Eight fun and easy recipes to keep the kids entertained while you're stuck at home
I am a chef and the kitchen is the axis of our home. I am happiest in an apron, with the radio on, something to cook and people to feed. Bring my children into the mix and this is where the fun really starts. Grace, Ivy and Dorothy all have their own aprons, slung on the kitchen door next to an assortment of mine.
Each has very different capabilities in the kitchen. Grace, the eldest, likes to be left to her own devices. We have a thin, narrow, terrace house: from two floors up I can hear her industrious clatter as she busies herself with pots and pans downstairs in the kitchen. There is always mess, but what she makes, and the way she will call us into the kitchen when she has finished, makes my heart swell.
Ivy is keen on any kitchen tasks involving gadgets. The pasta machine is her favourite bit of kit. We have a tradition that if it's your birthday you get to choose what you get to eat on the day. Ravioli made (with a little help) by an eight-year-old is impressive. And she knew it.
Dot is the youngest and is predictably fond of using cutters to punch out biscuits shaped like pigs, stars, bells, or the alphabet.
I want my three girls to grow up with a fearless appreciation of food. When they leave home, I want them all to be able to cook with flair, creativity – and with an eye for budget. Food and cooking are powerful tools for learning, encouraging a sense of "where in the world would we like to eat today". I want the contents of our kitchen to spark this worldly curiosity. For me, it's up there with learning your times tables and tying your own shoelaces.
With schools closed for the foreseeable future, and at least a few more weekends to be spent largely indoors thanks to the ongoing spread of coronavirus, I have written these recipes for children to cook, with the help of a grown-up if needs be. Some are easy, while others are perfect for letting any more capable children loose in the kitchen with a bit of culinary autonomy.Lahmacun (aka Turkish pizza)
Not only do they bring welcome respite from the insatiable demand for pizza, these punchy lamb flatbreads are a cinch to make. Cook as many as will fit in your oven at one time; they will be popular.MAKES
For the dough
For the topping
This thrifty supper will have everyone digging in. It's an easy one-pot recipe that older children might like to tackle on their own. If you want to make this vegetarian, swap chorizo for some mushrooms fried with the peppers.SERVES
My eldest daughter, Grace, is chief granola maker in our house. She will often switch around spices, fruit and nuts to get different combinations. We've had Christmas granola (mixed peel and stem ginger), and granola studded with chopped up chocolate buttons (though this is an occasional treat). Cooking the granola very slowly at a low temperature makes the mix crisp up and turn golden without requiring too much oil or processed sugar. Leave the cooked granola to cool completely on the tray before packaging it; this will also help to form the fabled clusters. We like to eat ours with plain yogurt and fresh fruit.MAKES
Baking bread is a great activity for children and these pretzels are especially fun to make. You'll need to help children with the boiling bit, as the hefty measure of bicarbonate in the water tends to make the water bubble up quite a bit. Boiling the dough before baking it makes these pretzels wonderfully chewy to eat. Soft, long pretzels; a good thing.MAKES
Doughnuts, Spanish style. My three are over the moon when we make these together. Lemon curd also proved popular here.MAKES
About 16 churrosINGREDIENTS
This is the perfect stirring job for a child who wants to learn to use the hob – it's low and slow cooking. You can use oranges, clementines or tangerines here, if you'd rather.MAKES
One to two jarsINGREDIENTS
This loaf bakes with a terrific crust and a chewy, almost crumpet-like texture to the crumb. I don't knead this bread; a vigorous mixing is all it needs. The children can easily make this. My bet is that you'll find yourself making extra porridge for breakfast to make this bread.MAKES
One large loafINGREDIENTS
My daughter Ivy is especially fond of butter. Sweetened with dried fruit and given a hefty dose of mixed spice, this is her favourite toast topping. As well as eating it, she also quite likes making this. I tend to chop the dates and Ivy chops the butter and combines (hands squelching gleefully) the rest of the ingredients before shaping and chilling it in the fridge.MAKES