One of the most tiresome things I find about being a Mum is family cooking. I’m not a natural cook: as a student I lived off bran flakes and toast for three years, never understanding my housemates desire to cook something outlandish (like spaghetti bolognaise!). Working long hours in my first graduate job did not improve the situation either, finally earning money meant that eating out and ready meals became an option at last; learning to cook was unnecessary.
Being pregnant sadly didn’t turn me into Nigella either – ‘morning’ sickness meant food was out of the question altogether. However, thankfully for my long suffering husband, having children brought me into the real world! When my baby reached weaning age and I realised that I didn’t even know how to stew an apple, I knew something had to change!
Whilst I’ll never be on Masterchef, ten years on from trying to stew an eating apple in a frying pan (with oil!), 95% of the meals my family eat I prepare from scratch, and are mainly edible! However I am guilty of having a narrow repertoire of family meals which may sound familiar to most Mums: lasagne, pasta, sausages, cottage pie, curry etc.
Finding healthy meals that are reasonably quick to prepare and liked by all the family can be a challenge. The other problem can be sourcing ingredients: I have lots of lovely cookbooks sitting on my shelf that I never open because I know that as we don’t live in a city I would be unable to obtain the obscure ingredients required. I now find it much easier to turn to the internet for recipe suggestions, often searching by what ingredients I have in the cupboard!
As a Mum you not only have to produce three meals a day but as soon as your kids start school you are unwittingly launched into the world of competitive baking! And then there’s the endless lunchbox preparation… So I was really pleased to find some healthy, quick cake recipes and also sandwich recipes online. The recipes on these pages are really helpfully laid out. Each recipe has a difficulty level and an idea of how long it will take to prepare and cook. The sandwich ideas are great for fussy kids – why make a boring old ham and cheese sandwich when you could make an ‘Anti-gravity Ham and Cheese Sandwich’?