Paul Flynn: Sure fire winners for family dinners

Pasta, sausage rolls and meatballs – three recipes that will result in a child relishing their dinner 

 Baked pasta cake with rocket and Parmesan cream. Photograph: Patrick Browne

Baked pasta cake with rocket and Parmesan cream. Photograph: Patrick Browne

 

All parents worry about their children; it’s part of our job. In the greater scheme of things, is fretting about what they eat really important as long as they are happy and healthy? That depends on how you look at the world I suppose. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing your child relishing their dinner.

I’ve written extensively about the food we eat at home. Indeed, some might say they know as much about what’s going on in our house as I do. I think a lot about what I’m going to feed our girls. It bothers me that one of them doesn’t eat vegetables. For 14 years I’ve tried to change this, with very little success. I’m hoping something will click eventually. It’s important for young adults to have enthusiasm and a worldliness with food.

These dishes, however, are sure fire winners with my family. You’d be entitled to question, as I did, whether a pasta cake is any better than a traditional bowl of pasta. I’m not sure that it is. What this does have is a sense of theatre, that and the fact that you can get it ready ahead of time. It’s abundant in “don’t scare the horses” flavours. I add a Parmesan cream for luxury and rocket leaves for freshness – and a bit of hope.

I’m a demon for sausage rolls. I make these with pork mince which is now readily available. It’s an easy recipe that could be handy as a dinner or to put in a lunchbox. I use the fabulous Irish-produced Roll It pastry. It’s head and shoulders above the rest, but a little more work, hence the name. You can use ready rolled puff but you’ll have to stretch it out just a little more to accommodate the meat.

The meatball dish is an amalgam. It’s also a big cheat made with ready-made meatballs and baked beans. If Nigella can chop up fish fingers and magic them up into her Fish Finger Bhorta, surely I can take a few shortcuts too.

Baked pasta cake with rocket and Parmesan cream. Photograph: Patrick Browne
Baked pasta cake with rocket and Parmesan cream. Photograph: Patrick Browne

Recipe: Baked pasta cake with rocket and Parmesan cream

Cheesy pork and apple rolls. Photograph: Patrick Browne
Cheesy pork and apple rolls. Photograph: Patrick Browne

Recipe: Cheesy pork and apple rolls

Baked meatball casserole with sweet paprika beans. Photograph: Patrick Browne
Baked meatball casserole with sweet paprika beans. Photograph: Patrick Browne

Recipe: Baked meatball casserole with sweet paprika beans

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