Matt Wilkinson and Sharlee Gibb, authors of Mr and Mrs Wilkinson's How It Is At Home, with their sons Finn and Jay.
Matt Wilkinson and Sharlee Gibb, authors of Mr and Mrs Wilkinson's How It Is At Home, with their sons Finn and Jay.

Fuss-free food for families

AS THE mother of a four-year-old child, I confess I sometimes draw a blank when it comes to dishing up meals that will actually get eaten by said child. And by sometimes, I mean almost every day. So imagine my delight when this new cookbook entered my humble domain.

Mr and Mrs Wilkinson's How It Is At Home is jam-packed with easy, appealing recipes that are ideal for busy families.

Both food experts, Matt Wilkinson and Sharlee Gibb are parents to two young boys, Finn and Jay, and share the meals that have been a hit for them at home.

With 100 recipes on offer, Matt and Sharlee provide inspiration for breakfast, lunchboxes, snacks, Sunday baking sessions, picnics, weekly dinners, and one-pot wonders. They also thoughtfully include recipes that work for them when mum's away, when dad's away or when the kids are away.

And reassuringly they don't hold themselves up as some perfect family that only serves kale, organic buckwheat or quinoa salad to their children. They freely admit to enjoying fish and chips, burgers and pizza on occasion.

But when cooking at home, this cookbook helps you broaden your repertoire of family meals, with such recipes as double cheese quesadillas, sweet corn fritters, Yorkshire custard tarts, shredded chicken pasta soup, and stir-fried pork and rice.

As I flipped through the pages I could see recipe after recipe that just might actually work for my little family. So I decided to roadtest one of the dishes - chicken, pineapple and bacon skewers - for my child.

The verdict: She ate it, she actually ate it.

Chicken, pineapple and bacon skewers



500g free-range boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 32 equal-sized pieces

Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

1 rosemary sprig, leaves removed

Pinch of salt flakes

2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 pineapple, peeled and cut into 24 equal-sized pieces

8 free-range bacon rashers, cut into 24 equal-sized strips


Soak 8 bamboo skewers in water for 5 minutes.

Put the chicken, lemon zest and juice, rosemary leaves, salt and olive oil in a bowl and mix together well. Leave to marinate for 10 minutes.

Thread the chicken, pineapple and bacon pieces on to the skewers, alternating between the ingredients, starting and finishing with a chicken piece.

Transfer the skewers to a hot barbecue or chargrill pan and cook over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes, turning every minute or so, until cooked through. Serve with salad.

This is an edited extract from Mr & Mrs Wilkinson's How It Is At Home by Matt Wilkinson and Sharlee Gibb, published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $49.99 and available in stores nationally. Photography © by Patricia Niven