Hands up if cooking is often a chore rather than a pleasure? Yep, me too! But the thing is I really like food, and it won’t magically appear unless I cook it. So I figure cooking is a necessary evil if you want to eat! With that in mind I am always looking for simple, easy mid-week recipes that don’t take long to prepare but are packed with flavour. Enter my secret weapon: Dukkah! This tasty collection of spices can elevate any meal. And what’s more, two out of my three kids like it, so I am calling that a WIN! I am going to show you 4 easy ways with Dukkah. These are my “go-to” dishes at the moment and I hope they will become yours too :-)…
I am always on the lookout for new vegetarian recipes that my kids will eat, and this zucchini slice is a winner! I found a recipe for Turkish zucchini and haloumi cake in the May edition of Taste magazine. I made some modifications to the recipe (to make it more kid friendly) and the result was clean plates, requests for seconds, compliments to the chef and one very happy mama!! This is honestly one of the nicest zucchini slices I have made as it has a depth of flavour that is so often lacking in zucchini slices. Give this a go at your place and adapt to your taste. Feta would also work nicely in this recipe and just use whatever herbs you have on hand. Dy herbs such as fennel seeds, mint and sumac would also work very well. You won’t be disappointed, trust me!…
Last weekend I was invited to cooking workshop with award-winning chef, Karen Martini. The event was hosted by Dairy Australia and the legendairy team. It was all about inspiring people to cook with dairy, especially the many wonderful sweet and savoury dishes you can create with milk. And it was so much fun! I took Miss A along with me.
The best thing about the day was spending one on one time with Miss A. In our fast-paced lives, it is near impossible for me to find one on one time with the girls. This event provided the perfect opportunity to have a day date with my eldest girl, and enthusiastic chef! We tasted, we watched, we cooked and we ate. We ate so well. We learnt how to make the perfect béchamel sauce, buttery scones, sweet and savoury hotcakes and then we had a cook off against the other contestants!!
We had about 15 minutes to prepare and cook some of Karen’s famous ricotta hot cakes. The requirements were: follow the recipe, create a 3-tier hotcake stack, choose between sweet and savoury toppings and plate up. We told we were being judged on taste, presentation and creativity. Miss A and I decided quickly we would do a sweet dish, and we got cooking. Our first hotcake wasn’t crash hot but Karen reminded us, the first one is usually not the best. We were down to the wire with only ten seconds to go when we plated up our dish and downed tools. We had so much fun and we were pretty pleased with our creation. We didn’t win, but we had such a fun time and the consolation prize was sitting down to a fabulous feast for lunch. YUM!!!!!!!!…
My latest Try Something new Tuesday recipe is this delicious dish – Hokkien Noodles with prawns, tofu, coriander and lime. For my kids friendly version I leave out the chilli and coriander. They’re not fans of heat or green herbs, but I am working on them!
You can whip this up in under 20 mins….
Looking for a tasty salad that packs a punch with flavour and protein? Then you need to try this super simple lentil and chickpea salad. This recipe is so quick and easy that you can whip it up in less than 15 minutes. I am a big lover of grain-based salads and my personal favourite is Hellenic Republic’s Cypriot Grain salad, made with freekah and puy lentils. BUT, that salad is very time intensive and so I have created my own simpler version. It doesn’t have quite the same intensity of flavour but it’s fresh, healthy, yummy and EASY. And I favour easy over hard any day of the week. You can adapt this recipe to taste. Feta, crumbled goats cheese or even warm pan-fried haloumi are all delicious on top….
My kids are not adventurous eaters. I’ve had to work hard at introducing new foods. In fact, they were most curious when I first introduced solids, but by 18 months they became highly skeptical of most food. They would glare suspiciously at new things as though a fatal poisoning was about to take place. I would present, they would reject, and so it went. The experts told me to present the same food up to 20 times and not force them to eat it. But I reckon I introduced broccoli about 150 times and it was still rejected!
“Fussy stages” are pretty common amongst toddlers. But now that my eldest is six and my youngest is three, I am fighting back. In my bid to make mealtimes less stressful and more fun, I have adopted a new strategy. And it begins with taking back some control. One thing I’ve learnt is you will never broaden a child’s food horizons by asking them what they want for dinner each night. They need to be encouraged to try different foods, with some real flavor. This might not work with a spicy vindaloo, but consider how many Aussies love vegemite purely because they grew up on it?
While I appreciate that each child is different and entitled to favour some foods over others, I do think kids need to be open to new and exciting flavours. Being a foodie, I want nothing more than my kids to embrace new tastes and be passionate about food. So, in my quest to extend their palates, I have introduced a night dedicated to trying new foods….
I love the way the seasons change how we eat. It’s winter here in Australia and we are enjoying lots of soups and tagines. I think soup is the ultimate comfort food in the colder months. Served with some crusty bread, it’s perfect for lunch or dinner and it it’s an instant mood booster. This zucchini soup is one of our favourites, which is amazing as the kids are not too keen on green vegetables most of the time. Try this one. It’s a winner!…
This is one of my favourite pasta recipes. It’s simple, fresh and tasty. PLUS all my kids eat it. They don’t even realise I put a few sneaky anchovies in it. If you’re not a fan, leave them out. The best thing about this recipe is the sauce same cooks in the same time it takes the pasta too cook. So dinner can be prepared, cooked and served in about 20 minutes. My kind of dinner! Put this on your weekly/fortnightly rotation….
One of my ‘go-to’ weekly meals is omething whipped up with eggs. Quiche, omelette and frittatas are all good, easy options. Now that Miss A is no longer allergic to eggs, I can happily use this versatile ingredient. Recently I made this Silverbeet & Feta frittata and it was a hit! The girls demolished it and I got to feel extra smug knowing the silver beet was home grown 🙂 I dedicated much time to my veggie patch recently, but thankfully this hearty green seems to grow without much assistance….
Everyone needs a quick and easy meal that can be whipped up mid week. It’s even better if you can include a few veggies in it, too. Look no further. The following recipe is guaranteed to please, possibly because it’s creamy and kids will eat anything drenched in cream. This is how I get my girls to eat vegetables and it’s delicious. If you want to make a healthier version of this recipe simply reduce the amount of cream you add, and increase the amount of stock. If I am not cooking this for the kids, I add a splash of wine after sautéing the mushrooms and reduce. You can also add a dash of grainy mustard for extra flavour….