Monday, 20 June 2011

Independence & maturing palates

A couple of weeks ago I had a conversation with the lovely Karen Martini of Mr. Wolf .

She was following up on a conversation we had ages ago about my two eldest boys (aged 12 &10) & their love for the spicy relish known as Kasundi.  She wanted my boys to cook her recipe and to see how they liked it.  She also wanted me to share our experience with you.

These 2 of my 5 little boys are the most adventurous eaters.  They will now try everything that is placed in front of them and are VERY keen and VERY capable cooks in their own right.  They also have a pretty good chili tolerance as they now eat with Hubby & I and we eat alot of food with chili.

I have written before about how this wasn't always so......hang in there if you have fussy eaters.  Really in the scheme of things it doesn't really matter but I do have empathy as believe me I have them too!  And I know the feeling all too well of wanting so desperately that your children will just eat what you cook without all the the palaver.

The irony is that my 10yo was my worst eater by FAR!!!

He survived for years on pretty much green apples & peanut butter sandwiches! YIKES.

It wasn't easy for me to witness and I certainly didn't want it to be that way.  I would perservere with serving my delicious meals hoping that he would one day eat them. But every time.....every time- he would end up with a bowl of Weet-Bix!

I'm not really sure when it all changed.....but it has.  I think that allowing them some independence in the kitchen has given them confidence to try new things and taken some of the mystery out of food.  But really I am not sure.

My 12yo has heleped organise a party at school tomorrow to celebrate a class achievement and is planning on making a Roast Pumpkin quiche and a Morello Cherry Clafoutis when he gets home from school today to take in to you do!

One thing I do know is that letting your kids be independent in the kitchen cannot hurt....can it?

My 10yo is amazing now.  Much more adventurous than most adults actually.  His latest request is lambs brains.  Now I don't know too many adults that would be willing to give that a go- do you?

Anyway.....sometime into his new adventurous eating ways he discovered Kasundi and pretty much ate entire jars with a spoon.  He LOVED it!

Before we knew it the jar was empty!

He kept asking if we could buy more.  I told him it was easy to make and he was welcome to have a go.

Enthusiastically he found a recipe and got started.  It was delicious.  Spicy, tasty and rich.

Delicious on ham sandwiches, next to fish, alongside a curry- or just straight from the jar with a spoon!

They made Karen's recipe yesterday.

Here's some pics of them while they cooked.  They make a fab kitchen team.  Lots of fun, laughs & of course they choose great music.  

We can learn a lot from how much fun kids have when they cook.
10yo carefully measuring spices
Peeling the garlic

The final result is DELICIOUS!!!!!

And guess what's in their sandwiches at school today?

So here's the recipe.........and the boys are very excited about giving a jar to Karen for her to try.


Karen's recipe makes about 600g or 6 cups. My lads halved the recipe.

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons brown mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons Nigella seeds
  • 500mls apple cider vinegar
  • 250gms fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 20 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 x 810gm tinned crushed tomatoes
  • 40mls olive oil
  • 12 large red chillies, split, deseeded and chopped
  • 5 firm mangoes or 1kg frozen mango flesh, cut into large chunks
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 large brown onions, finely diced
  • 60gms flaked salt
  • 250g brown sugar
  • 2tbsp turmeric
  • 6 tbsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tblspoon of coriander seeds.

Soak Mustard seeds in hot vinegar and let sit for 30 minutes.
Place soaked mustard seeds in a blender, add the garlic & ginger and blend until smooth.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over high heat for 1 minute and then pull off the heat for a moment to add the cumin, turmeric, coriander seeds and nigella seeds.

Fry for 20 seconds, then add the mustard seed mix, chillies and onion and bring to simmer over a medium heat.
Add the tomato, mango, brown sugar and salt.

Reduce to low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally for 1 hour, then pour into clean jars.
Here's the music that was playing. One of the kids faves:


  1. That sounds delicious! How clever your little guys are. I'm a tad jealous of your thermomix, how lucky!


  2. Such a gorgeous post - I love the look of joy and concentration on your boys. I agree with you too, just keep exposing kids to foods and soon enough most will give it a shot.

  3. How wonderful!!! Thank you thank you thank you for giving me hope for my 6yo fussiest of fussy eaters. I hope he's just like your gorgeous boys one day. :)

  4. SO good to hear, and yes, I too am reassured!! My original fussy eater is now a starving 15yo so will eat anything, but it's amazing that I have forgotten just how fussy he used to be! With our youngest now trying that hat on this is just what I need to remind me, thank you!

    The recipe looks amazing, and I have some definite contenders for it here.
    C x

  5. How lovely to see kids in kitchen also doing their share of work...


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