One of my "guilty pleasures" when I get home from work and grab half an hour before tackling dinner and the kids' homework is sitting down and reading through the daily digest of the AIBU? (Am I Being Unreasonable?) threads on Mumsnet. They are often bewilderingly and head-shakingly bizarre but sometimes they are things that make me cringe because I do them too - either way, the responses are invariably hilarious. One thread that left me scratching my head a while back was "I'm inviting the family over for Christmas dinner but I hate all the faff. AIBU if I serve them a takeaway curry?" In my humble opinion, you can't have a Sunday roast, let alone a proper Christmas dinner, without at least a few veggie accompaniments. I do agree that it is a lot of hard work getting them prepared though and finding enough space to fit everything on the hob or in the oven at the same time can be a logistical nightmare, and that is where Mash Direct can come to the rescue.
They recently sent us through a lovely selection of their vegetable accompaniments to try out and we were highly impressed with the taste, the convenience and the wide range of products on offer. They come in plastic dishes that can go in the microwave or aluminium trays that go in the oven - all can be cooked straight from frozen for maximum convenience. We got to sample Sweet Potato Croquettes, Broccoli with a Cheese Sauce, Carrot & Parsnip Fries, Sweet Potato Fries and Ready To Roast Root Vegetables (Parsnips, Carrots and Beetroot marinaded in herbs). I bet I know what you're thinking - beetroot ? Well, yes, I'll be honest, I was a bit dubious the first time I tried roasted beetroot too. I love the pickled stuff in my ham sandwiches but I wasn't sure about the fresh variety. Well, I can assure you, it is lovely, with a beautiful vibrant colour and rich earthy flavour.
I highly suggest trying it in Winter Vegetable Lasagne, which tastes so much better than it looks.
Or you might like to give Roasted Root Veg Curry a whirl, as a satisfying vegetarian winter warmer, with sweet potato, parsnips, carrots, potatoes, beetroot, and whatever else you fancy.
Mash Direct have a huge selection of veggie dishes and accompaniments for you to experiment with. As well as the products that we received, they have Mashed Swede, Mashed Turnip, Bubble & Squeak, Colcannon, Champ, Southern Fried Potatoes, Sweet Potato Croquettes, Cauliflower Cheese Gratin, Red Cabbage & Beetroot, Curly Kale, ... If you fancy giving a new (to you) dish like kale or red cabbage a try, or maybe introducing something new and different to the kids' plates, without worrying about how to prepare and cook it, they're absolutely perfect.
Mash Direct recently carried out some interesting research that revealed that, despite a constant focus on ‘superfood’ vegetables, trends haven't changed much since the 1950s. While avocado was the most pinned ingredient on Pinterest in 2015 and kale is constantly flooding our Instagram feeds, traditional vegetables like potatoes, broccoli and peas are still being chosen over trendy counterparts, with 24% of parents saying they have never eaten kale and one in five (20%) having never tried avocado.
The vegetables ostensibly popularised by social media, including beetroot, kale, avocado and celeriac, are in fact the least liked by British families, with favourite vegetable lists topped by potatoes, carrots and peas by both parents and children alike. Regardless of the wide variety of vegetables available now, compared to even 20 years ago, a third of parents (31%) say they cook about as many varieties of vegetables now as their parents did when they were a child. Nevertheless just under half of parents (40%) feel that their families do not eat as many vegetables as they would like, with reasons being that vegetables are too expensive and that children don’t like enough of them. Celery (25%) tops the list of the most disliked vegetables for parents, with celeriac (24%), avocados (24%) and Brussels sprouts (23%) in close contention. However, parents also admitted that they had never actually tried these vegetables before dismissing them – a trait more commonly displayed by their children ! Children’s list of most disliked vegetables is almost a mirror image of their parents with Brussels sprouts (35%), celery (29%), celeriac (28%) and avocado (28%) topping the list.
Jack Hamilton, Director of Marketing and Food Trends from Mash Direct, comments: “It’s really interesting to see how parents’ likes and dislikes affect their children’s choices. Just over half of parents (53%) admitted they would never buy a particular vegetable without knowing how to cook it beforehand and this is where Mash Direct comes in. Our vegetable products are bursting with flavour and the use of gentle steam cooking and mashing processes retain the taste, texture and nutritional benefits of every vegetable we use.”
Convinced you want to give kale a try now? How about sampling one of my family-friendly recipes, such as Hoppin' John & Collards, Zingy Mango Salmon with Garlic Kaleslaw or Kielbasa, Potato & Kale Fry Up ?
for more information on Mash Direct's products and recipe inspiration : www.mashdirect.com/
Disclosure : I received the products in order to write an honest review.