I am very keen to bring my kids up knowing the basics of cooking! In the UK, celebrity chef Delia Smith sold millions of cook books on “how to boil an egg” – ridiculous, isn’t it? Our generation of children really should know that, right? So for me, Cooking With Kids, is all about introducing them to the kitchen. Of course, they can’t do that much – the stove is hot, the knives are sharp. But I let my kids do bits and pieces here and there. And I talk to them through the process – and then repeat it. And whilst we are eating, I ask them again what we did to make our meal.
I have a Cooking With Kids community on G+ (please do request to join, all are welcome), where we are challenging each other every so often to cook with a specific items.
Please note: SAFETY is the first and foremost rule when Cooking With Kids. Always make sure the kids are safe from hot things (e.g. stoves or spitting fat) from knives and scissors or from “falling off things”. Kitchen hygiene and hand washing also a very important role.
Do involve your children, but BE SAFE.
This challenge, was about FISH!
Luckily, we have one Fish based dish, that my children love: Haddock Chowder. It is originally from 101 One Pot Dishes by Good Food Magazine. We tend to stick to the ingredients, but only loosely follow the amounts – very rough and ready!
Ingredients (and amounts we used):
One large onion
4 medium sized potatoes
Approx 1.5 pints of hot water
2 tea spoons of stock
A packet of Haddock (350g??)
A tin of creamed sweetcorn (key to the recipe and it has to be the creamed variety!! I can only ever get it when I do an online shop via one the larger supermarkets)
The great thing, is that it really only needs one pot for preparation!
1) Shop the onions and start frying them in a little olive oil. I did this bit, the kids watched. The Boy had a little smell of the onion and exclaimed “Mummy it isn’t hurting my eyes this time”. No idea why that was the case, but this onion didn’t make us cry.
2) Shop the potatoes into 1-2cm cubes. You can peel the potato first if you wish, but we put it all in. The kids helped me with this. With the Girl, I held her hands and the knife. The Boy, I let have a go on his own. I watched him like a hawk of course as knives are dangerous. He did a great job.
Note: NEVER EVER leave a child unattended when they are holding a knife or scissors. Watch what they are doing and do not do something else.
3) Once the onions are fried a little, add the potatoes, the hot water and the stock. Be sure the water covers the potatoes. If not, add a little more. Let simmer.
Adding the stock was a great job for The Girl (3yrs old), she loved spooning it in.
4) In the meantime cut your haddock into chunks – take the skin off and check for bones. Again, I did this – but I “challenged” the kids to touch the fish and also to feel one of the bones. The Boy was very keen to help me throw away the skin etc. I think this is an important part of the process, getting kids used to handling “yukky things”. I am not keen on handling meat and fish and I think doing it early helps you get to grips with it. It is also a good lesson in kitchen hygiene and the need to wash your hands etc.
Note: when you put the haddock chunks in the hot pot – there is hot steam or the soup could splash your children. Discuss this with them, do it slowly and gently or do it for them.
5) We added the fish. Let simmer a little more.
6) Once the potatoes were soft, we opened our tin of creamed sweetcorn and added that. Heat through. Again, this may seem simple – but showing the children how a tin opener works is all part of the Cooking with Kids experience. Naturally they didn’t have the strength to do it on their own, but together, we did it.
Note: a tin open can also be a harmful item – as well as the tin with it’s jagged edge.
Serve hot with some bread. You can sprinkle a little parsley on top too!
Now The Boy wants to make Carrot Soup next! And it is on the menu tonight!