My kids like many, love helping to cook in the kitchen. It’s a great opportunity to encourage them to eat foods that they wouldn’t normally chose, discuss healthy eating and enhance their weighing and measuring skills. Cakes and biscuits are always a winner with kids and the best way to get them involved to begin with, but introducing them to cooking savoury dishes and everyday meals will set them up for life, with practical skills and knowledge that seems to be lacking in today’s society. One of our favourite recipes is, of course, a sweet one, Oat and Raisin Biscuits. This is a great recipe as the finished biscuits are a good energy boosting snack containing slow release energy (low GI), preventing that sugar high followed by desperately hungry, grumpy, fighting monsters!! They are comparable to buying the ‘healthy’ granola type bars but contain a lot less sugar than most of those and the recipe can be adjusted to include chopped nuts, seeds and any dried fruit you like! Chocolate chips have also be known to make their way in on occasion! Simply substitute the plain flour for gluten free plain flour to make them gluten free.
So here’s the basic recipe we follow that makes around 20 biscuits:
Oat and Raisin Biscuits
- ½ tsp salt
- 160g plain flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 100g brown sugar
- 100g caster sugar
- 125g rolled oats
- 100g raisins
- 100g more raisins or chopped nuts/seeds/choc chips/ other dried fruit
- 1 large egg
- 150g melted butter
- 1tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- Mum, melt the butter on the hob and set aside then…..
- Get a coffee and sit down with feet up ensuring you can still monitor proceedings. If your children are older (7+) you could leave the room but do this at your own risk!
- Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F)- ideal job for a 5-6 year old learning their numbers 100+
- Youngest child- grease a baking sheet
- Older children weigh out all the dry ingredients and take turns to add each to a large bowl and mix well
- Again, take turns to add the cooled melted butter, egg and vanilla extract- there may be a fight over egg cracking, we use a quick game of rock/paper/ scissors to decide (if the Boy wins, I get him to crack into a separate bowl to make shell removal easier!!)
- Stir until it forms a crumbly, sticky rubble
- Roll tablespoon sized lumps into balls and space 5-7cm apart
- Bake for 10-15 minutes
So long as you don’t add nuts (most schools have a no-nuts policy), these are a great lunchbox treat or after-school collection snack.
Another recipe that the kids love helping with and finally got the Boy to eat fish is this Home Made Fish Finger recipe. They love crunching up the corn flakes, cracking the egg and getting messy with the flour, egg and crushed corn flake dipping! I tend to get everything out and ready before collecting them from school and it makes a fab activity when they get home. Though it sounds messy, the main mess is stuck to their fingers which is easy to sort out. So a quick wipe down of surfaces is all it takes to clear up after them and everything else goes in the dishwasher.
A similar recipe, that the kids also like to help with is this one for Crunchy Salmon Fishcakes. Anything involving mashing, squishing and dipping is a winner with kids. Much more fun than chopping vegetables!
I have to admit that I’m happier with recipes that don’t involve chopping even with my 10 year old! It’s a really difficult one to gauge because, of course things are easier to chop if you use a sharp knife but a sharp knife is sharp!! Yes, I know I’m starting the obvious, but you know what I mean. I suppose they won’t learn unless they try, I think the key will be to eliminate distraction (turn off the TV!) and supervise closely. What age would you allow your child to use a sharp knife in the kitchen? What are your favourite recipes to cook with the kids?