Slow cooked colourful veggie risotto with pea pesto

I actually cooked this a couple of weeks ago now, but it was just before we went away for 10 days and I was too busy finishing my posts on cloth nappies for Real Nappy Week (and getting ready to get the four of us off on holiday – that’s no easy feat!) so I didn’t get round to blogging this rather delicious meal until now. Risottos are a great way to use up things in the fridge that have seen better days and/or a great way to chuck in things from the store cupboard if you’re running low on fresh ingredients. These are the reasons why I cobbled this together just before going away, and the result was a yummy family meal.IMG_0678

Needless to say, Andrew loved it, as always. Joel is still not eating much, just a nibble here and there, but when he’s having a go at more variety of flavours and textures, this would be a great meal for him too. I’d say it works for a baby doing baby-led weaning because you can just choose which veg they like or which veg you want them to try, and decide what size of chunks they are confident with when adding ingredients, starting with bigger pieces (maybe not kidney beans like in this recipe straight away). The pea pesto adds a lovely flavour, a sweetness that makes it appealing to kids I think, and a lovely bright colour, which is also appealing, maybe even more so to kids than adults!

And of course using the slow cooker meant I could prep earlier in the day (it took about 10 minutes) and the risotto was ready for dinner at 6.30pm. Easy PEAsy…. have a go yourself if you like!


  • 2 carrots
  • 1 tin kidney beans
  • 200g long grain rice
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 800ml hot stock (I use low salt)
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 50g Parmesan cheese
  • Glug of olive oil


  1. Chop the carrots into chunks.
  2. Put the carrots, kidney beans, rice and cornflour into the slow cooker pot.
  3. Add the stock and stir.
  4. Cook on low for 3 hours.
  5. After you’ve put the slow cooker on, make the pesto. Start by cooking the peas for 2 minutes in the microwave or in a pan of boiling water.
  6. Put the cooked peas, cheese and a glug of olive oil in a blender and whizz until a smooth paste – add a bit more oil if it’s too thick until you have the right consistency to stir through the risotto.
  7. When the slow cooker is finished, stir the pesto through the risotto until evenly distributed.
  8. Serve immediately; any leftovers can be frozen for a quick tasty meal another time.

Slow cooked beany chilli with chocolate

beany chilli 2A couple of weeks ago I saw a recipe for chilli with chocolate by Chrissie aka Slow Cooker Queen as part of the Slow Cooker Sunday linky. I’ve been meaning to make a chilli with chocolate for a while. We have chilli quite often, and there’s always chocolate in the fridge, so I don’t know why I haven’t done it before now – maybe because on the surface it seems like an odd combination so I don’t automatically think about reaching for a bar of chocolate when making chilli. As we currently have even more chocolate to get through than before Easter, I thought this would be a good time to use some in cooking as well as eating on its own.

This recipe is quite different from Chrissie’s, mainly because I made it veggie, and used my usual ingredients for a veggie chilli. I don’t eat any red meat, I just don’t like it; I will eat chicken and turkey if cooked for me, but in the last year or so I haven’t cooked any meat myself. We eat fish or pulses instead.beany chilli

Despite the perhaps odd combination, it actually works really well. The chocolate flavour is subtle but there, and adds something to my usual simple chilli recipe. It’s a great way to get toddlers to eat vegetables too. I’d definitely recommend giving it a go…..

Ingredients – serves 6 (3 of us ate it and half went in our freezer for another day)

  • 1 onion
  • 1 tin kidney beans
  • 1 tin borlotti beans
  • 1 tin sweetcorn
  • 1 carton chopped tomatoes (approx. 400g)
  • 1 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 50g chocolate
  • 250ml hot stock (I use low salt)


  1. Chop the onion into small pieces, and chop the chocolate into small chunks.
  2. Drain all the tins of vegetables.
  3. Put all the ingredients into the slow cooker and cook for 6 hours.
  4. Put some rice on to boil 10 minutes before it’s ready.
  5. Serve the chilli and rice together, with a dollop of soured cream if you like the spice toned down a bit.