Generally I avoid the recipe blog. One, I don’t consider myself an especially gifted cook and therefore passing on dishes seems not only conceited but just odd, and two, it’s not really what I’m about (although I have no idea what I am about, I just know that cooking isn’t really it). Even more so, I avoid the kiddy recipe blog because one, most of my kiddy dinners are pretty unimaginative and two, I know there to be a tiny collection of loyal followers of this blog who do not have children and would thus have very little interest in me blogging about kids food.
In the interests of diversity (after all, not every post can consist of me being a putrid crank) and in the spirit of giving something back to all the other mummy pages I’ve fleeced recipes off, here are a couple of child-friendly meals I’ve devised which seem to work about 90 per cent of the time (that is an anecdotal statistic and not in the least bit quantified, just to be clear).
Well, let’s start with one and perhaps I’ll post some more later…
This was a staple of my mother’s. From as early as I can even remember having a concept of memory through which to catalogue things, right up until my years at university, my mother cooked this on days when she was pressed for time or when the fridge and pantry were virtually empty. With its garlic, butter and undertones of nostalgia, this simple – even bland – dish still affords me a certain joy when I am in need of comforty, babyish food (yes, those instances still occur – I am after all, a giant baby), and seems to go down well with toddlers too, which helps. It’s not the most nutritious or balanced of dishes and it certainly won’t count toward your 5 a day; but if your child in any resembles mine, it’s a bonus to get anything into their digestive system that isn’t chocolate or petit filou. I suppose if you’re game, you could add finely chopped parsley to satisfy the green quotient.
Ingredients: a few cloves of garlic, butter, cheese, cracked pepper, your choice of pasta (I like spaghetti for this).
Boil your pasta. While this is cooking, finely chop your garlic or grate/crush it. When the pasta is ready, drain, and return the pot to a low heat, adding a big knob of butter and your garlic. Let it cook ever so slightly – do not let it brown! Add the pasta back to the pot, stir it through the garlic butter and add some cracked pepper. Turn off the heat and grate over your preferred cheese.
Serve as is to toddlers (usually with some additional cheese) or, for the x-rated version, serve with a crisp green salad – something suitably retro like iceberg lettuce. To avoid gagging on long strings of pasta, I normally run a pair of cooking scissors through child’s bowl and chop the spaghetti into more managable lengths.
[Hmm. This all felt uncharacteristically informative and upbeat. It it is an awkward fit at this early stage, but I shall persevere and see where such an approach takes me.]