It's always so fun to connect with other bloggers and makers from around Northern Ireland - we're a small crowd here so it matters that we support and encourage each others creativity and courage. When I saw all the delicious recipes and ideas coming from 'new-on-the-scene' food blogger Smashed Avacado, I asked if she'd like to get together to do some cooking! Smashed Avacado is run by Sara and focuses around hearty, wholesome food and the beauty of gathering around the table. We bonded in our love for Shauna Niequists writing and thought it might be nice for Sara and I to come up with some recipes together that would be easy and healthy for new mums that we could share on our respective blogs. I don't know about you, but my post-baby diet the first time around involved a lot of cake. Everything was so new and overwhelming I felt like sugar and carbs was the only thing that would quickly sustain me for the day but I know better this time and want to try and feed my body well - to encourage healing and repair etc.
With this in mind, I invited Sara and our mutual friend Ben (from Angel & Anchor - who is an all-around creative clever clogs & has been helping Sara with her blog setup) over for a morning in my kitchen; getting to know each other, hearing about her hopes for Smashed Avocado as we stirred and chopped and zested away. It was such a relaxing time - being in the kitchen is always a bit of a zen zone for me, especially when I can experiment.
Sara brought this great recipe with her for a one-pot chicken dish that is so easy, nutritious and full of flavour you will put it on your regular rotation. If there is a new mum in your life you'd like to cook for (there is very little else that could make a new mums day than dinner made for her) or you are a new mum ready to feed your body what it deserves - this recipe is for you.
+ 4 chicken thighs
+ 1 orange
+ 2 fennel bulbs
+ 4 tbsp of coconut oil
+ 2 tsp salt/pepper
+ 1 tbsp fresh thyme
+ 1/2 a pomegranate
+ Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
+ Zest the orange and cut into 8ths.
+ Put the zest, coconut oil, chopped thyme, salt and pepper into a bowl and give it a mix.
+ Quarter the fennel bulbs, adding them and the orange slices to a roasting dish with the chicken thighs.
+ Massage the zest, herb and oil mix all over the chicken thighs, fennel and orange.
+ Stick it in the oven to roast for 45 minutes, basting the chicken half way through.
+ Once the dish is cooked, sprinkle pomegranate on top and serve.
I can't tell you how tasty this was - I had my in-laws over to sample it, served it with basmati rice and it went down a storm. The mix of the aniseed flavour from the fennel, the tenderness of the chicken and the tangy juice of the pomegranate was such a tastbud treat.
Fennel is such an underrated ingredient but has stacks of really great nutritional value, especially for new mums recovering from birth. It has properties that bring relief from anemia, it helps to increase milk production in breastfeeding and relieves colic (so great for those breastfeeding windy babies). It also has a high fibre content (great for balancing things out if you are having to take iron) and can even strengthen and prevent hair loss (oh the dreaded post-birth hair loss - I forgot about that)! A super food by all accounts!
Sara and I also whipped up another awesome recipe for you - Sweet Potato, Beetroot & Cumin Soup. It's so earthy and delicious and I would urge you to hop on over to Smashed Avocado to feast your eyes on it's colourful goodness over there! Also, do make sure you connect up with all the other great things coming from Sara's kitchen on the Smashed Avocado facebook page & instagram!
What other good, wholesome, easy to throw together recipes would you recommend for new mums? I'd love to hear some of your favourites!
Photography by: Ben Connolly, Angel & Anchor