Recipe Of The Week – Tomato and Basil Sauce

Ingredients –

1 tbsp olive oil,

1 garlic glove, crushed,

400g chopped tomatoes,

1 tbsp vegetable stock powder or 1/2 low salt stock cube,

1 tbsp tomato puree,

1 tsp sugar,

Handful of basil leaves,

Method – 

  1. Heat the oil in the pan, add the garlic, then gently fry for 1 minute.

  2. Tip in all the other ingredients, except the basil, then bring to the boil.

  3. Reduce the heat then simmer uncovered for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  4. To finish, tear the basil leaves, then stir into the sauce.

  5. Serve with whatever pasta you choose or freeze for an easy tea!

Serves 4

Recipe Of The Week – Sweet Potato Dhal With Curried Vegetables

Ingredients – 

For the Dhal – 

  • 1 tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil,

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped,

  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced,

  • 1 tbsp medium curry powder,

  • 200g dried split red lentils,

  • 500g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks,

  • 2 tbsp lime (or lemon) juice plus lime wedges, to serve,

  • 100g full-fat natural bio yoghurt,

  • coriander, to serve,

For the curried vegetables – 

  • 100g green beans, trimmed and cut into short lengths

  • 250g cauliflower, cut into small florets,

  • 2 medium carrots, sliced,

  • 1 tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil,

  • 1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges,

  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced,

  • 1 tsp medium curry powder,

  • 200g ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped,

  • 1 long green chilli, finely sliced (deseeded if you don’t like it too hot),

Method – 

  1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan and fry the onion over a low heat for 10 mins, stirring regularly, until softened and very lightly browned – add the garlic for the final min. Stir in the curry powder and cook for 30 secs more.

  2. Add the lentils, 1 tsp flaked sea salt and 1 litre of water. Stir in the sweet potatoes and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the lentils for 50 mins or until the dhal is thick, stirring regularly. Add a splash of water if the dhal thickens too much. Stir in the lime or lemon juice and season to taste.

  3. While the dhal is cooking, make the curried vegetables. Half-fill a medium non-stick pan with water and bring to the boil. Add the beans, cauliflower and carrots, and return to the boil. Cook for 4 mins, then drain.

  4. Return the pan to the heat and add the oil and onion. Cook over a medium-high heat for 3-4 mins or until the onion is lightly browned, stirring regularly. Add the garlic and cook for 1 min more until softened. Stir in the curry powder and cook for a few secs, stirring.

  5. Add the tomatoes, green chilli according to taste and 200ml cold water. Cook for 5 mins or until the tomatoes are well softened, stirring regularly. Stir in the blanched vegetables and cook for 4-5 mins or until hot throughout. Season with black pepper.

  6. Divide the dhal between four deep bowls and top with the curried vegetables. Serve with the yogurt, coriander and lime wedges for squeezing over.

Serves 4

Modern Apprentices and MSP’s

As part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week, our Doune Terrace Nursery had a visit from Jeremy Balfour MSP to chat to our Modern Apprentice Monique, who is currently working towards her SVQ3 in Social Services (Children and Young People) with PA Training .

Jeremy was really interested in the nursery and chatted to Monique about how her college course is helping with her every day practice, and how she enjoys undertaking the Modern Apprenticeship with PA training.

Monique was picked out by PA training as an excellent example of a Modern Apprentice for her practice, attitude and quality of her college work

He was also lucky enough to be given a tour of the nursery by Evan from our pre school room. Evan described the different things the children do in each room and told Jeremy all the fun activities the children take part in each day.

To find out more about Scottish Apprenticeships and how to get involved, please visit

Happy World Book Day

It is lovely to see all our nursery children dressed up as different book characters today.

We have been reading some of their favourite books from home which all of the children are enjoying.

Reading is vital to the growth of a child’s imagination and such an important part of growing up.

Let us all spend some time appreciating our most loved books today and encourage our children to do them same.

Celebrate The Women In Your Life

On what is International Women’s Day, we would like to celebrate our very own superwoman – Maureen Crandles.

Maureen has been running Early Days Nurseries for nearly 20 years and is the reason we continue to welcome new children day after day.

Maureen is a teacher first and a businesswomen second, she has had thousands of children in her care and at 72, shows no signs of slowing down!

Outside of Early Days, Maureen is also a wife, mum, granny, sister and a friend and everyone who knows her will agree on what a wonderful woman she truly is.

Who will you be celebrating today?

Recipe Of The Week – Pancakes Of Course!

Ingredients –

100g plain flour,

2 large eggs,

300ml milk,

1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil, plus a little extra for frying

Method – 

    1. Put flour, eggs, milk, sunflower or vegetable oil and a pinch of salt into a bowl or large jug, then whisk to a smooth batter.

    2. Set aside for 30 mins to rest if you have time, or start cooking straight away.

    3. Set a medium frying pan over a medium heat and carefully wipe it with some oiled kitchen paper.

    4. When hot, cook your pancakes for 1 min on each side until golden, keeping them warm in a low oven as you go.

    5. Serve with whatever delicious accompaniments you chose!

Makes 12

World Book Day

We love story time at all our nurseries so are very excited to take part in ‘World book Day’ on Thursday 7th March.

All children are invited to come to nursery dressed as their favourite story book character.

They can also bring in their favourite story to share during the day.  Staff will incorporate some fun activities throughout the day also.

Any children not in on Thursday can dress up during the week and we will ensure they get the chance to share their stories.

Recipe Of The Week Is Back – Butternut squash, chilli and coconut soup

Ingredients – 

1 butternut squash (2-inch cubes),

2 cloves garlic (whole),

Olive oil,

2 onions (chopped),

½ red chilli (chopped)

½ tsp cumin,

1/s tsp garam masala,

500ml boiling water or low salt stock,

400g tin of coconut milk,

Method – 

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

  2. Toss squash in olive oil and roast for 25 minutes until golden at the edges and soft in the middle.  Add the garlic for the last 15 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, gently heat the spices in a little olive oil in a large saucepan for about 2 minutes to release their fragrance.

  4. Add the onion and chilli and allow to soften as the squash roasts.

  5. Combine squash with onion and water and blend until smooth.

  6. Add coconut milk and serve.

Serves 6