Cooking is about so much more than making fairy cakes - although of course these are always great fun.
Cooking is about so much more than making fairy cakes - although of course these are always great fun. Cooking is an exercise in following instructions (either from a recipe or from person to person) as well as exploring themes of science, maths and experimentation. It’s also an opportunity to enjoy some sensory play - rare is the child who doesn’t like to get messy when cooking. Cooking can also be part of outdoor play as you forage for berries or toast marshmallows on the fire.
There are plenty of children’s cookery books available but you can bring a new angle to cooking with your child by encouraging them to devise their own recipes, draw pictures of how their dishes might look and create their own shopping lists and meal plans. This is also a great way to help them understand that food is something they can create for themselves instead of reaching for ready-made snacks.
Bread and simple baking techniques are the best place to start as they use hands and blunt implements such as wooden spoons, and much of the process takes place away from the dangers of the hob or oven. Here’s an easy recipe for bread rollls:
You will need:
500g bread flour (white or wholemeal)
7g (one sachet) fast-action yeast
1 1/2 tsp caster sugar
2 tsp salt
300ml luke-warm water
3 tbsp olive oil
extra flour for dusting
- Combine the flour, yeast, salt and caster sugar in a large bowl
- Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the luke-warm water and olive oil
- gradually mix the flour in until it forms a dough
- Transfer the dough to the work top and start to knead. Don’t worry if the dough is quite wet. Keep kneading for ten minutes until smooth and elastic
- Place your smooth dough into a lightly oiled, covered bowl and leave to prove for an hour.
- Once the prove is complete, knead the dough for another 10 minutes, then roll into a long sausage shape and divide into eight sections.
- Form these sections into small rounds and place on a baking tray for another hour with a tea towel over the top. Preheat the oven to 220C/fan.
- Cook your rolls in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Once out of the oven transfer to a cooling rack, tapping the bottom of the rolls to check that they sound hollow. Enjoy with plenty of butter and jam.