Saturday, 19 November 2011

A Vegetarian Extravaganza!

I decided that my Saturday kids group would become vegetarians for the day. I often give them at least one veggy dish or a funky salad, however today they're going to get their 'five a day' all in one hit. One of the problems getting kids to eat veg is that people present them in an unappetising way which means that they don't want to taste them. I therefore try to incorporate the green veg into something more inspiring, whilst retaining the healthy aspect and of course delivering on flavour and texture.

The first dish was the Lazy Pasta recipe as described earlier in the week. The vibrant colours of the roasted peppers and sun dried tomatoes hid the fact that I had put some rocket and spinach through it and this went in a flash.

I then made a roasted butternut squash soup courtesy of Lorraine Pascal's excellent recipe book. Again the rich golden colour was appealing to the kids and the sweetness of the roasted squash maybe masked the fact that they were eating a veg not a fruit. It's hard to emphasise enough how much better than tinned soup a homemade version is.

Finally, I made a slightly more time consuming dish, but if anyone ever doubted how flavoursome vegetarian food can be, this will tantalise your taste buds no end. The book I 'borrowed' this one from is amazing and calls it Chickpeas and Spinach with honeyed sweet potato. It's somewhere between a tagine and a curry but the flavours just seem to be more vibrant. You basically poach the potato in water and honey and then add to a fragrant tomato sauce infused with cumin and finished off with chickpeas and spinach. To cut through the richness and acidity of the tomato you also make a cheeky little yoghurt dip with garlic, mint and lemon. Again the kids loved it and in many cases tried things for the first but hopefully not the last time. Anyway, the good news is that 35 hungry mouths have been fed including a selection of fresh fruit and all for around £30!!! The bad news is that it's only 1pm and I've still got to cook dinner tonight.

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