Mealtimes matter at Casa Eats World. In fact, if you hadn’t already noticed, we’re kind of obsessed with them. But it’s not only because we’re gluttonous. Although there’s no denying that’s a fairly major factor…
You see that wasn’t always the case for me. When I was growing up my family never ate at a table. We barely ever ate together. At dinnertime, Mum was always in the kitchen, Dad usually ate on the couch watching M.A.S.H in his undies, while my brother and I absconded to our respective rooms to shove anything vaguely resembling a vegetable out the window for the dog to eat. Needless to say it wasn’t exactly the stuff of familial fantasy.
It’s a different story now I’m a parent. Our family dinnertime is a ritual that provides routine, consistency and connection. It is always a sit-down occasion and we eat together. There are rarely underpants involved and the only mash the kids see is the stuff on their plates as the TV remains resolutely off. Oh, and because it’s 2016.
Most importantly, Raffles and Sugarpuff get involved in every aspect of a meal, from selecting menus, food preparation and cooking, to setting the table and eating.
And our stance is not just about the positive nutritional impact of a good meal. As much as we love our food, what goes on over the plate is as important to us as what goes on it. Dinnertime is about coming together to pause a while, catch up on each other’s day and nourish our kids’ growing brains through demonstrating (mostly) socially correct behaviours and discussion.
When Masterfoods recently sent me a basket of goodies along with a copy of their recent Lifting the Lid on Dinnertime report about the social role of food in Australia I was startled by some of the results, which seemed to hark back to my own childhood experiences.
It seems that only 35% of respondents ate with family regularly and just 20% of respondents ate a meal cooked from scratch five times a week or more. As for the current status on dads dining in underpants… there was no percentage given.
MasterFoods also asked Aussie families who their ideal dinner guest would be in this super cute video and their answers may surprise you.
It inspired me to ask my kids who their ultimate dinner guests would be. Both of them also said it would be their dad and I, followed by their extended family. And we didn’t even have to pay them. Mind you Sugarpuff also requested the presence of Queen Elsa, Katy Perry, Daffy Duck and her old pre-school teacher, Nathan. While Rafferty wanted J.K. Rowling, Dave Grohl, Billy-Joe from Greenday, Richard Branson, Thor and Lara Croft (conveniently providing a little eye candy for both parents). He’s also saved a seat for Adam Liaw… provided he cooks. But I digress.
Even without a slew of real and fictional celebrity guests, it’s easy to make #makemealtimesmatter simply by being present and getting everyone involved.
Indeed Raffles and Sugarpuff helped me with the gathering, peeling, cutting and skewering of this these quick and easy hot and sweet chilli pork skewers, which we whipped up using a piece of pork belly and some of the spices and flavours Masterfoods sent us. Raffles even plated it up using an image on the cover of a recent Donna Hay magazine for inspiration.
And it was good.
- 750g pork belly, rind removed and cut in to large cubes.
- 12 bamboo skewers
- 1 tsp. Masterfoods minced garlic
- 200 ml peanut oil
- 1 tbs. rice vinegar
- 1 tbs. lime juice
- 125 ml Masterfoods Sweet Chilli Sauce
- 1 tbs Siraccha chilli sauce (for heat, optional)
- 2 tsp. grated palm sugar
- 1 tsp. Masterfoods Thai Seasoning
- Cucumber Salad;
- 2 baby cucumbers cut into thin strips
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 small red chilli, seeded and finely diced
- 2 tsp. grated palm sugar
- 1 tsp. rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp. peanut oil
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 1 tsp. fish sauce
- 1tsp. lime juice
- ½ cup baby mint leaves
- Soak skewers in water then thread with cubes of pork.Slice cucumber in thin strips with a potato peeler and place in bowl.
- Add shallots and red chilli
- Mix rice vinegar, peanut oil, sesame oil, fish sauce and lime juice with palm sugar to dress the salad and set aside.
- Mix ¼ cup peanut oil, rice vinegar, lime juice, palm sugar and minced garlic and marinate skewers for 30 minutes.
- Place skewers on a hot grill or frypan to sear, then lower heat and turn regularly for about five minutes.
- Mix Sweet Chilli Sauce and Siraccha chilli sauce with two tablespoons oil.
- Brush chilli mixture over skewers turning for another three minutes until sticky and cooked through.
- Sprinkle with Thai seasoning.
- Serve atop cucumber salad with fresh lime quarters and mint leaves.
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. Masterfoods sent us a lovely hamper of herbs and spices with a copy of their fascinating study into Aussie eating habits. We chose to use the ingredients in this recipe. You can find out more about the survey results here #makemealtimesmatter
Making mealtimes matter with Essentially Jess for #IBOT