In my head I categorise vegetables into three categories: ones which everyone in the family will eat, ones which some of the family will eat, and ones which the grown ups will eat. Carrots and broccoli fall into the first category as do sweetcorn and peas. Tomatoes fall into the second category and vegetables like Pak Choi into the third. Courgettes seem to defy my attempts to categorise them as at the moment I am the only one who enjoys them. As I learnt in my studies (particularly French grammar), there is always an exception to the rule. Unfortunately, I can offer no explanation, and just share my general frustration at French grammar and the complexities of my children’s vegetable preferences (please just don’t mention potatoes to Atticus).
As I have previously mentioned, when vegetables are dressed up (otherwise known as fancy vegetables) the children are more likely to have a go and even enjoy them. On the undercover mission were: cauliflower, green beans, button mushrooms and carrots. Their disguise was ginger and soy sauce egg underlayer for a desiccated coconut and breadcrumb coating.
These fancy vegetables could be used as a snack or accompaniment to a main meal. The kids and I ate them as a snack and dipped some in peanut butter and Simon had his with some steak later in the day.
You can use whatever vegetables you want. Vegetables like parsnips, cauliflower and carrots will take longer to cook than button mushrooms, green beans or baby corn.
- 1 carrot
- 6 florets of cauliflower
- 12 button mushrooms
- 12 green beans
- 2 eggs
- 1tbsp soy sauce
- 1tsp crushed garlic
- 1tsp grated ginger
- 100g dried breadcrumbs
- 50g desiccated coconut
- Preheat the oven to 170°c fan and line a couple of baking sheets with silicone mats.
- Wash and dry the vegetables.
- Chop the ends off the green beans (the kids did this with table knives).
- Slice off or break off the cauliflower florets (Seb did this by breaking some off and with some help with a sharper knife cutting some off) and cut the carrot into batons (I did this). To make this a quicker activity you could prepare all the vegetables for the kids.
- Crack the two eggs into a shallow bowl and whisk them. Add the soy sauce, the garlic, ginger and some salt and pepper. Atticus had a go grating the ginger, and they all had a good smell of it.
- Measure out the breadcrumbs and desiccated coconut and mix them thoroughly together and put them on a plate.
- Dip each bit of vegetable in the egg mixture and then roll in the breadcrumb-coconut mixture. My kids also enjoyed throwing the breadcrumb-coconut mixture at the vegetables (this may well explain the mess they made! See the last picture at the end.)
- Put the mushrooms and beans on one baking sheet and the carrots and cauliflower on the other as they have different cooking times.
- Place in the oven and remove the mushrooms and beans after 20 minutes and the carrots and cauliflower after 30 minutes.
- Serve as a snack or an accompaniment to a main dish.
I was so very happy when all the kids ate the green beans and the mushrooms. Both are usually no goes with our kids. Since making this recipe, they have also all eaten green beans with their traditional Sunday roast, so I am pleased to announce that we have a vegetable which has moved category! When watching them eat, I was trying my best to contain the urge to dance around the kitchen with delight; I may be wrong but this would have distracted them from the task at hand and stopped them eating them!