I, J Hardspear de la Azotea have tried in vain to stick to a diet. (Neither can my wife Lamb). Recently when I took our little Image for her 18 months shots, the clinic sister weighed her as usual. Now the growth chart the sister keeps is printed on graph paper and contains 3 curved lines – a bottom, middle & top curve. Its meaning is obvious. Since Image’s birth she followed the middle curve. At 1 year Image’s line moved to the top curve. Now at 18 months it shot up to some distance above the top curve. Lamb and I are very good at rationalising. So we told ourselves that Image has De la Azotea genes, as well those of as our forefathers (and foremothers) who was Swarts, Van Aswegens, Le Roux’s etc. All being big boned Boere-people. Ja, little Image is tall for her age and sturdy. Rather sturdy than a frail sickly little thing, so we say. Yet at the back of my mind, I am resolved not to raise a fat child. So...what shall we do? Lamb and I have started to become uncomfortable with the size of our respective tummies and our child over-achieves on her growth chart...
A while back my friend Army Man gave me a book by Jessica Seinfeld (Jerry’s wife) called Deceptively Delicious. In this book Mrs. Seinfeld describes her worry over her children (and husband) not eating their veggies – so she started pureeing veggies and putting it into everything – from Mac & Cheese to Chocolate Brownies. The book comes with all her recipe’s and her family’s comments on them.
So with this in mind, on Monday night I started cooking up a storm. Lamb and I love our veggies, but still putting certain pureed stuff in dishes apparently lowers the GI etc etc. My reasoning is that if we all have 3 healthy, hearty (but not diety) meals per day, with healthy snacks in between – we should have results. Basically our eating patterns have been unhealthy and we eat too much snacks and sweets and take-outs. I further reason that 3 healthy square meals will reduce our cravings for bad stuff and empty kilojoules. (Have you ever noticed that you can gorge yourself on KFC, but be hungry again within 90 minutes after the overindulgence?). As usual, I start out over-enthusiastic, so Monday night I cooked a curry and a beef stew for Lamb and me. For Image I cooked a Ragout D’Agneau (lamb stew), spring chicken stew and savoury mince. I put tins of mixed beans (red kidney, chickpea, small white etc) in everything. In ours I kept the veggies and beans whole, but in Image’s I pureed it, but kept the meat & chicken in small cubes. All of it turned out delicious. I divided everything in portions and stuck it in the freezer. Image loves all of it and we already had one of the curries. Last night I used this principle again and made this pork sausages braised in cider with super-comfort mash:
(again, I wish I was a better photographer - it looks more attractive in real-life)I used Basil and Sundried Tomato Pork Sausages from Woolworths 1 bottle cider 1 onion quartered olive oil 1 tsp good quality powered beef stock 1 level tablespoon corn flour 1 cup cold water 2 potatoes 1 sweet potato ½ can mixed beans 1 fresh clove of garlic crushed 1 tablespoon butter. Preheat oven to 180˚C. Use a saucepan or something which can go in the oven. I used a cast iron pot (used to belong to my Mom’s aunt). Brown the sausages and onion in olive oil. Add the cider and bring to a simmer. Put uncovered in oven for 30 mins. In the meanwhile peel and cube potatoes and sweet potato. Boil in salted water for 20 mins or until soft. Take out of pot and keep aside. Puree the beans. Sauté the garlic in the butter in same pot in which you have boiled the potatoes. (do this very briefly – garlic burns easily) Add the potatoes and bean puree back in the pot and mash. By this time the cider would have reduced considerably. Put sausages back on stovetop. Sprinkle beef stock over. Mix the corn flour with cold water and pour over the sausages. Stir carefully and give just enough heat for sauce to thicken. Serve sausages with mash & cider gravy and slices of fresh pineapple. The cider gives the gravy a wonderful hint of sweetness. Try different brands of ciders. This one this one gets a good ranking on my list of winter comfort foods!