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Archive for the ‘Cooking with Kids’ Category

I am a self tought baker, cake decorator.  I am still learning lots of new things, and I must say, there are a lot of generous cake decorators out there who shares their tips and secret. 

Now, there are lots of people who asked  if cake decorating is hard.  Well, it is definitely an art I think.  It is hard but why not get some fondant and give it a go!  It is a lot of trial and error.  Working out colours and position can sometimes take hours.  There are times when I can’t go to bed because I can’t work out where to put things. 

The biggest high for me is when I see people jumping up and down looking at the final product, in other word “appreciating my hard work“.  And this is one of those cupcakes that brought me lots of joy.  It was for a 4 year old boy who wanted a ghost cupcakes.  The mum ordered the cuppies and when she saw it she was grinning from side to side, honestly, I can’t even stop her from giving me compliments.  She really made my day!

Here is my ghost cupcakes. 

If you are wondering what makes the ghost 3D.  The secret is marshmallow and allen’s ripe raspberries. 

Cover the marshmallow/raspberries lollies with fondant that has been rolled and cut into circles with cookie cutter.  Add some eyes and mouth (I used pen with edible ink).  And you got yourself a ghost figurines!

To attached the ghost figurines onto the cupcakes, I used a dollop of thick royal icing in the middle.  Make sure you use a thick royal icing, it makes the ghost figurines appeared to float.  I thought that was cute!

This ghost cupcakes is great for haloween, and a really great activity to do with kids.  Both Stella and Jake helped me out with sticking the raspberry and marshmallow.  I covered the fondant myself, just because this is for someone’s birthday.  But, children definitely can make this.  So, why not make some with the kids for haloween!

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A month ago, Stella and I made potato foccacia together. Jake was out with daddy for his swimming lesson.

What I like about the recipe is it is very easy.  No extreme kneading, and the ingredients are easily in your pantry.

Stella did all the measurement.  She watched excitedly when the dough rises and I must say we were really pleased with the flavour and texture of the foccacia.  Out of the oven, crunch on the outside and chewy on the inside.  Super yum!  One thing that you must remember is that focaccia is best eaten the day you bake them.

Just to show you how fun and easy it is, here are some few pictures:  (It was a bad day for picture taking, we had sun, cloud and rain all in 2 hours)

mix yeast + lukewarm water

make a well in the centre of the flour

adding the yeast mixture to the flour

add mashed potato...

add 1 tbs olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 1/2 tsp sugar

first mix the ingredients with spoon

then get your hand dirty and mix until a dough is form

writting the time on the masking tape

at 9 o'clock

10 o'clock, almost doubled in size

at 11 o'clock ready to go to the oven

Here is the recipe:

(adapted from the Good Food Magazine)

1 potato, peeled and cut into 2 cm cubes

7 g dry yeast

140 ml lukewarm water

300 g plain flour

60 ml extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

marinated olives, halves or sea salt

(If you are making plain focaccia, scatter some sea salt on top.  For olive focaccia omit the sea salt)

Place potato in a pan.  Cover with cold water.  Heat on medium.  Bring to boil.  Cook for 10-15 mins until tender.  Drain and then mash.  (I do this myself before hand, so it will be cooled enough when start making the dough)

Dissolved yeast in lukewarm water.

Place flour in a large bowl (transparent bowl is fantastic, so the kids can see how much the dough rise)  and make a well in centre.  Add yeast mixture. Mix to combine. Add mashed potato, 1 tbs olive oil, sugar and salt.  Mix first with spoon until all the liquid is incorporated then use hand to knead it a little until they all combine together.  The dough won’t be super smooth, you will be able to see little bits of mashed potato.  But they should all come together and looks like a bread dough.  Cover with cling wrap and a tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 2 hrs, until doubled in size.

Now, when we were doing it, when we finished mixing the dough, it was 9 o’clock.  So I got a masking tape and asked Stella to check the height of the dough and stick the masking tape on the side of the bowl and write 9 on it.  She then checked it every now and then.  Then at 10 o’clock we got another masking tape and check the dough.  Stella was super excited that the dough was growing.  She kept on asking what made it grow.

It was interesting for me to see her ‘play’ cooking with Jake afterwards and then taught him how to cover the dough with cling wrap and tea towel and she measured the ‘dough’ and put a masking tape on the side of the bowl as well.  She even told him that the yeast makes it rise.  Now that is education right?!

