Kids love to cook. It doesn't matter how old they are, boy or girl, they simply love the idea of putting things in a pot and magically having something worthwhile eating at the end. As parents we tend not to let them loose in the kitchen as often as perhaps we should. The mess is usually a concern and gas hobs and children don't exactly mix well.
Properly supervised, a session in the kitchen doesn't have to mean frazzled nerves and flour on every surface. Follow one or two of these easy recipes, which require very little actual cooking and you'll have happy children and relaxed parents. Plus they will be learning all about weighing, measuring and healthy(ish) eating all at the same time.
If your kids think that fruit is something best left on trees, try this easy way of making it more fun.
- Melt some white and dark chocolate in separate bowls. This is easily achieved in a microwave on a low setting. It is essential that it is checked and stirred every few seconds in the final stages – boiled chocolate is ruined chocolate.
- The other method is placing the bowl over a pot of boiling water – not allowing the bowl to touch the water.
- Start dipping your favourite fruits, either in the dark or white chocolate or a layer of both. Dried fruits also work well.
- Leave to set on greaseproof paper (if you can wait that long).
Some kids don't really like peppermint – so you can make these plain as well.
- Take 450g of icing sugar and add a stiffly beaten egg white along with a few drops of peppermint essence. (you can actually use any flavour you like)
- Mix this together to form a thick paste. It is hard work – but let the kids take turns.
- Try different food colourings to make a selection of pretty pastel peppermints.
- Shape into balls and flatten to make discs. You can shape them into animals, love hearts or anything you like.
- Dip into chocolate if you want and leave to set on a wire rack.
Once again children often find plain nuts unpalatable – but just a little bit of sweetness and crunch can get them eating these nutrient packed little snacks.
- Boil some water in a pan and add some pecans, walnuts and almonds. Blanche for 10 minutes then remove and drain.
- Dry and then spread on a baking tray. Sprinkle with caster sugar until completely covered and bake at 150 degrees Celsius for one hour.
- Once out of the oven, fry the nuts in a pan with oil for a few minutes. This will caramelise the sugars making them yummy and sticky.
You can keep these in a container for weeks. They are great for taking on walks to the park.
Your kids may think “yuk” when it comes to muesli for breakfast. But make these and they will be begging you for just one more.
- Melt 225g of white chocolate (or milk chocolate) and 25g of butter in a bowl as per the method above.
- Take off the heat and stir in 225g of super healthy mixed fruit muesli. The sort your kids wouldn't normally touch with a barge pole!
- Place a small spoonful into paper cases and cool. - YUM
Well these ideas should make for an interesting weekend. Unfortunately kids often need to be bribed with chocolate or sugar to eat something new, but once in a while it is perfectly fine. Who knows a few years down the track you might have a little Jamie Oliver in the making.