There has been one too many articles about how to cut corners with your Christmas dinner and take short cuts so you can spend more time watching your children play with their toys and I’ve had enough. There is one very simple solution here dear reader so that you can spend more time with your children on Christmas day. Are you ready?
COOK DINNER WITH YOUR CHILDREN
On the one day of the year when you don’t have to be anywhere, where nothing is open even if you did want to be somewhere why rush things? Why not on this one day take the time to involve your children in what you’re doing when you aren’t trying to fit it around your working day and other commitments?
Use it as an opportunity to teach your children some cooking skills, show them how food is prepared and what you do to get the meals on the table every day of the year. Get them peeling carrots or stirring the bread sauce, heck if they’re old enough they could carve the meat for you. Make it a family event and not only will you teach them something you’ll also get to spend time with them.
I love showing Matilda and Henry where food comes from, they help me dig potatoes from the garden and then take them into the house to cook and eat them. When we visit it the chickens down the road we talk about where their eggs come from and what a roast chicken is.
Get them excited and interested by food and I think you have a much better chance that they will develop a good diet. It gives you a very relaxed and easy way to get them to try new things, if they see you preparing food let them taste it as you go along so in small amounts they experience new flavours without it being on a plate in front of them.
I know not everyone finds cooking a big Christmas dinner easy, but the pressure is really in getting it on the table. Start your prep work in the morning hours before you start cooking even and then you have time to let them help you. It may also be the one day of the year you can offer them a mince pie or chocolate to eat in the morning as a treat while they help you.
So why not make this Christmas the one where you show your children how food travels from fork to fork?
I love food, that is clear, I also love cooking food and trying out recipes, that’s why I’m quite excited to be joining in with Reluctant House dads new weekly Recipe shed. The theme this week is chicken so I’m going to share with you one of my signature dishes; Chicken Biryani. I started cooking this while house sharing at uni as an easy and cheap way to have a big meal for everyone. The key challenge when eating it is to try and collect as many of the spices that are left whole in the rice. Don’t go crunching them though, really not nice. Also the child in me enjoys having yellow rice, it’s the simple things..
I’ll also add that this recipe doesn’t need to be precise in terms of quantities do adapt it to your tastes and preferences.
Serves 4-6 (depending on size of human)
4 chicken breasts cut into cubes
300g Basmati rice
4 or 5 tomatoes cut into halves or quarters depending on size
2 onions sliced
1 green chilli finely chopped
Thumb sized piece of fresh ginger finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
2 tablespoons of curry paste
2 teaspoons Garam Masala
- Cook the rice as you normally would but with a couple of teaspoons of turmeric in the water
- While that is cooking put some oil in a large pan (I often use a wok) and gently fry the onion, garlic, chilli and ginger.
- Once the onion has softened add the chicken, brown for a few minutes then add the curry paste and Garam Masala and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Finally add the tomatoes to the pan and take off the heat.
- When the rice is cooked strain and mix into the rice a few cloves and cardamom pods along with a bay leaf. These add flavour to the rice, but don’t add too many as they’re not nice to crunch down on! 5 or 6 of both is probably a good number.
- Grab a shallow casserole dish and put a layer of rice at the bottom, then put the chicken mixture on top followed by a layer with the rest of the rice.
- Put in the oven at 190 degree’s C for 15-20 mins until the chicken is cooked through and the rice a little crispy on top. You can add naan breads to the oven for the last couple of minutes to warm up.
Serve with some chutney and a cold beer!
Apologies for the quality of the photo, remembered at the last minute I needed one so had to use my phone.