Angela Casley keeps the kids happy at dinner time.

When I was young and visited friends' houses, their food always seemed so much more interesting. Peaches out of a tin with Tip Top icecream, packet gravy (never allowed in our home). A larger selection of cereals (we had cornflakes or home-made muesli). And most of all, bought biscuits! Looking back, our home-made meals were so much better but as a child, the grass was always greener elsewhere.

Some of those old favourites are still popular. Recently I went to the most fabulous 50th birthday party. We danced in 60s gear, drank wine and ate lamingtons, mini pies, bacon and egg quiche, baby sausages ... the kinds of things kids love.

But you don't have to stick to party food to satisfy hungry young mouths. Calzone makes a tasty surprise as you can fill them with whatever you want, great if the kids have friends over. They can pick their own fillings, which could be as simple as pizza sauce, ham, mushroom and cheese.

You can always hide a few vegetables, too. Or make a filling like I've done here: lamb with mushrooms and mozzarella. Fold the light dough and bake. This dough has only one rising time, which makes the process quicker.


I love a good pasta dish, prepared during the day so it's ready to put straight into the preheated oven 20 minutes before eating. Most children love the salty flavour of bacon, pasta and cheese.

And you can't go wrong with fish and chips. Wash and pat dry store-bought fish and remove any scales. Crumbing is a basic way of preparing it, but hard to beat, making it crispy yet juicy. Add a squeeze of lemon (or tomato sauce) and make a home-made tartare for the grown-ups.

The great thing about kids is they'll give you very honest feedback. It may not cross their minds how long you've spent in the kitchen.

Keep it simple, introduce new flavours slowly, and go easy on the spice.


Bacon and cheese pasta

Crumbed fish and kumara chips