Cooking with Children

Teaching children how to prepare and cut vegetables is one of the most important and beneficial life skills you can teach them as it a task they will need to do for the rest of their lives. I was gifted the idea of getting children to wash vegetables a while back and they loved using the brush, this time I felt ready to introduce the knife!

Getting children involved in the preparation of food is a great way for them to gain culinary skills and it also helps them understand the process behind seed to mouth gifting them valuable knowledge about the produce.

It is not always easy to amuse my children when it comes to getting dinner prepared, being a single parent leaving the boys to keep themselves busy at this time of the afternoon can be somewhat of a challenge. I was once given the advice that “the tv is a great babysitter” although I don’t really want them in front of the tv and especially not that time of night. I want their minds to settle down and if they have become bored of their toys or just don’t want to do the normal activities what better way to get them active than by helping prepare the food they are (hopefully) about to eat?!

My children are still quite young so many home economics activities are still too hazardous although I am testing the waters more often now my youngest has passed the age of 3 years.
It was quite daunting the first time I had them near the stove for our Homemade Chocolate Cooking Lesson, at the time the little one didn’t really show much interest and my big boy Easy had the most fun ever getting to clean out the glass dish! This was one of the simplest methods of cooking when introducing a child to a stove as all that was required was stirring a mixture with a spoon (and being very careful of the flames!). They obviously thought it was super cool managing a wild element and making chocolate in such an awesome way!

This time the teaching was slightly more daunting as they were both using a moderately sharp knife to cut vegetables. They have to Lear sometime, right? Let us start them off young.

I asked my boys if they wanted to help cut the Cauliflower for our creamy rice dish and happily they did. We set up a chopping board and I selected a relatively appropriate knife for them, we pulled up a chair and I showed them what to do. They absolutely loved it and surprisingly it was my Little Al who had the mist pleasure in it, it was so adorable to see him cutting the veg and very cute seeing him pile it into his own little bowl.

It was absolutely lovely to watch my Son in this way, I am glad I kept my good friends’ advice in my head as it was a blissful experience to participate in. Ok so there was Cauliflower flying in all directions and the trimmings didn’t all end up in the designated pile, it was a welcomed mess and I think my baby one did very well!

I will definitely be encouraging them to get involved every single meal time that it is appropriate and one day hopefully they will show me a thing or two 😉 There’s nothing more attractive than a man who knows how to cook a healthy meal 🙂

Depending on your knowledge of the vegetables you are using will determine what the children learn from this activity. Even if you just teach them the name of the vegetable or teach them the simple process of harvesting the veg and cooking it they are still learning something. If you know more extensive details then feed it into your child, it is quite surprising what their memories can hold and it is fascinating hearing what interested them most the next time they speak of it back to you.

I Thank God for my beautiful children and their passion for learning 🙂

Grilled Curly Kale Tails and Radicchio with Cauliflower and Kabocha Coulis

WP_20141112_004[1] WP_20141111_035[1]What a splendid lunch this made. I was actually very happy that, apart from being the standard signature late that I am, it all went rather marvelous! I loved wearing my new skirt and wrapping my apron around it to rustle up this tasty number just for you, so much so that I just had to write about it 🙂

I have always rushed my whole life and food had never been a priority until I discovered its true importance…ummm we kinda need it to live 😉
I believe that sitting down for a meal and savouring each mouthful slowly chewing the food thoroughly is a righteous way to eat and respect our consumption as well as it being a healthy and beneficial way for our digestive system.
Expressing gratitude and thinking about the origin of the food we are eating (where it comes from, how its grown, how it is cared for, how ecologically friendly its transportation method was to get to you and how delicately it was prepared and cooked before it reaches your plate) is an important part of the process of consumption and it would do all well to think more about these elements truly bringing respect for ones self and caring for the world.

I instantly fell in love with radicchio the moment I realised just how divinely delicious it is! Yum! Mmm so good! It is an acquired and bold taste that many just don’t understand, nevertheless I had to follow my heart and bring a creative dish with this eye-catching handsome veg!

Radicchio is not as common as the other ingredients used. It is however one of the healthiest. It is packed full of antioxidants that help protect the eyes and is a great source of dietary fibre. It is rich in minerals, zinc, magnesium, maganese, copper, iron and potassium. It also contains various B Vitamins and is an excellent source of Vitamin K.

The first time I tried radicchio and before I knew what coulis was, I created this simple Radicchio recipe from what we had in the house and this inspired me to get a little more inventive for Wednesdays lunch!
I just adored the way the squash tasted with the rosey red beauty and had to get hold of my creative flare for a nostalgic revamp!

If you would love to get your cooking jig on and try this wonderful recipe of mine please let me know how it goes and here is how to make it:

You will need:
All ingredients organically produced and washed before use.

~ 1 head fresh Radicchio
~ 100g Curly Kale
~ 1/4 large Cauliflower
~ 1/4 Kabocha Squash
~ 2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
~ pinch of salt
~ 1 ounce Water

Method:

I made the coulis the night before to make sure I was organised.

Cut, skin and dice the squash and chop up the cauliflower.
Add about an inch of water to a pan, bring it to the boil and add the prepared vegetables. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and let it gently simmer for approximately 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat and leave it to cool.

Chop the curly kale into tails and in another pan add the water as before then add the kale leaving it for 10 minutes on a low simmer.

Remove the outer leaves of the radicchio and discard the very top if it is bruised or wilted along with the very bottom of the stalk. Slice it in half then half again and place in the grill, turning until it browns on both sides.
Once the kale has cooked add it to the grill to crisp up.

When the squash and cauliflower has cooled, drain it off and using a power blender, blend well for 2 minutes adding the salt, balsamic vinegar and water.

Once the radicchio has browned and the kale tails have crisped, slice the radicchio and after adding it to the plate top it with the kale.

To reheat the coulis, remove from the blender and add it to a pan and on a gentle heat, stir until it is heated right through.

Scoop out the coulis over the top of the radicchio and kale and serve with love!
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