How sad is my life, I’ve been spending most of this week excited that Annabel Karmel has a new cookbook released today, The Fussy Eaters’ Recipe Book. Both of my kids were brought up on home made, mostly Annabel Karmel, baby food and yet despite her assertions that babies brought up on homemade babyfood grow up to be unfussy children, funnily enough they are both still fussy but I love her recipe books. When my kids got older I graduated onto her family cookbooks and they’re just as brilliant. So basically, I was excited, although slightly apprehensive that it might just all be vegetables all dressed up as teddy bears etc. and I’ve got no truck for that. Anyway, luckily no teddy bears in sight in this book, although to be honest I’m not sure why this particular collection of recipes qualifies under the title of a fussy eaters’ recipe book, it looks pretty much the same as most of her other older children cookbooks. There’s a hidden vegetable tomato sauce recipe but then again there’s a hidden vegetable tomato sauce recipe in several of her other cookbooks. There are some pages of introduction about why it’s important to get your kid eating properly but considering as a parent you’re only likely to be buying the book if you’re concerned about getting your kid to eat properly it’s kind of preaching to the converted. As a parent of two fussy eaters’, I wasn’t particularly struck over the head with inspiration on ways to get my two to eat their five a day. The book is full of lovely wraps, pasta dishes etc. etc. incorporating vegetables, but I know my two, I know full well they’d just pick the veg out. One dish in particular struck me as being particularly clueless with fussy eaters’, ‘animal pasta salad with multicoloured veggies’, my two are too clued up unfortunately to be swayed so easily with fancy pasta shapes and I just can’t see them going “Oh gee, look at those pasta shapes shaped just like an elephant, I’m going to wolf that pasta down soooo fast I’m not going to notice those great big lumps of brocolli”, yeah right. Same with the majority of the other veg recipes in the book, I know that they will just pick out the veg.
To me though the definition of a fussy eater is one that doesn’t eat their veg, although Karmel has extended that definition further by describing it really as a kid that just doesn’t really eat. So there are a wide variety of recipes, including some nice looking desserts and something that would have been very useful a month or two ago, a chapter on gluten free cooking (couldn’t she have included a dairy free chapter to?). Recipes I definitely plan on trying include ‘Yummy Vegetable and Cashew Nut Burgers’, ‘Annabel’s secret tomato sauce’, ‘cheesey courgette batons’, ‘carrot and cucumber salad’ (that’s just for me, I know no one else in the family will eat that), ‘salmon on a stick with stir fried noodles’ (possibly just for me, I’m a fussy eater as far as fish is concerned and would like to try start eating at least salmon, although no one else will), ‘kiddie carbonara’, ‘caroline’s lasagne alfredo’, ‘maple glazed griddled chicken’, ‘carrot bar cake’, ‘jamaican banana muffins’ and ’oat apple and sunflower seed muffins’.
I have already tried one recipe from the book out though, the ginger biscuits and it was not a good start unfortunately. I’ve been meaning to make Gingerbread men with Girl Lacer, having brought the cutters and everything. I was going to use the Tana Ramsay version but having noticed that there was a recipe in Fussy Eater’s, I thought I’d give that a whirl instead. The picture accompanying the recipe showed teddy bears, dogs, ducks etc. so I thought this must be an ok recipe to use my gingerbread cutters with. I knew it wouldn’t be though when me and Girl Lacer mixed up the dough, it was just too wet, but I chilled it in the fridge as instructed for half an hour. The consistency did improve on chilling, but there was no way you could roll it out and cut biscuits with it. So me and Girl Lacer made splodgy biscuits instead, they were nice, very chewy, but not really what you’d know and love as a gingerbread man type biscuit. The search for the ideal gingerbread biscuit recipe goes on (mine and the kids favourite snack).