Despite the fact that the government is still urging everyone to eat their “Five a Day” (five portions of fruit or vegetables per day), many of us still fall well below that. Also getting some children to eat vegetables is still an uphill struggle and virtually impossible for many parents. According to the results of a recent Heinz poll, many parents have to offer rewards to their children or lie to them, to get them to eat their vegetables. Even then 70% of children pretend to eat their greens, when in actual fact they have hidden them around the house! Oh dear! Apparently sprouts used to be the vegetable children hated most but this has now been overtaken by aubergine or zucchini as it's better known to our American neighbours. I must admit as a child I didn’t always enjoy or eat my vegetables, even though I enjoy vegetables now. I particularly disliked carrots, probably one of the reasons why I have such bad eyesight now! After all did you ever see a rabbit wearing glasses! That’s what my grandmother used to always tell me but unfortunately to no avail!
Some vegetables are really easy to grow and sometimes getting children involved in helping to grow their own vegetables can help. Many children are quite keen to eat vegetables they have grown themselves! According to the experts, one of the best ways to get children to eat more vegetables is to disguise them or hide them, when preparing meals. Blending them into a tomato sauce to serve with pasta is a great way to do this. Here’s a great recipe for a tasty tomato sauce with five (yes five!) vegetables hiding inside! Taken from “The Fussy Eaters’ Recipe Book” by Annabel Karmel, this delicious sauce can be served with pasta, as a topping for pizza and also works well when served as a sauce with chicken. It’s also ideal for busy mums as it’s suitable for freezing and only takes 10 minutes to prepare! Bon Appetit!
Cooking time: 35 minutes Makes 3–4 portions
1 tbsp olive oil 1 small red onion, chopped 1/2 leek, finely chopped 1 garlic clove, crushed 1/4 red pepper 1/2 medium carrot, peeled and chopped 1/2 medium courgette, chopped 400 g (14 oz) tin chopped tomatoes 150 ml (5 fl oz) vegetable stock 1 1/2 tbsp tomato purée 1 1/2 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste 1 tbsp tomato ketchup 1 half tsp caster sugar 1 tbsp torn basil leaves (optional)
1 Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onion and leek for approximately 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
2 Add the red pepper, carrot and courgette, and cook for a further 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3 Add the tinned tomatoes, stock, tomato purée, paste, tomato ketchup and caster sugar, and stir for approximately 1 minute. Simmer uncovered for 25–30 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened. Stir in the basil leaves if using.
4 Transfer to a blender and blitz the sauce to a purée.