I am so, so happy to be enjoying warm, sunny days again! It’s been far too long! Today was one of those; the weather was perfect. Mister 3 chose not to attend play group so we stayed home and chilled instead. Sometimes home days are the best days. They mean we can spend quality time together instead of rushing around doing busy things. On home days we can do craft, we can walk to the library, we can bake, we can play in the sandpit, complete chores together, spend time in the garden and generally relax and live in the moment.
I am all too aware that these moments have a limited lifespan. That is to say, he will be off to school before we know it, and these slow, leisurely days will be over. Kindy starts next year, and with it the task of preparing healthy lunches. Not that I haven’t already been packing lunches and snacks every other day when we go out, but you know what I mean. Things are gonna get serious! I haven’t read up on what is allowed and what is not, but I’ve heard the rules are pretty strict at kindy. Even Tiny Teddies are on the black list.
Time to add some healthy snacks to my repertoire. This savoury quick bread is courtesy of One Handed Cooks, a helpful website that promotes healthy eating for kids. I have had my Instagram feed full of pumpkin recipes, so I thought I’d add my own to the mix. Pumpkin is such a versatile vegetable. We were given several butternut squash a month ago, and they were still perfectly fine. I peeled and chopped them, roasted all the flesh, used some to make my Roasted Pumpkin, Cashew and Parmesan Dip and some to make this.
Roast Pumpkin, Feta and Parmesan Loaf
Sweet pumpkin and salty feta combine to create a quick, healthy snack alternative.
Makes 12 slices
200g pumpkin, peeled and chopped into 3-4 cm pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 ½ cups plain flour (I used wholemeal spelt flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ tsp sweet paprika
1/3 cup buttermilk*
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
75g feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350F) and grease and line a 21cm x 11cm loaf tin.
Place the pumpkin on a lined baking tray add the olive oil and balsamic and toss to combine. Season with pepper (optional). Roast for approximately 20-30 minutes or until the pumpkin is golden and soft. Remove the pumpkin from the oven, allow to cool slightly then very lightly fork mash.
Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, paprika and salt into a large mixing bowl. Whisk together the buttermilk, oil and egg and add to flour mix. Stir gently through until just combined. Fold through the pumpkin and feta cheese.
Scrape batter into the prepared tin, smooth the top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Reduce the oven temperature to 160 degrees Celsius (320F) and bake for 55-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the loaf comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes then transfer onto a wire rack. Serve slices cold, warm or toasted with a salad for lunch, try slices topped with avocado or cheese as a snack.
Wrap baked loaves tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature. Baked loaves can also be wrapped in plastic and aluminium foil and frozen for up to three months.
*Make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon cider vinegar to 1 cup milk. Allow to sit until soured (10 to 15 minutes).