Preheat oven to 200 C fan.  Grease a baking tray.  Punch down dough with fist.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll to form a 1.5cm thick rectangle.  Using fingers first dip in the remaining olive oil, and make dimples in dough.  Drizzle remaining of olive oil reserving about 1/2 tbs, then scatter sea salt flakes or some marinated olive.

Bake for 10 minutes.  Turn tray around and bake for a nother 10 minutes, until bread is golden and cooked through.  Brush with the remaining olive oil and serve warm or at room temperature.

I took some picture of the cooked focaccia, but they didn’t turn out well.  It was chaos when Jake got home, both kids were hungry.  So forget about taking picture of the focaccia, nothing is more scarier than hungry children!  We had them with pumpkin soup.  There were none left!!

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This is a ‘must try’ recipe.  The banana muffin is egg  and dairy free.  Please for those with kids with egg allergy, give this recipe a try!  After trying heaps of egg and dairy free banana muffin, I find this is the best!  It’s moist and they just taste like what a banana muffin should taste.  My kids loves them and I brought them to a friends place last week and they didn’t even know that it was egg free.  Enough of the rave, here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

220 g plain flour

4 g baking powder

4 g baking soda

1 tbs vanilla extract

120 g muscovado (or light brown) sugar

85 ml vegetable oil

50 ml soya milk

25 ml hot water

60 g chocolate chip (make sure is egg and dairy free)

50 g sultanas

3 – 4 ripe bananas

Preheat oven to 180 C.

In a small cup mix the baking soda with the hot water, let it stand for a few minutes.  Mashed the bananas and pour the baking soda mixture to the mashed bananas.  Mix a little.

In a medium bowl mix the sugar, oil and milk with a wooden spoon.  By the way, unused Avent bottles are perfect for measuring,  and they are the perfect size for little kids.  So don’t throw them out, give them a second life in the kitchen.

Sift the flour and baking powder together.  Make a well in the centre and then pour all the wet ingredients to the centre of the bowl.  Mix with wooden spoon until all the ingredients are incorporated.  Add the sultanas and choc chip. Mix again.  Scoop them into muffin tins that has been lined with muffin paper.  Bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes (depending on the size of the muffin tin).  Insert skewer and check that the muffin is cooked through.

Great activity to do with the kid.  As you can see, I was making it with Jake.  He was having so much fun.  Just remember when you cook with kids, a simple 10 minutes preparation time like this recipe will end up to be more like 30 minutes.  So, make sure you are not rushing. The banana muffins are perfect for after school snack and lunch box treat the next day.  

one word "yummy"

I love the muffin shape.  That’s all because of the special tin that I got from Ikea.  Love… love it! 

Then afterwards Jake even help me with some of the washing.

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I got this “Jar full of Cookies” from Stella for Mother’s day.  It was a while ago, but I wanted to share the recipe, because it’s so easy and is great for kids.  On the plus side, it is perfect for kids/ people who is allergic to egg.  It’s an egg free cookie recipe.

Going back to Mother’s day, I got invited to kindy, and we were presented with treats that the kids made during the week and they sang a song about how they love their mummies!  At the end of the afternoon tea each mum got a card and this jar that was decorated by each of their kids filled up with the dry ingreadients of the cookies along with the instruction card and it says:

Inside this jar are the dry ingredients:

3/4 c flour

1/4 c sugar

1/4 c dessicated coconut

1/2 c chocolate chip

Empty the dry ingredients into a bowl.

add 65 g of melted butter, 3 tbs milk and 1 tsp vanilla essence.

Mix together and form the mixture into a small ball.

Place on a greased baking tray and press down

Bake on 180 C for 12 minutes

The cookies were yummy, it only lasted 2 days in the jar.  I love it when I got the chance to cook or bake in the kitchen with the kids.  I got to see the kids working together, Stella teaching Jake how to mix, helping him out with the bowl and spatula and Jake loves it!  How time flies… can’t believe that Stella is 4 1/2 and Jake will be 2 in a few months!

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I Made this the other day with Stella and Jake, and it was a breeze.  The recipe has four ingredients only and it’s super fast to make, perfect for little people with short attention span…

Base Ingredients

1 c cream

1 c self raising flour, sifted

Forgot to mention earlier that it’s best to have the cream at room temperature, if you don’t have the cream at room temperature simply put in the microwave for about 10-20 seconds zap each time until you have it at room temperature.  Fridge cold cream makes the mixture lumpy, it still makes a nice muffin, no different in term of flavour and texture.  However, it is easier to mix the cream with the flour when the cream is at room temperature.

