masterchef for kids


Photo by Jim Walmsley

Former leader of the anti-vegetable party picking (and eating) cherry tomatoes.

Dammit, sometimes feeding children is totally demoralising. 

You think about what they might agree to eat, you go buy it, you prepare it. (And AS IF you're ever cooking unencumbered. As my friend Ness decided, we'd bloody love to see a Masterchef series where the contestants are constantly interrupted, and halfway through their preparations they have to stop what they're doing and attend to a vomit/falling down/toileting incident. THAT would be good TV.)

And then the buggers go on a hunger strike. Whatever you've made is the LAST THING they want to eat. Motherhood is so rewarding.

It may or may not work for you, but this one usually works for me. My kids' favourite:


Spaghetti or any kind of short pasta
1 tsp olive oil
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tin tinned tomatos (400g) (try the organic ones, they taste better)
1tblsp tomato paste
1 carrot, grated
1 zucchini, grated (if your kids are super suspicious of vegies, peel it first)
500ml beef stock

It's very straightforward. Boil the water and cook your pasta.

Heat the olive oil in a pan, cook the onion (finely chopped) and garlic (crushed) until cooked. Add the tinned toms and the tomato paste and cook for a minute. Then add the grated carrot and zucchini and the stock and simmer for, not sure, 10 mins? Until it's cooked (i.e. the vegies are soft). 

I blend mine with a hand blender at the end. 

Serve over the pasta, cheese optional. Sorry I don't have a pic, the kids were hungry, I didn't think to go get the camera.

I did tonight though: here is another pretty sure-fire one. Again, if you have young kids REALLY suspicious about vegetables, leave the mushrooms out of this one (so it doesn't look brownish) and then blend it up. Use lighter pasta if you're going to blend.

MAY09 004


You've heard it before, use good ingredients: it tastes better. Also, the less ingredients in something, the more you'll be able to taste them individually. Good stock is a good idea. Make your own if you can or if not, buy a good liquid one.

1 tsp olive oil
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
500g chicken breast
2 ltres chicken stock
1 cup chopped celery
1 chopped parsnip
1 chopped carrot
1 chopped red capsicum
1 chopped zucchini
1 handful chopped fresh thyme, sage and parsley
2 cups pasta (I use a heavy durum wheat pasta)

Cook onion and garlic in the oil in the bottom of a big pot. Then add everything else except the herbs and the pasta and bring to boil. Turn heat down, add pasta and herbs and simmer for about 20 mins.

Really good the next day if you have leftovers. 

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