Try to reduce or eliminate gluten and dairy products during your baby’s first year or two. Avoid sugar during your baby’s first years; it tastes good but has lots of downsides – it causes hyperactivity, lowers the immune system and can lead to tooth decay. Once you start offering sweets, it will be harder to get children to try things that are not sweet. During a child’s first two years, we adults choose what food our children eat and they learn from this – it’s our responsibility. If someone wants to give your baby an ice cream, its probably not because your baby asks for it, its because they want to give it to her. It’s worth thinking about. If you are vegetarian, we recommend that you raise your children to be the same until they are old enough to express their own opinion. They will get plenty of proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals from vegetables, eggs, cheese, oils, fruit, beans, lentils, seeds and nuts.
QUINOA, CAULIFLOWER & RAMSONS CAKES
Makes 12 cakes
We often take whatever leftovers we have, scrape them together with some goat’s or sheep’s cheese, and fry them into small cakes that we eat with a salad or a coleslaw. It’s often quinoa, but sometimes also millet, buckwheat or oats. If you cannot find ramsons, use fresh spinach and add 2 cloves of crushed garlic.
200 g (7 oz/1 cup) white quinoa; 200 g (7 oz/1 2/3 cups) cauliflower florets; 1 large handful ramsons (wild garlic or ramps), coarsely chopped; 4 eggs; 200 g (7 oz/1 1/3) feta cheese, crumbled; 80 g (3 oz/3/4 cup) rolled oats; sea salt and freshly ground black pepper; 2 tbsp ghee,coconut oil or olive oil, for frying
Cook the quinoa – place 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 1/4 cups) water, the quinoa and salt in a mediumsized saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and gently simmer for about 15 minutes, or until you see small tails on thequinoa seeds. Drain any excess water and set aside to cool. Place the cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until it is a ricelike texture. Tip into a bowl, together with the quinoa and the other ingredients. Stir with a spoon until well combined. Place in the fridge to set for 30 minutes. Take the mixture and form into 12 patties with your hands. Heat the ghee or oil in a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Add 4 patties at a time and fry for about 3–4 minutes, or until golden brown. Flip carefully and fry the other side for 2–3 minutes more. Continue until all the patties are fried. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm or cold; both are delicious. TIP: For a gluten-free alternative, use gluten-free rolled oats.
FROZEN STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE ON A SUNFLOWER CRUST
I don’t think we have ever served this cake to someone who hasn’t immediately loved it. Therefore it has become one of our go-to recipes for all kinds of occasions. We used to make it with nuts in the crust, but lately we have moved to this seed-based crust. It has the most wonderful flavour and texture, not to mention that it is allergy friendly and glutenfree. Since the crust is very sweet, the filling doesn’t have to be. If you are looking for new variations, you can play around with all kinds of yoghurts, soft cheeses or coconut creams. You can also vary the colour of the filling by adding different berries to it. If you are having a big party make a range: blueberry blue, kiwi green, mango yellow and so on …
Base: 300 g (10 ½ oz/2 ½ cups) sunflower seeds; 2 tbsp hemp seeds, optional; 12 fresh medjool dates, pitted; 2 tbsp coconut oil; 1/2 tsp sea salt Filling: 300 g (10 ½ oz/2 cups) fresh (or frozen) strawberries; juice of 1/2 a lemon; 120 ml (4 fl oz/ ½ cup) clear honey or agave syrup; 500 g (2 oz/2 cups) quark (or Greek yoghurt or mascarpone)
Topping: 250 g (9oz/1 cup) strawberries
Toast the sunflower seeds in a frying pan on low heat, or on a baking tray on 180ºC (350ºF/ Gas 4), for 6–8 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before putting them into a food processor or blender together with the hemp seeds. Pulse for about 20 seconds. The seeds should be chopped but not powdered. Add the dates, coconut oil and salt and process until the mixture comes together to a sticky crust. Alternatively, mash the dates until caramelsmooth and work in remaining ingredients. Put the mixture into a 20 cm (8 in) spring-form cake tin and flatten it out over the base. Chill in the fridge while you prepare the filling. Purée the strawberries, lemon juice and honey in a food processor or blender, pour into a large bowl and add the quark. Mix well. Pour the mixture on top of the crust in the cake tin and put it in the freezer for about one and a half hours. You can keep it in the freezer for a few days but you will need to let it thaw for about 20 minutes before serving. Top the cake with strawberries and flowers. Serve immediately.
Edible Flowers: violas, calendula, roses, rosehip, dandelions, carnations, lavender, cornflowers, peaflowers, day lilies and chamomile. TIP: For vegans use vegan cream cheese instead of quark.
Nutrition tips for parents
AGREE Talk everything through with your partner so that you both agree on why you are doing this. If you don’t agree, every dinner will be an issue. Also discuss with your family and close friends.
KEEP IT SIMPLE Don’t change your eating habits to the impossible. Find a level that you can live with. We decide that Elsa can eat fish when she’s out. It makes life easier plus she gets lots of good fats and proteins from it.
BE A GOOD ROLE MODEL The most important thing is not what food you put in front of your children, but what you eat yourself.
EXPERIMENT WITH SHAPE AND TEXTURE If a child does not like a certain food, try to cook it in different ways.
BOOST THEIR FAVOURITE FOOD Add superfood ingredients to their favourite foods. Add vegetable juice, for example when making bread or muffins. Blend spinach in pancake batter or add broccoli, nettles or linseeds to berry smoothies and porridge.
ALWAYS HAVE A SNACK TO HAND A difficulty with healthy eating habits is when your children see other children eating something and they want the same. We learned early on to always carry a snack or fruit with us so we can offer Elsa that instead. If you look in her backpack you’ll always find a hard boiled egg, a carrot, a piece of fruit or some quinoa and ramsons cakes!
KEEP CALM If you see your child with a cookie, don’t get hysterical and grab it from them, as it will have the opposite effect. Its only food and it’s important to develop a natural relationship with unhealthy food too.
ENCOURAGE EATING We have been very laidback about table manners. As long as Elsa eats, we don’t mind if it’s with a fork, spoon, chopstick or her hands (soup can get pretty messy!). Set up too many rules around eating and you might end up with a food strike.
More of David and Luise’s recipes can be found in The Green Kitchen (£25 Hardie Grant)
Also read Green Kitchen Smoothies.