Do not fear 7 a day!

Kathie Auton: Apparently 5 a day is not enough. That’s what I heard on the news yesterday morning. It was April Fool’s Day, but still, I’m pretty sure this isn’t a joke. I know many people, maybe parents in particular, might be letting out a groan as the advice suddenly jumps from 5 a day to 7 a day. But do not fear. For one thing, the government is apparently sticking to its ‘5 a day’ advice, maybe they’ve just had loads of posters printed or something. They say it is ‘sufficient’. However, if you fancy doing more than just being ‘sufficient’ in your diet, then go for the 7. It’s okay, it’s not going to be that hard.

02 April 2014 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 0

Love nature this Valentine's Day

Kathie Auton: ‘I love birds’, says Alex, looking out at the two fat pigeons eating crusts off our lawn. He’s six and has been ‘doing’ birds at school. ‘Aren’t they LOVELY’, he says about the Blue Tits that are showing signs of moving into our nesting box. I think it’s safe to say that kids love nature. They are fascinated by bugs and birds, enchanted by squirrels and I think if we ever saw a hedgehog there would probably be tears of joy. The sad thing is, we haven’t got that much chance of seeing a hedgehog. In part because we live in a city, but also because the hedgehog population is in decline.

11 February 2014 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 0

Use up your pumpkin!

Kathie Auton: We grow amazing pumpkins and squash in this country. Anyone getting an organic veg box will probably be being treated to many glorious examples of this type of thing. And to really celebrate properly, you should be getting your hands on one of the smaller pumpkins out there. The huge supermarket ones may be good for carving a spooky face on, but they aren’t as tasty. If you’re at all stuck for something to do with your pumpkin flesh, then here are a few ideas.

30 October 2013 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 2

Food waste... again

Kathie Auton: In January of this year I wrote this blog post about food waste - Get cooking and stop chucking. And here we are 9 months on and it's in the headlines again. Food waste déjà vu. Now, I could make some facetious comment about the fact that this - not being a new thing - is not news, but what's different this time is that Tesco has something to say about it.

23 October 2013 | 2 Comments | Recommended by 1

Our favourite restaurant...

Kathie Auton: You know that moment when you, as a kiddie food blogger and passionate supporter of good food for children, hear your 5 year old tell the nation that their favourite restaurant in Burger King*... No? Well I do... Today saw the launch of the results of the Soil Association and Organix's survey into how the nation's chain restaurants are treating our kids and Alex got the opportunity to express his views on BBC Radio 4’s You & Yours.

18 July 2013 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 0

The results are in...

Kathie Auton: There's going to be some back patting and some head hanging this week. The Soil Association and Organix are revealing the results of detailed, undercover research into how the nation's chain restaurants are serving our children. For Out to Lunch, parents have been out there eating, asking questions, spotting highs and lows and jotting it all down. And now we have a league table. The top picks will be proud, but what about the bottom, will they take it on the chin and rethink their policies or will they have the excuses ready?

17 July 2013 | 3 Comments | Recommended by 4

It’s all a matter of context…

Kathie Auton: So, I’ve been out for my two research meals as an undercover eater (or something), one of around 50 parents doing this for the Soil Association’s Out to Lunch campaign. Two very different meals, I should say. Some highs, some lows and a whole lot of food... for thought. A few weeks ago I wrote about the whole eating-out-with-kids game. The Soil Association were recruiting volunteers for their research into what’s on offer in restaurants for our kids. The team of volunteers are now duly recruited and are out there in restaurants with their kids, answering the 13 salient questions and trying to subtlety write things down with coming across all Jay Rayner about it.

14 May 2013 | 2 Comments | Recommended by 3

Organic sausage rolls

Kathie Auton: It’s time for a picnic. Now, I don’t want any arguments here. It IS time for a picnic. No muttering about chilly weather and still needing a woolly hat, Easter is gone and it’s not far off May. We need to toughen up and get picnicking. You might want to take a blanket and you’ll definitely need a flask of tea, but don’t let the reluctant weather make you a reluctant picnicker. It’s all about what you take to eat. Okay, a limp sandwich might not make you feel the pull of the great outdoors. But how about a sausage roll? A really good, satisfying, delicious sausage roll.

24 April 2013 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 6

Eating out with kids

Kathie Auton: I like eating out with my kids. Well, mostly I do. The time when Alex surreptitiously puked on the table at Yo Sushi wasn’t a highlight. Nothing to do with their food I hasten to add, both my kids adore ‘The Moving Food Place’, it’s just that sushi doesn’t sit well on top of a stomach bug... We don’t eat out all the time, because even cheap eating out is expensive, but we have classed it as something ‘important’ and something we are going to spend money on sometimes. There are several justifications, sorry – reasons for this, which leads me on to the question: Why do we eat out with the kids?

