21 June 2012

Satisfying the meat eaters

A woman asked me the other day for a couple of tips to keep her husband and teenage son happy at the dinner table. She's been trying to cut down the amount of meat they eat, mainly to keep to her budget, but also because she thought they were eating too much meat and wanted them to cut back. Unfortunately, when she made up  spinach pie or vegetable soup, they complained, said they were still hungry and didn't feel full unless they had meat.

Bacon can be added to any quiche.

I think the trick to this is to put a small amount of meat in most meals. In a spinach pie you could add a small amount of bacon, either as a garnish or in the pie itself. A vegetable soup can be made with home made beef stock, this will give a wonderful richness and a meaty taste to the soup, but also add a small amount of diced beef - maybe 250 grams/½ pound, 250 grams/½ pound of minced steak/ground beef made into tiny meatballs or a small amount of sliced up chorizo sausage. All these could be added to the soup and cooked in it.

If you think they're not getting enough and are still hungry, make some dumplings for the soup or bread and salad to go with the spinach pie.

DUMPLINGS - these are very much like scones

  • 1½ cups self raising flour or plain flour with 1 teaspoon baking powder added
  • salt and pepper
  • 75 grams coldish butter
  • herbs - such as parsley, chives, thyme, or tarragon or sage of you're cooking with chicken
  • water
Place flour, salt and pepper in a bowl and add butter. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the flour looks like breadcrumbs.  Add the herbs then a small amount of water to make a fairly stiff dough and mix. Form small balls about the size of a walnut. Drop the dumplings into the soup to cook. They'll rise to the top and stay there. When they're cooked they'll look fairly light and if you break one in two, it will be like a herby scone. They take about five minutes to cook.

Another way to fill those tummies is to serve a pudding. I have found that many men (and women) will feel like they've had a good hearty meal if they're served a good old fashioned pudding. The one I regularly turn to is Jam Roly Poly but it could be apple pie, apple crumble, stewed fruit with baked home made custard, lemon tart or bread and butter pudding. If you add a pudding, it seems more like a treat, but you're also adding fibre, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.

This is an old favourite from my childhood. My grandma made it using suet, I use butter instead. It's very similar to a scone dough or a rough pastry dough.
  • 2 cups self raising flour OR plain/all purpose flour with two teaspoons of baking powder sifted in
  • 4 tablespoons room temperature butter
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Enough milk to make a firm dough

Add all the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl and using your finger tips, rub the butter into the flour. When it's combined, add the milk and mix in. When it's mixed, cover the dough with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge to firm up. About 30 minutes should do it.

Onto a lightly floured board or bench, roll out the dough into a rectangle. Cut off any bits that poke out too far so you have a neat shape. Cover the dough with raspberry jam (or any jam of your liking) and carefully roll the dough into a sausage shape. You might need the help of a pallet knife or egg lifter. Brush with egg wash and place into an oven proof baking dish. You can curl it around to fit the dish. You need a dish with sides because this will spread out if cooked on a flat tray.

Cook at 180C/350F for about 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Serve with warm custard.

What little tricks and add ons do you turn to when you hear "where's the meat?!!"?



  1. I have meat eaters here, all 6 of us and it is expensive especially as we eat grassed beef, free range chicken and pork and sustainable fish. We eat eggs for almost every breakfast except one morning of porridge. For lunch in winter we always have a soup. I just put up a post of 5 delicious winter soups all using a little meat (3 pieces of shin for 6 people e.g). Supper is meat, fish or chicken with garden veg. I try to make beans at least twice a week but always cook some bacon with it or serve cannellini beans with chicken breast.

  2. I agree with Rhonda, if you can add just a smidge of meat so they get the flavor, you may be able to convince them they're full. My husband often says he doesn't get as full when I cook meatless meals, but if there's a little for flavor he just assumes there's more mixed in that he just can't see, and sometimes the complaints of not being full disappear. Also, I've found that if I'm making a meatless meal, mushrooms can be used to bulk it up nicely and seem to fill the "need" for meat for some reason. Latest use was in a lasagna with mushroom marinara instead of a meat sauce, but I also use them in quiches and fajitas/tacos with great success.

