Tag Archives: Cooking with kids

Gingerbread House 2011

6 Nov

This year I thought I would take on making a gingerbread house for the first time. I was quite excited by the prospect and thought Thomas and I would have lots of fun decorating it together. We did have fun – he enjoyed decorating the Christmas trees and gingerbread men but lost interest after a while. It does take a long time to decorate a gingerbread house. All in all I think I spent a whole day on the decorating – and ours didn’t really have an excessive amount of lollies on it. You could spend so much more time…

Ginger house

I used the same recipe as we used for the Gingerbread Star Trees and I purchased a kit that contained all the cutters to make the house. It was only $19.95 and I intend to use it again. A lot less fuss than cutting the guides from cardboard as a lot of recipes suggest. You can make the gingerbread in advance. You can store it in a container for up to a month or a week when made up. We made our biscuits about a week ahead and stored them flat in an airtight container.


  • 3 1/3 cups (500g) plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 150g unsalted butter, softened
  • 175g dark brown sugar
  • 150g honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 eggwhite
  • 1 1/2 cups (240g) icing sugar, sifted, plus extra, for dusting


Preheat oven to 180C. Sift flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and a pinch of salt into a bowl.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add honey and egg. Beat until combined. On low speed, beat in sifted dry ingredients until mixture comes together. Divide dough in 1/2. Wrap separately in plastic. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.Roll out dough halves between baking paper until 4mm thick. Using a set of star cutters cut out as many sets of stars as you can from the dough. With the leftover dough, re-roll it and cut out some small stars to use in between layers. Place same sized stars together, 3cm apart, on baking paper-lined oven trays. Bake larger stars for 8 minutes; smaller stars for 5-7 minutes or until deep golden. Stand biscuits for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
To make icing:Place eggwhite in a bowl. Stir in icing sugar, 2 tbs at a time, until combined.

Place icing in a clip lock bag and cut off the corner in order to pipe icing. Assemble house by piping icing onto edges and ‘sticking’ pieces together. You will need to allow the walls to harden before putting the roof on.

ginger 1

Use icing to attach lollies to outside of house once it has set. Leave for approximately an hour before decorating.

We used m&m’s, small white marshmallows, hundreds and thousands.

I put it on a plate with our North Pole cupcakes which you can read about here.

Gingerbread House

It was great fun and the kids loved pulling it apart and eating it on Christmas day. Will definitely do again next year!


Apple and Strawberry Crumble Cake

21 May

We made this cake for the first time last weekend and it was gone so quickly. I’ve been thinking about it ever since. So when we had friends over last night I couldn’t think of a better dessert!

This cake is quite good to make with little kids because there is a few steps that they can help out with that are a bit different – mixing, putting on the fruit and sprinkling the crumble. They could also help with rubbing the butter into the flour and sugar for the crumble if you wanted to get messy.

One of the many things to talk about when making cakes is the shape of the tin, you could extend on this and when you’re finished baking, (and while your cake is in the oven), go on a search around the house to look for other things that are the shape of the tin you used. This can help children begin to identify different shapes within their environment and because it is relevant to them at the time they are more likely to learn.

Did I mention this was delicious???!!!!!

This recipe is from taste.com.au

Ingredients (serves 12)

Melted butter, to grease
200g butter, at room temperature
155g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs, at room temperature
150g (1 cup) self-raising flour
150g (1 cup) plain flour
185ml (3/4 cup) milk
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, thickly sliced
200g strawberries, washed, hulled, halved
Crumble topping
75g (1/2 cup) plain flour
50g chilled butter, chopped
55g (1/4 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush a round 20cm (base measurement) springform pan with melted butter to lightly grease. Line the base with non-stick baking paper. Place the prepared pan on a baking tray.
  2. Use an electric beater to beat the butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Use a large metal spoon to fold in the combined flour and the milk until well combined.
  3. Spoon into the prepared pan. Use the back of the spoon to smooth the surface. Arrange the apple and strawberry on top.
  4. To make the crumble topping, place the flour and butter in a bowl. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
  5. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the apple and strawberry. Bake in oven for 1 hour 10 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve cake warm or at room temperature.Delicious served with cream and ice cream. I’m guessing you could also make these into little crumble cupcakes too. Would be very yummy!

