I don’t like using labels when it comes to describing the way we eat in our family.
In my experience, being dogmatic and rigid about diet only creates more challenges in an area of life that is already difficult enough to navigate. That’s not to say I don’t have certain ideas about what kinds of foods I want to use to nourish myself and my family, it just means I don’t let guilt in or beat myself up if we stray outside of those ideals.
But this wasn’t always how I approached things.
Do you want to know why I have relaxed my attitude towards food?
I’m going to share a little story with you that is very personal. I have asked my daughter if she minds because it is about her, but really it is about me.
We were on a family holiday and after arriving at our hotel, I had a little stash of commercial biscuits in wrappers we had been given on the plane but not allowed anyone to eat. I put this stash into a kitchen drawer and forgot all about it.
One morning I came out to the kitchen and found my daughter looking at me with guilt and fear, hands hidden behind her back. When I asked her what she was doing, she burst into tears. She had taken the biscuits with the intention of eating them secretly. She was so upset and ashamed of taking these biscuits thinking that I was going to be terribly angry and disappointed in her.
The only person I was terribly angry and disappointed with was myself.
In that moment, I realised, with absolute clarity, that I had created an image of some foods being bad and eating them made you bad too.
As you can imagine, I was horrified.
I was so lucky to be meeting a friend that morning who knows just how hard it is to feed your family well and talking about it helped me put things in perspective.
Since that moment, I have relaxed my attitude towards food and it has actually resulted in my family eating better than ever!
We now talk about using food to nourish our bodies and make us strong and healthy. We eat food that will feel good in our bodies and give us energy for the day. We have an abundance of good food around the house so there is always something good to eat. We talk about making good choices, about treats being just that…an occasional indulgence you should enjoy and feel good about eating.
We like to eat food that hasn’t been processed, but is fresh and in season. We try to prepare things simply and show gratitude for it.
If we find ourselves in a situation where the choices aren’t ideal, we don’t worry too much about it, we just get back on track as soon as we can.
We do our best and mostly, that’s pretty good.
Now, on weekends, I ask the kids what they would like to eat and we prepare a meal together. The request for sausage rolls has been coming up a lot. So…we made sausage rolls. And, they were delicious!
Pork, kale + garlic sausage rolls…
500g free range pork mince
1 cup good quality bread crumbs
A big handful of kale, chopped
1 onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 T Fennel Seeds
1 egg yolk (optional)
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to season
Puff pastry – home made if you are that way inclined – I’m not, I used the Careme All Butter Puff Pastry available from good delis or food stores.
Tomato relish to serve.
* Since we don’t eat a lot of bread in our house, if I do have leftovers from a sour dough loaf we might have had on a weekend, I collect all the end bits and pieces and store them in a bag in the freezer until I have enough to blitz into some bread crumbs.
What to do:
Pre-heat your oven to 190C (175C Fan Forced)
Melt a little butter in a pan and add the onions, garlic and fennel seeds. Cook, stirring often for about five minutes. Add the kale and cook until softened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.
Add the kale mixture to your pork mince and stir to combine well. You can add an egg yolk at this point if you like, to help it hold together and season well with sea salt and cracked pepper.
Roll out your pastry (I divided mine into four equal rectangles and made four larger sized sausage rolls but you can make little ones if you prefer) and wet the edges with a little water. Place the sausage mix along the long edge of the pastry, the roll the pastry up to enclose the sausage and make a sausage roll.
Brush the top with a little egg wash (an egg roughly beaten with a splash of milk) if you like and then score the top in diagonal lines with a sharp knife to make cutting later a little easier.
Place on a lined baking tray and bake for about 30 minutes.
Slice and serve with veggies or salad and a yummy relish or sauce if you have some handy.
*If you are on a gluten free eating plan, or would prefer to go without the pastry, leave out the bread crumbs or be sure to use a gluten free variety and use the pork mixture to make some tasty rissoles… grill until golden and serve with salad and red onion relish.
What’s your take on family food? Do you have any hard and fast rules about the way you eat? I’d love to know what works for you.
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