Children can be picky at any age. But Montrose businesswoman and mum-of-three Danielle Ormond says cooking together can help.
Danielle, 39, who lives in Montrose with her three daughters Elsie, 3, Lola, 9, and Yvie, 11, knows all about juggling motherhood with work.
She is the director of Unicorn Cleaning Services, which she founded five years ago on Montrose’s New Wynd.
Danielle is passionate about cooking and so even on the busiest of days she likes to prepare meals from scratch for herself and her daughters. And the girls get involved too.
For the past two Christmases the family have even cooked and delivered Christmas dinner for the elderly and lonely in their community.
Danielle says: “The main thing about cooking with the girls for me is teaching them the basics – which I think a lot of people have lost.
“I think it’s a myth that cooking takes ages – it doesn’t have to. You can buy bags of pre-chopped veg for the freezer. I do that a lot. I also buy pureed garlic. It’s great for soup.
“I keep thinking of putting together a ‘working mum’s cook book’ packed full of quick, easy and healthy dinners!”
Can cooking help with pickiness?
Because her girls are involved with the food preparation, Danielle thinks it helps when they go through picky stages.
“I think it does pay off as they get older,” she explains. “They all go through stages where they say they don’t want to eat something.
“Since they were little they have always cooked all their own food. My eldest daughter is now coming up for 12 and there is nothing that she won’t eat.”
Danielle also says that even if her girls don’t like something, they will always be willing to try it again.
“My middle child is quite picky just now but if I suggest trying it in a different way then she’s up for doing that.”
When it comes to their likes and dislikes, Danielle is surprised to say none of her children will eat chips.
“I can remember being so excited about getting a poke of chips from the chippy when I was younger.
“Only one of them will it jacket potatoes but all of them will eat mash. Lola won’t eat fish (I’ve tried every type of fish every way) but the rest of us love it.”
Never separate dishes
Danielle is happy to make small changes to the girls’ plates, but encourages them all to eat the same basic meals.
She explains: “Sometimes things are done slightly differently – for example I did chicken last week and Lola likes cream cheese in hers whereas Evie likes butter with a bit of garlic and I had pesto on top of mine.
“I also might serve pasta instead of rice. But that’s as far as it goes – I would never be making separate dishes.”
Danielle was taught the basics of cooking by her grandmother. She says: “It’s just a case of a bit of this, a bit of that and taste it while you go.”
She gets her ideas from lots of places including eating out. If there’s a dish the girls like then she will ask about how it’s prepared.
Chief Pancake maker on the case this morning pic.twitter.com/oLWUC9ogCT
— Danielle Ormond (@bumbleysmum) March 12, 2022
Walking tacos and carbonara
Some of her girls’ favourites include a quick carbonara (recipe below) and for a weekend treat, there’s ‘walking tacos’.
Danielle says: “You just get a bag of tortilla chips, cut down the side of the bag rather than the top then cook some taco beef (e.g. lean mince, onion, pepper, paprika, chilli, ground coriander)
“You can put the beef into the bag and top it with salsa, guacamole, cheese, shake the bag and eat it.
“My girls will sit and watch a movie and eat it out of the bag. They think it’s a treat.”
“They also love tortilla pizza which is when you get a flat tortilla cover it in passata and they can put whatever they want on it and you pop it in the oven for a few minutes.”
Danielle’s quick carbonara
Makes 3 children’s portions
- 200g spaghetti
- 2 tsps garlic paste
- 2 dstspns full fat cream cheese
- 1 dstspn whole milk
- A few slices of wafer thin ham
- Parmesan for sprinkling
- Boil up some spaghetti as per the packet instructions. Meanwhile, tear or cut the ham into squares.
- Once ready, drain the pasta and place back into the pot then add in the garlic paste, cream cheese and milk and stir till blended.
- Next, add the ham and stir once more.
- Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan.
Tip: Throw in some cooked peas or sweetcorn if you want to add in vegetables.
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