Happy, healthy lunchboxes

Happy, healthy lunchboxes
Jenny Morris

Fooding Around with Jenny Morris

We underestimate our children’s palettes, it would appear. I know that we also impose our likes and dislikes onto our children; I see it in my own home. I have two sons who won’t touch a green bean because their dad did not like them.
I had the pleasure this last weekend to spend some time in the company of child that had a passion for food; a seven year old boy that was just brimming to try new foods and flavours. Children don’t always enjoy certain foods when first introduced to them, but the best way forward is not to force them to eat it. Rather say that we’ll try again in a few weeks’ time, and preserve and reintroduce the food again.

Look for exciting ways to present their lunch boxes, for instances. That is all they have to eat until they come home and are more inclined to try what you have packed. I recently came across a really great little book full of exciting lunchbox ideas. It’s called ‘Simple, Fabulous Lunchbox Ideas’ and it is the ideal book for you if you want to subtly expand the culinary horizons especially of your little ones. Not only is this the lunchbox-packer’s dream, but it also invites you to pretty up the lunchbox that will have young and old returning home with empty lunchboxes.

Leanne Katzenellenbogen has drawn from her extensive dietary knowledge to produce a book filled with simple, yet fabulous and healthy lunchbox meals. The recipes range from tasty snacks such as Sweet Potato Samosas to mouth-watering meals such as Honey and Soy Drumsticks. It is often the case that last night’s leftovers can be converted into the next day’s lunch. Every recipe is accompanied by a nutritional information table, and hints containing suggestions are scattered throughout the book, so if you are at a loss and want new lunchbox inspiration, get yourself a copy. It works for adult lunchboxes too.

Let’s cook!

Sweet Potato Samosas
Makes 8

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup frozen peas and corn
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp. medium spicy curry powder mix
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. ground turmeric
  • A small amount of oil for frying
  • 180g sweet potato, cubed and cooked
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 sheets phyllo pastry
  • Olive oil spray

Method:
Preheat the oven to 190◦C. Boil the peas and corn for 3 minutes, drain and set aside. Sauté the onion, garlic and spices in a bit of oil until the onion is golden and soft. Mash the sweet potatoes a bit with a fork, but leave them chunky. Combine the peas, corn, sweet potatoes and onion and mix well. Season to taste. Cut the sheets of phyllo pastry lengthways into 4 strips each and place 2 teaspoons of the sweet potato mixture on the bottom corner of the first phyllo strip. Fold up into a triangular shape. Repeat for all the samosas, then place them with the last fold facing down, on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Spray each side of the samosas with a bit of olive oil spray and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
© Leanne Katzenellenbogen published by Random House Struik

Egg cups
Makes 6

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices low-GI brown bread
  • Extra-lite margarine to coat muffin tin – about 1 tsp. per cup
  • A thin spread extra-lite margarine
  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease 6 muffin tin holes well. Flatten the bread with a rolling pin until it is about half its original thickness. Spread a thin layer of margarine over each slice of bread. The spread side will be facing the egg and not the muffin tin.
Mould the slices into the muffin tin and trim the edges. Bake the bread cups for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, but keep the oven on, and gently crack 1 egg into each bread cup.
Season to taste. Put back into the oven and bake for +/- 18 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked through. Remove from the oven and shake the tin to see if the eggs are cooked. Set aside to cool for a few minutes. Remove each cup from the muffin tin and cool down completely on a wire rack.

Twitter: @jennymorrischef