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Top Safety Tips For Cooking With Children

I believe part of the reason my daughter is such a non-fussy eater is because I try to include her in the cooking process as much as possible.  The other part of the reason is probably that she takes after me and just loves all types of food!!  Here is a lovely guest-poster who has some brilliant tips for cooking with children:

Cooking with your kids is not only messy and fun, but it is a great way to set them up for the future and ensure they have good eating habits.

I always try to get my kids involved when I get the chance, as they love mixing the dough, chopping the vegetables and stirring the sauces.

Yet if I have learnt one thing over the years safety really does matter when kids are involved. That is why I have come up with the following safety tips so you and you kids can whip up biscuit recipes safely, and still have fun.

  1. Are your hands clean? It is important that you all wash your hands before you begin handling food and cooking to prevent the transferral of germs. Similarly whenever any of you cough, sneeze or go to the bathroom, you need to wash your hands again.
  2. Choose your recipes wisely – it can be hard to judge what recipe is right for your kids, especially when they are so curious about cooking generally, but don’t give them too much too soon.
    Instead judge their tasks based on their age and ability. For instance toddlers will have tonnes of fun simply decorating the top of chocolate chip cookies, whilst older kids will easily be able to follow recipes, measure ingredients and mix them themselves.
  3. Be organised – get out all the ingredients and tools you need in advance so your kids can begin cooking straight away. Just remember to take over using knifes or turning on the oven if they are young to prevent accidents.
  4. Show them what to do – eventually your kids will get to the age where they want to cut things themselves. To prevent them cutting themselves or their fingers, first show them how to do it properly, get them to practice and always ensure that you are there to supervise.
  5. Supervise – even the most innocent of objects can be dangerous in the wrong hands, so make sure you supervise them closely and offer to help where needed to keep them safe.
  6. Don’t be tempted to sample – whilst we are constantly reassured that eggs have been processed to protect you from salmonella, I strongly recommend never letting your kids try uncooked foods, especially those with egg in them, to protect them from poisoning. Instead allow them to sample the finishing touches of your biscuit recipe endeavours…

Cooking with your kids can lead to countless hours of fun. Just remember to keep the above points in mind and you too can offer your kids a fun and safe cooking environment.

I’m Keli and I love cooking with my kids. I prefer the healthy option of making my own food but when I want to spoil my family I like the easy option of ordering from an online bakery.

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‘5 a day’ burger

If your children (or grown ups!) are not keen on vegetables  – or even if they are – this is a winner of a recipe.

The burgers taste a little like falafels, which A and my husband love – so you could even adapt the recipe and make them in ball shapes as well as burger shapes.  A very versatile set of ingredients!

To me, when I see  the vegetables cooking in the pan (see pic below), I feel a bit sad that they’re going to be blended up and lose their vegetable-good-looks, but their delicious flavours are all still there, just mixed with other yummy ingredients.

This is based on a recipe from BBC Good Food website, here are the ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil

2 leeks, sliced

200g mushrooms, sliced

2 large carrots, peeled and coarsely grated

1 tbsp cajun spices (or any spices you particularly like)

1 tbsp soy sauce

300g can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

200g (about 4 slices) granary bread, torn into pieces

burger buns, lettuce, tomato and other burger favourites

 

Instructions:

1) Heat 1 tbsp oil in shallow saucepan/large frying pan on medium heat.

2) Tip in all vegetables, seasoning and soy sauce.  Cook, stirring occasionally for 10 mins until soft.

3) Tip into food processor with the kidney beans and bread, season, and blend to a thick paste.

4) With wet hands (otherwise you get sooooo sticky!), mould the mixture into burgers approx. 1.5cm (half an inch) thick and 6cm (2 inches).  If  you’re not cooking them straight away or have too many (as I always do!), they will keep in the fridge for 2 days or in the freezer stacked between greaseproof paper for 2 months.

5) To cook, heat oil in a frying pan and fry for 2-3 mins on each side until crispy.

The photo really doesn’t do them justice, but as I’m not a photographer for any well known burger selling establishments, I think I can get away with it.

I currently have a stack of these sitting in the freezer waiting for a day where I haven’t had time to prepare a meal from scratch, or just a lazy day!

They go well with potato wedges and taste great with some sweet chilli sauce on the burger.  This is one of the few meals A will eat every last morsel of and then try to finish off ours too if we’re not quick enough!

