is what they should be feeding their children, when really it is the complete opposite! I’ve been brought up with my mum saying ‘anything in moderation is fine’ and I do mostly agree, we can’t keep our children away from junk food forever, I think they all need to have treats every now and then but I will always try and give Reuben and my family a really healthy and varied diet 99% of the time.


Talking of varied diets, I’m an Ella’s kitchen fan and think that their cookbooks are brilliant for offering different and exciting ways to cook food for not only your children, but all of the family.  I think their brand and ethos are awesome and I also think that their pouches are great for when you are stuck and need to get some food into your wailing child ASAP, I use their pureed fruit ones in puddings quite often. I am an advocate for making your own food for baby wherever you can. It’s way cheaper, healthier and teaches you so much. I have become a much better and more experimental cook since I started cooking for Reuben.

I used Ella’s ‘The Purple One First Foods’ cookbook when I first started our weaning journey and it was brilliant. It gave me the confidence to try new flavours and combinations of food I never would have before. It has simple to follow recipes, easy to get hold of ingredients and great info and tips. If you are a first time mum like me, then it will teach you a lot.

When I saw that they were bringing out a new ‘The Orange One Easy Family Cookbook’ I ordered it straight away. I wasn’t disappointed. Jam packed full of exciting recipes to cook for us all (as I mentioned in my previous post I have my sister, brother-in -law and their 3 lovely kids living with us too) it really does suit everyone’s taste buds. So far I’ve cooked ten different recipes from it. Each one has turned out well, been easy to make and has tasted really yummy! I would really recommend.

I thought I would share two of my favourites with you so that you can give them a whirl


Three-step easy coconut Dhal.  

Serves a family of 4. Prep in 10 mins, cooks in 30. Suitable for freezing.

You will need:

2 tbsp coconut oil/sunflower oil

1 onion, grated

1 carrot, peeled and grated

2 garlic cloves, grated

2.5cm fresh root ginger

1 tablespoon garam masala

1 tsp turmeric

150g red split lentils

300ml coconut milk

500ml very low salt vegetable stock

2 good handfuls of spinach


All you need to do is:


  1. Heat the oil in the pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook with the lid on for 7 mins until softened.
  2. Stir in the spices, lentils, coconut milk and stock. Bring almost to the boil, then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 20 mins. Stir occasionally to prevent it sticking and add a splash of water if it seems too dry. Stir in the spinach and cook for a few mins, until wilted.
  3. Serve in bowls topped with hard boiled eggs.



Hearty red chicken soup.

Serves a family  of 4. Prep in 10mins, cooks in 30. Suitable for freezing.


You will need:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 carrot finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped

400g passata

500ml reduced salt chicken stock

Can of kidney beans

½ – 1tsp fajita spice mix

1 tsp dried oregano

250g chicken breast, cut into bitesize pieces

115g no sugar, not salt canned sweetcorn


All you need to do is:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion, carrot, garlic and pepper, cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes until softened.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180◦C/350◦F/Gas Mark 4. Add the passata, stock, beans, fajita spice mix and oregano. Bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce the heat too low, part cover with a lid and simmer for 10 mins.
  3. Stir the chicken into the pan and cook for another 7 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Add the sweetcorn and heat until warm.
  4. Ladle the soup into bowls.



I hope you enjoy both of these recipes, if your little one isn’t quite loving the lumps just yet you can blitz it up.


I’ve chatted for long enough, have a great weekend!

Julia x


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