Rainbow pasta sauces – the free from family favourites
Anyone reading my blog could be forgiven for thinking I only feed cakes to my children. There is a reason all of my recipes to date have been baked in the oven. My gas hob was broken. A super cautious plumber condemned it when he came to fix our boiler. Long and dull story but I was not able to cook on gas for over a month.
Fortunately the oven was still working, and I have a microwave and slow cooker. So I was able to get by. Luckily, I also had a freezer full of batch cooked meals, so it was not so tough – but it didn’t leave me with much to blog about – so that is why I started experimenting with cakes.
Since Zac started doing three full days a week at pre-school, I have had a bit of time on my hands and seem to spend most of it cooking and stocking up my freezer. I love to cook big family meals and working out new dinners for Zac has been a fun challenge.
When you have an intolerant child, you are even more aware of the need to make sure they get their five a day. With a dairy intolerant child you also have to carefully consider the sources of protein, calcium and essential vitamins, particularly D and the B vitamins. That is why I created my rainbow pasta sauces.
Zac loves all of the gluten free pasta shapes but is picky about sauces and he has become very fussy over the years. So in some ways I have had to go back to the start. Even though I did everything right to ensure he would be an adventurous eater, baby led weaning, not pureeing foods, following Annabel Karmel etc etc, nothing could have prepared us for the impact food intolerances would have. Our non fussy one year old gradually turned into a very fussy three year old, thanks to the years of elimination tests as advised by the dietitians. Every time we took a food item out of his diet for a period of time to test it as a possible culprit, he forgot he liked it. So when we reintroduced the foods that passed the test he flatly refused to eat them anymore and claimed they gave him a tummy ache.
So here we are now, right back at the start and I am back to creating pasta sauces full of vegetables, that I eventually whizz up with a hand blender. Not ideal I know, but when your child has dietary issues, you do anything you can to get the food in him. I just tell myself he will get there in the end and it is not as if he cannot eat lumpy food. He does all the time. He is just weird with certain textures and I need to be patient.
Today was a great day, not only was my flapjack a huge success, but it was also the first day I could use my new cooker. I had waited over a month and couldn’t wait to fire up the burners and do some proper cooking.
I had pretty much run down my freezer stocks, so decided I would make some new sauces. I grabbed all of the vegetables from my fridge and some meat and made a Bolognese type sauce and a turkey, tomato and vegetable sauce. Here are the recipes. Both were very straightforward and worked very well. I shouldn’t imagine many Italians would approve them as particularly authentic, but that is not the point of this exercise. I just need to create delicious and healthy food that gives my intolerant child all he needs.
So tonight, the children had the ‘Bolognese’ sauce with gluten free spaghetti . Tom and I had the turkey and tomato sauce with farfalle (butterfly pasta, according to Sophia). Both were delicious and are very versatile. Worth a try. I only blitz the sauces for Zac. I prefer them with some texture. So if you are making them for yourself, just make them to your taste – with finely chopped vegetables, chunky vegetables or whizzed up to a smooth sauce.
The most important thing to me, is to ensure that there is good quality meat included, as well as a rainbow of vegetables. We are always being reminded that it is best to eat a large variety of multi coloured vegetables as often as possible, hence my ‘rainbow’ home brand name. I usually have a good selection in my fridge and it is always so rewarding to see the children attack their pasta, knowing that it is covered in sauce that is packed with vitamins and nutrients and looks attractive. It worked tonight but I still need to keep working on it. Who knows, one day, Zac may return to eating like the little baby in the photo, with a courgette in one hand and a carrot in the other. But until that day comes, it is up to me to find other ways to get that rainbow in him!