 

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Let him eat cake!

As I follow my 2012 mission to bake for all my family and friends (within reason) for every occasion, I couldn’t miss out on making a treat for my lovely husband to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

To make a change from the round sponge cakes I’ve made so far (1 coffee and 2 chocolate so far), I bought some heart shaped silicone moulds to create these beauties:

I forgot to add baking powder (that’ll teach me to read the recipe rather than think I can remember it by heart – sorry about the pun!), but I was pleased I did forget as the cakes rose so much I had to flatten the top one down with the tin lid over night to make it practical to be iced!  The cakes were a little more dense than usual with the lack of baking powder but still a delicious texture and flavour (according to my husband).

I iced it with butter icing in the middle and on top – then added some ferrero rocher as they’re his favourites!

Here is the finished article:

and here is the recipe from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible:

Cake ingredients

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

3 tablespoons boiling water

225g softened butter

225g caster sugar

4 large eggs

225g self-raising flour

(2 level teaspoons baking powder)

Filling and topping

50g softened butter

175g icing sugar

1 tablespoon milk

(ferrero rocher x 4!)

1) Pre-heat oven to 180°, grease 2 x 20cm (8in) sandwich tins / heart shaped tins, line the base with greaseproof paper (if you use silicone moulds you don’t need greaseproof paper).

2) Blend cocoa and water together in a cup.  Leave to cool slightly.  Measure all remaining ingredients into a separate bowl, then add blended cocoa/water mixture and beat until thoroughly blended (I use an electric hand-held whisk to make it more light and fluffy).  Divide the mixture evenly between the tins and level out.

3) Bake in pre-heated oven for about 25 mins or until well risen and the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly pressed.  Leave to cool in the tins a while, then place onto wire rack to finish cooling.

4) To make butter cream filling and topping, blend together the butter, icing sugar and milk until smooth.  When cakes are completely cold, use half the butter cream to sandwich the cakes together, then spread the remaining butter cream on top and decorate as you wish.

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A few words about me …

Hello, I’m Leanne.  I’m married with a beautiful 20 month old daughter.  I work 2 days a week and during the rest of the week I enjoy cooking, baking, stewing, steaming … any kind of ‘food-ing’ to be honest!

I wanted to create a space where I could make a note of the best recipes I’ve used, put photos of any particularly aesthetically pleasing creations and inspire other mums or anyone needing ideas for good, healthy, fresh meals or cakes (the cakes may not be so healthy mind you!).

When my husband and I both worked full time we just prepared whatever food we could be bothered to make when we got home from work and only made fresh, made-from-scratch meals when we had friends or family over or at weekends.  This has all changed since having a little daughter to feed – making sure she has all the nutrients she needs to grow up strong and healthy is very important to me and my husband.

As well as nourishing my daughter, there are other reasons I have started enjoying preparing food more and more at this stage of my life …

Being at home 3 days a week I am sure I am not alone in feeling I want to show my husband how much I appreciate him going to work all week so I can be at home with A, so I love preparing fresh, tasty dishes I know he’ll love to tuck into when he gets home from work.  I get a real sense of satisfaction when he raves about what I’ve cooked for him!  This makes me want to make more and more different dishes for him.

I also love baking cakes for friends’ and relatives’ birthdays.  Last year I made several cakes for people’s birthdays – the main one being a fairy toadstool cake for my daughter’s first birthday.  My mum used to make brilliant birthday cakes for me as a child and I really appreciated the effort she went to, so I want to do the same for my daughter.  I’m not too good at decorating yet but hope to get better as time goes on!  This year I have decided to make a cake for all my close family and friends (well, those we’ll see around their birthdays anyway – don’t think Royal Mail can be trusted with posting a cake!).

The food I cook is not usually of my own creation I have to admit.  I use recipes from the various celebrity chef books we’ve collected over the years or from online recipe websites or television programmes.  So whenever I’ve used other people’s recipes I’ll be sure to quote the book/website/tv show used.

I hope people find this blog useful and please let me know if you try any of the recipes – and post photos too! :o)

I would also really like to get any new recipes, so please let me know any great ideas of recipes you have tried and have worked well (bearing in mind I’m allergic to cheese and chocolate – yes I know, awful things to be allergic to!).

Right, I’m off to make some veggie burgers and potato wedges for dinner, one of my husband and daughter’s favourite meals!

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