Do you just focus on feeding little ones or are you a foodie?
I’ve always loved cooking and I hate being hungry; if I’m not eating, I’m looking forward to eating. I do all the cooking in my house – although my children do get involved these days – and I’m just a foodie in general. I’ve written a cookbook for families as well as children’s books.
Do you have a favourite place to eat in Dubai?
I have lots of favourite restaurants and a favourite dish at each one; in fact, I come to Dubai for the food! I particularly like La Petite Maison and Zuma.
Your recipes can be quite adult; do children like this?
It’s surprising how sophisticated children are. My daughter liked eating olives at the age of 18 months! We have this preconception that children only eat bland food; we’re programmed to think children’s food is chicken nuggets and beans, but actually they like tasty food just like us. Chicken satay and mild curries are good for children and they like them, especially if you’re eating together as a family and they’re eating the same as you.
The answer everyone needs to know; how can we get our children to eat more vegetables?
I find there are some vegetables that children tend to like more than others, such as broccoli – as you can call them trees – and you can make something like a teriyaki stir-fry as they tend to enjoy the sauce, then you can also give them chopsticks that are tied together at the top so they can have fun eating. Or sneak veggies in; if you’re making a fish or cottage pie, mash carrots in with the potatoes. If your children don’t like cooked vegetables, try giving them raw ones; carrot sticks or sugar snap peas, for example.
And can you suggest some good lunchbox ideas?
You don’t have to stick to sandwiches. You can make salads the night before with pasta, chicken, broccoli and honey soy dressing; Spanish omelette is really nice cold; or, for a sandwich option, wraps will make it interesting. Try shredded chicken with mayonnaise, plum sauce, cucumber and spring onion.
Annabel’s range of baby and toddler food and books is available at major supermarkets and bookstores in the UAE. www.annabelkarmel.com.