The secret to stress-free family cooking is crafting meals everyone enjoys, says cookery writer Annabel Karmel.
Here she talks about her new book.
Catering for a family’s varied tastes can be a nightmare at dinnertime, with hard-working parents often having to serve several dishes to keep everyone happy.
After her own research found that some mums are producing up to 63 meals a week to satisfy all the mouths in their family, bestselling cookery writer Annabel Karmel has whipped up a sizzling new recipe book packed with dishes that everyone can enjoy.
The children’s food guru, who has previously written 37 books about feeding toddlers and babies, has branched out with Annabel’s Family Cookbook, which features 100 easy-to-follow recipes that will appeal to tots, teens and time-stretched parents alike.
The idea is that parents can make life easier for themselves by cooking the same meal for the whole family, instead of slaving over separate dishes.
“It would seem that household kitchens are becoming more like cafes,” Karmel observes.
“You can end up having to make separate meals for everybody, and it’s a complete nightmare, so you resort to giving chicken nuggets to your children because you know they’ll eat them.
“Instead, find something that’s yummy and that doesn’t alienate anybody in a recipe that’s great for the whole family,” the 50-year-old mum-of-three adds.
With chapter headings like Quick And Easy, Everyday Meals and Prepare Ahead, featuring recipes such as Vegetable Fusilli and Posh Fish Fingers, this is a cookbook for busy mums and dads, rather than a cordon bleu tome packed with time-consuming, fiddly dishes.
Nevertheless, it’s by no means a homage to children’s cooking either; grown-up dishes include Moroccan Lamb Tagine, Baked Sea Bass, and Vanilla Cheesecake.
“So many mums were telling me that they were cooking for their dinner parties from my Complete Baby And Toddler Meal Planner that I thought I should write them a book with more adult meals in it,” says Karmel. “It’s been fantastic to write - it’s 23 years of my favourite recipes all in one book, and it’s been great to use things like wine and chillies, but also include recipes that all the family can sit down and eat together.”
She says most recipes in the book have “that magical child appeal”, so children will like the dishes as much as their parents - although they may be wary of foods they don’t recognise, as is normally the case with kids.
“It’s not mushed-up food, but it’s quite kid-friendly, although one or two recipes might be a bit sophisticated and not for every child,” explains Karmel.
“I didn’t want it to be just for kids - some of these recipes are for adults, and cooking for your partner or a dinner party.”
Karmel hopes the book will encourage more families to sit down and eat meals together: “It’s a good idea to keep at least a couple of days a week sacrosanct for family dinners.”