  3. Agreed, a bit of spicey sausage, ham, bacon will go far to satisfy meat eaters! Our organic CSA starts this Friday, and I am anticipating a lot of early Spring greens, which will certainly find their way into crustless quiches with just a bit of the aformentioned meats! ; )

  4. Hmmm... Well, I was a vegetarian for 20 years, but finally had to give it up for nutritional reasons. I'm not saying vegetarianism is unhealthy for everyone, but for me it was quite difficult because I'm allergic to most nuts & seeds, I'm lactose intolerant, and many legumes & cheeses trigger migraines for me. That basically took most vegetarian sources of protein off the table.

    And I think that's one of the most common mistakes that people make when "going vege." They take what is generally a lean source of protein (meat) and replace it with either carbohydrates (breads etc.) or something very high in fat (cheese & other dairy products.) Neither of those options is very healthy or satisfying.

    Anyhow, I think that adding a small amount of meat or broth to otherwise vegetarian meals goes a LONG way in terms of making them taste "right" from a carnivorous perspective. I also think that it's important to add other sources of protein like beans, nuts, seeds etc, because you do need some protein in order to both feel full and satisfy your body's needs. I think it's also helpful to use more eggs and seafood.

    Another suggestion I have in general is to try adding vegetarian side dishes rather than creating entire vegetarian meals. Many vegetarian staples are unfamiliar foods for people who've spent a lifetime eating a western diet, and it can be intimidating. Your family will probably be much more receptive to trying a curried lentil stew if you serve it up as a side dish rather than plopping down a huge bowl of it. And, in truth, your innards need some time to adjust to eating legumes and other whole foods!

    But if you concentrate on adding a variety of healthy non-meat courses to the meal, or even adding non-meat proteins like beans to something you already prepare - as opposed to focusing on removing the meat, you're much more likely to be met with a response of "What a feast!" rather than "Where's my meat?" And you'll end up eating less meat naturally.

    Those are my thoughts!

  5. Sometimes I make a huge salad and toss in cooled cooked chicken or thin strips of steak. Last night I had one piece of fresh Alaskan salmon so I cooked it and finished it with teriyaki sauce then tore it into chunks to add to the salad. Homemade mac and cheese with a small can of drained/flaked salmon added is a hit and satisfying. Minced beef in gravy over mashed potatoes. Spanish rice with 1/2 lb of meat (ground beef or diced chicken) topped with a little grated cheese. Omelets with diced ham, onions and red peppers for the filling. There are endless ways to 'stretch' and use less meat for a meal.

  6. We had a simliar problem here because we have a beef cattle farm and we always have meat. ....it doesn't mean you should eat it all the time though! I have changed things slowly , and one of the things that works is have really lovely salads(ones with feta and olives and home grown veg) and a small amount of meat....and if I do a quiche or pasta I chop up bacon in it. I have found over time I have been able to cut back on things even more as the family has gotten used to it ....people don't like sudden change. Another family favourite now that we have the vege patch is just a big plate of various home grown veges ( potatoes, pumpkin , pimply squash etc) sprinkled with cheese....variety is the key here I think.

  7. I get this from my husband and 2 teenage boys too but often we will have just soup and bread for dinner but to fill them up I always make a 'comfort food' dessert like apple pie. On Monday's I am blogging about feeding your family (4) for under $10 and my post a few weeks ago was on soup and apple pie for this exact reason.

  8. Three suggestions-

    1 what meat you do have, chop it finely as it looks like more if it is in every bite. For example, when I make a shrimp (prawn) and corn chowder, I chop up the prawns so I can get away with using one small pack instead of two of the larger packs like my husband will use when he cooks. (I also use a little extra potato, onion and corn ;-)

    2 I replace up to 50% of a meat dish with finely minced or grated vegetables without my meaties realising it. ie. grated veg in the mince mixture for shepherd's pie, extra veg in the spaghetti sauce, as many veg as possible in the omelette... I always add more veg than the recipe calls for, whether I mince the veg or not.

