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Moose isn’t keen on vegetables. My two eldest lulled me into a false sense of security by eating pretty much anything I put in front of them. I thought I had it all worked out as I watched my darling little ones gobble down salads or curries or the odd stir fry.
Then Moose came along to humble me.
He has shown me that just because you think you know what you are doing as a parent. Just because something worked for one child (or two) it definitely does not necessarily mean it will work for all.
So. With Moose I have had to be crafty with veg. I have had to plan out how to hide vegetables in meals. How to pack as many nutrients into a meal as is possible – and also how to just accept that he will eat vegetables when he is ready and in his own way.
When I was approached recently by Gautier Semences, the providers of piccolo tomato seeds to British nurseries and asked to write about Piccolo tomatoes I took it as a challenge.
How could I best use them in a way that Moose would eat them.
Piccolo tomatoes are a small vine tomato, they have a sweet taste which means that they appeal to younger palates – and older ones with a sweet tooth like I do! They are originally from Latin America and were introduced to Europe during the 16th century. The French called it the “apple of love”.
Piccolos are low in calories but high in nutrients such as vitamin C and Lycopene which is an antioxidant said to help prevent heart disease and certain cancers!
My delivery of Piccolo tomatoes was sent from Glinwell Nurseries which are not too far from us. Although I am far from green fingered I do still prefer to buy British fruit and veg where I can to keep my carbon footprint low and to be able to watch Panorama specials with a clear conscience because I know I am doing what I can.
Piccolo tomatoes are so versatile.
My delivery arrived while the children were at school. I couldn’t wait to get started though! The first meal I had with the tomatoes was a simple cheesy pasta dish which I added a few roasted piccolo tomatoes to. A really easy way to add nutrients to a lunch and what goes together better than cheese and tomato? In my opinion, pretty much all veg taste better when roasted.
After school I showed Moose the tomatoes. He wasn’t quite brave enough to try one raw but he was excited to help me make soup!
We had so much fun getting all of the ingredients together and making a lovely cream of tomato soup which was packed full of vitamins. Moose scoffed the lot! I can’t think of anything more enticing after a day back at school than to sit down to cream of tomato soup and fresh bread. Knowing that this was my own take on a classic and didn’t have any nasty additives in it was even better!
I prefer to remove the skins from tomatoes before making soups or sauces with them. There is a really easy trick to this (thanks Mum). You have to score an X into each tomato, pop them into a pan of boiling water for 1 minute and then transfer to an ice bath or very cold water. The skin comes away really easily.
Cream of tomato soup
- 800g Piccolo tomatoes
- tbsp butter or some spray oil
- 1 red onion (I used ready chopped frozen onion)
- Carrot (I used a tin of sliced carrots I found in the back of the cupboard. Drain them though)
- 1 clove of garlic
- Basil leaves to taste (I used 3)
- 400ml Chicken stock
You could also add roasted peppers but I didn’t this time.
- Fry off the chopped onion in the oil/butter for a few minutes until softened- add the carrot if not using the tinned variety.
- Add the squashed clove of garlic (don’t bother chopping it, it will be whizzed up later anyway)
- Add the tomatoes and basil leaves and simmer on a low heat. I left mine for around 20 minutes. You can cook down a bit more but I know that nutrients are lost with a longer cooking time.
- Pour in the chicken stock
- Simmer for a few more minutes
- Use a stick blender to get rid of all of the lumps (aka evidence)
- Season and add a dollop of cream or creme fraiche if you forgot the cream and your rubbish corner shop only stock creme fraiche <fume>
- Present your finished soup to your darling child and rub your hands with glee while they eat up all of their veg without complaint.
- Help yourself to some yourself because you made it with spray oil so it is very Slimming World friendly. Hurrah!