Wednesday, 12 September 2012

BBC Good Food Hidden Vegetable Sauce

"I don't like that.  It's stinky winky!" came the plaintive voice from the dinner table.  I was in the kitchen photographing my own plateful and I knew at that moment that I'd failed.

I'm sure you've guessed from the title that I was trying to fool Miss A into eating vegetables.  It's one of those great bugbears of parenting.  The child who won't eat vegetables.  Thankfully, because I don't have the opportunity to hang round with many other mothers for more than a few minutes - apart from a minute or two's snatched conversation in the Ladies' with equally harrassed looking female colleagues who are also trying to juggle parenting and working - I've not had the misfortune of coming across one of those awfully smug mothers whose child eats every vegetable placed in front of it.

It smells quite nice, actually

Awful person that I am, I almost wept tears of joy when one day I spotted one of my neighbours returning with their child from McDonalds*.  Although deep down I know that Happy Meals are nothing like they were when I was young (I have only read about this in the papers), I was just a little bit smug that Abigail has never been inside the place.  And if I have anything to do with it, won't go in there until she's in her teens.

In fairness, my neighbour is a keen cook and on the rare occasions when we've spent time together, I've nodded sympathetically whilst she bemoaned her own child's adventurous palate.  It's so heartening to hear honesty from another mother.  Women of a certain age and background willing to admit that their child is far from perfect are as rare as hen's teeth.

The closest Miss A comes to eating vegetable is having a bit of lettuce in her mini fajitas.  It's been a trial over this past year to get her to eat meat.  I am proud to say that she no longer has fish fingers or pasta for tea every night and will eat chicken or steak or meatballs with aplomb.  But despite her eating fajitas, she'll religiously pick out every trace of onion and pepper.  It's also difficult to hide them as I make her mini wraps using a pastry cutter from a big tortilla.  They're barely big enough to hold a piece of chicken so the veg is really obvious.

Pretty colours
So tonight's experiment was to make this tomato-based sauce which is rammed solid with carrots, leeks,  peppers, onions and celery.  I thought it would be a good thing to do regularly as I usually end up with various leftovers of all of those rotting slowly in the bottom of my fridge.  In winter I'd throw them in soup but in summer they wilt until I end up feeding them to the dogs.

The sauce is really nice.  Its smell is reminiscent of my grandmother's minestrone and despite processing, it keeps a good texture.  The addition of balsamic gives it a little kick.  Sadly, Miss A didn't like it and although I didn't dare serve it to the husband, he took one sniff and agreed that it was 'stinky winky' and then asked what was in it in his own inimitable style.  The answer did nothing to persuade him it was worth trying.

But it freezes well so I have now stocked up on a great, healthy pasta sauce for me to eat all to myself.  And the grumpy pair can just have plain pasta with cheese.

You can find the original recipe here.

*I wonder what Mrs Sconegate would have to say about that?


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