|Chickpea Chowder. I can't guarantee that your kids won't retch...|
I can't stand kids who are fussy about food. It's wasteful, spoilt and I really should have more patience because I was a kid who was fussy about food.
But in my defence, my Mum did once serve me stuffed marrow. That is definitely a crime against culinary and probably a 1970's form of child abuse. She made me sit there until all the washing-up was done and I was about to follow through with my retching. Shudder. (But it's ok Mum, I've forgiven you.)
So when my children are fussy, what do I do? Wait for the retching.
My rule is; 'one retch and you're out'. (There's little joy to be had in watching a child dry heave over their plate.) And if we're at the pre-retching stage (the 'pushing the food about the plate and sighing' stage) I kindly allow them to eat the same number of spoonfuls as their age.
Although the 13-year-old doesn't really see this as a good deal and the 7-year-old doesn't like it much either.
There is often retching and sighing in our house, because I have always served 'proper' meals cooked from scratch (ooo, get me! all virtuous and nauseating!) But amazingly, the 'do or die' strategy seems to have paid off.
Because even though this Chickpea Chowder consists of hastily thrown together ingredients with a tin of chickpeas chucked in as an afterthought, about 75% of my kids like this meal!
And on good days - if I allow some of them to slather on Worcestershire Sauce - I can get it up to a 90% positive vote. And in my book that is pretty good.
Do you have fussy kids? I definitely feel your pain.
Thank-you to everyone who gave suggestions for naming this dish. In the end I went with Chickpea Chowder suggested by Elsie B because I couldn't resist the delicious alliteration and I've always been strangely attracted to the word 'Chowder'.
Chickpea Chowder (serves 4 kids and two adults)
Remember those student days when you had no money but you did have an onion, a tin of tomatoes and some random veg? Well this is a grown-up version of student survival cooking. I fall back on it nearly every week when I haven't planned what we're going to eat and it's already 6pm.
And this is a good one for toddlers; just leave out the salt, seasoning and wine (!)
3 cloves of garlic
1 courgette chopped very finely (or grated)
1 carrot (grated)
1 tin of chickpeas
1 tin of sweetcorn
1 tin of tomatoes
100 ml (ish) of red wine
1-2 tbsps tomato purée
Optional: A small carton of coconut cream (or 4-6 tbsps)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 GF stock cube
salt and black pepper to taste
Rice to serve
- Finely chop the onion and garlic and put them into a large frying pan, or non-stick saucepan. Add the olive oil and fry gently while you chop the courgette
- Add the mixed herbs and chopped courgette to the frying pan and stir. Peel the carrot and grate it directly into the frying pan, stir again. If you are using the stock cube, crumble it into the pan and mix through
- Add the tin of tomatoes (chop the tomatoes up), tin of sweetcorn and tin of chickpeas. Add the red wine (don't use if this is for a toddler), bring the pan to the boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the liquid has reduced
- Add the tomato purée and coconut cream (if using), stir through and season to taste
- You might want to simmer for another 10 mins if you think it's too runny
- Serve with rice, or you could stuff this into pittas
- It also freezes well, so double the quantities if you want to make a big batch and freeze it
- If your kids retch, don't make them eat it!
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