The BigBabyBelly family never quite bought the trusty health visitor advice on encouraging me to eat the same food as them mealtimes from the age of 12 months. It’s not a case of me not wanting to eat their food, (MA-MA thinks I don’t know that rice cakes are not as tasty as the crisps they eat once I’ve gone to sleep), but more that they find toddler recipes, in all their bland spice-free glory, pretty boring. MA-MA is always looking for dishes that we can all enjoy en famille, so she was thrilled to learn than I have a positively remarkable tolerance for hot food.
We discovered this last weekend on a family trip to the pub when MA-MA was trying to trough down a packet of super hot Jalapeño crisps without me noticing. Luckily, I’m too quick for her, and managed to dart in and grab a massive handful for myself. A minute later while she was hysterically coughing and yelling to Dadada “my mouth is on fire, fetch me some milk”, I remained totally nonchalant and serene. Once she recovered, MA-MA immediately started looking into some recipes for the whole family that contain some real flavour.
Our first venture into this exciting world will be Jamie Oliver’s Moroccan Chicken Kebabs from the Jamie Does… cookbook. Overall, we love Jamie. And how could you not? Sure, his Jamie’s Italian chain is not great, but on the other hand he is clearly the nicest bloke and his recipes are always pretty yummy. MA-MA’s original plan was to turn to our beloved Wahaca cookbook, but of course all their recipes require exotic ingredients that can’t be bought at the Portobello Tesco Metro. Jamie, on the other hand, understands that us busy toddlers don’t have time to track down ancho chillies, and we generally find that his recipes are simple and even the more unusual ingredients can replaced without sacrificing much taste.
We also like Jamie because he truly seems to care about children’s health. MA-MA gets emotional just thinking when he went to America to encourage the schools to serve healthier food and how sad he was when pretty much everyone shot down his wisdom and good intentions. School dinners have changed so much since her day (you may remember our day out at the Fork to Fork Festival at ARK Franklin Primary School) and surely that’s mostly due to Jamie? I’m still a little young at the moment, but as soon as I’m ready MA-MA is for sure going to follow his advice to involve me when she shops for food and cooks. I can’t wait!
Finally, this seems like a good time to celebrate the Olivers because they have just welcomed their FIFTH child, and Jamie keeps saying such nice things about mummies and all the hard work they do. What better way to honour a new life than through cooking?
We’ve adjusted the recipe to babyfy it and remove the salt (I think Jamie would approve) and reduce some of the stronger flavours. As always we replaced the pitta bread with quinoa because if bread is on my plate I simply won’t eat anything else until a whole loaf is produced. Is something we all enjoyed as a family?
Moroccan Chicken with Avocado Dip
Inspired by Jamie Oliver’s recipe
4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts cut into baby-bite-sized chunks
Ready made quinoa. Merchant Gourmet is a stable in our cupboard
½ thumb-sized chunk of fresh ginger, finely grated
½ tbsp hot paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
3 tbsp olive oil
2 ripe avocados (if in doubt as to whether they are ripe, as with most things in life turn to Buzzfeed)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 clove of garlic very finely chopped
½ bunch corriandor
2 tbsp olive oil
Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl
Toss the chicken in the marinade so each piece is evenly coated, cover the bowl with cling film and pop in the fridge. Jamie suggests at least 30 minutes, preferably longer (overnight would be great).
Now on to the avocado dip. Spoon the flesh from the avocado and add to a bowl with all the other ingredients. Mash with a fork till it is nice and smooth.
When you’re ready to cook the chicken, heat some coconut oil on the griddle pan over a medium heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook for 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally. This is the first time MA-MA and Dadada used the griddle pan since they got it as a wedding gift, but actually it is great for cooking meat as you get such lovely char marks.
While the chicken is on the stove, cook the quinoa. Serve as soon as the chicken is ready with the avocado dip on the side.
This chicken is a real hit, tasty enough for a toddlers who will probably quite like the neon yellow colour, but not overpoweringly strong. As someone who eats avocado for breakfast three times a week, I assumed the dip was going to be delicious but the raw garlic was a little intense for a young’un like me. I would definitely recommend roasting a clove in a little oil beforehand, and blending that in instead. If you’re a mummy or a daddy, we suggest a good pinch of salt and a dollop of siracha in the avocado dip to liven things up.
This is very easy to make and you could for sure have it as a nice alternative to a Sunday roast, just as I imagine the Olivers do. You could also make a bigger batch and freeze some chicken, making it a really quick future meal. This was actually our intention, but Dadada and I ate it all 😍.
Thank you Jamie for this lovely recipe! Thanks for making it cool for lads (like my Dadada) to spend all day cooking, for taking turkey twizzlers off the menu and for being such a nice family man!