Not-so-adventurous food for adventurous families, but delicious and a fail-safe way to get seasonal fruit and veg into your diet. These two traditional and easy meals adapted from BBC Good Food magazine are perfect for a bit of February warmth.
Leek and potato soup
Soups are an easy way to get veg into small people, and this classic recipe is just the ticket at this time of year. Warming and hearty, this is easy to make and freezes well too. Leeks are high in vitamin K and are also a very good source of vitamin A, manganese, vitamin B6, copper, iron, folate and vitamin C. Potatoes are a good source of vitamins C and B6, manganese, niacin and phosphorus.
This soup can be pureed or left chunky depending on preferences. And if you prefer the soup less creamy, leave out the double cream.
450g potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1 small onion, chopped
450g white parts of leeks sliced
850ml-1.2litres light chicken or vegetable stock
140ml double cream
125ml full-fat milk
Finely chopped chives
Melt the butter in a saucepan. When it foams, add the potatoes, onion and leeks and toss them in the butter until they are well coated. Season well with salt (or leave out if you are feeding young children) and freshly ground pepper and toss again. Put a disc of greaseproof paper (called a cartouche by chefs) on top of the vegetables to keep in the steam), then cover the pan with its lid. Cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft but not coloured.
Uncover the pan and discard the paper. Pour in 850ml of the stock, bring to the boil and simmer until the vegetables are just cooked – about 5 minutes. Do not overcook or the soup will lose its fresh flavour.
Purée in a blender until silky smooth. If you want a chunkier soup, leave half out of the blender. Return the soup to a clean pan and stir in three quarters of the cream (if you want) and all of the milk.
Top with a scattering of chives and black pepper and serve at once with crusty bread.
What better way to lift the soul in grey old Feb than with a steaming piece of cheerful pink rhubarb crumble. Forced rhubarb comes into season in winter. They are full fibre, protein, vitamin C, vitamin K, B complex vitamins, calcium, potassium, manganese and magnesium.
500g rhubarb, chopped into thumb-sized chunks
100g golden caster sugar
For the crumble topping:
140g self-raising flour
85g butter, chilled
50g light brown muscovado sugar
50g chopped walnuts (optional)
Tip the rhubarb into a saucepan with the sugar. Cover and simmer on a very low heat for 15 mins, adding more sugar if you want. When soft (but still holding its shape) and sweet enough, pour the rhubarb into a medium baking dish.
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. To make the topping, rub the flour and butter together with your fingers until soft and crumbly. Add the sugar and nuts, mixing together with your hands. Scatter the topping over the rhubarb and bake for 30 mins or until golden brown on top. Serve piping hot with a thick vanilla custard.