Food: Fast food for busy mums and fussy eaters

Annabel Karmel
Annabel Karmel

Cooking for the family can be a total bore. Claire Spreadbury tackles Annabel Karmel’s Busy Mum’s Cookbook, in between working and parenting, to see if you really can create kid-friendly meals in minutes

Guilt is something many mums suffer immensely from.

In today’s busy world, it’s so hard to find time to do everything you should for your kids - including cooking from scratch. And it’s so easy to reach for the fish fingers and waffles and give little ones a lunch you know they’ll love.

But with even a tiny bit of time, you’ll be amazed at what you can whip up in the kitchen.

To prove the point, Annabel Karmel has unveiled her latest batch of recipes, splashed deliciously across 220 pages in her new book.

There are quick recipes, ingredients-based ideas, dishes for entertaining - from pasta bakes, to cakes and steaks - there’s pretty much everything you could ever need to feed a family at any age.

But the difference with this latest release - The Busy Mum’s Cookbook - is that you really don’t need hours on end to cook up these delicious storms.

So there are the 20-minute recipes for people (like me) who don’t have the time (or inclination) to cook.

Just the other week, I was cursing for agreeing to ‘do’ dinner the evening before a 10k race (something else to try and squeeze in and feel guilty about), because I wanted a pasta dish that wasn’t too heavy.

By the time the kids had gone to bed, all I wanted to do was slump in front of the telly and watch The Voice. So what did I do? I turned to page 44 and whipped up Karmel’s Mushroom And Broccoli Pasta in about 20 minutes flat.

There are oodles of quick and easy dinner ideas to get kids excited - the Sweet Potato Curls (though, granted, mine looked NOTHING like the ones in the picture!) make a brilliant alternative to chips, the Frittata With Cherry Tomatoes is “the best frittata in the whole wide world”, according to my three and six-year-old, and the Apricot, Pecan, Raisin And Chocolate Cookies are easy for little hands to make - and taste so good, you’ll struggle to keep away from the biscuit tin.

Inspired? Try this easy Annabel Karmel recipe for size...

Chicken goujons wrapped in Parma ham

(Makes 14 goujons)

2 large skinless chicken breasts

7 slices Parma ham

2tsp runny honey

For the sauce:

200g creme fraiche

2tbsp fresh green pesto

Squeeze of lemon juice

Salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6 and grease a baking tin.

Place the chicken breasts on a board. Cover them with cling film, then bash them with a rolling pin until they are slightly thinner. Remove the cling film and slice each breast into seven goujon-shaped strips.

Cut each slice of Parma ham in half. Wrap each goujon in a piece of Parma ham, then place on the prepared baking tray. Drizzle over the honey, then roast for 10 minutes, until cooked through and crisp.

Mix together the creme fraiche, pesto and lemon juice and season. Serve hot (heated through in a small saucepan) or cold with the crisp goujons.

Tastes great served with baked potato or sweet potato wedges.