Dinner Time With Melanie from Expat Mummy In Berlin

Melanie is a British stay-at-home mum to 2-year-old son Noah. She lives in Berlin, having relocated from Copenhagen at the end of 2011, and she shares her experiences about Berlin on her blog, Expat Mummy in Berlin. She’s also the Berlin ambassador of Luvaville.com. Here is her dinnertime story!

Noah loves food and is willing to try almost anything at least once. His favourite food is anything Italian or with good strong flavours. Noah eats his dinner around 5pm during the week. I am a stay-at-home mum so dinner is a pretty relaxed affair and I usually make something from scratch or defrost something we batch made like vegetable pasta sauce or homemade chicken fingers. Sometimes if I am feeling lazy, he will have gnocchi with pesto, olives and little cocktail sausages! We are moving towards eating less meat so Noah will have a vegetarian meal every few days with something like organic chicken or teriyaki salmon on the other days. I will join him for a snack at this time and, as my husband gets in after 6pm, we have dinner together later in the evening once Noah is asleep. As Noah gets older we will all eat together a bit later for him and a bit earlier for us.

We eat all our meals at the dining room table without the TV on as I believe that dinner is an important time to enjoy food and each other’s company even at an early age. We also all stay at the table until everyone has finished, which is normally not a problem unless Noah has a new toy or game he wants to get back to.

Weekends are a little different, we all eat together between 5pm and 5.30pm and my husband is usually in charge of the cooking. Typical meals include fajitas and lasagne or homemade pizza which Noah loves creating, and on Sundays we have a traditional roast, which Noah normally eats his full share of meat and roasties with lashings of Daddy’s homemade gravy. I notice that Noah is much more willing to try new things if he sees us eating them too but mushrooms still remain a complete no-no!

Dessert is usually fruit or a yoghurt with the occasional jelly or cake as a treat. Dessert is not dependent on eating everything on your plate as I think it is important not to make the main course something you have to endure to get to the good stuff!

I am hoping to instill the idea that trying lots of different foods is fun and exciting and Noah has always enjoyed strong and interesting flavours ever since he started eating solid food and I hope this continues.  We eat out quite a lot but it is normally at lunchtime with tapas, Italian or sushi as the favourite.

Roasted Veg Sauce
(from River Cottage Baby & Toddler Cookbook)

1/2 butternut squash
1 fennel bulb
1 large carrot
1 garlic clove (we are not big garlic fans the recipes says 3 -4)
Olive oil
200ml vegetable stock

Very simple – Peel and slice all the vegetable and put in a baking tray, drizzled with olive oil. Roast in the oven at 200 degrees C for about 45 minutes until they are soft and starting to caramelise.

Put all the cooked veggies into the blender with the vegetable stock and blend until its a thick puree. We then freeze batches for this for a delicious pasta sauce.

– Melanie


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