Beautiful New Zealand, Vegetarian Kids and a Chickpea Salad

Happy 2013! How was your Christmas? Mine was great. After the mucho stress of moving the family from outer Melbourne (where the kangaroos play) back to inner Melbourne (where I can play), we had 3 weeks’ holiday in New Zealand – blissity, bliss, bliss….

We travelled, caught up with friends and family, drank loads of beautiful New Zealand wine and ate A LOT of food. It was during one of our eating fests that my daughters decided to end their love affair with beef, lamb, chicken, turkey and pork. Yep that’s right, whilst not vegetarian because they’ve kept fish and seafood in their diet, there is now a distinct lack of animal protein on their plates. WOW! “How did that happen” you ask?

It was after a large pig out on pork belly in Rotorua that did it. Elly announced that she didn’t want to eat meat anymore and Mia followed suit (bless her as she’s a big meat lover). OMG, you should have seen John’s face – priceless. Being the carnivorous carnivore from the land Meat, you can imagine his disbelief.

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My darlings loving their veges

I get it though. It’s something they have to do right now and it may not last. And then again, it just might. But either way, I’ll support them and do my best to make sure they’re getting everything they need both nutritionally and tastebud-wise – it’s gotta taste good, right? So I’ve been up late at nights revisiting my old nutrition study notes, refreshing myself on protein, iron, iron absorption enhancers and vitamin and mineral intake to get my head around what’s involved.

And actually, it’s all pretty straight forward. They are fantastic fruit and veg eaters anyway, so I just needed to make some adjustments for iron, vitamin B and protein. We’ve included loads of mushrooms, spinach, legumes, upped the dairy and gone for fortified breads and cereals. Voila!

“Have you banned animal protein from the house”, you ask? Nah, if I did that I’d have no husband and I consider him pretty essential to everyday happiness. But I haven’t had the heart to eat meat in front of my darlings either (John doesn’t have this problem), so I’ve been eating what they’re eating for the most part. And I haven’t missed the meat.

I’ve been challenged to think outside my normal way of eating and I’ve included loads of new ingredients. So far, we’ve roasted chickpeas, stuffed mushrooms, noodled soup, pied fish and eaten miles and miles of salad. Mmmmm, salad…… I love salad in all its forms – mains, sides, carb-laden, meat-focussed. Love, love, love it all.

Which brings me to my Smoked Cod and Chickpea Salad. I adore this salad, it’s one of my faves – smoky cod with earthy chickpeas and fresh coriander, a touch of cumin, a sprinkling of curry powder and a spritz lemon brings it to life with a big HELL YES! Give it a go and let me know what you think.

Have you ever given up something you love for someone you love? Chocolate, wine, big fat juicy beef burgers…….?

Smoked Cod and Chickpea Salad


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