My kids are such gobbly guts. Tonight they stuffed themselves so full at dinner time that later, when they had their bath together, they exclaimed and squealed over their bulging bellies. Even I was surprised.
I do love seeing my kids eat well. I feel a kind of motherly pride in nourishing my progeny. Tonight I roasted some chicken pieces in olive oil and lemon juice until crispy and crackling outside, tender and moist inside, then made a gravy* with the pan juicies. A creamy garlic mash and some plain steamed broccoli and raw carrots (my kids' favourite veges, on the table practically every night, boring but good) and we were ready, set, go! Very good. If only I had a glass of red wine to go with it. However, after Tuesday night, when I imbibed an unprecendented 2 glasses of red wine and suffered a subsequent hangover (pathetic! I'm such a cheap drunk) the entire next day, I am going easy on the booze.
Max and Lolly love a little lake of gravy in their mound of mash. The back of a spoon is used to make a deep hollow in the mash, and a spoonful of gravy is carefully deposited. Woe betide the careless gravy-giver who accidentally releases the flood!
For dessert I had promised Max I would make some of his favourite berry sauce to eat with fresh fruit, but we were so stuffed full that I didn't bother. Max loves this sauce with a passion. When he spies a box of frozen berries (berries aren't readily available at the moment, it's the middle of winter, remember? frozen is good) his face lights up like a Christmas tree. Today at lunchtime he spotted the box of frozen raspberries in the fridge. He was so excited he took the box out of the fridge and put it next to him on the table while he ate, gazing lovingly at it the whole while.
I have no problems letting him eat berry sauce til it comes out of his ears, because really, it's hardly even a sauce. Really it's just sieved berries. I don't add sugar or anything else except maybe some fresh orange juice and zest when I making blackberry sauce. In fact, he prefers it sour. The one time I added some icing sugar he turned his nose up at it and said it tasted 'funny'. It's an excellent way to get kids to eat a whole lot of extremely nutritious berries. Last Sunday we had a friend over for dinner and I made raspberry sauce as well as custard to pour over fresh fruit. The sauce boats were licked clean. 1 kg of raspberries eaten in about 10 minutes.
Once you have a jar of berry sauce in your fridge it's amazing how useful it can be. The dessert possibilities are obvious - with icecream, with chocolate cake and ice-cream, with custard or panna cotta or creme brulee, maybe even a swirl in a meringue, trifle, fool etc etc. The fresh acidic sourness and slight sweetness of berries are the perfect foil for creams and custards.
Also consider a swirl in breakfast yoghurt and muesli, in smoothies or muffins, or simply with a ripe juicy mango and a sliced banana. Endless possibilities.
Tomorrow I will make Max a happy boy. We'll make raspberry sauce together and make some yummy little thing for dessert. More bulging bellies!
* isn't 'gravy' the most awful word? Conjures up an image of a congealed, thick, lumpy brown mess to me. Luckily our gravy tonight was none of the above. Except brown.
Max's berry good sauce
I can hardly bring myself to type this up, for it is barely a recipe. But I will anyway.
Berries - blackberry or raspberry are best. Or we think so. Boysenberries or mulberries will also be great, if you can get 'em. Blueberry might also be good, but I'm not a huge fan of blueberries, taste-wise.
A little water, or, if you are using blackberries, some fresh squeezed orange juice and finely chopped zest.
- Gently warm the berries and liquid in a saucepan. Try to break up the berries a little with a wooden spoon, top extract the maximum juice.
- When the berries have entirely broken up and warmed through (but not boiled), tip the whole lot into a fine sieve placed over a bowl.
- Sieve the juice and pulp, using the back of a spoon to stir and scrape the pulp and seeds against the sieve.
- Keep stirring and scraping as long as you can to get the most out of your berries!
- Once you have finished, stir the juice and thicker pulpy seedless stuff together, and pour into a clean glass jar.
- Use as needed, warm or cold.
- If you need a thicker sauce, you can thicken the berry sauce with either some cornflour or arrowroot (thickens without cloudiness).
Tip: This sauce is very easy for kids to make themselves. The vivid colours delight them. It doesn't get really hot either, so it's pretty safe (obviously always with adult supervision, though!), too. They'll have a lot of fun deciding how they can use their sauce. With ice-cream, I bet!