There is an eternal tug-of-war between chaos and order – a struggle that can have no winner because each state leads inevitably to the other. Peace of mind and wisdom can only be found through acceptance that neither position is permanent and that neither is superior.
Or, as we call it in our house, Lego.
I dream of a vast tool box with small drawers of colour sorted, shape sorted Lego bricks, with a shifting, temporary display of complete pieces, which are then disassembled in an orderly manner (as Teresa May would say), before going off to their individual drawers, instruction manuals filed in alphabetical order.
Bert dreams of a massive pile up of both finished and partly broken items and random bricks, but also things from around the house that match them, according to a mysterious categorising system in his head where a Bloco dragon and blue shoe are, of course, honourary Ninjago Lego.
We live in flux between these two states of mind, neither of us ever achieving perfection. Though the second he leaves home I’m buying the toolbox.
Vegetable consumption in our house follows a similar pattern. I dream of him eating the rainbox of veg that Instagram accounts I follow assures me is normal for five year olds. He dreams of eating hot dogs, cheese cake, raw plain flour and Kinder Surprise. I’m generally now just letting it go, putting vegetables on his plate then back in the fridge for my lunch or into a soup if they’re uneaten, with just the occasional stealth-dash from the undergrowth, sniper-firing root vegetables at him.
1 dessert spoon butter
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 packet of Quorn mince
1 small sweet potato, grated
About twice the volume of grated butternut squash – I’d guess at about 1/8 of a whole one (I made soup with the rest)
2 tins chopped tomatoes and half a tin of water
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon butter to finish
I thought bolognaise, that classic vegetable hiding place post-children, would be a good place to expand our veg consumption and reduce our meat reliance. I tried Bert on a lovely aubergine and lentil one (nope!). This was attempt number two. He ate it and gave it a ‘medium’ thumbs up.
Pre-heat the oven to 140. In a large, oven-proof sauce pan, gently fry the onion and garlic in the butter then add the Quorn mince and grated veg. Stir to combine then add the tomatoes, water, rosemary and salt. Bring to a fast simmer then reduce to a low simmer for half an hour, put a lid on and put the pan in the oven to slow cook for another 2.5 or so hours (check it at 2 hours). When ready to serve, stir through the last knob of butter and check the seasoning.