Shannon Harley says she’s had parents tell her that their child won’t eat orange food. Another doesn’t like creamy textures, and two young siblings have vastly different opinions about rice. In other words, kids can be fussy, and what’s good for one person is not right for another.
Harley should know – she runs Hot Potato, a home-delivery service in Sydney making high-quality meals for kids and people with children in their lives (meals can be ordered in two sizes, small and bigger for adults). The former Delicious Magazine editor is a proponent of the slow food movement and says she and fellow Hot Potato founder – her brother, Tim – are guided by the kind of wisdom nonnas across the world adhere to: making nourishing food using in-season produce.
“So much of the kids’ food out there on the market is dumbed down, and to be honest I wouldn’t want to eat a piece of salmon without a squeeze of lemon, or a curry where the spices were not balanced either. So I don’t blame Frankie for throwing his food (not ours) on the floor,” she says.
Hot Potato stops your kids chucking a wobbly by loading up the dishes with “hidden vegetables” and creating healthy versions of favourite recipes with ingredients that would usually have kids turning their noses up.
“There’s probably not a child on this earth who doesn’t like a nugget or spaghetti bolognaise, but [many] have an aversion to fish and cry at the sight of a lentil … To navigate this, we make our nuggets from a filling of baked salmon and steamed sweet potato flavoured with a little lemon zest and dill, and our Half and Half bolognaise combines regular bolognaise made from grass-fed beef mince with a veggie bol sauce that we slow-cook for hours so kids can’t see the lentils, zucchini, mushrooms et al in the mix.”
One of the most popular items on the site are these high-fibre muffins, which are loaded with naturally sweet ingredients such as mashed banana, sultanas, grated apple and cinnamon. “We’ve made [this version] better for you too, sneaking in grated zucchini and rolled oats, and reducing the amount of sugar compared to regular muffin batters,” she says,
Hot Potato’s (Healthier) Apple Zucchini Muffins
Makes about 15 muffins
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
1 banana, mashed
2 free-range eggs
100ml rice bran oil
1 cup whole milk (you can substitute with a plant-based milk of your choice)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup raw sugar
1 medium red apple, grated
1 small zucchini, grated
1½ cups plain flour
1½ tsp bicarb soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup oats
Beat banana, eggs, oil, milk, vanilla and sugar in a stand mixer. If you don’t have a mixer, you can also roll up your sleeves and do this by hand with a wooden spoon.
Add apple, zucchini and sultanas, and beat to combine. Sift in flour, bicarb and cinnamon. Add oats, then fold dry ingredients into wet mix until combined and you have a delicious batter.
Preheat oven to 180ºC. Grease a muffin pan, then fill with the batter and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool slightly in the pan before transferring onto a wire baking rack.
Hot Potato delivers to Sydney metro. Orders need to be placed by midnight on Tuesday for delivery on Sunday.