We all bang on about wanting to give our kids healthy meals. But Becky Pugh has come across a new cook book, and had a revelation
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I embraced the start of this term with an overhaul of certain domestic matters. In order to address the most pressing one – my haphazard catering for my children – I bought myself a prettily patterned 'weekly planner' and filled it in with a suggestion of what the boys’ tea could be each day.
It looked like this: Monday – macaroni cheese; Tuesday – fish fingers; Wednesday – sausages; Thursday – spaghetti bolognese; Friday – fish pie; Saturday – pizza; Sunday – chicken goujons.
I had clearly been in denial about the limitations of my children’s culinary range. My boys – aged five and almost two – aren’t particularly fussy eaters. They have astonishing appetites when fit and well. But it turns out that their repertoire resembles a child of the 1950s.
Horrified, I was about to dust off my old, under-used Annabel Karmel when the postman delivered an enchanting, refreshing alternative.
'10 Minute Suppers for Children' (Fraser Publishing, £12.99) is a new cook book by charming, earthy, mother-of-four Poppy Fraser. Her first book, 'Recipes From My Favourite People', was a stylish collection of delicious submissions by the great and the good. This time, her focus is on super-fast recipes full of natural ingredients that children will actually eat.
Good food is important to Poppy, and everybody who knows her agrees that she is an excellent cook. The feasts she serves up around her vast table are legendary. Sold locally each week, her chocolate biscuit cake has won two gold stars from the Great Taste Awards. She keeps that particular recipe under lock and key.
Poppy decided to write '10 Minute Suppers for Children' when she discovered, eleven months after giving birth to her third child, that she was pregnant with her fourth [Up All Hours editor's note: can we all agree this is a nightmare scenario?]. She was in a panic, knowing how much she’d soon have on her plate. She says: “Reducing the time I spent cooking was essential, freeing up precious moments to be with the children, or to lie in a darkened room, deep breathing, with a cocktail in hand.”
Poppy and her offspring live in a bungalow in Dorset, with her sculptor husband, plus a cat and a dog who get as many – if not more – mentions than him. Each of the recipes in '10 Minute Suppers for Children' has been tested on her family and friends, which is perhaps why they actually work. Adults lap up these recipes as readily as kids, apparently.
Traditional cookery writer, Claire Macdonald, calls it: “An exceptional cook book that every parent should own – incredibly quick and absolutely delicious recipes.” Trendy chef Blanche Vaughan declares it: “Tempting, simple and inspiring.” While British fashion designer Savannah Miller says: “Thanks to Poppy’s clever tricks and delicious recipes, my children are finally eating more healthily. It is a triumph of a book.”
I can assure you that before they tried Poppy’s Pink Fizzy Delight, my children wouldn’t have given beetroot the time of day; something about her Carrot Hummus instantly had them hooked; the Chicken Curry was a raging success; and they demolished her Favourite Tuna Pasta. (I must confess that I haven’t yet won the boys over to either of the Quinoa Salads but I live in hope.)
If Poppy’s ideas for gorgeous grub are not enough, her book also contains beautiful illustrations by Louisa Marcq, helpful notes on nutrition and a delightfully instructive 'Store Cupboard Essentials' section. Plus, money from each sale will be donated to the Foreign Sisters for Cancer Research UK.
Buy this book today. Trust me, it will be one of the most pleasing purchases you make all year.
As an extra bonus for Up All Hours readers, Poppy has given us one of her recipes to share.
Pink Fizzy Delight
It's perhaps one of the healthiest fizzy drinks that you could give a child, despite being absolutely delicious and looking so exciting in a jug. The colour is pink and glorious, and you can happily keep on pouring knowing that every glass is doing wonders.
- Half a small raw beetroot
- 1 apple
- Quarter of a pineapple
- Half of an unwaxed lemon (with rind on)
- 1 litre of sparkling water
Juice the beetroot, the apple, the pineapple and the lemon. Add to the sparkling water in a jug. Joy.
V DF SF GF WF [another note from UAH editor: this means Vegetarian Dairy-Free Sugar-Free Gluten-Free Wheat-Free. Get with the programme people.]
This casually fun, but deliberately healthy drink is full of vitamin C thanks to the pineapple and lemon. It's high in fibre thanks to the apple. Most importantly of all, the beetroot helps to build blood, make white bloodcells and increase antioxidants. It is one of the most important vegetables for our health.
To order your copy of '10 Minute Suppers for Children', visit www.poppyfraser.com
Becky Pugh is a freelance journalist. You can follow her on Instagram @BeckyPugh