After hearing so much about The Sneaky Chef and the art of hiding veggies, I couldn’t possibly walk away without at least trying it on Gavin.
As it stands, Gavin doesn’t eat veggies. The only dish I have ever been able to get him to eat with veggies in it is his favourite “green pasta” dish at Banquet in Bangsar Village 2. His “green pasta” contains brocolli and salmon – two foods I could never get anywhere near him. Yet, for some strange reason that I will not question but continue to thank God for, he loves his “green pasta”.
That inspired me to try one of the free recipes from the Sneaky Chef entitled “Brainy Brownies” which contains spinach, blueberries and oatmeal. You can click the link for the actual recipe. I made mine with the following some minor modifications:
- 120g unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups raw baby spinach leaves
- 3/4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (no syrup or sugar added)
- 1/2 teaspoon non-sweetened orange juice
- 1-2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/4 cup rolled oats, ground in a food processor
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Method – Purple Puree:
- Wash spinach.
- Rinse blueberries in water.
- Blend spinach, blueberries, orange juice and water to a puree. Add an additional tablespoon of water if necessary.
Method – Brownie:
Oven temperature: 180 degrees celcius
Baking time: 30-35 minutes
- Line the base of a 13-by- 9-inch or 9-inch square baking pan with greaseproof paper.
- Melt the butter and chocolate chips together in a microwave, checking every 15 seconds. Allow mixture to cool a bit.
- In another bowl, stir together the eggs, vanilla, sugar, and Purple Puree. Combine this purple egg mixture with the cooled chocolate mixture.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, oats, and salt. Add this to the chocolate mixture and blend thoroughly. They offer you the option of adding walnuts but I omited them because Gavin doesn’t like nuts.
- Our weather is hot and humid so I put the mixture into the fridge to chill for a little while before pouring it into the baking pan.
- It says to bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean, however I found mine was done in 25 minutes and slightly burnt on top. The fact that I translated the oven temperature wrong might have something to do with it (I baked my brownie at 200 degrees celcius).
- Allow to cool completely in pan before cutting the brownies and use a plastic or butter knife.
This was what I got:
I should have taken some shots of the cut brownie, however I can definitely say it didn’t look anything like the picture on their website.
What’s the Verdict?
The process of making the brownie was very easy and fun. Gavin helped me out and seemed to be enjoying himself. I, on the other hand, felt the strain of cooking with a toddler who insists on tipping jars upsidedown and flicking the flour mixture onto the work bench.
As for the taste test, it passed both my SIL2’s, the maid’s and my taste buds. Although Debbie says she can taste the flavour of the spinach, I can’t really say I noticed it myself. If you fed this to me without telling me the ingredients, I definitely couldn’t have told you it had spinach or blueberries in it. A little charred for my liking but definitely more than edible. I might try the lower cooking temperature in future to see how it turns out.
What did Gavin think? I don’t think he was all that crazy about it. I mean, he ate it and he nodded when I asked him if it was nice, but he wasn’t exactly pestering me to eat more of the stuff. He had a few mouthfuls at most but that was it. He seemed more interested in playing with it than eating it.
I might try the recipe one more time without burning it (and perhaps chuck it into the mixer for a spell) and see if it makes a difference to my son’s highly selective taste buds.
As far as The Sneaky Chef’s concept of hiding veggies in yummy foods goes, I still haven’t given up. This is only the first recipe I’ve tried, after all. I might give a few more of the free recipes a go before deciding if the recipe book is worth pursuing.