Vegetable curry

R picked all the green beans out of this and ate them. He asked for more. Little R copied him and ate all of hers too. I am still in shock. This may have been a result of the no-snack revolution - my name for the so-obvious I never thought of it before effect of cutting down the kids' snack intake. I'm by no means managing this every day but on this particular Saturday they hardly had any snacks and ate both meals very well. By bedtime I had a lovely full sense of satisfaction - like my children had actually eaten a balanced meal and got their five a day for once - or maybe that was just the curry in my belly.

Ingredients (feeds a family of four)
Three large carrots, peeled and sliced
170g green beans
1/2 small cauliflower
Sunflower oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
A thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp chilli powder (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp garam masala
1 x 227g pack of paneer
25g butter (optional)
1 x 400g tin chickpeas (optional)

Steam or boil the vegetables until soft.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy based pan and add the cumin seeds. Fry for one minute over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook gently until soft, stirring often. I find it's best when serving this to the kids to make sure the onion is really soft as they object to crunchy onion. When soft stir in the ginger, garlic, chilli powder and turmeric and cook for a further few minutes making sure that the garlic doesn't start to burn.

Add the chopped tomatoes and simmer for five minutes. Add the garam masala and stir well. At this stage I add a few pieces of cooked carrot and cauliflower and mash them into the sauce to make sure that the kids get some of the veggies in their bodies - as I never know which bits they're going to eat. Stir well then add the rest of the vegetables, the paneer and the chickpeas if using (take care with small children if adding chickpeas as they could potentially cause a choking risk). If the sauce looks a bit dry add a little water and stir well. Add the butter at this stage if using.

This dish really benefits from sitting for a few hours, or even overnight, so making it in advance is a good idea. However, it's perfectly ready to eat now so cook some rice or flatbreads and tuck in. We had it on this occasion with rice, chapattis and yoghurt. Little R had a great time making the chapattis with me - obviously I did the hot stove part - but she loved kneading and rolling them out.