Last night we had chipper chips for dinner. When we're not eating junk, which is about 70% of the time, I try to cook healthy meals from scratch. I don't buy pre-prepared sauces, apart from ketchup, mayo, mustard and tomato relish. I made my own salsa last week and it turned out great! It's partly the fact that I'm a bit fussy, reading labels and avoiding additives where possible, and it's also cheaper too. With all the work I'm doing breastfeeding, I see it as my responsibility to ensure my kids eat as well as possible. Don't get me wrong, they get sugary foods almost every day too, but I definitely balance it with mostly home-cooked meals where possible. (Just to clarify, some days making porridge and scrambled eggs is the extent of it!)
This week we had the delight and pleasure of looking after a friends garden. If "looking after" means helping yourself to amazing organic vegetables when you feel like it! I now have serious garden envy, and have begun planning next year's crops already! The kids were amazed to see so many edibles in one place, and got to pick tomatoes, taste grapes, pull beetroot, rhubarb, and courgettes to bring home and cook.
One day we had sweet tomatoes in a sandwich, another evening I made rhubarb crumble. We roasted beetroot and ate it warm with our fingers, dipped in salt, while drinking wine and sitting on our patio, a perfect summer evening.
Today for lunch, after consulting the veggie cook's bible (Cafe Paradiso cookbook) I found a recipe for beetroot soup. Of course I found it necessary to make many, many substitutions and omissions, but the result was great! I sautéed onions and potatoes until browning, added the beetroot, a chinese cabbage that was looking sad, water to cover, then fresh parsley and chives, salt and pepper. My parsley and chive plants were only 1.50e each, cheaper and look nicer on the counter!
Once the soup was cooked, we pureed it, and grated some parmesan to give it a salty kick. This tastes amazing, the beetroot are really perfumed and sweet, it's one of my favourite soups now!
This evening's dinner was roasted sweet potato and courgette gratin (sliced courgettes, homemade herby cheese sauce topped with breadcrumbs, parmesan and oven baked). Kids had banana sandwiches and cornflakes. I think they'd had enough of the organic vegetables.
Dessert was the above pie, made with rhubarb, some sorry looking apples from yesterday's picnic bag and frozen blueberries. I haven't made a pie in literally years, and this one had experimental pastry (coconut oil and rice flour instead of butter and white flour - nigh impossible to roll out, but crispy). I used minimal sugar, so we had to drizzle honey on our slices, and ate it with plain yoghurt.
A huge thank you to my friend Aedin (http://www.freefromguru.com) for the fantastic opportunity to literally forage in her garden! And if any of you want a garden sitter, gimme a call!