Cookery has so many positive outcomes for children. It gives them a chance to become involved in the food that they eat, it can encourage fussy eaters to try something new, it encourages independence, teaches key life skills and it can promote interest in nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices.
Cooking together also offers us a lovely opportunity to slow down and spend time with our children, especially when you are creating a meal that you can share together.
Hedgehog Bread Rolls
You will need:
750g strong flour
2 teaspoons Salt
1 sachet of dried yeast (7g)
450mls warm water.
Pinch of sugar
Wash your hands!
Mix the flour, salt, butter and yeast and a pinch of sugar in a large bowl. Use your fingers to rub the butter into the dry ingredients.
Slowly stir in the warm water to make a soft dough.
Turn into a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes.
Break the dough into small balls. We made 8 from our dough.
Knead and shape each ball into a teardrop shape. The pointed end will be the hedgehog's face.
Using clean scissors, cut into the dough on the back of the hedgehog to make spikes.
Use a little bit of water to help stick the raisins to the head for the eyes and nose.
Place the hedgehogs on a greased, floured, baking tray somewhere warm and leave them to rise until they have doubled in size.
Cook in a hot oven (230 degrees C/ Fan 210 degrees C/ gas 8 for around 30 minutes.
They should sound hollow when tapped once they are cooked.
Leave them to cool before eating!
Easy Peasy Pizzas
These are a real favourite in my house and we often add extra ingredients, like chopped peppers, mushrooms, onions and tomatoes to make little pizza faces. This recipe serves 4.
You will need:
For the dough:
10g dried yeast
1 tsp sugar
250ml hand hot water
350g/12oz strong flour. We use wholemeal flour.
1 tsp salt
1 table spoon olive oil.
400g tinned chopped tomatoes
2 garlic cloves (crushed or chopped)
2 table spoons tomato puree
Dried/ fresh basil
Mozzarella cheese/ cheddar cheese
Any chopped veg you want to add
Salt and pepper
Wash your hands!
Place the yeast and sugar in a measuring jug and mix with 50mls of hand hot water. Leave in a warm place to rise for 15 minutes or until frothy. This is a great opportunity to talk about the reactions that are going on between the yeast and the sugar.
Mix the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre using a wooden spoon. Add the oil, the yeast mixture and the remaining 200mls hand hot water. Mix it together until it forms a dough.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 4-5 minutes, until smooth.
Return the dough to the bowl and leave it to rise for 30 minutes, or until it has doubled in size.
During this time I make the topping. Place the tinned tomatoes, garlic, basil and a splash of olive oil into a saucepan, seasoning to taste. Simmer for around 20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened, stir in the tomato puree and leave it to cool a little.
Chop any peppers, onions, mushrooms etc. that you might want to add. Grate cheese and chop mozzarella.
Pre-heat oven. (Gas mark 6/ 200 degrees C/ 400 degrees F)
When the dough has risen, knead for a further 2 minutes.
Split the dough into smaller balls, one for each child and stretch it/ roll it as much as you can to create a round pizza base, no more than 5mm thick. Place these onto oiled baking trays.
Spread the topping evenly over each pizza base and ask the children to add cheeses and vegetables as they wish. You can make some very funny pizza faces!
Cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Chop with a pizza cutter and serve hot. Delicious!
Banana, date and honey muffins
I have been refined sugar free for almost a year now and so these muffins have become one of my favourite sweet treats. I have adapted an Annabel Karmel recipe that I used to make for the children when they were younger. As these contain honey and salt they would not be recommended for children under 2 years of age.
1 medium egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
55 mls honey
1 large, very ripe banana, mashed
Chopped dates (as many as you prefer.)
55 ml sunflower oil
85 g wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Wash your hands
Preheat oven to 180c/160c fan/ gas mark 4. Line 2 mini muffin tins with
In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and honey together until thick, stir in the banana, chopped dates and oil.
Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt. Then add the vanilla extract.
Stir together until just combined.
Spoon into muffin cases (around 2/3 full) and bake 12-14 minutes, until risen, golden and firm to the touch.
Leave to cool before eating.
Store in an airtight box for up to 3 days or freeze (defrost at room temp approx. 1 hour).
Fresh tomato pasta sauce
Every summer, when we have too many tomatoes in our greenhouse, we make this tasty, healthy pasta sauce!
And in true Do Try This at Home School style, if you can cook outside, do that too! This was one evening last summer, where my son cooked baked beans and tinned potatoes over his fire and ate them out of his mess tin!
*He was supervised!