    3 Make meat a PART of a dish, don't serve it on its own. If you serve meat on it's own, it is easy for the meaties to judge (and complain about!) exactly how much meat they have or don't have.

    All the best

  9. I rarely buy meat, but last week I got a couple of pounds of ground beef from a local farm and made an experimental meatloaf - shaped like a log, so it could be easily cut into sandwich-sized rounds. Turned out to be the best "burgers" - moist and flavorful, but not dripping grease! Not nearly as much cost-savings as the excellent suggestions others have made, but adding breadcrumbs or torn-up bread (my mother's method) or oatmeal, as well as onions, mushrooms and other veggies, to the meat mixture does stretch the meat without reducing the "meatiness" - at least to my taste.

  10. I had a housefull of my own family as well as international students who would live with us. Many hungry mouths to feed. Here are some of my favorite tricks.
    Add cooked lentils to cooked mince/hamburger in sauces such as spaghetti or taco/burrito filling. Start with a small amount of lentils and work towards a 50-50 mix.
    Add a small amount of 'good' fat into a dish. Remember that beef usually has more fat content then a typical non-meat meal. The fat adds to the feeling of being full that your family is used to. I make sure to cook my onion or other veggies in olive oil when I saute them for a meatless dish.
    Slow cook less expensive meats. My favorite is a pork roast cooked slowly and served as open-faced pulled pork sandwiches. Serve with a green salad +/or coleslaw and baked beans. The meal looks like it is meat heavy when it actually isn't. Pre-plate the servings and put any extra meat away for another meal. Out of sight, out of mind. I would shred what I needed for dinner one night and the rest of the pork I would use for a rice stir-fry the next night. Connecting the two meals as two "meat" meals in a row helped.

    Or, cook a whole fish like salmon one night and serve with lots of side dishes. We would make sure this meal was for a night everyone could sit at the table together and we'd serve the fish at the table. The next night, use the remaining fish in a pasta dish like fettucine.
    SJ in Vancouver BC Canada

  11. They did quiches on masterchef the other night and were dissecting the qualities and failures of each of the contestants dishes... but Rhonda I think yours looks way better than any of them! Thanks for the recipes. Celia

  12. I'm learning all the time when I visit Down To Earth.

  13. Partly it is psychological but also a very valid comment. Protein is a bulky and complex food to digest and does give satiety. My family seems more contented when I use mashed tofu instead of ricotta in a spinach pie so they are getting more protein in the meal. In soups, adding things like pre-soaked beans (and there are so many kinds to keep it interesting) add meatiness and protein. They are also another good way to pad out mince dishes. Nuts also add some protein too so if you are doing a meat light stir fry, add some chopped brazil nuts or almonds. They are great for added texture and bite and also add to the digestive work in the stomach.

  14. Given meat is readily available here we sometimes tend to overdo it (beef/dairy farm) though have stretched the last bit in the freezer as we have to wait to get a beast done. Adding cooked rice to mince as well as with grated veg is filling. If they still complain they can have a bowl of weetbix. The kids here wouldn't eat pea and ham soup, too much veg I was told. I did double the bacon for a time but have now scaled it back and they haven't even noticed! Would definately recommend baby steps on achieving this goal of less meat.

  15. For "tricking" a meat-loving stomach into fullness, I use hemp protein powder in my sauces. For vegetable based pasta sauces and such, I toss it in because it stretches the sauce for the endless pit that is the teenaged male.

  16. Cooked sausages sliced very thinly can be added to quiches,pasta etc for a meaty taste - I recently made a packet of 8 sausages stretch to 8 meals for two - each bite seemed sausagey !

