Cooking a Family Meal, with help from Emily (Butternut Squash Risotto)
It is no secret that I love food. I enjoy pouring over recipe books and browsing menus to get inspiration. I love cooking. There is something so gratifying about feeding the people you love, putting time and effort into producing something that both provides nourishment and pleasure. Of course, this pleasure from cooking for the family doesn’t happen all the time. Since Freyja was weaned, we have had more meals where there have been tears or grumbles about the meal than without. Things have definitely improved as the girls have got older, but I want to be able to find more family meals that everyone enjoys.
I was, therefore, delighted when I was asked to try out Bright Horizon’s new family cookbook, including a recipe for Butternut Squash Risotto. Emily always eats the meals provided at nursery, sometimes having extra portions, even of food that she is previously refused to eat at home. It was reassuring to know that these recipes are being used by Bright Horizons nurseries, which provide child care in Oxford – such as Oxford Business Park, so I was fairly confident that Emily could be persuaded to try something!
It is much easier to get children to try new foods if they have had a part in its preparation. Emily loves watching and helping me cook. From an early age she has sat up on a work surface next to me whilst I am preparing food, watching and trying pieces of freshly chopped vegetables. As she has got older, she will pull a chair up next to me, to stand on and watch as I cook. To encourage Emily to get involved in cooking, she was sent a doodle apron from eat, sleep, doodle. The cotton apron looks like a huge notepad and the 10 double-ended pens will wash out of the apron in a 40 degree wash so you create a new masterpiece on it before you start cooking! Emily wanted a nice bright apron to cook in today!
We chose to make the Butternut Squash Risotto. Both the girls like butternut squash and as it is vegetarian, this could be a recipe that all four of us could eat. If you would like to make it, you will need the following ingredients:
300g butternut squash
20ml vegetable oil
200g white onion
2 cloves of garlic
400g risotto rice
1 Litre of water
400g haricot beans
100g fresh spinach
10g fresh parsley
As soon as we went into the kitchen, Emily pulled the chair up to the work surface, clambered on and studied the recipe (not that she can read yet!). I had already chopped and roasted the butternut squash, so we started by peeling and chopping the onion and crushing the garlic. Emily added them to a saucepan with 10ml of vegetable oil and I let her stir as we cooked them until the onion had softened. She helped me measure out the rice, which we then added to the saucepan. I added the water bit by bit as it was absorbed by the rice. Then once the rice was cooked, I took the pan off the hob so that Emily could help me add the roasted squash and spinach. (I left out the parsley as I thought this might be pushing things a bit!)
When we finished, I dished up the Butternut Squash Risotto and waited with baited breathe as I put down the bowls in front of both of the girls. There was no “this looks/smells yucky”. They both tried it, and there was no “this tastes yucky”. In fact, not only did they gobble it up, they decided it was really yummy and wanted to have it again!
This Butternut Squash Risotto is definitely going to be added to our list of family meals from now on. It is so nice to have something to add to our repertoire which EVERYONE will eat. There are lots more recipe suggestions over on the Bright Horizon’s website here so I will be using this to find some more recipes to please all of the family.
Disclaimer: We were sent the recipe book and apron and provided with compensation to cover the cost of the ingredients, but as always all thoughts and opinions are our own.