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Great Little Cookbook going like hotcakes

18 August 2006

Great Little Cookbook going like hotcakes

Work and Income contact centres have been swamped by requests for the Great Little Cookbook of simple, affordable recipes for nutritious family meals.

The cookbook was launched in Nelson on Thursday, and featured in media around the country. So many families have contacted Work and Income, local media, and voluntary agencies wanting copies that the Ministry of Social Development will put it up on its website in pdf format, as a way of meeting immediate demand.

"The first print run was for 5,000, providing free copies for Work and Income and District Health Board clients in Nelson Marlborough", Social Development Minister David Benson-Pope said today.

"Obviously, we'll be looking at printing more copies for more families around New Zealand – but meanwhile, we want this terrific resource to reach as many people as possible. Putting it up on the internet is a first step. I hope people also take photocopies and share them around."

The idea for the Great Little Cookbook came from frontline Work and Income staff in Greymouth. Along with around 60 recipes for Kiwi classics like pikelets, fish pie, and apple crumble, it includes meal plans, shopping and cooking tips, and nutritional and food safety advice. Each recipe was developed by a dietician and tested by a Work and Income client and her children.

Mr Benson-Pope said he was delighted by the level of interest shown in the cookbook. "The Great Little Cookbook contains the sort of knowledge that used to be handed down within families. It shows that no matter how times may have changed, simple, practical, commonsense advice never goes out of style."

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Tips from the Great Little Cookbook

- Have a shopping list 'on the go', writing down each item as you need it.
- Plan and shop for evening meals a week ahead, and include ingredients you can use for school lunches and breakfasts as well.
- Include older children in meal planning, and think about letting them choose and prepare the evening meal once a week.
- If you're taking small children shopping, feed them first, make sure they're not tired, and take a small toy they can play with.
- When you make a sauce like bolognaise sauce, make double quantities. For the next night's dinner, cover with mashed potato and bake for half an hour.
- To save power, don't overload the fridge or freezer; use a microwave or electric frying pan instead of the oven if possible; use a steamer to cook vegetables

Recipes from the Great Little Cookbook

Lunch: Healthy sandwich ideas

- Grated cheese and crushed pineapple
- Grated carrot and crunchy peanut butter
- Mashed banana with a squeeze of lemon
- Mashed egg with a little yoghurt

Lunch: vegetable fritters

2 eggs
½ cup self-raising flour
¼ to ½ low-fat milk
2 cups grated zucchini, potato, or kumara, or 1 425 gram can of corn kernels, drained

- Beat the eggs and half of the milk.
- Stir in the flour and zucchini or other vegetable. Add more milk if you need to make a soft batter, and add more flour if the mixture is too runny.
- Heat some oil to cover the bottom of a frying pan.
- Place spoonfuls of mixture in the frying pan. When the mixture bubbles on top, turn it over and cook on the other side until golden brown.

Dinner: Quick beany pasta

1 packet pasta (like macaroni or pasta shells)
1 440 gram can of cooked beans (like red kidney or butter beans, not baked beans)
1 440 gram jar of pasta sauce
1 finely chopped onion
1 carrot chopped into cubes

- Drain the beans, and add all the ingredients except the pasta.
- Heat gently in a saucepan until the vegetables are cooked.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water. Drain.
- Serve pasta with the sauce on top.
Dinner: Meatloaf

Adding grated vegetables to meat dishes is a good way to get fussy eaters to eat their veges.

500 grams lean mince
3 slices of bread to crumble (or 1 ½ cups fresh breadcrumbs, or ½ cup rolled oats)
¼ cup tomato sauce
1 egg (not essential)
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs or 1 tablespoon fresh herbs
1 cup grated carrot

- Mix all ingredients together.
- Press mixture into a loaf tin or oven-proof dish.
- Cook at 180C for 40-45 minutes, or until juices run clear.

You can also add other grated or finely chopped vegetables. If possible, make a large meatloaf and save some slices for school lunches.

Dinner: Chicken Casserole

4 large chicken pieces (take the skin off)
4 potatoes
2 onions
4 carrots
2 stalks celery
1 ½ cups water
2 teaspoons instant chicken stock (optional)
1 teaspoon mixed herbs or 1 tablespoon dried herbs
1-2 tablespoons cornflour to thicken

- Cut the potatoes into large pieces, slice the carrots into rounds, cut the onions into chunks, and chop the celery.
 Put the vegetables and chicken pieces into a casserole dish.
- If using stock, dissolve in the water.
- Pour the water over, and sprinkle the herbs on top.
- Bake at 180C for 1 ½ hours, until chicken is cooked.
- Mix the cornflour in a cup with ¼ cup cold water. Add to the casserole near the end of cooking, to thicken.


- Chopped apples, celery and dates
- Grated carrots, bean sprouts, and sultanas
- Shredded cabbage, orange segments, and diced spring onions
- Cooked pasta, cooked mixed vegetables, cucumber, and sunflower seeds

Dessert: Bread and butter pudding

A good way to use up stale bread.

3 slices bread or buns
2 cups low-fat milk
2 eggs
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons sultanas
½ teaspoon cinnamon

- Spread the bread with margarine.
- Cut into small squares and put in an ovenproof dish.
- Beat eggs and milk together. Add sugar, cinnamon and sultanas and pour mixture over bread.
- Bake at 180C for 30-40 minutes until set.

The pudding will cook more evenly if you place the ovenproof dish in a roasting pan half-filled with boiling water.

Dessert: Chocolate fudge pudding

This pudding does have a lot of sugar, but is very low in fat, and is a favourite treat for children.

1 cup self-raising flour
2 tablespoons cocoa
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence (optional)
½ cup low-fat milk
2 tablespoons margarine, melted

¼ cup cocoa
¾ cup brown sugar
1 ½ - 2 cups boiling water

Mix the flour, cocoa and sugar into a large oven-proof or microwave-proof dish. Stir well.
Add milk, vanilla essence and margarine. Stir until well mixed.
Mix the cocoa and brown sugar together and sprinkle on top.
Carefully pour over the boiling water.
Microwave on high for 8-12 minutes or until the centre feels warm, making sure the sauce doesn't boil over; or bake at 180C for 35-45 minutes until firm in the centre.

(All recipes serve four people).


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