A couple of months ago, I decided to grab the proverbial bull by the horns and proactively put an end to Ava’s poor eating habits, or try to, anyway. It was after another failed meal attempt, one involving mashed potatoes, that had madam looking into her plate and saying… “I don’t like it” without even tasting it! I mean I realize kids can live on far less than clearly we neurotic mothers think they can, but even I was bored of Ava’s diet which consisted exclusively of yoghurt, peas, fish fingers, apples, banana’s and sweets… lets not forget the sweets, by far Ava’s favorite food group.

I decided that I would employ whatever means possible to at least get Ava to taste foods she wasn’t familiar with. Let me explain, Ava is such a picky eater, that if it doesn’t come in a Woolies box with crumbs on it, she won’t eat it, heck she won’t even taste it! And I decided that was just utter bullsh*t.  So I declared war on her meals and so far we’ve had great success. Sure, it’s taken a couple of evenings of sitting on the naughty step before she would taste something. But it has worked. She now knows that is no longer allowed to simply she doesn’t like it until she’s tasted it. And the amazing thing is, she actually likes most of what I’ve given her, once she got over her initial distrust of having to taste something she wasn’t familiar with.

She did, out of choice, once sit on the naughty step in excess of 20 minutes, out of sheer determination to not taste the Tuna & Broccoli bake, but guess what? Now she loves it. And it has made my life so much easier. Chicken A-la-king, mild fruity curries, tuna, mash, you name it, Missy is eating it.

My latest victory was getting her to tuck (with gusto) into a Honey, Apricot & Chicken Tagine, which is one of my favorite recipes and just the most divine meal for winter time for you and your littlies or even a dinner party!  I got this recipe at a recent evening at Cook Studio.

chicken tagine


  • 8x Free-range chicken breast, sliced
  • 2 Onions, chopped
  • 2 Teaspoons of minced garlic
  • 2 Teaspoons of grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 3 teaspoons of ground coriander
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tins of coconut cream
  • 1 cup of dried apricots
  • 1 teaspoon of mazeina
  • three quarter cup of sherry
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 3 tablespoons of red curry paste
  • 1 punnet of baby marrows
  • 1  punnet of patty pans
  • Salt & pepper to season


  1. Place the dried fruit and sherry in a small bowl & microwave for 2 – 3 minutes until the fruit is soft.

  2. Fry the onions in a little oil

  3. Add the spices, paste, garlic, ginger & fry the chicken in the spices

  4. Add the apricots and water and stir until the chicken is cooked

  5. Add the coconut milk, honey & vegetables and sprinkle over a teaspoon mazeina (this stops the cream from splitting) and cook on the stove, or in the oven, covered for an hour until tender.

  6. Sprinkle over some fresh chopped coriander (I left this out for Ava’s portion) and serve with couscous.

Ava loved this meal! Even I was surprised. While it is spicey, it’s not at all burny and I was super thrilled when she wolfed it down, no problems.

I’m learning as a mother, that sometimes I have to do things that I don’t like, or that my children don’t like, but that they need to learn, so forcing Ava to just taste new foods was really hard in the beginning, but the more we’ve done it, the more I’ve strengthened my resolve and the more she has been willing to try.

There are just some battles that as parents we simply HAVE to win & I feel this is one of them!

So we are slowly winning the war