CFinding kids can be the biggest battleground for meals: one day they’ll eat something you’ve lovingly prepared, only to push it away (or throw it on the floor—we’ve all been there) the next. Then there’s the vegetable question: there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason for which ones are preferred at any given moment. The most important thing I’ve learned is that if you involve them in the process, they’re much more likely to eat—or at least taste—a dish. Today’s coconut rice is a great example of an inexpensive meal they can help make, while quiche is baking messy games: rolling, dusting, grating… Mushrooms aren’t exactly easy to sell, at least for my little ones, so they’re cheesy to prepare and playful works wonders.
Red peppers, kidney beans and coconut rice
This is one of my daughters favorite dishes; There are so many parts in this Caribbean-inspired rice that you can help make it all the more enjoyable. It’s nutritious too.
preparation 10 mins
Cook 50 mins
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1 bunch spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced or chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely grated or chopped
2 red peppers, halved, pith and seeds removed and discarded, flesh torn or cut into small pieces
1 medium sized tomato
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
6 allspice berries
3cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled off
1x 400ml can coconut milk
1 x 400g can of kidney beansundrained
200 g long grain rice
sea salt and black pepper (Optional)
4 large eggs (Optional)
2 limes, cut into wedges, serve
chili sauceserve (optional)
Heat a large skillet or casserole over medium-high heat, add the oil, scallions, garlic, and peppers and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, 12-15 minutes. Chop the tomato and add to the pan with the thyme and allspice. Finely grate the ginger, cook for a few minutes while stirring, then add the coconut milk and kidney beans, including the liquid from the bean can. Add 250ml water, bring to the boil, then stir in the rice. Season to taste, then cover the pan and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
If using the eggs, when the rice is almost done, bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil, add the eggs and cook for 7 minutes. Drain, then cool in cold water.
After 30 minutes, remove the rice from the heat, remove the lid, replace with a tea towel and leave to steam for a few minutes.
Serve the rested rice with a peeled boiled egg if using, lime wedges to squeeze over, and a bottle of chili sauce on the side for those who like a bit of spiciness.
Chestnut mushroom, mustard and cheddar quiche
I’ve constantly struggled to get my girls to eat mushrooms, but when I coat them in a cheesy, creamy quiche filling, they love them. The addition of subtle flavors like mustard powder and chives are a great way to gently lure their taste buds away from simpler foods, both ingredients that kids can help with in the preparation.
preparation 15 minutes
Relax 20 minutes
Cook 1 H
Plain Flourfor dusting
500 g shortcrust pastry
500 g chestnut mushrooms
1 large knob of butter
2 A teaspoon of olive oil
sea salt and black pepper (Optional)
3 large eggs
200 ml double cream
100 whole milk
1 tsp mustard powder
10 g bunch of chives
100 g mature cheddar cheeseor vegetarian alternative
Dust a work surface with some flour, then roll out the dough into a large circle about ½ cm thick, large enough to line a 25 cm loose-bottomed cake tin. Gently roll the dough over the rolling pin, then drape into the pan. Tear off a piece of the overhang and use it to push the dough straight into the fluted edges (keep this piece aside in case you need it to patch holes later). Leave the rest of the excess, prick the base of the dough all over with a fork and place the mold in the freezer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan oven)/390°F/Gas 6. Clean the mushrooms and then tear into pieces about 2.5 cm in size. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat, add butter, oil and mushrooms, season and sauté, stirring frequently, until mushrooms lose their moisture and begin to turn golden brown, 15-20 minutes.
Place the cooled tart pan on a baking tray, line the dough with baking paper and fill with baking beans or something similar. Blind bake for 10 minutes, then carefully lift out the paper and beans and bake an additional 12-15 minutes until golden.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, milk and mustard powder, then cut in the chives. Coarsely grate the cheddar and stir most of it into the egg mixture.
When the quiche tin is done, trim off any excess batter, then evenly spoon in the mushrooms. Pour the cream mixture over the top, sprinkle with the remaining cheddar and bake for 30 minutes, until the filling is just set but still slightly jiggly in the center. Allow the quiche to cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from the pan, slicing and serving.
Georgina Hayden’s latest book, Nistisima: The Secret to Delicious Vegan Cooking from the Mediterranean and Beyond is published by Bloomsbury for £26. To order a copy for £22.62 go to guardianbookshop.com.