This week I have a guest post for you about family eating from Jemma at Thimble and Twig. I hope you enjoy finding out how she feeds her four children. I particularly like the sound of her families trips to Borough market. Read on to find out all about it. If you’re wondering how this guest post series started, you can read all about how I feed my family here.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
Hello, I’m Jemma. I’m married with 4 children aged 9, 6, 4 and 1 and we live in London where we’ve been renovating our 1930s house. I’m a teacher and I blog at www.thimbleandtwig.com- we love outdoor adventures, crafting together and baking!
Who does most of the cooking in your house? Do you enjoy cooking?
I do the majority of the cooking in our house, although there are a few dishes that only my husband is good at making and I’m rubbish at, such as Omlettes and pancakes! We are very lucky in that two nights a week, dinner is made for us by my parents and in-laws who are looking after the children. In the week, we tend to have quick and easy meals and save anything that requires more preparation for the weekend. I really enjoy cooking but only when I’m getting stuck in and making something that requires different ingredients and different preparation.
Do you meal plan?
Sort of. We do write down a list of meals and buy the relevant ingredients but often life gets in the way and we don’t stick to the meals all the time!
What are mealtimes like in your house? Do you eat together as a family?
I’d say we eat together for about half the week and more if it’s a half term or holidays. There are a couple of nights a week where I’m late home from work and the kids eat together and my husband and I eat separately.
What are your favourite family meals to cook?
Our kid’s favourite meals are Tacos, Fajitas, Roast Dinner and Carbonara. Homemade pizza is also a regular treat. Another favourite of theirs is Syrian Lentil Soup which we usually have on a weekend with some slow cooked BBQ Pork and flatbreads – that’s definitely our family’s meal of choice! As you can see, our kids favour anything that they can serve themselves and pick up/ put together by themselves. They prefer social food which means they can get hands on!
Do you cook the same meals frequently or are you always trying new recipes?
This is something I’m trying to work on! We do get stuck in a rut and sometimes forget to cook anything different or new. I think sometimes it’s the stress of trying something new as the kids don’t always like it or turn their noses up at it – so it can take the fun out of cooking different meals. I’m trying to remember to shake meal times up a bit every now and then and ensuring that we do cook a variety to prevent them from becoming too fussy. At the moment I’m on the lookout for family friendly vegetarian meals as I’d like to cook more without meat.
Do you have any tips for dealing with fussy eaters?
I think making food fun is the key. One of our favourite things to do is to head to a food market (we particularly love Greenwich and Borough Markets in London) and try out all their food samples – it is totally amazing what our kids will eat when they’re being offered it as they walk around! They’ve tried all sorts from aubergine stew to sushi! Any food that they can serve and make themselves is also a hit in our household and I can often sneak a few new things that way and if that doesn’t work, the promise of pudding always gets them eating their veggies fast!
Do you have a favourite cookbook?
I completely love The 5’O’Clock Apron by Claire Thompson – my kids eat pretty much anything I cook from this book (this is where our Syrian lentil soup recipe is from) and I also love ‘My Paris Kitchen’ by Rachel Khoo. The main reason I love cookbooks is for the gorgeous photography – with both of these books you feel like you’re right there in the hubbub of the family kitchen!
Do you enjoy baking?
I do love baking as do my kids – it would be the number one thing they would ask to do every single day if they could! I’m not sure why but something always tends to go wrong when I’m baking! I’ve had sunken cakes, burnt cakes, soggy bottom cakes – you name it I’ve had it! Oh the stresses I have had in the kitchen over baking cakes for birthdays! However, baking cakes for my kid’s birthdays is one my favourite things to do – I love creating theme parties for them and matching the cake is always really fun! Here’s my favourite Digger Cake and Pizza Cake designs!
Do you have any tips for making feeding the family easier?
We always shop online – I find shopping with 4 kids too stressful! I love my slow cooker as well and use it at least twice a week. It’s an absolute godsend – I love that you can chuck a load of ingredients in with no prep – pop out and have dinner ready when you come back! I’m on the lookout for more slow cooker recipes though as we tend to just cook casseroles or curries in there!
Do you get your kids involved in the kitchen?
They totally love cooking and most of the time I like to encourage them but sometimes I just want to get dinner done and out the way and so I must admit – I am thankful if they don’t always ask to help! Their help can make dinner take twice as long and with double the mess! But when weekends roll around – I love to let them help in the kitchen. My eldest daughter (Elodie) is desperate to make us dinner all by herself but I haven’t quite braved this yet although she is an avid watcher of ‘Bake Off’!
Where can we find you?
I blog at www.thimbleandtwig.com where I share our outdoor adventures and our makes and bakes.