What are your go-to weekday family meals?
During the week I make a lot of curries, whether that is Thai or Indian. They are super easy and packed with lots of colour and vegetables. I absolutely love the Tender Chickenless Pieces from The Unbelievable ALT. to add into a yellow coconut curry.
If you had just 20 minutes to rustle up dinner, what would it be?
Probably a traybake recipe, I love how quick and easy they are and yet you can coat them with so much flavour. In particular, I love cooking up a teriyaki salmon with noodles and greens.
How did you find the weaning process and what are your top tips?
I found it quite intense at first as it was a lot to do all at once, which can be overwhelming.
I found it helpful to do a lot of batch cooking – making purees and then freezing them. I tended to give Siamus the same as what we were eating just without the salt and chilli.
I loved the baby pouches you can buy as they were really good when you didn’t want to cook.
During weekday meals do you eat together or separately?
During the week we tend to take the time to eat together, I like an early dinner. I prefer to eat before Siamus goes to bed as this helps me sleep better as my food is digested.
What are your favourite recipes to make with your son?
We love to bake together, anything with strawberries in he adores, especially strawberry cake. I try to get him involved and he loves to peel the carrots when we are cooking.
There’s no doubt kids can be fussy at times… how have you/do you approach this with your son when he pushes away a lovely meal you’ve spent time making?
It can be disheartening but as time goes on you don’t take it personally. I try not to make anything too specific for him as if he doesn’t like it, it will go to waste so usually, he will have very similar meals to us.
If your little one is craving sweet treats what is your go-to?
Lots of fruit and dried fruit snacks are great alternatives to sweets as they have that same sweet flavour. I am not against Siamus having sweets, but we try to limit it to once a week, making it more exciting for him to have something to look forward to.
We know that veggie-based meals are a regular choice in your household, was cutting down on your family’s meat intake a conscious decision?
Yes, very much so, when you have a young child, you start to really become aware of the world and the future and the planet you are leaving for them. I am much more conscious of my meat intake, plastic pollution and just living more consciously in every area of life.
Speaking of veggies! What’s your experience cooking with meat alternatives and how do you incorporate it into family-friendly meals?
It’s important to choose a nutritious alternative when making a switch over from meat. I’ve recently partnered with The Unbelievable ALT., a meat-free alternative for meat lovers that has 50-80% fewer carbon emissions than real meat. It’s great because The Unbelievable ALT. are all about making flexitarian diets more accessible for everyone, which is important for those wanting to decrease their own and their family’s meat intake, with no compromise on taste or texture. The Unbelievable ALT. Tender Beefless and Tender Chickenless Pieces are super versatile, so it’s easy to incorporate them into family favourites. If you head over to my Instagram, you can see me cooking up a Korean Beefless BBQ dish for the Meat Free Meet Ups series which was so delicious and packed full of important nutrients like protein and fibre.
What is the one thing you would love your son to learn from your cooking?
I would love for him to see how easy and delicious it is to cook healthily.
Madeleine Shaw is working with The Unbelievable ALT., the no-compromise meat-free alternative for meat lovers that tastes and bites just like real meat. With its versatility and reduced impact on the environment, it is the perfect solution for those wanting to cut down on their meat intake. For more information on The Unbelievable ALT. visit www.theunbelievablealt.comor @unbelievablealt on Instagram