If it is just you and your four year old eating dinner would you ask them what they would like? I did and with no surprise he simply answered 'pasta'.
Alex's answer for every meal is pasta, whether he really wants it or not he will insist pasta with beans, parmesan and peas is all he ever wants in the world and he will not be happy with anything else.
I took this into consideration but really was looking for something with a little more flavour myself. Max was out of the picture as he wasn't feeling very well- a sore throat. I had no choice but to drag them off to the supermarket to pick something up due to the lack of food in the fridge. If any of you have shopped with kids you'll know my pain and if any of you have shopped with a sick 7 year old in tow you will also no it is impossible to 'quickly' zip up and down the aisles. The moment we walked into Woolies the tears started, Max's temperature soared and Alex pulls away to start munching on the pile of grapes he spotted.
To say it was a disaster would be an understatement. In the end all I managed to grab was a packet of pork and veal mince while dealing with Max's limp body and Alex's wondering mouth!
Back in the car 5 minutes later I was stumped as to what I'd create but one thing was for sure it was not going to be pasta. Back home with Max tucked up in bed, Alex and I headed into the kitchen to make dinner. I poured myself a long awaited glass of wine then laid out my choice of ingredients.
As you can see not a hell of a lot to work with but just enough. I popped some rice on to cook while Alex decides to pull his toy collection out of his room and into the dining room. I was thinking along the lines of a Thai salad, you know wrapped in lettuce leaves then dipped into a spicy dipping sauce. My version was minus lettuce leaves and dipping sauce due to lack of ingredients and present company!
Once I'd chopped the veggies and heated the wok (again I must state cooking on electric with a wok isn't the greatest for browning the meat but you do end up with a wee bit of colour if you leave it on the stove long enough to evaporate all liquid which usually takes about 5-7 minutes) it was only a matter of ten minutes before dinner was on the table. For best results I find if I add fish sauce to my simmering mince I get a deeper flavour with the meat.
Onion, garlic, ginger, frozen peas and capsicum (peppers) then go in and saute until the onion has softened. Just before pulling the meat off the heat I throw in some Chinese black vinegar along with grated carrot (I like it being a bit crunchy and my kids don't like cooked carrot) and chopped coriander (cilantro). Tossing it all through I then add some Kecap Manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce) and rest it while I get the rice. I serve up Alex's then pop a little chilli in mine.
By this stage Alex is gaging at the bit for food, he comes in to investigate and mentions it is not pasta so he will just have plain rice- I then advise him if he wants any chance of getting ice cream (he missed out the night before because he didn't finish his dinner) he would have to eat the works.
Half way into the meal Alex is enjoying the meal and tells me he will finish it all as it isn't that bad- nice! I was thinking I'd save the rest for lunch tomorrow and then I could wrap it in lettuce leaves but Max reappeared and decided it smelt good enough to eat so devoured the lot. In the end dinner with my four year old wasn't half bad, just as long as I don't ask him what's for dinner!
I was however a little concerned about the guy floating in his green cup and what he did to deserve that?