Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Summer time and 5 a day should be easy.......!

The fruit and vegetable aisles are groaning with melons, tomatoes, raspberries and strawberries and I’m thinking rosé, BBQs and roasted vegetable salads (in that order!).  While it can be harder to eat our five a day in the winter when cabbage and apples start to feel a little bit boring, we have actually no excuse in the summer as there is so much variety and colour.

I’m on a mission to fill my children (and husband) with as many fruit and vegetables as possible at the moment in the hope that this, plus the vitamin D they'll make from the action of sunlight on their skin (and here's hoping that we actually got some decent sunlight very soon!) will keep the Debeugny household  ‘a sick-free zone’ over the summer months.  

So, I though it might be useful to share a day’s worth of menus.  My criteria is that the family menu needs to be healthy, colourful, tasty, interesting.  I’m aiming for easy home cooked foods, ideally low (ish) in refined carbs and sugars, with quality protein and natural (as opposed to trans/hydrogenated/processed) fats.  The meals need to be suitable for adults and children as I get very grumpy at the thought of having to cook separate meals for different family members.  I also have a intense dislike of ‘faddiness’. My children don’t have to finish all the food on their plates and I tend to serve them small portions so they can always ask for more, but, and this is a big but, I do expect them to try everything (and not to be too rude about it!).

So, on the daily menu....

1 cup American style Pancakes with Greek Yoghurt and Fresh Fruit
* Lunch
Crudités and Green Salad 
Bolognese Bake - made with left over bolognese sauce, wholemeal pasta spirals and mozarella cheese 
Easy Peasy Banana Icecream with grated chocolate
Apple Slices
Rice cakes
Potato and Courgette oven baked Frittata
Red cabbage, radish, carrot and tahini salad
Fruit/compotes/cheese/yoghurt - borrrrr-ring as my children would say!

Total fruit and veg intake for the day 6-7ish - Yes! 

*My top tip here is when you have hungry children waiting to be fed always put salad/crudités on the table first, so that they have the chance to eat these before the main dish arrivves.  You might also be surprised how many cucumber and carrot sticks they can munch on when they are really hungry!

**Douter (Do-té) is a fantastic invention by a friend of mine which gets round the problem of children having both a sugary dessert and a gouter.  You basically fob the kids off after lunch with a ‘you can’t possibly still be hungry so let’s wait a bit before dessert’ and then you do ‘you’ve just had a late dessert so you don’t need a gouter’! The douter  is served around English ‘teatime’ - 3pm ish

1 cup American style Pancakes with Greek Yoghurt and Fresh Fruit
Makes about 12-16
Whisk together:  2 eggs, 1 large teacup of flour ( I fill 75% of the tea cup with wholemeal flour and 25% porridge oats.) 1 large teacup of milk, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, handful of fresh blueberries.
Fry spoonfuls in a frying pan for about 2 minutes each side (flip them over onto the other side when they start to bubble).  You are aiming for small round thick pancakes rather than thin delicate crepes! 
Serve with greek yoghurt, a drizzle of honey and chopped fresh fruit 
Easy Peasy Banana Ice Cream
You need 1 frozen peeled banana, 1 tsp peanut butter and 1tsp honey per person.  Place ingredients in food processor add a good dollop of mascarpone/creme fraiche and blend until soft and creamy (this can take a while).  Serve immediately.
Finely chop and fry 1/2 onion in a small amount of olive oil/butter for 2-3 minutes. Add 1 finely chopped courgette (chopped finely enough that the kids do not complain!) and fry for a further 5 minutes.  
In a bowl whisk 8 eggs, 100ml of milk and some fresh herbs/seasoning.  Slice up left over boiled potatoes( about 300-400g) and add to eggs.  Mix in the cooked onion and courgette mixture.  Add 100g of grated cheese (comté/parmesan).
Pour into greased baking dish and bake in 180 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.  
Red cabbage/radish/carrot and tahini salad
I love coleslaw but find the combination of raw onions and raw cabbage slightly over powering which is why I prefer to fry the onion before adding to the salad.  This gives the salad a gorgeous crispy roasted taste.
Finely chop or grate red cabbage and carrots.  Mix in some chopped radish.  Fry 2 thinly sliced shallots in olive oil until crispy, then throw in a handful of flaked almonds and cook for a further minute (don’t let the almonds burn!). Mix vegetables, shallots and almonds together in a dish. 
Dress with a mixture of :  1 large tablespoon tahini (sesame seed paste), lemon juice (to taste), olive oil (to taste) , pinch of sugar and pinch of salt