  17. Sorry but no amount of dumplings or lentils are going to do the job of replacing meat, and the fat that goes with it. While a meaty taste such as adding bacon to eggs is OK by me, a soup with a meaty taste just doesn't fill my husband up. And little bit by little bit reduction of meat and its replacement by flour means little bit by little bit increase in weight and disease. I have realised that the Nourishing Traditions stricture against grains and legumes is very necessary. When we add those we get fat. When we take them out of the diet not only can we lose weight but I don't get ill. No, under no circumstances can I accept that going more high carb is good for us. Remember that during the Great Depression the only community that got really fat were the poor that had to live on cheap bread. If that is all you have to stop starvation then you do what you have to do. But if you have a choice, eat meat.

  18. YUM! to the jam roly poly! I've never made it, but think I might give it a go - thanks Rhonda!

  19. With meat eaters, esp the stubborn ones, I've found it's mostly psychosomatic, and as long as they *think* there's meat in there, they'll be satisfied. There's some great non-meat products that have the look and texture of meat and can be made to taste like it too. A great alternative if you really think you're consuming too much meat.
    Alternatively, overdose them on carbs. They'll be so full they won't even want meat!

  20. Gosh I thought that quiche looked good, and then I saw the roly-poly - you sure do eat well at your place Rhonda :) As a diabetic I try to have more beans and lentils instead of red meat, although my hubby is not so keen - he really likes his meat. I find if there is just a little meat it keeps him happy. It must be a guy thing!

  21. I defy anyone NOT to get full on a plate of Caesar Salad! This stuff is amazing. I love a plate of Caesar when my appetite doesn't seem to know what it wants. You get the carbs from the garlic butter croutons, protein from the eggs and bacon, dairy from the parmesan cheese and Caesar dressing, followed by a pack of vitamins from the cos lettuce.

    This is my favourite "I'm being good" menu selection, but the other "I'm being LESS good, is a plate of Nacho's.

    Mince is relatively inexpensive and you make the meat sauce up with kidney beans. Layered on a plate of corn chips, you add grated cheese on top, grill for a few minutes in the oven, then top with guacamole (avocado, sour cream, squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper) and I add an extra helping of plain sour cream on the side. We started making Nacho's with all the packet ingredients first, and then went to making everything from scratch. Especially the guacamole as it's expensive to buy, but not so when you make lashings at home with fresh ingredients.

    And you can make your own sour cream too with 1 cup fresh cream, whipped with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar.

    These two dishes will fill the most determine carnivore!

  22. I really like your advice Sue to cut down meat slowly. Any diet change will be easier and more likely to last if it is done gradually.

    I find that adding nuts of seeds in some form to a meal helps you to feel full for longer. For example:
    - I often use some ground cashews in my sauces in much the same way that "K" above uses hemp protein.
    - I add a handful of toasted seeds and or nuts to salads which adds flavour, protein, healthy fats and a delicious crunch
    - I add nuts and or seeds to stir-frys
    - A small platter of nuts, seeds and dried fruits makes a delicious, nutritious and filling dessert. Perfect for nibbling while you read a book or watch your favourite TV show.

    I respectfully disagree with the Anonymous poster on June 21, 2012 9:53 AM. There is no reliable evidence for your claims - I am a GP and I have done a lot of reading about nutritional issues from a wide variety of sources, medical and alternative. The only nutritional advice that stands up across the range of human experience and diets is to eat more veggies and to keep the total calories (whatever the source) in balance with your caloric output. As with most areas of life - balance is the key.

    As a general rule the more veggies you eat, and the bigger the variety, the better your health. I think this is partly because it means you are eating less of everything in else. People who eat a lot of meat get such a huge dose of calories per gram that they are more prone to eating too many calories in general.

  23. I agree with the people who have commented that it is a matter of the body knowing best - we need enough protein, especially boys in that growth spurt where they are building huge amounts of muscle. We Westerners often eat too much protein, more than we need, so a little bit can go a long way, but if we go completely or largely vego, I think the body (specially big male bodies) look for protein, and you need to make sure to include eggs, cottage cheese, nuts, split peas, beans, or other good sources of protein in at least one of the meals every day. Beans and peas are great - cheap, healthy, low GI sources of protein specially with a bit of whole grain in the same meal.

