Boy Wonder’s Food Project – The Verdict

Just over a week ago, following a meltdown of epic proportions, see The Edge, it was time to try something new.

The Boy Wonder Food Project was born.

So how did it go?

Well, it as was a HUGE success. We have not had one argument over food. The boys come home, check the menu and get on with their lives until dinner.

People, I have seen CLEAN plates.

NEW foods have been tried, devoured and seconds have been requested.

At times I wondered who had stolen my children and replaced them with gourmands, but no, it was still them.

The single most popular dish had to be Meatballs with sweet and sour sauce.

 

You have no idea what a personal victory the sweet and sour sauce was. Cheeky Boy asked for seconds. This from a child who thinks ketchup is a) a vegetable and b) a food group in its own right.

I can also recommend Rice Krispie Chicken which is a mighty fine, guilt-free, alternative to take away fried chicken.

Aside from the actual food, the lack of conflict at mealtimes has given us all space to breathe. It has made for a much calmer house. Witching hour has had it’s arse well and truly kicked.

On Thursday Boy Wonder snuggled up and told me how much he was enjoying the menu project and how he felt we were getting along more. Now he wanted to (in his words) “work out some strategies to help him and dad get along better”.

I had no idea that this project would have such an impact on all of us.

Week 2 has already been planned and written on the menu board. Progress.

Boy Wonder’s Food Project

Those of you who read my post The Edge last week will know that Boy Wonder and dinner time can often be an explosive mix.

His (current ) 3 favourite foods are macaroni cheese, beef burgers and salad. He makes the salad himself with a divine dressing, so that’s a big plus point.

However, man cannot live on mac’ n’cheese, burgers and salad alone. I need him to broaden his range of foods. Before he ends up with rickets, or I get sectioned. Whichever happens sooner.

I tried to explain this during the mother of all melt downs last week (the range of food not rickets or me being sectioned), but predictably I got nowhere.

Time for a new tack. Over the weekend I sat down with Boy Wonder and a heap of cookery books. I explained that we needed to find 6 different meals. He could choose them all. Burgers could feature once during the week. He was very excited and together we had an enjoyable hour talking about recipes.

I then made him this:

I am hoping that the menu board will take away the element of surprise which can often make him anxious. He can also see when he will be having his favourite meal.

I have found myself squawking “THIS IS NOT A RESTAURANT” in the heat of battle, but have decided to embrace the notion for the purpose of this project. He doesn’t know it yet, but I am also going to produce a little score card for him to give feedback. He adores Masterchef, so I think this could work.

I am under no illusions that this is going to be a tricky week. There will certainly be things on the menu that he won’t like, Cheeky Boy DEFINITELY won’t like a lot of it, but I am hoping that this project might make mealtimes easier.

Watch this space.

When Life Gives You Lemons…

It is almost exactly a year since we left the UK to begin our new life in Melbourne. It’s been quite a ride (another post, another day), but I am still marvelling at the similarities and the differences between here and my homeland.

One of the highlights was discovering a lemon tree in the back garden. It sounds silly, but I’d only ever seen lemons on trees when holidaying in Spain. It’s small things like this that make me warm and fuzzy.

Lemons, lemons, lemons. Such a versatile cooking ingredient. The best thing to do with lemons (aside from making a G&T) is The Saint’s favourite Lemon Drizzle Cake. I can sometimes make two of these a week as all the boys love it so much!

I thought I’d share the love and give you the recipe I use.

Ingredients

For the cake mixture:

200g unsalted butter, very soft but not runny

250g caster sugar

3 medium eggs at room temperature, beaten

finely grated zest of 2 medium unwaxed lemons

250g self raising flour

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

100ml milk at room temperature

For the topping:

100g caster sugar

juice of 2 medium unwaxed lemons

finely grated zest of 1 medium unwaxed lemon (optional)

I use a greaseproof paper lined loaf tin, but this cake also works well with a 20cm springclip tin.

1. Preheat the oven to 180c/350F/Gas4

2. Put butter, sugar, eggs and lemon zest into a large bowl and mix until smooth

3. Sift flour and baking powder into the bowl and combine ingredients thoroughly until you have a smooth cake batter.

4. Put the mix into the tin and spread evenly

5. Bake in the oven until the cake is a good golden brown and firm and a cocktail stick inserted into the centre comes out clean (50-60mins. I sometimes cover the cake in foil half way through if it’s browning too quickly).

6. Meanwhile make the topping. Mix the sugar and the lemon juice (and zest if using) to make a runny glaze.

7. Once cake is cooked, remove from the oven and stand the tin a wire cooling rack

8. Prick the top of the cake all over with a skewer or cocktail stick, and then quickly spoon the lemon topping over so that it trickles down the holes.

9. Let the cake cool completely before removing from the tin and discarding the greaseproof paper.

10. Serve cut into slices (for yummy dessert, serve still warm with cream)