Guest contributors – Jo and Phil James, Ludwell Stores
When asked if we would be guest contributors to ‘Truly Scrumptious’, we eagerly accepted. We ummmed and aahed about how clever we could be and what wonderful dishes we could get you to try. Finally with the heavy fare of Christmas still in our minds and our bellies we decided upon something comforting but healthy, colourful, light and of course scrumptious.
We have always loved Spanish/Moorish/Moroccan fare and so admire Sam & Sam Clark’s food from Moro restaurant in London. Originally a Turkish dish, our ‘Truly Scrumptious’ recipe is basically a delicious roasted ratatouille with a few roots and spices thrown in. A generous handful of ‘greenery’ before serving adds a nice crunch and a great fresh flavour. We eat it as a main course with some yogurt sauce and a pile of pitta bread (could equally be a side dish).
If Phil is feeling very enthusiastic he might throw in a huge bowl of homemade hummus. He tries not to get too despondent when Alice, our 8 year old and the household’s self-appointed food critic, informs him that his gorgeous bowl of golden oil-drizzled organic goodness is not a patch on the ‘real thing’, a branded product which lives pre-prepared in the shop’s chiller cabinet.
Feeding children is such a tricky business – it is so easy to get pushy with foods and establish ‘food terrors’ (avocados and mushrooms in our house); whilst one doesn’t want to make food an issue, there are days when we just don’t feel up to the fight. So we compromise; Phil and I eat the odd fish finger (100% fillet, because you have to draw the line somewhere), as long as the children eat the odd courgette. It works fairly well for us all; although Phil and I are more biddable than the children and tend to keep our side of the deal with less fuss.
A must for parents with fussy children is The Man who ate Everything by American food critic Jeffrey Steingarten. He asserts that if you try anything ten times you will learn to like it. It seems to work, Harry has managed mushrooms three times now…. And, once tiny quantities of ‘tricky’ foods make that journey from plate to mouth, the floodgates start to open. The list of foods the children will eat is slowly getting longer than the list of foods they won’t.
We can’t pretend that Turlu Turlu is the children’s favourite dish but we persevere because it is one of ours. Harry eats most of a plateful and Alice leaks a little less noise now that she knows where to find the chickpeas. So please try it at least ten times, especially if you are feeding it to children, it is truly scrumptious. AIF
If anyone else would like to be a guest contributor to Truly Scrumptious, please let us know firstname.lastname@example.org
(A James family special from Ludwell Stores)
Approx. £6.85 when purchased in Ludwell
3 courgettes, trimmed and cut into 2cm discs
1 aubergine, halved lengthways and cut into ½ again
1 onion, cut into large chunks
3 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
1 green pepper, halved, seeded and thickly sliced
3 carrots, peeled, halved lengthways and cut in three
200g turnips, cut into wedges about 2cm thick
2 potatoes, cut into 2cm cubes
3 tbls extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp ground allspice
2 tsp coriander seeds, coarsely ground
3 tbls cooked/canned chickpeas
150 ml tomato passata or good chopped toms crushed while cooking
1 small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley and
1 small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
sea salt and black pepper/lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 220°C / 425°F / Gas 7
1. Sprinkle a teaspoon of fine sea salt on the courgettes and aubergine and allow to stand for 20 mins before rinsing.
2. In a large bowl, toss the aubergine, onion, garlic, peppers, carrots, turnips and potatoes with the olive oil, allspice, coriander seeds and a little salt and pepper.
3. Spread the vegetable mixture on a large roasting tray, no more than one layer deep and place in the preheated oven.
4. After 40 minutes, gently stir in the courgettes and cook for another 15 minutes.
5. Meanwhile heat up the chickpeas with the passata or tomato sauce in a pan, and check for seasoning.
6. Now add to your vegetables. Stir well with your prepared herbs and add a squeeze of lemon juice to taste.
Serve with a green salad and yoghurt sauce made from crushed garlic mixed with a little ground cumin in Greek yoghurt.
A truly, truly scrumptious dish
Many thanks to the James family (email@example.com)
These musings and recipes are gleaned from The Donhead Digest with the permission of AIF, their author.