Food, glorious food!

If you’ve learnt anything about me from my blog so far, you’ll know that I love food, and my husband knows that the way to my heart is to take me out for a delicious meal. Unfortunately, once you have children (and if you don’t have a babysitter handy) you are very limited in the places you can go to. We always have to find a place that has a children’s play area and kids’ menu if we want to be able to enjoy our evening out. For those people who want to experience what it’s like going out to eat with small children, here are some ideas:

*Order two portions of a kid’s meal, eat half of one and hardly any of the other
*Order two milkshakes or juices, take one sip of one of them and then knock it over, so it spills all over the table and floor (tip: always ask the waitron for extra serviettes – if you don’t use them for mopping up a mess, they can be used for blowing noses, wiping faces, or putting food in that the children spit up)
*Get your partner/friend to nag you all night for some of whatever you are eating and drinking
*Wait until your food arrives, and then go to the restroom (my children always need to go to the toilet just as my food arrives, even though I have repeatedly asked them if they need to go earlier)
*Get some balloons from the play area, pop them straight away, cry loudly, then have a ‘sword fight’ with the plastic sticks they came on

“Why do you even bother going out?” you might ask,”Why don’t you just stay home and eat there?” Well, the short answer is that my children did not get any of my ‘foodie’ genes and hardly eat anything. They eat to live, as opposed to me, who lives to eat! So eating at home is as much of a battle as going out – unless it’s junk food – then they are happy to eat everything! My eldest son’s favourite food is fish fingers (he will even choose fish fingers at a restaurant) and peanut butter on toast (he does also eats cucumber, raw carrots, raw peppers, apples – sometimes, plain pasta, couscous and Steers burgers). So to avoid tears and fights, fish fingers and plain twisty pasta and cucumber or carrot sticks is what he has for supper most nights.

My youngest would be happy eating bovril on toast, mini yoghurts or Nutrific cereal three times a day! Luckily he will eat things like cottage pie and stew, but he is not a huge fan of veggies. Neither of my children like cheese (who doesn’t like cheese for goodness sake?!) so we can’t even do toasted cheese sandwiches or Mac ‘n cheese. Occasionally they will eat pizza, so that is often what we do on the weekends – either take away or homemade.

But what I find the most frustrating thing about children and eating, is the fact that one week they will LOVE something in particular, so I think, “hurrah” and stock up my cupboard/fridge with it…and then the next week they don’t like it anymore (sigh!) And that is why my evening meal is made a happy meal, by the drink (ie G&T) that accompanies it!

Back to the pizza (I have a pizza tray from Woolies that I use, which has holes in the bottom, but you can use a normal baking sheet) – there are a couple of bases that work for us:

Tortillas (wraps) – a nice thin, crispy base, top with tomato sauce, chopped bacon/ham and grated cheese and bake until the cheese melts and the bottom is golden.

Puff pastry – roll out onto the baking sheet, top with tomato sauce/tomato paste, bacon/ham/salami and grated cheese and bake until the cheese is golden.

Ready made bread dough – you can make quite a few pizzas from a packet of dough. Roll out onto a baking sheet/pizza tray, put on your toppings and bake.

“If you combine wine and dinner, the new word is winner”



Recipe for today

(This pizza dough from the Fresh Living magazine works really well if you want to make your dough from scratch)

1kg white bread flour
1 sachet (10g) instant yeast
30ml sugar
15ml salt

30ml olive oil
750ml lukewarm water

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour the olive oil and half the water in and combine. Add the remaining water and mix to form a sticky dough. Knead on a floured surface for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic (or put it in a mixing bowl with a dough hook to do the work for you). Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm or a clean cloth and leave in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size. Knead dough down to original size. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Roll out the pizza dough to desired thickness and place on a baking sheet/pizza tray. Top with your favourite toppings and bake until golden.

Author: Mel Martin