This brilliant themed Gruffalo Themed Packed Lunch is such fun to make and will make all Gruffalo fans, big and small, smile with joy when they tuck into to enjoy their special food.
So with a sad wave goodbye to the summer holidays, today saw the start of the new school year for my boys today and with Jenson now starting year 1 and Burton year 3 (and entering juniors), it seems that school life is passing by too quickly.
Of course now that Burton is entering KS2, he is no longer eligible for free school dinners, and therefore he will be reverting back to packed lunches (with the possible exception of Fridays as this is fish and chip day). This means that Jenson,who was reluctant to eat school dinners last year anyway, will also be wanting to do the same. Therefore, I will be trying out some new lunch box ideas, as I am keen to make them more interesting to encourage the boys to try new foods.
During the summer holidays, I was sent a copy of a delightful new cookbook, with recipes based on the popular and charming Gruffly story: Gruffalo Crumble and other recipes
It is packed full of some really fun food that appeals to children and fans of the book. So at the end of last week on a wet and dreary day, the boys and I set about recreating some of the recipes from the book, adapting them slightly to accommodate ingredients I had, and the food preferences of my children.
You can imagine that the Grufflalo is looking up at your through his orange eyes, with these little cheese pies. In the book, they are made using pastry, but as my boys do not like it I chose to cut out bread rounds and use this as my 'pastry' instead, which is actually perfect for using up slightly stale bread and means these eyes can be made much faster.
Gruffalo’s Orange Eyes:
You will need:
6 slices of bread – I used the 50:50 medium sliced bread
100g Applewood Smoked Cheese
melted butter (for greasing)
2 cocktail sausages , sliced
Pre heat the oven to 180oC / 160oC (fan)
Using a pastry brush, grease each hole in a muffin tray
Using a small mug, or scone cutter, cut discs out of 6 slices of bread (*do not waste the excess bread, I made mine into breadcrumbs in my food processor, which you can use for the Savoury Knobbly Knees – see below)
Place each disc into each muffin hole
Crumble the cheese into a bowl using your fingers
In another bowl beat the eggs with a fork and then add the milk and beat again
Add the cheese
Divide the mixture between the 6 muffin holes
Top each one with a slice of sausage, placed in the centre
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes
They will puff up when they first come out of the oven, and then deflate (and the sausage ‘pupil’ may need repositioning slightly!)
These are very easy to make and take next to no time, they could be cooked the night before ready for filling a lunchbox the following morning.
200g self raising flour
1 tsp dried Italian herbs
1 tbsp olive oil
120ml warm water
100g Applewood Smoked Cheddar, formed into 24 small balls
extra olive oil and a little four for dusting
Pre heat the oven to 200oC / 180oC (fan)
Grease and line a large baking tray using a little oil and flour
Place the flour, oil, herbs into a food processor and switch to on until it starts to form a dough, then add the water a little at a time until you have a ball of dough
Lightly dust a work surface with flour and using a knife divide the dough into 6 pieces
Roll each piece out and cut out a toadstool shape
Cover each pizza with tomato puree and 4 cheese balls
Cook in the oven for 12 minutes approx
These are not easy to make and successfully transfer to a lunchbox - so for the purpose of the post I am showing what it should look like, but in reality I would pack a few cherry tomatoes and a snack sized Applewood Smoked Cheddar into the box instead, along with some carrot sticks for terrible claws. I would have added some green and purple grapes too, but I did not have any at the time of this post, for poisonous warts and purple prickles.
Savoury Knobbly Knees
In the cookbook these are 'Turned Out Toes' but my boys don't like pine nuts (to make claws),so I thought they looked more like the Gruffalo's knobbly knees. The book features these as mini chocolate cornflake cakes, hence why I have renamed them savoury knobbly knees. Again these could be made at the weekend when making meatball and pasta for example, and a few spare meatballs could be frozen ready for packed lunches the following week.
Savoury Knobbly Knees
250g lean beef mince
handful of dried herbs – I added Italian herbs
pinch of black pepper
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
Pre heat the oven to 200oC/180oC (fan)
Place all of the ingredients bar the egg into a large bowl, and using your hand mix well
add the egg to bind it all together
Shape the mixture into 12 (approx) balls
Place on a baking tray and cook for 15 minutes until cooked
Terrible Fruity Tusks
These could be made smaller to fit in to a lunchbox of course - mine is a tad too big! You can also use any fruit your children like.
Slice up some fruit and add to a kebab stick – leave a large gap to add a larger piece of banana.
Perfect lunchbox food for those tummy’s that rumble – you could even add some Gruffly crumble! (recipe is included in the book)
Purple Prickle (aka blueberry) Pancakes
If you have time, you can even start their school day with some healthy fruity and fun pancakes.
My boys really enjoyed their Gruffalo inspired lunchbox – maybe yours will too. I appreciate it takes time, but I find this helps my two to try new foods. Mind you if this seems too much work, it could still be fun to make as a teatime treat instead.
I was sent a copy of the Gruffalo Crumble and other recipes cookbook for the purpose of a review. I was also sent a selection of Applewood Cheese to get me to #AddApplewood to some recipes that my boys and I enjoy making together. The smoked cheese adds a delicious extra dimension to the pizza toadstools and orange eyes pies.
Talking of Gruffalo recipes, I once did a Gruffalo Party for Burton on his 3rd birthday which you can see here, for my take on some fun food.
I hope this has inspired you – the book certainly helped me put some fun back into my boy’s lunch boxes, plus I have lots of Applewood cheese left to use too to make sandwiches with or maybe to top on a jacket potato for tea. Or make some more Gruffalo food of course.