14 March 2013 | 2 Comments | Recommended by 8

The magic number

Kathie Auton: There are very few things as magically alchemical as the creation of pancakes. The extraordinary metamorphosis of flour, eggs and milk into something so delicious. The truest and simplest example of the amazing transformative power of cooking. Pancakes are so good. So good, in fact, that I fully understand the religious link. For many people, Shrove Tuesday is a religious day that marks the beginning of lent, but in my household it’s just Pancake Day and is a celebration of the sheer cunningness of cooking.

12 February 2013 | 1 Comments | Recommended by 1

In the can

Kathie Auton: I was already getting these recipes down on paper when the mackerel news hit the headlines last week. In case you missed it, the gist is that mackerel, even dear old reliable mackerel, are no longer sustainable. But fear not. Sardines still are. Phew. A recent post of mine for was all about how frozen sustainable fish is the friend of the family cook. But if even a spot of digging around in the freezer is feeling taxing after all the busyness of the festive period and you don’t want to get your hands cold, perhaps I could suggest a ferret around in the tin cupboard instead? Yes, it’s 2013 and tinned fish is the new frozen fish.

29 January 2013 | 1 Comments | Recommended by 1

Get cooking and stop chucking

Kathie Auton: Half of all food thrown away - that's the news story I woke up to this morning. And yesterday I was reading about children no longer being taught to cook. Children cooking and using up food: two things that obsess my thoughts daily. I want to get on my soapbox today. I want to say 'get cooking and stop chucking', but these are hardly problems that will be solved by foot stamping and opining.

10 January 2013 | 15 Comments | Recommended by 15

Something fishy

Kathie Auton: I was already toying with writing a few simple fish recipes when I read a piece in The Guardian by George Monbiot – it’s a very interesting read and raises several important issues about buying fish. From my perspective, as someone who wants to feed my family well, fish can be a scaly issue. Mr Monbiot is right, a lot of fish recipes you see in newspapers and magazines use ingredients that I either don’t have hanging around or can’t really afford, and that’s before I’ve even considered the sustainability question.

16 November 2012 | 4 Comments | Recommended by 10

Organic mince

Kathie Auton: Oh how I love mince! Fine, it might not be the sexiest way to eat meat. It may not have the finesse of a nice piece of Dexter fillet or the chunky gravitas of a lamb shank, but it is homely, comforting, reliably tasty and cheap. And its cheapness is a good reason to strongly consider buying organic. There are many grades of mince you can buy (and I’m not talking about fat content here, I’ll get on to that), from good quality organic to economy mince.

11 October 2012 | 3 Comments | Recommended by 10

Spreading the love in the new (school) year

Kathie Auton: September is here and we might feel justified this year in finally giving up on the summer and embracing the new (school) year. Unlike the chilly, dark and bleak new year in January, the September new year is a more fruitful affair. Both in the sense of a new beginning for children starting school or moving up a year and in the sense that the new season's Bramleys are here, Victoria plums are putting in an appearance and, whilst the Discoveries may be all but over, we have months of apply joy to look forward to. So for me, we should light the fireworks and make the resolutions in September not January, but perhaps that’s just the teacher in me.

07 September 2012 | 1 Comments | Recommended by 3

What rhymes with chicken?

Kathie Auton: My last post was about talking to children about where their veg comes from. About trying to persuade them that eating the greenstuff is a joy, not something to be endured, and about allowing kids to learn about food from a very early age. My city kids, never more than ½ mile from the nearest coffee shop, have a very different life to my own, slightly muddy upbringing in the Staffordshire Moorlands.

15 June 2012 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 14

Vegucation

Kathie Auton: I’m raising city kids. It cannot be denied. They do not have cows and horses popping their heads over the back fence like I did. And this does mean I have less ready opportunities for food education moments. For me these were things like: my dad ALWAYS saying ‘mint sauce’ at fields of lambs, my parents visiting, and naming, our Christmas Turkey and having a chest freezer in the garage so we could fit half a sheep in it. Okay, these were not subtle nuggets of education, but they did mean I grew up knowing where my food came from (usually a few miles up the road). I need to create my own opportunities with my city kids.

01 June 2012 | 123 Comments | Recommended by 15

Organic baby food

Kathie Auton: Whilst I probably can’t tell you in scientific detail what makes an organic carrot better than a non-organic one, I can tell you that it seems super-obvious which one you’d rather feed to a baby. I would think most parents would feel a strong instinct to introduce the very best and purest food to these teeny little digestive systems. And organic does feel like the best, even if I can’t tell you all the detailed reasons why and can only make vague noises about pesticides, chemicals and higher nutritional levels. The Soil Association can explain it better here, although I think their headline ‘no nasties’ pretty much sums it up.

20 April 2012 | 70 Comments | Recommended by 6

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