Something my friend Estelle wrote in my comments on an earlier post today made me stop and think: am I a Food Nazi?
Estelle was commenting on the effect of food colouring on the output of children (oh yes, in so many ways), and I was thinking about Henry's birthday in August.
We went to a children's birthday party recently that had lots of great kid-friendly food, mostly home made, but the little bit of sugar that was there was leapt upon and the kids predictably went a little bit crazy.
I had blithely promised myself that we'd have a sugar/additive free party when Henry's comes around. Will his friends ever come back, do you think?
I should mention too, the chocolate slice (previous post) is of course not recommended for children! I've boxed the remainder of mine up to take to work (to send my workmates into a sugar coma) and Henry and Tilly got puny 1cm squares today as a highly negotiated reward for not tearing the doctors surgery apart after hanging out in the waiting room for about 50 minutes again.
(Trip for Tilly this time. Ear infection. Lovely. Lets talk more about food.)
Anyway, I'm prepared to be unpopular.
The only way you'll get your kids to eat lots of fresh fruit and snack on quiche is to offer it to them, and not offer them too many alternatives. Of course they'll choose a pretzel over a carrot. I would too.
It becomes harder when you're out though, right? I have been known to remove seaweed crackers from my children's hands on the way to their mouths (they're full of MSG.) Definite Food Nazi tendencies.
I reckon just offer them as much fantastic food as you can. This is my strategy anyway. If you teach them to love food that looks good, smells good, feels good, and tastes like real food, that's probably the best you can do.
Here's one. Quiche. Lovely for lunch, delightful for dinner, awesome in a lunchbox.
First: pastry. I know the sheets of pastry you can buy are pretty good. But the pastry you make yourself is much much better.
One thing Nigella (as in, Lawson) does really well is pastry.
Here's her shortcrust which I made yesterday for the base. It sounds like a faff, and it obviously takes longer than defrosting a sheet of Pampas, but damn it tastes good.
Pastry (from How to Be A Domestic Goddess):
250g plain flour (she suggests Italian 00)
125g cold unsalted butter, cubed
2 egg yolks
2 tblsp iced weater
1 heaped tsp salt
1 tblsp caster sugar
Put flour and butter on a dish and put into freezer for 10 mins. Stir together yolks, water & salt in a cup and put cup into fridge. When time's up, tip the flour & butter into your food processor, add the sugar and pulse to combine. You want a soft crumbly mass. Bind with the yolks, water & salt and when it looks like on the verge of coming together tip the pastry out and wodge together with your hands. ('Wodge' is such a Nigella word. I'm sure she made it up.) Wrap in clingwrap and put in fridge to rest.
I let it rest about 15 mins then rolled mine out, spread it over my quiche tin, and then blind baked it on 180 deg for about 15 mins.
For my quiche filling I used:
1 onion, finely chopped
250g rindless bacon finely chopped
10 free range eggs
3 tblsp cream
salt & pepper
big handful fresh chopped basil
Fry the onion in a little olive oil in a pan until translucent. Add the bacon and stir until cooked.
In a bowl beat your eggs and the cream together well. Add the seasoning, the herbs and the onion and bacon.
Pour into your blind baked pastry and cook for about 25 mins at 180 deg.