For cheesy corn muffin:

1/2 c cheese, I used cheddar

1/2 c corn kernel, frozen or tinned

For sultana muffin add:

2 tbs castor sugar

1/2 c sultanas

Preheat oven to 180 C or 160 C fan forced

In a bowl, mix the cream and flour together until combined, for savoury muffin add the cheese and corn kernel or if you are making the sweet one add the sugar and sultanas.  Mix again.  And that is it really.  Grease your mini muffin tins with little oil or use oil spray.  Drop about 1 teaspoonful of mixture into the tins.  Bake in the oven for 12 minutes.  Until it’s nice and golden brown in colour.  Leave for 5 minutes then take them out from the tin and cool in cooling rack.  Eat it warm or cold… absolutely delicious!

Muffin in disguised : dress up the sultana muffin by topping it with melted white chocolate and colourful sprinkles!

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Another of our family favourite recipe. It’s great fun to make it with the kids. All you have to do is prepare the dough 1 hour before. Stella helped me with pricking the dough, pouring in the cream cheese mix, arranging the blueberries and the fun part decorating the tart.

Just one note, eventhough it’s time consuming, you must make this shortcrust pastry from  scratch.  It’s really worth the time, taste absolutely delicious compare to the store bought one.

Shortcrust pastry

(makes 2, 15 cm tart case or 1, 28 cm tart case extra for decoration)

120 g unsalted butter

240 g plain flour

60 g caster sugar

4 egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla essence

2 – 4 tbs ice water

Place flour in the mixing bowl.  Make a well in the centre of the flour.  Add butter, sugar and egg yolks.

With your fingertips, rub the butter with the rest of the ingredients. Once it resembles a coarse breadcrumb, add 2 – 4 tbs of ice water so the mixture is combined and knead it until it becomes a nice dough, not too sticky and not too dry.  Chill in the refridgerator for 1 hour.

On a floured surface, roll dough to about 3mm thickness.  Wrap the pastry around the rolling pin and gently put in the tart tin.  Cut of any excess dough by rolling the rolling pin over the top of the tin.  Prick evenly with fork.

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Roll out any excess pastry and cut into different shape using cookie cutter.  Here I chose leaf, flower and bird shape cutter.

Blueberry Cheese Filling

250 g cream cheese

90 g granulated sugar

2 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1 1/2 c frozen blueberry

1 egg, whisked, for brushing the pastry

Preheat oven to 180 C.

Beat cream cheese until smooth.  Add egg and sugar, beat until well combined.  Consistency of the cream cheese mixture should be of that of a custard.  Stir in the vanilla essence.

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Spread cream cheese mixture over pastry and top with blueberries.

Decorate with the cut out pastry, and once you are happy with the decoration brush it with the egg.

Blueberry cheese tart by Stella

Blueberry cheese tart by Stella

Blueberry cheese tart by me

Blueberry cheese tart by me

For the 15 cm tart tin, bake for about 25 – 30 minutes.  28 cm tart tin takes about 40 to 45 minutes.  Until the cream cheese mixture is firm and golden in colour.

After 40 minutes in the oven

After 40 minutes in the oven

Yesterday was the first time that we decorate the tart.  Usually i made mini tart with the leftover dough.  But yesterday, I thought why not cut them into shapes and decorate!  To be honest in my mind the final product looks much nicer then when it came out from the oven.  I think the colour of the baked cream cheese and the pastry is too similar.

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Stella’s favourite potato and corn chowder.  She had 3 bowls the other day.  Jake loves the animal croutons more than the chowder I think.

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Ingredients

1 tbs olive oil

6 potatoes, 2cm x 2cm cube

1 onion, chopped finely

4 c chicken stock

1 c cooked chicken, cubed

1 c corn kernel

1/2 c light cream

300 g bacon, cut into little strips

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent in colour.

Stir in the potato and the stock and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender.

Add the chicken, corn and cream and simmer gently for 5 minutes.  Season with pepper.

Heat up another frying pan, and pan fry the bacon until it’s nice and golden.

Serve the potato chowder in a bowl, top with crispy bacon and croutons.

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For animal croutons

4 slices of wholemeal bread

1 tbs olive oil

animal cookie cutter

Preheat oven to 180 C. Ask your kid to cut the crouton using the cookie cutter, and then using pastry brush let them paint the croutons with olive oil.  Bake for about 8 – 10 minutes depending on the size of the croutons.  Our animal croutons were small so it took 8 minutes.

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