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In the good old days children ate what was served to the rest of the family. I used to have an old-fashioned hand mouli (like for pureeing food) and everything went through it for my babies and those who couldn’t quite cope with chunks. Liver and bacon casserole etc (which I served every week for its goodness) went through a treat. Now this generation announce; “We don’t eat this or that as we don’t like it!” This is best ignored, as otherwise the family dishes will be lost for generations.

BOLOGNESE SAUCE

This is a good one to start with as it's a great favourite. This same meaty sauce can be used in many other dishes and adding cheese on top makes it more nutritious. I also quite often replace the minced meat out with a large can of tuna chunks in oil. Use the oil from the can to fry the onions.

Ingredients

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1oz butter

1 tablespoon oil

1lb minced lean beef

1 tablespoon flour

1 stock cube

400g/14oz tin chopped tomatoes

1 teaspoon tomato purée

Salt and pepper to taste

½ teaspoon mixed herbs

Method

1. Fry the onions in the butter and oil. When transparent add the garlic, mince and flour.

2. Cook until browned before adding all the other ingredients.

3. Stir well and bring to the boil.

4. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the beef is cooked.

LASAGNE

Use an oven-proof dish and put half the meat sauce in it. Lay on top a layer of 'quick cook' lasagne sheets. Add the rest of the sauce. Cover with ½ pint of cheese sauce and scatter the top with more grated cheese. Bake in a moderate oven for 40 mins until the cheese has melted and is golden.

MOUSSAKA

Follow the above recipe but add a layer of cooked sliced potatoes and fried aubergine slices in place of the pasta sheets.

MACARONI AND CAULIFLOWER CHEESE

This is a good old-fashioned dish that is ideal for vegetarians but it is much more exciting if you add some strips of cooked bacon or ham at the base of the dish.

Ingredients

4oz macaroni (quick)

6oz cauliflower florets

1oz butter

4oz tasty cheese, grated

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 pint white sauce

Salt and black pepper

Method

1. Cook the macaroni in salted water as directed on the packet, with the cauliflower. (It will take approximately eight minutes.) Drain well.

2. Melt the butter, and stir the macaroni in it.

3. Add the mustard and half the cheese to the sauce. Stir this sauce into the macaroni.

4. Place in a greased dish, and sprinkle on the remaining cheese.

5. Slide under a hot grill until the cheese has melted and is brown, or place in a hot oven (Gas Mark 6, 200ºC, 400ºF) for 15 minutes.

FISH PIE

This is a great dish that and a far cry from fish fingers. It is ideal for all the family and what is even better you can make double the amount as it freezes well. Rather than making a separate sauce I have given you my cheat’s method.

Ingredients

1lb skinless white fish fillet

4oz skinless smoked haddock fillet or other smoked fish

1 pint full-fat milk

1 medium onion, finely chopped

Small bunch parsley leaves only, chopped

4oz butter

2oz plain flour

Good pinch freshly-grated nutmeg

2lb floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

2oz cheddar, grated (optional)

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC / 400ºF / Gas mark 6. Boil the potatoes for 20 minutes, drain, season and mash with a good knob of butter and a little milk

2. Poach the fish for eight minutes in a pan with rest of the milk and then remove the fish and flake in large pieces without the skin. Keep warm.

3. Melt the butter and sauté the onions until transparent and stir in the flour. Cook for a few minutes before adding the poaching milk from the fish, parsley, nutmeg and seasonings.

4. Continue to cook to a smooth sauce and then carefully fold in the fish before tipping it into a buttered ovenproof dish.

5. Spread the potato over the top of the pie, starting at the edge of the dish and working your way in – push the mash right to the edges to seal.

6. Fluff the top with a fork, sprinkle with cheese (if using) then bake for 30 minutes or until golden.