  24. We use cooked lentils WITH meat in sauces and casseroles, not just to stretch the meat but also for added dietary fibre. I don't plan to eliminate meat, but I do think we could eat a little less of it as we all love it and would fill half our plates with it if that much was available! I also try to cook one extra veggie dish (I aim for 3), as that is also a goal of ours (to add more vegetables into our diet). Spending a few minutes extra to prepare an interesting veggie side dish (something new and tasty) provides interest and variety, as opposed to making us feel deprived (having slightly less meat).

  25. Reducing the amount of neat we eat is the best thing we can do for our health! I try to cook beans and lentils instead of meat, but we adults do love them, the children just sometimes. We eat incredible amounts of vegetables, that's good.
    Many thanks for the jam roly-poly recipe............ it looks yummy!!!!!!!!! Enjoy, Clara.

  26. This is a very timely post for our family. I was just saying last night we need to eat less meat for financial reasons and I almost had a mutiny on my hands! Thank you for all these tips Rhonda, you have come to my rescue.

  27. Protein provides satiety, so I always include beans and pulses in my soups and stews. Home baked breads, oatcakes and pittas are healthier than fatty, sugary puddings, but an occasional dessert is always welcome here!

  28. Smoked paprika gives soups etc a wonderfully meaty flavour. As other posters have mentioned adding protein in some other form (cheese, egg, nuts, lentils, legumes) will ensure you feel fuller for longer.

  29. Hi Rhonda. Do you have a recipe for that quiche on your blog anywhere? It looks so big and fluffy! By quiches are usually only about an inch tall.

  30. Hi - I have virtually cut out meat from our diet on compassionate grounds and have found that although I love meat, I am not missing having it because I am using lentils and beans in their place. I do not want to use meat substitutes like soya etc because many of them include unhealthy additives. I think the mistake a lot of people make when cooking vegetarian meals is to have a menu solely made up of vegetables albeit served with pastry etc. An awful lot of recipes in veggie cook books do not contain much protein and have pastry or lots of cheese etc or are just what I would serve as a side dish or a starter. I have managed to adapt many of our favourite dishes such as shepherds pie, moussaka etc by using lentils. Also sticking to recipes from cuisines that are predominantly vegetarian like Indian dhals etc. is a good way to provide a filling tasty meal. One other tip on making a meal more filling is to use wholemeal versions of the carbs ie wholegrain rice etc.

  31. Clamouring for meat is definitely not just a male thing! (Says this short, scholarly, 24-year-old female :D) My mother and I both do poorly on most carbohydrate-rich foods, so I can only give tips on how to obtain large quantities of quality animal protein on a tight budget. Here goes:

    1. Offal! If you are not squeamish and have access to a good, old-fashioned butcher, buy organ meats: kidneys, calf's liver, lamb's brains, beef tongue, ox heart, tripe, you name it. Calf's liver is considered a delicacy by my English family and sells for around $5 a kilo at the Melbourne markets. Organ meats are extremely rich (so a kilo will usually be enough for four or five servings) and contain even more nutrients than muscle meat. We are so very very lucky to have uncontaminated sheep brains available in Australia - take advantage of this if you can!

    2. Small, fresh fish. If you live on the coast or near a good fish market, look for the cheap, wild-caught fish species that the restaurants ignore. In Victoria, that means Aussie sardines, silver whiting, small Aussie mackerel, tailor, sand mullet, trevally, and sometimes bream if there is a glut. I buy sardines for around $6 a kilo, prep them and freeze them in meal-sized portions. Again, sardines are so rich that 4 or 5 fish per person are usually enough. Unfortunately, the smaller fish are often sold whole and my fishmonger won't gut anything smaller than a bream, so you may need to spend about half an hour or so doing this yourself at home =( Not my idea of fun but oh well... Tinned salmon and tuna are also tasty and can be 'stretched' in fish cakes, casseroles, etc.

