Two Things I’ve Learned From Our Italian Babysitter

POSTED May 20, 2015

Two Things I’ve Learned From Our Italian Babysitter

Finding a babysitter is TOUGH. I don’t envy new parents in their search for the perfect sitter. We lucked out with ours – Nina has been with Reuben since he was four months old and is like a grandmother to him.

Nina is not only great with Reuben, but she’s fantastic in the kitchen and has taught me a thing or two along the way.

I like to think I have taught Nina a few things too, like substituting flour for chia seeds or almond meal, and incorporating as much veg into everything as possible

1. How to cook silverbeet

There is a common misconception amongst non-Italians (or at least in my circles) that you should treat silverbeet like a spinach. This is wrong. Sautéing silverbeet makes it go purple – almost bruising it, which tastes OK-ish, but looks all kinds of wrong. The key is to boil it – which goes against all 21st century nutritional advice, (that all veg should be steamed to maximise vitamin intake, but silverbeet and others in the chard family are an exception.

Method: wash one bunch silverbeet and chop from stalks up (the stalks are my favourite) into around 3cm chunks. Put in pot of water and bring to boil. Let it boil for around ten minutes, or until soft. Drain. Crush one garlic clove and sauté with a generous lug of olive oil. Put silverbeet back into pot and stir. Season with s+p.

2. Tuna cakes

Fresh, healthy and super cheap to make, these tuna cakes are famous amongst Reuben’s friends (actually, mostly my friends and I’ve been promising them this recipe forever!).

1 big can tuna in spring water, thoroughly drained
100g frozen spinach, defrosted and cooked
1 carrot grated
1 zucchini grated
1/2 cup buckwheat flour or almond meal
2 eggs
(grated tasty cheese optional)

Method: incorporate all ingredients into bowl and roll into patties. Preheat oven to 180C. Lightly fry patties in coconut oil, then transfer to baking dish and bake in oven for 15-20 min.

These patties are great because you can literally grate anything in the fridge and use leftover herbs to jazz them up – toddlers LOVE them.

Italians really do, do it better.


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