Naturally,being a food obsessive, I love reading other blogs and gaining an insight into other worlds of food. I was recently involved in a discussion with friends where we talked about the different types of lunch that school children enjoy around the world. That led me to the article http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/features/school-lunches-around-the-world-10054568.html
In the rather meandering way that I pootle around the net I then came across this blog and was riveted.
The whole concept of what are apparently typical school lunches in France fascinated me. Raw vegetables, a main,a cheese course and fresh fruit. I am on an endless quest to get real, nourishing food down B-G and so with H-G’s eager acquiescence I decided that for a week we would experiment with eating in a prescribed ‘French Family Way’. We would enjoy a raw veg starter; a main with veg on the side, cheese and fresh fruit as a pudding. We would eat together at the table as a family with water to drink and candles. Dinner would be a slow, relaxed, family affair. No matter how busy our days had been, our family meal would be a punctuation in the day. As a starting point though our portion sizes had to be drastically curtailed as there was simply no way we could eat 3 courses daily otherwise. For our Monday main course of chicken paprika for the three of us I would usually cook 2 and a half chicken breasts. This time I cooked 1 chicken breast in total and that made three meals comfortably.
Starter – tomatoes with cucumber yoghurt sauce.
Main- Chicken and red pepper paprika with rice
Cheese course and dessert -1 small triangle Camembert with sliced apple.
B-G ate the tomatoes and dabbed at the sauce. He ate the all the rice,some of the chicken and left the peppers.He ate his apple, nibbled at his Camembert and ate his small sliver of cheddar that I had put on his plate. I was exceptionally pleased with this, as he is usually quite conservative in his approach to food, and the attempt at the Camembert in particular pleased me hugely. We usually eat a single meal each evening, with the occasional pudding of fruit and yoghurt. While we do eat at the table a few times a week-mostly at the weekends it has to be said- B-G initially found it hard sitting at the table for what ended up being a solid 45 minutes rather than the 20 or so minutes we are used to. However by the cheese and fruit course he had relaxed and had started to volunteer snippets about his school day and his teachers.
Starter – raw mushroom and lettuce salad with vinaigrette.(B-G had a honey mayonnaise dressing).
Main – tagliatelle with prawns, chilli and fresh cherry tomatoes
Cheese course and dessert -apples and camembert / cheddar.
B-G was horrified at the raw mushrooms. It is more usually one of the ‘hidden vegetables’ that I have become used to sneaking into his food. He tried one bite.
We then ate our main course and B-G wolfed it down. This was delicious. I just gently heat a cup of olive oil, add prawns, one crushed garlic clove and a tablespoon of dried chillis. B-G had his version without the chillis. Just before serving I stir through diced raw cherry tomatoes.
One of the cats was also keen to partake in the cheese.
Starter – radish and cucumber salad
Main- Salmon fillet baked with pesto, potatos and peas
Dessert – Vanilla ice cream
This radish salad is one of my all-time favourites. I just slice radishes, a spring onion and mix with sour cream a little bit of salt and black pepper. Today I also added cucumber just because. This is perfect on a very heavy dark Eastern European bread. Delicious.
The salmon fillet is easy, but tastes amazing. I just dollop a bit of pesto (from a jar) onto the raw fillet, wrap in foil and bake at 180 degrees celsius for 18 minutes. With buttered boiled potatos and peas this makes a gorgeous mid-week meal.
B-G got a mid-week treat of vanilla ice cream while H-G and I again had apples and a sliver of cheese. It is only Day 3 and already B-G is learning to relax over his meal and that the aim is not to wolf it all down in 15 minutes flat before racing upstairs to watch The Simpsons. Result!
[…. see Part 2 next week…..]