On doing the catering.
The first time I became primary carer was in March this year (2017), we had just returned from our wedding in New Zealand (my wife is a Kiwi) and I only had Galla to look after as Georgie was still a couple of months from arriving. One of the most daunting tasks I found was feeding Galla! I mean it’s not rocket science is it; she’s a good little eater (thanks to my amazing wife and all the hard work she put in weaning her) so I didn’t have to deal with any unreasonable two-year old food demands. I guess I just put pressure on myself to create these amazing dishes and give her, on the days she wasn’t at Nursery School, something different each day.
Fortunately I’m not a bad cook but tend to stick to a few tried and tested classics; my chicken risotto is always a big hit as is my pasta with Bolognese sauce, but I do like to stick to a recipe and don’t feel that comfortable going off piste and being creative with food. My wife on the other hand is a fab cook and likes nothing better than creating something from scratch and playing fast and loose with any recipes. During her maternity leave I’ve had an easy time of it in the kitchen I can tell you…but I digress.
Anyway, we had made our nanny keep a food diary, so I looked at that for inspiration. My wife had ensured the nanny try to cook at least one new dish a week while maintaining Galla’s favourites; pasta, fish pie, pasta, risotto, pasta etc. I checked some of the recipe books we had and decided one day to try to make fish cakes from scratch. Fortunately we live in an area where there are excellent butchers and also a great fishmonger. No supermarket vac-packed fish for my little darling, oh no, straight to the fishmonger for the freshest bounty from our shores.
Back home and an afternoon (yes a whole afternoon) spent meticulously preparing and moulding four exquisite fish cakes for her….you’re way ahead of me aren’t you…all the while trying to keep half an eye on her as she plays in the playroom and trying to meet various demands for books to be read and mega bloks to be played with. Dinner was finally ready and of course “I want pasta”…..tears and tantrums followed…Galla looked at me bemused as I picked myself off the floor. Fortunately she did eat all her greens and did try a little bit of fish cake.
That incident made me think and realise that at weekends for example, she eats perfectly well with us, so why can’t I just cook what I would for myself or what I know she likes and take it from there. Over a number of weeks I relaxed more into the routine of catering for her. Nowadays I’m putting less pressure on myself, after all why do that when you have the bigger task of looking after two little girls and running the house as well. Having said that as my wife has returned to work this week there is the added pressure of cooking for us as well, fortunately she’s very easy to please as long as it’s not beans on toast. (p.s. baked beans, always a hit with the little ones!)
Here a couple of my tried and tested favourites that are a hit with my girls, toddler and wife alike and still use decent quality ingredients. (I’m so glad Georgie isn’t weaning yet…..give that a few weeks though!).
Tortilla wraps (we use the good quality seeded ones)
Half an onion (red or brown)
Couple of mushrooms
Cheese (lots of it)
Take a wrap, smear on some tomato paste mixed with cream cheese, thinly slice some onion and mushroom and scatter over the wrap. Rip up the ham and sprinkle over, slice up a tomato or two then add generous amounts of cheese.
Grill under a medium grill until the cheese has melted. Easy as.
Ok I’m not going to give you a recipe on how to make an omelette but I will add that the girls love it when I fry up some chopped onion, mushrooms, broccoli, courgette and peas in olive oil before adding the eggs. Finished under the grill with lots of cheese on top. It’s a real hit.
I still think beans on toast should be a staple though….don’t tell the wife….