Cooking with children is one of those activities that always seems like such a good idea, but can rapidly descend into culinary armageddon. So before you invite kids into the kitchen, we suggest you read Katie Bryson’s survival guide.
Firstly it is essential that you lower your expectations and:
- accept little cooks have short attention spans
- get everything ready in advance
- make them wash their mucky paws before they touch anything
- explain anything dangerous to them – hot ovens, sharp knives, blenders etc
- accept there’ll be mess but make clearing up part of the ‘fun’
So take a deep breath and give one of these a try…
- Hot chocolate café – chop up 100g chocolate, heat 500ml milk carefully in the microwave then whisk it all together – scale it up if you’re catering for a crowd and pour into a slow cooker to keep warm. Prepare little dishes of toppings like marshmallows, sprinkles and spray cream and they can take it in turns serving their ‘customers’ with bespoke hot chocolates. Fancy!
- Pizza parlour – keep it simple and use tortilla wraps for bases, give them little tubs of tomato puree to spread on top and then pots of toppings so they can customise with their favourite ingredients. Flash under the grill until golden and bubbling – that’s tea sorted.
- Mixing mocktails – if you have a juicer or a blender this can be a lot of fun as you can ‘feed’ the machine with different fruits and vegetables which the kids can help wash, peel and chop. They can make their own blends then adorn plastic cocktail glasses with umbrellas, ice and cherries on sticks. Add a shot of something stronger to yours…
- Cookie kitchen – pre-make the cookie dough, or cut corners and buy a tub of the ready made stuff. Roll it out and they can stamp the shapes, bake and once cooled let them loose with pots of sprinkles and tubes of writing icing. They’ll probably end up wearing/eating the decorations, but you just need to let loose on this one!
- Dreamy desserts – snip up blocks of jelly with scissors, then stir into hot water until melted and pour into fun dessert glasses to set. Chop up fresh fruit to sprinkle on top and finish with some whipped cream and a flourish of sugar sprinkles. Retro pudding chic!