Kids tend to wolf their food down without much thought, cramming it all in so they can move speedily onto the next more exciting thing. I'm trying to encourage mine to eat with some thought and slow down - talk to each other in between mouthfuls, savour the food and chew, chew, chew. Eating slowly means their bodies get the signal they are full. Then they don't have such a craving for puddings after every meal.
One pudding that complements this slowly slowly approach, however, is our moist gingerbread cake - made with a secret healthy, vegetable ingredient. It's a little more time-consuming than our usual recipes but well worth the effort. We sometimes eat ours with a scoop of dairy and sugar free Booja Booja vanilla ice cream.
Makes 12 small squares
200g dates, chopped and stoned
200 ml boiling water
175g brown rice flour
1⁄2 tsp xanthan gum
5 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp salt
100g ground almonds
2 medium free range organic eggs
250g finely grated uncooked parsnip
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tbsp black strap molasses
3 pieces of stem ginger in syrup finely diced (optional - they do give the cakes an extra kick)
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees and line a square or rectangular tin with a baking sheet. Put thedates in a bowl of bowling water and cover it with cling film and leave.
Put the rice flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, ground almonds, ginger and cinnamon in a food processor and give it a little whizz to blend everything together.
Add the grated parsnip, eggs, molasses and soaked date mixture into the food processor and blend. Then stir in the diced stem ginger if using. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and flatten with the back of a knife. Place in the oven for around 60 minutes. If the top seems to be burning before the centre is cooked then cover it lightly with some silver foil and keep cooking.