Warm duck, beetroot & orange salad with cranberry salsa (page 290)
Practical Playtime / Jobs For The Kids
My cooking with kids recipe diary
Jake 4 years 8 months, James 2 years
James was asleep for this one. I was completely immersed in my kitchen, only coming up from cooking long enough to eat, write and watch the kids eat. I was sometimes finishing three versions of a recipe in a day and James just couldn't keep up. I'd given him some of the duck and sweet peppers from another recipe earlier in the day. He ate both happily, but he didn't eat the sweet potato which he used to love and was the one thing I was sure he would eat. He wouldn't touch it, even when I mashed it; he tasted it, got rid of it and gave me that look he gives me when he thinks that I am trying to pull a fast one.
I meant to leave the onion out of the dressing for Jake but I forgot and joyfully he ate it all anyway. The onion gets sweetened, softened and slightly cooked by the sugar and vinegar. This is worth remembering for any time you want to use sliced or diced raw onion in a recipe as it is a delicious and more easily digestible way to eat raw onions. Spread the onions onto a plate, toss with a sprinkle of sugar and a splash of vinegar then leave to sit for at least 10 minutes to soften. This also makes the onions less aggressive and overpowering in recipes.
Leave most or all of the onion out of the dressing for younger kids, serve them then add it to yours. Chop rather than slice the beetroot and orange and add a spoonful of water to the gravy. Can be chopped or pureed depending on amounts of teeth for the tiny and toothless. The puree can be frozen.