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Savvy shopping, seasonal eating and thrifty recipes. Spend less on groceries and enjoy better tasting, easy to prepare meals your friends and family will love – all on a budget.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Tesco Real Food - Cooking With Kids Event

Last Sunday I travelled to London with my 8yo to the gorgeous Maggie and Rose kids club in Kensington for a Tesco Real Food Cooking With Kids event.  What a lovely venue!  We were greeted with drinks and finger food and then once we had recovered from our journey we joined other bloggers and their children in cooking a feast for lunch.

We cooked individual spinach and feta filo tarts and then cooked chocolate and beetroot muffins.  We had such a fab time! All the children and adults were able to cook their own dishes, with some help if necessary.  It was a fab event, we enjoyed cooking with everyone, and having a chance to talk in person to those I normally tweet with was brilliant.

Here are some pics from the event:

My 8yo bonding with spinach

Making the spinach and feta tarts

Making the delicious chocolate and beetroot muffins

Lunchtime!

The current theme on Tesco Real Food is Cooking with Kids.  If you have any of your own recipes you've found are perfect for getting kids involved in cooking, Tesco would love for you to share them with everyone on the Real Food site.

Uploading a recipe to the site is quick, easy and if it's along the current theme of Cooking with Kids you'll be entered into their weekly prize draw. You'll also have the chance to win our grand prize of a family cooking weekend at Augill Castle and to star in one of the Real Food videos along with a top chef.

I really enjoy cooking with my daughters and they are getting more independent in the kitchen.  My 11yo can cook a couple of dinners, probably more if I would let her, and is quite rightly really proud that she can cook for us all.

My 8yo and 5yo help prepare dinner and enjoy baking on a regular basis.  Cooking with your children is a great way to spend time together whilst getting them to try and enjoy a wide range of foods. 

Cooking is also a great tool to teach children a variety of skills, for example:

Maths – measuring teaches them about fractions, while cutting the cake into slices teaches them about dividing and sharing fair portions.

Reading skills – reading recipes and instructions helps improve their comprehension and vocabulary.

Teamwork – baking encourages teamwork, taking turns and sharing.

Curiosity – baking will encourage their scientific curiosity.  For example, asking children questions about why/how the cake rises, whether butter needs to be softened or cold for the recipe, etc.

Developing patience – follow the recipe step by step and wait for the results, helping to clean up while you are waiting.

Completing tasks – from shopping for the ingredients through to cooking, cleaning up, and finally sampling the finished dish will teach children the value of following through on projects from start to finish.

If you're like me and mess drives you nuts, remember cooking with children is undoubtedly going to get messy. That's the fun of it, for them anyway LOL If you want, you can try and minimise the mess by letting them wear an apron or one of your old t-shirts to keep their clothes clean. If you're really a clean freak you can encourage them to help you clean up as you go, however this prolongs the actual task of baking/cooking and your children may lose interest or get frustrated.

If you have young children or ones likely to enjoy spreading mess as far as they can, spread newspaper or paper towels on the counters and floor to make clean up easier.

Here's some tips from our house:

Remember to always wash your hands before handling food.

To spare yourself a bit of anxiety, teach your children about the dangers in the kitchen and how to prevent any danger, for example being careful around hot surfaces and not to test how sharp knives are on their fingertips.

Teach them safe techniques to use when chopping things and talk through the recipe as you go.

Don't expect miracles or put pressure on yourself.  There will be mess and some stress too but try and keep as calm as you can - it's meant to be enjoyable not torturous!  Start with really simple recipes before tackling more adventurous ones.

Disable your inner perfectionist!  I must say I find this the most difficult LOL As long as the result is edible and the kids had fun then that's the main thing, no matter what it may look like.

Start with easy recipes and then be more adventurous.  Chopping fruit for fruit kebabs, or vegetables for crudites are great easy ways to start off and develop knife skills.  Encourage them to make their own hummus to have with vegetable sticks or yoghurt and spice dip to have with fruit kebabs.  Muffin recipes are fab as you usually measure the wet and dry ingredients separately then mix them together.  This means minimal mess until the final mixing and putting it in cases bit.  Fruit crumbles are fab for getting kids to eat fruit too, you can use either fresh or tinned fruit to make it too.  You can even adapt baking recipes to include vegetables such as chocolate and courgette muffins, carrot cake and for a fruit option, banana bread or apple/pear cake.

Here are some tips to keep them, and you, safe:

Ensure pan handles are turned away from the edge, to keep anyone from bumping into them accidentally.

Ensure the stove top is turned off if it is not in use.

Minimise falls by providing a sturdy chair or stool to stand on so they can reach the bench comfortably.

Wear oven gloves when handling pots and pans coming out of the oven.

Take care when small children handle knives, and supervise children when they use sharp objects.  They will soon get the hang of chopping things safely if you teach them the "bridge and claw" methods.

Above all else remember to enjoy yourself and keep your sense of humour!  You can always soothe yourself with a large wine or cuppa once they are in bed.

All the young cooks and their Mums
Tesco paid for our travel to the event and each child received a cooking kit as a gift.  I was not paid in any other way for my time and my opinions are my own. 

2 comments:

  1. This looks like great fun Michelle! Thanks for the tips- I now teach a weekly kids cookery class so they are particularly helpful to me at the moment!

    Charlotte x
    @gofreecakes

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  2. Thanks Charlotte :o) I also help run an afterschool cookery club on Mondays, when I'm not at my cake dec course, and it's loads of fun. If kids are taught correct knife skills they are safe & capable of creating delicious dishes and they get a huge self esteem boost from it which is fab.

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