Life Eat & Drink We can all eat that!: Three healthy kid-friendly recipes you really need to try
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We can all eat that!: Three healthy kid-friendly recipes you really need to try

Pam Brook's bubble and squeak is an easy, kid-friendly meal. Photo: Alan Benson
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Anxiety over food allergies has never been higher, and new parents in particular face a challenge when it comes to working out what to feed their kids. 

In We Can All Eat That! author Pam Brook aims to empower parents to feed their child with confidence by showing that raising healthy, adventurous eaters doesn’t have to be hard work.

Here are three allergy and family-friendly recipes to try: 

Bubble and squeak

Kitchen recycling? Bottom of the refrigerator breakfast or dinner? Whatever you choose to call it, bubble and squeak is not only delicious but makes great sense. Use leftovers and some of those vegetables that are still fresh but don’t quite make the salad grade. Roasted or steamed left-over vegies are easy to digest, and add extra flavour. We love our bubble and squeak served with soft scrambled eggs (make sure they‘re thoroughly cooked through for children under 2) and often cook a little diced ham (omit for babies) through it as well.

SERVES 6-8
PREP TIME: 5 MINUTES
COOKING TIME: 8 MINUTES

8 medium cooked potatoes, mashed roughly with a fork (or use any left‑over cooked root vegetable, e.g. carrot, pumpkin/squash, swede/ rutabaga)
an equal volume of shredded greens, such as kale, English spinach, cabbage or chard
sea salt (omit for babies)
freshly ground black pepper (just a tiny amount for babies)
1 tablespoon plain (all-purpose) flour (substitute with gluten-free flour if family members are gluten intolerant or coeliac)
40 g (1½ oz) ghee, butter or nut oil

Mix the potatoes and greens together in a large bowl and season lightly with salt and pepper. Mix through the flour.

Place a medium – large frying pan over medium-to-high heat and add a good dollop of ghee, butter or your nut oil of choice. When the pan is hot add the vegetables. Press the mixture down firmly with a spoon, reduce the heat slightly and cook for a further two minutes without touching – you want a nice crust to form underneath. Carefully fold the bubble and squeak over in large sections so the crusty bottom comes to the top. Cook for a further 2 minutes, then serve.

Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

For younger babies, thin the mixture with a tablespoon of water or milk of your choice before puréeing until smooth. Allow to cool before serving.

For older babies, add a tablespoon of water or milk of your choice and mash to a lumpy texture. Allow to cool before serving.

For toddlers chop into pieces and allow to cool before serving.

Cheesy-crusted vegetable bake

A heartwarming dish for the whole family, especially on cooler autumn and winter nights. This is so easy to make and it tastes even better the next day.

SERVES 6
PREP TIME: 15 MINUTES
COOKING TIME: 60 MINUTES

400 g (14 oz) pumpkin (squash), peeled and thinly sliced
400 g (14 oz) potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced lengthways
1 zucchini (courgette), sliced diagonally
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon mixed dried Italian herbs
sea salt (omit for babies)
freshly ground black pepper (just a tiny amount for babies)
360 g (12½ oz/2 cups) cherry tomatoes (or 400 g/14 oz tinned chopped tomatoes)
50 g (1¾ oz/½ cup) grated parmesan (use ricotta for babies)
60 g (2 oz/½ cup) grated cheddar (use a mild variety for babies)
60 g (2 oz/1 cup) panko (Japanese) breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a medium
baking dish with baking paper.

Place the vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Combine the melted butter and herbs together in another bowl, then toss the mixture through the vegetables, and season with salt and pepper.

Cheesy-crusted vegetable bake. Photo: Alan Benson

Transfer the vegetables to the baking dish in an even layer. Spread the tomatoes over the top. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and take off the foil. Increase the heat of the oven to 200°C (400°F). Top the dish with the cheeses and breadcrumbs, return to the oven and bake for a further 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the vegetables are tender when pierced with a knife. Serve hot.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

For younger babies, thin with a little water and purée until smooth. Allow to cool before serving.

For older babies, mash to a lumpy texture. Allow to cool before serving. For toddlers serve as for adults, but allow to cool before serving.

Potato salad with king prawns

A timeless, easy to prepare summer favourite with delicious flavours and textures. You can replace the prawns (shrimp) with salmon or firm white fish fillets, gently cooked and flaked into pieces — but make sure there are no bones!

SERVES 4
PREP TIME: 15 MINUTES
COOKING TIME: 10 MINUTES

sea salt
200 g (7 oz) waxy potatoes, such as
kipfler (fingerling) or Dutch cream, cut into 1 cm (½ in) dice
160 g (5½ oz) celeriac, peeled and cut into 1 cm (½ in) dice
2 carrots, cut into 1 cm (½ in) dice
100 g (3½ oz/²/3 cup) frozen peas, defrosted
iced water
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream
1 tablespoon horseradish (omit for babies) (see Notes)
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives j
uice of ½ lemon, plus wedges to serve
freshly ground black pepper (just a tiny amount for babies)
8—12 cooked king prawns (jumbo shrimp), peeled and deveined, tails left on, to serve, or 2 x 140 g (5 oz) salmon or firm white fish fillets
(see Notes)

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil over high heat. Add a good pinch of salt, then add the potato, celeriac and carrot. Simmer for 5 – 7 minutes, adding the peas for the last 30 seconds, until the vegetables are tender but still slightly al dente. Drain well, then immediately immerse the vegetables in a bowl of iced water to refresh, for about 1 minute – this retains the colour of the vegies. Drain well.

Potato sald with king prawns. Photo: Alan Benson

In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, crème fraîche, horseradish, chives and lemon juice. Add the cooled vegetables, toss to coat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with the prawns and lemon wedges.

For younger babies, chop 1 small prawn, tail removed (or some cooked flaked fish with no bones). Add the coated salad vegies, a squeeze of lemon juice and a tablespoon of water to thin it, then purée until smooth.

For older babies chop, 1 small prawn, tail removed (or some cooked flaked fish with no bones). Add the coated salad vegies, then blitz briefly with a squeeze of lemon juice until you have a lumpy texture. For toddlers serve as for adults.

NOTES: If in season you could replace the store-bought horseradish with some horseradish root freshly grated over the top of the salad just before serving. If using fish instead of prawns, fry the fillet gently with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan for 3 minutes each side. Allow to cool, then remove the skin and flake the flesh. Ensure there are no bones.

This is an edited extract from We Can All Eat That by Pam Brook, published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $45. Available in stores nationally.

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