    3. Poultry - humanely raised chicken is expensive, but I get around this by buying whole birds, roasting them for 1 meal, eating the leftovers for another 2 meals and saving every scrap of bone for making soup stock. Boiling fowl are also extremely cost effective ($3 a bird!!) and make a great pot of meaty soup; I also joint them and use them in crock-pot curries.

    4. Moussaka (mince and tomato layered with eggplant and cheese) is a lovely comfort food for carnivores that is easy on the budget. You can add as many diced vegetables like capsicum to the mincemeat (which is already cheap), the carb-heavy noodles are replaced by eggplant slices (nutritious AND cheap), and if you use lots of cheese and spike it with cream you can cut back on the meat even more while still having a filling dish =)

    5. Green vegetables are my friend =) Once half a plateful of greens has been polished off, there just isn't any room in the stomach for another slice of beef!

    5. And echoing many previous comments: soups and stews, especially made with bone- and meat-based stock, are simply wonderful and I don't know what my cooking schedule would be without them. I sometimes stretch a roast by putting the leftover meat into a soup or stew (e.g. cold cubes of roast beef in Borscht).

    Thank you as ever for sharing your recipes, Rhonda - I often make your slow cooker beef stew on wet Melbourne winter weekends!

    Happy Cooking,

  32. I add chickpeas to pumpkin soup to give it a bit of a protein hit for fullness. No one has ever commented on a difference in taste from when I do or don't do it. I usually make fresh plait bread or rolls to dunk. That is half the fun of soup.

    My Mum makes roly poly pudding with golden syrup. Talk about warm, delicious winter treat.

  33. Thanks for the recipe for the Jam Roly Poly Rhonda! I have often wondered just what it is, so now it will be appearing on the menu for our pudding tonight :) Just a question about custard, do you have a recipe for making your own? I have a box of custard powder which I use for when I make Yo-Yo cookies, however whenever I have tried to make actual custard from it I never manage to succeed with it! The custard has me stumped and this doesn't normally happen in my kitchen :)
    I have also made the change over the last few years of cutting down the portion of meat we eat and adding lentils or beans wherever I can, quite an accomplishment as for years my husband would never entertain the thought, let alone trying, a meal without meat, now I regularly make meatless meals. For us, a gradual change in the reduction of meat has been the key to success.

    Regards Ruth :)

  34. Mrs W, I use a recipe similar to this: http://allrecipes.com.au/recipe/7465/pouring-custard.aspx except for this amount, I use 2 whole eggs and two egg yolks. I hope it works for you. Enjoy the book. xxx

  35. I also try to prepare veggie meals for half the week and do have to bear with some whinging about it - especially if pasta isn't involved. So I absolutely love the idea of using tiny bits of meat throughout the week rather than large portions on some of the nights. It's a no brainer really and I can't believe I didn't think of it myself. Hand-Forehead-Slap ;)

  36. We had lasagne for tea last night- the mince was stretched with grated carrot, a couple of handfuls of porridge oats, roasted pumpkin (this had been frozen so was pretty much a puree), finely chopped celery and the usual onions, tomatoes and garlic in generous amounts. Some frozen concentrated chicken stock (I'm trying to eat down the freezer at the moment) and seasonings like dried tomato leather and a splash of red wine added to the richness and you couldn't tell how much veg was in it. Other times I add red lentils and grated courgette (zucchini) which I freeze for just that reason. Long slow cooking means the oats and lentils and vegetables amalgamate with the sauce well.

    My other tip would be to plate up at least the meat part of any meal where the meat is separate from the vegetables. If I dish up the roast chicken and then put it away there is enough for at least one more meal and some stock. If I carve it at the table and leave it there, everybody feels the urge to have a bit more and a bit more and before I know it, it's all gone. I leave the bowls of veg out for people to have more of instead.

