Mostly my kids do eat their meals because I let them have input into what they are eating. This gives them a great sense of control, and although they might not think it, it is limited.
Sometimes I feel like I am running an a la carte restaurant in our house!
Take breakfast, for example. I wake them up, kiss, cuddle, talk about the day and what's on and then ask “ how do you want your eggs today?"
I work on the presumption that they will have an egg of some kind; egg in a cup, egg and soldiers, scrambled, fried, poached or omelette. And with some lovely crispy sourdough toast?
About one out of two days they will actually choose to have an egg, usually, eggs in a cup or scrambled on toast. If they really don't want eggs, I offer Weetabix or porridge. Sourdough toast with hot chocolate is also an option.
Rice crispies are the only other cereal I have in the house and is allowed once a week and they can choose which day.
The goal is to have a protein at breakfast to give them the best start. This is the food that will help them to be strong and help them concentrate rather than judging it on being healthy/bad.
They will also have a glass of water kefir or a milk kefir smoothie to give them a dose of nature's probiotics! I have a passion for cooking and food and it is something I hope my children will benefit from.
What is water kefir, you ask? It is a naturally sparkling drink, rich in probiotics that I make every second day, I ask the kids to suggest the flavour. It varies from raspberry, pomegranate, lemon to elderberry or blueberry. They love when I open the bottle, sometimes it can ‘explode’ and fizz and froth over, which they jump in and suck it up! Other times, there are great expectations but no froth at all!
Milk kefir is made every morning in our house, it has more probiotics than the water kefir. It is made from fermenting full-fat organic milk with ancient kefir ‘grains’ which have been handed down for generations. It tastes like a mild, natural yoghurt. I find the best way to serve it is blended with fruit to make a smoothie or with frozen sliced bananas and fruit to make an instant ‘ice cream’ – depends if it is breakfast or dessert time!
Kefir is a fermented drink. It is best to make milk and water kefir at home, that way you can maximise the probiotic count. As ‘grains’ multiply each time they ferment, regular fermenters will often have a surplus and the community are more than willing to share. You can get them from places like the Facebook group ‘sharing starter cultures' or you can go to a fermentation workshop in your area where they provide attendees with starters.
I love running food demo's at my home and I have found that mums are now discovering some of the benefits of foods such as kefir that they may not have known about before.
I posted this Blog originally on Mummy Pages Voices
Sechuan peppercorns can be found in any Asian supermarket and they are worth finding for this dish. This is the only recipe I do that is deep fried but it is delicious!
Serves 6-8, depending on squid size
1 tsp. Sichuan peppercorns
1 ½ tsp. sea salt
3 scallions cut into julienne
1 red chilli, cut into julienne
2 cloves garlic, sliced
Oil for frying
1 egg white
½ cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, crushed
Juice ½ lemon
1. Cut each squid down the body so it opens up into one piece. Cut diagonal lines at 5mm intervals halfway into the flesh itself, but try not to cut all the way through. Roughly cut each squid into 5cm squares. Cut tentacles into about 5cm lengths.
2. Heat sichuan peppercorns in a dry wok on a low heat until they become fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat, cool, blend with salt.
3. To make the aioli, simply whisk all ingredients together..
4. Heat oil in a wok or pan to 180°C; check this by putting a small cube of bread in it, which should turn brown in 15 seconds.
5. Whisk egg white in a bowl add squid. Place flour in another bowl and lightly dust squid pieces in the flour, shaking off any excess.
6. Carefully add the battered squid to the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the wok so the oil keeps its heat. Fry in batches and make sure the oil has reached the correct temperature again before adding more. Cook for about 3 minutes, until a crust forms. Remove squid with a metal strainer and drain on a paper towel.
7. In another pan, add 1tbsp oil and fry the chilli, garlic and scallions for 1 min. Add in the drained squid, season with the salt and pepper mix, toss and serve.
Variations : You can use calamari rings, less work but the flavour wont be as good.
Serving suggestions : Serve immediately as a canapé, with a cocktail stick or as a share platter.
Storage: Does not keep, so enjoy now!
This is a very simple dish to make. The vegetables are raw and have the added benefit of natures probiotics. It is a festive version of sauerkraut I teach in my Fermentation workshops.
50g Goji berries
1 star anise
1tsp whole cloves
600g red cabbage
2 apples, cored
4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 cup whey (optional)
1.Soak the goji berries in some water for an hour or two.
2.Wrap cloves and star anise in muslin & set aside.
3. Chop all veg in food processor, holding back some outer leaves of cabbage.
4. Place veg and goji berries in a glass or stainless steel bowl, add salt and massage into veg.
5. Fill the clean jar with the vegetables, add in the muslin spice bag, pour over the whey and press down well.
6. Leave 2cm free at the top of the jar, then place cabbage leaf on top and press down again.
7. Ensure all veg are under the liquid level, if not, add some spring water.
8. Store in a dark place with lid closed for 10-14 days, taste occasionally and refrigerate when ready.
9. Once opened, it will keep for 2 months in fridge, unopened it will keep for 9 months.