Thursday, 3 December 2015

Cooking With Kids: Spaghetti & meatballs (with hidden veg sauce)

We are very lucky to have spoken to Robert Prendergast. Robert, who was Head Chef for the England Women's team during their stay in Canada for the World Cup, has very kindly cooked up a recipe for you to try out with your kids. 

Whilst looking after the English Ladies World Cup team in Canada recently we had to be very aware of diet and ensuring the team and staff got a balanced, healthy yet varied selection of menus. Understanding what we eat is very important and has a lasting effect on our attitude, bodies and energy levels. To proceed in the world of professional sport we need to be educated and committed to eating correctly. - Robert Prendergast

For the meatballs

·          300g good quality pork sausages (about 4 large or 8 chipolatas)
·          500g lean beef mince
·          1 small onion, coarsely grated
·          1 carrot, finely grated
·          1 tbsp dried oregano
·          50g Parmesan, finely grated, plus extra to serve
·          1 medium egg
·          1 tbsp olive oil

For the tomato sauce
·         1 tbsp olive oil
·         1 courgette, coarsely grated
·         3 garlic cloves, finely grated
·         1 tbsp tomato pur√©e
·         Pinch caster sugar
·         Splash red wine vinegar
·         2x 400g tins chopped tomatoes

 To serve
  • ·           Cooked spaghetti


1.   Children: Squeeze all the sausage meat out of the sausage skins into a large bowl and add the mince. Tip all the rest of the meatball ingredients, except the olive oil, into the bowl and season with black pepper then squish everything together through your hands until completely mixed. Keep an eye on younger children to make sure they don’t taste any of the raw mix.
      Children: Roll the meatball mix into walnut-sized balls and place them on a plate – this is a job children as young as 2 can help with and a great job to help teach older children basic division.
      Grown ups: While the children are rolling the meatballs make the sauce. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the courgette and garlic and cook for 5 mins until soft and mushy. Stir in the tomato puree, sugar and vinegar leave for 1 min then tip in the tomatoes and simmer for 5 mins. If your children like courgettes then you can leave the sauce chunky. But if, like mine, they hate courgettes then blitz the sauce with a hand blender – either way continue to simmer sauce gently while you cook the meatballs. If your child is confident with heat, from 7+ they can cook the sauce with supervision.
      Grown ups: Heat the oil in a large frying pan and, working in batches, brown the meatballs on all sides then pop them into the sauce – continue to simmer the sauce for 15 mins, stirring very gently until the meatballs are cooked through. Serve with cooked spaghetti, extra grated Parmesan and a few torn basil leaves your child has picked and torn.

Healthy eating is important for everyone, especially children, to ensure that they receive all the nutrients they need to grow and develop. Eating well and being physically active will improve your children’s health as well as their ability to learn and achieve at school. Encouraging your children to eat healthily now will make them more likely to adopt a healthy lifestyle as they get older.

Modern society has us surrounded by high sugary drinks and foods. We know we need to watch how much sugar we eat each day, but the new guidelines mean that we need to try to reduce this even further.
The problem is that too much sugar means extra calories, which in turn can lead to stored fat in the body and diseases like heart disease, some cancers and type 2 diabetes.
Around a quarter of the added sugar in kids’ diets comes from sugary drinks. That’s why the new advice is that sugary drinks have no place in a child’s daily diet. Swap to water; lower-fat milks; sugar free, diet and no added sugar drinks instead.
Eating too much sugar can also cause tooth decay, so be sure to clean your teeth twice a day and check your kids are doing the same.

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