  37. Hi, I've been a vegetarian for 20 years. The only meat I cook in my household is free range chicken, and we are a family of five. My sons (teenagers) and husband love food and eat anything, and do not seem to have a problem with being full up... For dinner tonight we had a chickpea and spinach curry (divine) with rice,plus there was some leftover vege soup from lunch, so they had a bowl of that with dinner as well. For pudding an apple crumble with yoghurt. Snacks after dinner are generally fruit or yoghurt or they make themselves milos.

  38. For my carnivores, I have found that adding small portions of flavorful meat like bacon or sausage make a huge difference. But most of all, also serving hot, homemade bread items satisfied more than I expected.

    I make rolls, loaves, biscuits (not cookies but like scones), scones, dumplings and garlic bread mostly. Our local market makes a good french loaf for when I need to take short cuts.

    I mean, really, who in their right mind would complain about a meal that included hot, fresh bread of some kind dripping with melted butter and honey?

  39. We are a household of seven and until recently ate mostly vegetarian with a bit of meat added for flavouring (we're now eating more meat because we have a freezer full of home-raised pork). Our kids have been raised eating meals which are either fully vego, mostly vego with a bit of bacon or chorizo added, or with maybe 250g-500g of mince stretched with lentils or cooked beans, so hopefully we will be spared a future chorus of "Where's the meat?" lol. I agree with the suggestions to add lots of good fats with full-fat dairy and eggs: low-fat products replace the fats with sugar and, apart from anything else, just taste nasty. But then we also have a house cow so get to indulge in glorious raw Jersey milk, cream, butter and cheese :)

    We eat peasant food around here, lots of curries, casseroles and stir-fries. Last night was black bean stroganoff made with equal parts cooked black beans (adds bulk and meaty flavour) and mince, although this recipe started out without the mince and has been a huge hit with all my vego friends. This is unusually meat-heavy for us; normally the bulk of most of my recipes comes from vegetables, then legumes, then meat. The kids don't usually eat all of the vegetables at their age (7 and under) but I'm happy that they're growing up with the expectation that food and does not look like a plate of chicken nuggets and hot chips, or even a slab of meat and the obligatory three veg. And of course growing up with legumes and veg as the major part of their diet means they're spared any embarrassing gut adjustment period to a higher fibre content in future ;-)

  40. I like the idea of the dumplings....they have obviously been filling up on meat....definately time for things like pasta and rice to come into play....I use them as fillers (well actually I use them to make a meal stretch further but you get the idea) I would go slowly instead of jumping in the deep end....slowly cut back on the meat, don't talk about it with them, just slowly and surely do it....when it's thrust right under their nose I find people tend to object just on principle, when you slowly do things without drawing that much attention to it then it often gets missed. If I chose to do this from one extreme as in large pieces of meat eaten at every meal, I would start with replacing just one meal of the week as the starting point, then very slowly work from there

  41. Thanks Rhonda for the custard recipe link :) I gave it a go last night but wonder if I took it to far on the heat as it ended up lumpy. I put it through a sieve but it was really grainy and the texture didn't sit well with the critics in the house. I then put it through some muslin and extracted just the liquid and thickened that up with some cornflour, what a mission but oh so very very very yummy and it seemed to do the trick making a beautifully smooth thick custard. Will have another go soon and try to not cook it for as long :) xx

  42. I will have to try some of these recipes...
    I just found your blog and became a follower (: Can't wait to come back for more posts! Hope you have a lovely week!!


  43. MrsW - if you come back to this post - here's my custard secrets with Bird's custard powder. I make it differently to all the instructions but it always comes out perfect.

    In a jug mix 2 tbsp custard powder with 1 tbsp sugar with about 1/4 cup milk _taken from_ 500ml. Stir until smooth with no lumps, mixture should be runny but not watery, may need to add a little more of the milk. Heat the rest of the milk in a pan until it boils and starts to rise up the pan. This is the important part - wait till the milk nearly overflows the pan. Immediately (I mean immediately, don't even stop to turn off the gas) pour into the jug with powder/sugar/milk mixture while stirring vigorously. Keep stirring vigorously about 30 seconds, any lumps will disappear. Serve. Don't bother putting back into pan and cooking further, it's fine as is.

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