Yesterday was a momentous day in our household. My two year old son took his first ever mouthful of peas. Admittedly they were doused in ketchup but I hope that it is something of a breakthrough in his eating habits.
You see my little boy is a vegetable refusenik. Not a single solitary pea would pass his lips. When offered the standard healthy snack of cucumber and pepper at our local childrens centre he would cast the lady such a withering look that even Jamie Oliver would have given in and handed him a turkey twizzler.
I'm not sure why he doesn't like veg. In my dark times I do worry that my over consumption of Dominoes Pizza and chocolate whilst he was still in the womb didn't help the cause. I can only imagine that as a tender foetus his newly forming taste buds were so titillated by pepperoni and Cadburys Dairy Milk that anything else would surely just be a disappointment. Especially broccoli .
He did start quite well when I was weaning him though. He was pretty happy to try all the purees I made but then he was young and impressionable and couldn't answer back. As soon as he started getting his own opinions it all changed and he also learnt that dreaded word...yuk! Soon he would not countenance so much as a spoonful of sweet potato so I had to resort to subterfuge.
Luckily I make a mean hidden vegetable sauce and hide all sorts of veggie horrors in my spaghetti bolognaise. However my absolute favourite hidden veg recipe is Annabel Karmel's chicken and apple balls. These are delicious and although slightly messy to make they are well worth it. The children think they are getting a meaty treat and you are smug in the knowledge that they are actually getting some fruit and veg in there too. I like them too and can often be found in a corner eating the kids leftovers.
- 2 tsp Light Olive Oil
- 1 Onion, finely chopped
- 1 large Granny Smith Apple, peeled, and grated
- 2 large Chicken Breasts, cut into chunks
- ½ tbsp Fresh Parsley, chopped
- 1 tbsp Fresh thyme or sage, chopped
- 1 Chicken stock cube, crumbled (for children over 12 months)
- 50g Fresh white breadcrumbs
- 1 pinch Salt, (for children over 12 months)
- 1 pinch Pepper, freshly ground (for children over 12 months)
- 1 dusting Plain flour, for coating
- 1 tsp Vegetable oil, for frying
Heat the olive oil in a pan and saute half the onion for about 3 minutes.
Using your hands, squeeze out a little excess liquid from the grated apple.
Mix the apple with the cooked children, and remaining raw onion, herbs, stock cube and breadcrumbs and roughly chop in a food processor for a few seconds. Season with a little salt and peper
With your hands form into about 20 little balls, roll in flour and fry in shallow oil for about 5 minutes (although I'm paranoid about things being cooked properly so I like to fry them and then cook them in the oven for another 5-10 minutes).