By Christine Salins
There’s a special art in putting together a lunchbox that your kids want to eat. It’s not difficult. It just requires a bit of imagination – and perhaps the assistance of George Georgievski, aka the School Lunchbox Dad.
With more than 200,000 Instagram followers, his lunchbox creations have clearly captivated a lot of people. Georgievski, an engaged parent to two daughters, began creating his own recipes and “dad-hacks” after taking on the responsibility of preparing school lunches for his daughters and finding there wasn’t much available online.
The Geelong dad began sharing his bento-style lunchbox creations across social media and soon had a growing following on Instagram and Facebook.
Regularly asked to present his lunchbox ideas at baby and kids expos across Australia, he was also invited to become an Australian ambassador for Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food, which aims to transform the health and wellbeing of communities across Australia.
In just a few short years, Georgievski has turned out a string of bestselling books including Lunchbox Express, Air Fryer Express and Dinner Express.
In his latest book, Lunchbox Boss, published by Plum ($26.99), he tackles some of the most common lunchbox dilemmas, such as fussy eaters, allergies and feeding kids well on a budget.
With more than 50 quick and easy recipes for busy parents, there are sandwiches, wraps, jaffles, bakes and hot thermos options, as well as bite-sized delicious healthy treats. Try mini roast chicken tacos, pasta salad with bocconcini and basil, panko-crumbed tuna balls, black bean quesadillas, three-ingredient scones, and strawberry jam crust roll-ups.
You’ll also find tips on how to veganise, remove gluten and other allergens, sneak in hidden veggies and more. And there is a comprehensive Lunchbox 101, with the essentials you need to get organised, save time and money, and ensure your mornings run smoothly.
This is a great solution for those who need new recipes and fresh ideas for ways to fill their kids’ lunchboxes with a rainbow of delicious food – food that your kids want to eat.
The Green Pea Fritters here can be eaten hot or cold. You can replace the self-raising flour with gluten-free self-raising flour, if you wish. To make them dairy-free, replace the yoghurt dip with sweet chilli sauce or coconut yoghurt with ½ teaspoon of salt added.
Green Pea Fritters
Makes 8 to 10
310 g (2 cups) frozen peas
1 teaspoon sea salt
75 g (½ cup) self-raising flour
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
MINTY YOGHURT DIP
1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves
130 g (½ cup) natural yoghurt
How do we make these bad boys green? Place half the peas in a food processor with the eggs, salt and flour and blitz it all up till it’s Incredible Hulk green (it should look like a green thickshake). Transfer the mixture to a bowl, add the rest of the peas and stir until all the peas are thoroughly mixed through.
Prepare a large plate lined with baking paper to place the fritters on as you make them. Scoop the mixture out with a tablespoon, then use your hands to shape individual patties – you can make them whatever size you like.
Before you start frying, line a large plate with paper towel. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Fry the patties in batches for around 2 minutes on each side, or until they’re golden brown. Once cooked, place the patties on the paper towel to remove any excess oil.
To make the very complicated yoghurt dip, just mix the mint leaves and yoghurt together in a small bowl. Pop the yoghurt dip in a spillproof tub for dipping.
These can be made the night before and will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
To make these orange instead of green, just swap out the peas for carrots, but you’ll need to blanch the carrots first to soften them up. Pick your fave vegetable and the sky’s the limit. Zucchini fritters are great too, or you can blend and mix different types of veggies for superfood fritters.
Recipe and image from Lunchbox Boss, by George Georgievski, published by Plum, RRP $26.99, photography by Mark Roper.