These days we all want to eat clean whole foods, fresh fruit and vegetables, pasture-raised meat; the kind of food that doesn’t compromise on flavour or health and Martyna Angell shows us how in The Wholesome Cook.
PHOTOS The Wholesome Cook by Martyna Angell (Harlequin MIRA) is available for purchase at wholesomecook.com or at all good book stores nationally RRP $49.99
Offering 170-plus delicious, wholefood recipes catering to many common-day dietary restrictions. The Wholesome Cook is a book that will truly help you navigate today’s landscape of over-processed foods and allow you to nourish your body with the real food that’s best for you. The Wholesome Cook is all about eating real food that’s best for your body, because no single diet fits everyone the same. The book takes many of your favourite junk foods:pizzas,burgers,nachos,cakes and biscuits and turns them into healthy whole food classics adaptable for many popular diets. All recipes are processed sugar-free and every recipe has a gluten-free option. Most recipes are paleo-friendly, have vegan and vegetarian options,and dairy‐free options. The recipes a real so child-friendly – there’s even a how to section on feeding fussy eaters!
‘The real food movement we're all so passionate about will benefit from Martyna's family-friendly, sensible and outright delicious contribution… Less rules and more true balance.’
Sarah Wilson, I Quit Sugar
Dealing with Fussy Eaters
Getting kids to eat their greens can be a challenge. I know, because a few years ago, no matter what bargaining powers I used to encourage the kids to eat salad, I failed more than I succeeded. Needless to say, green smoothies were not even an option. And then something changed. I asked for feedback. I approached the issue of greens from a different perspective and was amazed by what I learnt when I stopped nagging and started listening. Little people can have a lot to say. The main concern with salad greens was that there was no flavour. I explained that while salad greens, in particular, had little flavour, they were rich in vitamins and minerals, and that the way to make them taste better was to mix them into food they liked. A simple idea that worked. From that point on the kids were more than happy to mash their side salad into whatever main we were having and eat more than their usual share of greens. I’ve since overheard my stepdaughter, Liana, explaining the concept to a number of non-salad-eating friends we’ve had over for dinner. And they, too, enjoyed it more this way.
Make eating green veggies fun
Cut out fun shapes from the kids’ favourite veggies, or present them on skewer sticks. Add a little wholefood goodness hidden in dips and sauces (see my Simple Ketchup, page 48 of the book). For afternoon tea, have a make-your-own-salad party with a big fruit and veggie spread.
The try-it-at-least-once rule
Rather than exert force, or hold dessert hostage until a certain amount of greens are eaten, I now encourage the kids to try anything at least once and let me know what they think on a scale of one to ten. With most ‘medium-liked’ veggies I still encourage consumption, but pile more of the ‘high-likes’ onto their plates instead.
Leave it … try it again in a little while
There are some foods that, let’s be honest, not even adults like. Take Brussels sprouts, for example — they must be one of the most self-conscious vegetables out there. Overcooked, they are mushy, pungent and quite unpleasant to eat. My school diner did a great job at that and it took me over a decade to get over my distaste for the tiny green sprouts. When the kids say they don’t like something, I ask them when they last had it. Two years ago, my stepson, Zac, disliked pickles. Now I can’t stop him eating them — or drinking the brine!
For a while there I tried to convince the kids to like avocado. It’s full of amazing goodness and aside from hiding it in smoothies and homemade ice cream, I wasn’t having much luck. I tried spreading it on bread for their lunch — they didn’t like it but when added to wraps they did. They also loved my Avocado Tartare (on page 54 on the book). Go figure! And that’s the point. Figure out not just what your kids like but how they might come to like something by preparing it in different ways.
Dishes such as pasta sauces, soups and smoothies are a fantastic way to hide greens. I readily add superfood green powders like spirulina, baby spinach and lettuce leaves to smoothies and even blender ice creams. The kids are none the wiser. Finely diced fennel and onion go really well in pasta bakes and sauces. The other day my stepdaughter Liana polished off a whole lentil curry with big slices of onion and fennel without blinking. If I had told her that there was onion in the dish, I would have most likely found countless bits of picked-out onion on the side of the bowl later.
Get kids involved in the kitchen
Getting the kids involved in meal preparation has been one of the best things I’ve ever done to broaden their understanding of food and, let’s be honest, an extra set of hands to help out in the kitchen is always a plus. It is a great opportunity to ask questions, explain ingredients and show the kids that adding a little greenery boosts the flavour of a dish without necessarily tasting like the single ingredient itself.
Lead by example
Whenever our family eats out or orders in, we order a big side of steamed vegetables or salad. It is only after the salad and meat is gone that the kids are allowed to share a small serve of chips. By that stage they have more often than not filled up on all of the good stuff and only have room for very little of the indulgent.
AVOCADO TARTARE SAUCE
This simple recipe is a crowd pleaser. It has been very popular at nutrition seminars I’ve run as an example of a healthied-up alternative to the regular stuff.
MAKES: APPROX. 1 CUP PREP TIME: 5 MINUTES
1 ripe avocado
3 tablespoons macadamia or light olive oil
1 tablespoon baby capers, chopped roughly
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 dill pickle (for homemade, see page 66), sliced finely
1 spring onion, sliced finely pinch of sea salt flakes freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Scoop avocado flesh into a bowl and mash well with a fork. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well to combine and emulsify the sauce. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
I FIND that Shepard avocados are best for these recipes, but they are only grown in Australia and their season in Autumn is quite short. Make sure to use soft, ripe fruit.