Here’s how to make lessons fun and get the kids cooking – simple dishes with simple ingredients.
They can actually learn a lot in the kitchen, from basic maths as they measure out quantities, language skills as they chat about what they’re doing, and motor skills as they whisk and knead and stir.
They can even improve focus and attention, not to mention take on board a valuable life skill.
Martin Roderick, father of two young children and head chef at Wigwam Coffee Shop in Rose Lane, Allerton, says: “Cooking with children is a great way to keep them busy but also teaches them the importance of being able to create meals on a budget which we will need more than ever now.
“It’s also a great way for them to get creative and really use their imagination!
“Flatbread pizza, for instance, is one of our most popular kids’ dishes at Wigwam and is really easy to recreate at home. Ideally you’d make your own dough if you could but, if not, then you can simply use two tortilla wraps on top of each other. You can make your own tomato pasta sauce for the topping or you can use a ready-made version.
“Either way the children will have great fun spreading it on top. And then you can have even more fun being inventive with toppings from classics like ham, chicken, mushrooms or pepperoni, or why not try some more creative flavours such as sweetcorn, pineapple, olives or even banana?
“You can make patterns with the ingredients or try making a smiley face for greater visual appeal – you know what they say about children eating with their eyes! When it’s done, simply sprinkle with grated cheese and pop under the grill until hot and bubbling.”
And of course, when they’ve finished – that’s tea all sorted.
Here’s Martin’s Flatbread Pizza recipe plus a few others to get you started…
2 tortilla wraps
Tomato pasta sauce
Toppings such as ham, pineapple, chicken, pepperoni, sweetcorn
Grated cheese to sprinkle on top
Put wraps on top of each other and spread tomato pasta sauce over the top so it covers the whole surface.
Add your toppings and sprinkle cheese on the top.
Put under a medium grill for a few minutes until hot and bubbling
455g butter, melted
440g brown sugar
400g granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
625g all-purpose flour
2 tsps baking powder
700g chocolate chips
Mix the butter and the sugars together until smooth, then gradually add the egg and the flour until all the flour has been mixed in.
Add the vanilla extract, baking powder and chocolate chips and mix it all together until it has a dough like texture.
Roll into golf sized balls and pop on a baking tray. (the dough can also be frozen at this stage making it great for batch cooking).
Cook in the oven at 190c/170c/gas 5 for 8-10 minutes until light brown on the edges and slightly soft in the middle.
“Great eaten warm with a glass of cold milk,” says Martin.
40g plain flour
600 ml milk
250g cheddar cheese, grated
Packet of crisps, crushed, preferably bacon flavour!
Cook macaroni in large pan of boiling water for 8-10 minutes. Drain well and set aside in an oven dish.
Melt butter over a medium heat in a saucepan and add the flour, stirring constantly to form a smooth roux.
Gradually whisk in the milk a little at a time and cook until thickened and smooth. Stir in the cheese until melted into the sauce.
Mix the sauce into the macaroni and sprinkle with the crushed crisps.
Pop under a hot grill and cook until the cheese is brown and bubbling.
200g self raising flour
1.5 teaspoon baking powder
1 tbspn golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
25g melted butter
Toppings of your choice: strawberry, banana, maple syrup, chocolate spread
Mix flour, baking powder and caster sugar together in a large bowl. Create a well in the middle then add eggs, melted butter and milk. Whisk together until smooth with no lumps.
Heat a small knob of butter in a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Once the butter is hot, pour in a small amount of batter approximately 6cm wide for each pancake. Don’t put them too close together as they spread while they’re cooking.
Cook on the first side for a few minutes or until lots of tiny bubble appear and pop on the surface. Flip the pancakes over and cook for a further minute on the other side.
Serve the pancakes in a stack and top with fruit and maple syrup.
100g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
140g caster sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
120ml whole milk
¼ tsp vanilla extract
Buttercream, strawberries, sprinkles
Heat oven to 180c/gas 4. Put flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and butter in a bowl and mix together until everything is combined and is a sandy texture.
Whisk milk, egg and vanilla extract together then slowly pour into flour mixture. Keep combining until it’s smooth.
Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases until around two thirds full. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the sponge bounces back when touched.
Leave to cool slightly on a wire tray.
Then top with buttercream and whatever else you can find!
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