Monday, 23 January 2012

For the fussy eaters too


“Please mummy, can I have something different from soup today??? Can you make pasta, pleeease!” That was my daughter’s plea when she saw me thinking over a bowl of raw carrots. It was a clear message that I was getting a bit carried away with my liquid-to-semi-solid meals lately.

After a quick think, Macaroni cheese was the choice (but the carrots wouldn’t be left out). This dish is a winner. For the fussy eaters, you can “hide” the carrots amongst the rest of the ingredients and the children don’t even blink. I had one of Nina’s friends for a play-date once who “hated” vegetables, but she  loved this dish to the point of asking for a second helping! Her mum was over the moon. And so was I.

You can also try and add any other vegetable of your choice.

The ingredients
Sautee garlic, carrots and parsley together
In a bowl add Mascarpone cheese, milk, eggs, mustard, salt
and pepper
Whisk them together
In the pot where the pasta was cooked, add cheese,
butter and carrots. Mix well.
Finally, fold the creamy mixture into the pot
Transfer the pasta to a square baking dish and bake it
for approximately 30 min.
My "Macarrots" cheese! Serve it with a green salad.


Macarrots cheese
Serves 4

A very easy protein dense dish.

INGREDIENTS

500g macaroni (if you find wholemeal even better)   
4-5 medium sized grated carrots 
250g grated Cheddar cheese
45g unsalted butter
100g mascarpone cheese
60ml whole milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon sea-salt
3/4 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino cheese
a squeeze of lemon juice (optional)

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Butter a good size square baking dish. 
Cook the macaroni according to package instructions. Meanwhile sautée the chopped garlic, grated carrots and add the chopped parsley leaves.

When the pasta is done, drain and put it back into the pot where it has been cooked and stir in  the butter and the Cheddar (reserving a handful). In a separate bowl, whisk together the mascarpone, milk, eggs, salt, mustard powder, and pepper, and then fold this mixture into the pasta. If using lemon, squeeze in some of its juice now. Scrape the pasta into the buttered dish and sprinkle with the remaining Cheddar and Parmesan.

Bake the macaroni cheese with carrots for approximately 30 minutes. Let it cool for a few minutes. It is ready to eat! Serve it with salad.

Some of the ingredients and their healthy benefits

Carrot (Daucus carota): is high in carotenoid, an antioxidant compound associated with many healthy benefits. They contain lutein and zeaxanthin (carotenoids present in our retina), which is why carrots are famously known for being good for your eyes. The carotenoids and vitamin A contents found in carrots are fat-soluble vitamins - when eaten with a little fat (olive oil, coconut oil, ghee etc) they are better absorbed by your body. Carrots are great for juicing and often chosen as part of detoxification programs. They also provide good levels of vitamin K, fibre, vitamin C, biotin, vitamins B1 and B6.

Mascarpone cheese: Although Mascarpone cheese is normally used as an ingredient in many desserts, it is also very good in savoury ones, as it has a mild flavour and is very creamy. It is a good source of calcium and protein. It provides magnesium, potassium and vitamin A.

Pecorino Cheese: a hard cheese made from sheep’s milk. It is a very good source of protein, calcium, vitamins B2 and B12. Universities in Italy announced the result of a six year study confirming that Pecorino cheese contains anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties. It can protect against cardiovascular diseases due to high amounts of CLA (conjugated Linoleic Acid), which reduces fat, preserves muscle tissue and inhibits tumour growths on the skin, mammary glands and stomach.

Till next week!

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