Tasty Mince Pinwheels

28 Apr

I remember making these pinwheels when I was in high school. No idea why I can still remember it but it has obviously left a lasting impression on me. The actual recipe is long gone. I did try to make some a while ago using a recipe I found on the internet but they weren’t the same, so I thought I would try and make up my own version based on what I can remember (with a couple of healthy additions!).

It was a miserable rainy day today, a perfect day for doing some cooking with my little helper!


500g beef mince (you could really use any mince you like – chicken, pork, sausage or beef)

2 eggs

1 medium carrot grated

1 medium zucchini grated

1 onion finely chopped

1 green apple grated and squeezed to remove excess juice

2 teaspoons mango chutney

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 cup packaged breadcrumbs

Salt and pepper to taste (optional)

3 sheets frozen puff pastry (defrosted)

Sesame seeds


Preheat oven to 200°C, line baking trays with baking paper.

Combine mince, 1 egg (lightly beaten), breadcrumbs, carrot, zucchini, onion, chutney, curry powder and seasoning in a bowl and mix to combine. Beat remaining egg in a small bowl.

Put 1/3 of the mixture onto each sheet of the puff pastry leaving approximately 1 cm around edges. Roll up like a swiss roll.

Using a serrated knife, cut rolls into 1 cm pieces and place pieces on baking trays approximately 2 cm apart.

Brush with egg and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Rest for 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool.

Serve warm with “dippy” sauce (tomato sauce) – optional.

Note: To freeze, place rolls (unsliced and uncooked) in glad wrap and freeze for up to a month.Cut into slices when almost defrosted and brush with egg before baking. Its great for fine motor skills and hand eye co-ordination.

I really only added the sesame seeds to give Thomas an extra step to help with. He’s very into sprinkles at the moment so he really enjoyed this part of the activity.

Spiced Easter Bunny Biscuits

22 Apr

“Here comes Peter Cottontail, hopping down the bunny trail, hippity hoppity Easter’s on its way…”

I’m feeling a bit chocolate-d out already and it’s not even Easter yet. I wanted to make something Easter-y with Thomas though, he’s actually into Easter this year, but I wanted to stay away from chocolate.

I found this recipe on a UK website called goodtoknow.co.uk.

I preprepared the biscuits as Thomas was busy doing other things today. But he had a great time icing them. And lets face it, it’s much more fun being creative and decorating biscuits than doing all the hard yards!


100g (3½oz) butter, softened
200g (7oz) caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
300g (10½oz) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground mixed spice or ground cinnamon


  1. In a large bowl beat the butter and caster sugar together until pale and creamy. Add the egg and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder and mixed spice. Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly. Add 1 tsp cold water to bring the dough together if you need to. Wrap the mixture in baking paper and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line two baking sheets with baking
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 4mm thick and, using cookie cutters, stamp out shapes and place on trays.
  4. Bake for 15–18 minutes, or until lightly golden in colour. Allow to cool on a wire rack then ice.
To ice these biscuits (I cheated a bit) and used a tube of writing icing I had in the cupboard. Although, the tubes are great for little people who are in need of an activity to strengthen their hands muscles. You have to squeeze quite hard to get the icing out and what better reward than a sweet treat at the end of it. We used sprinkles to decorate our bunnies but you could use any kind of decoration and icing or leave them plain if you like. The biscuits are nice on their own.

Have you got an Easter recipe you like to cook with your kids? Please share…

I hope you and your little chef’s have a wonderful Easter! 

Mummy and Me Cookbook by Annabel Karmel

11 Apr

I am always in bookshops spending a fortune… Looking at (and buying) children’s books would have to be a favourite hobby of mine – even before I had Thomas. Children’s cookbooks are no exception although I haven’t found many that I actually like.

The ‘Mummy and Me Cookbook’ however I think is quite good. The recipes are simple enough for children to make and there are clear photos of each of the steps for children to follow. I think there’s a good mixture of sweet and savoury and most of the recipes are reasonably healthy. Examples of recipes are Munchy Oat Bars, Mini Banana Muffins and Pitta Pizzas. I’d say the age range for this cookbook would be about 4 years+.

Cookbooks are also a great gift for children, put together with some cutters and or a whisk, spatula etc (you can get some great child sized utensils these days) and you have a fairly unique gift that kids might actually use for more than 5 minutes!

Do you have a kids cookbook that you like using? I’d love to hear about it!

Vegetable and Rice Slice

25 Mar

Children are very sensory learners and cooking is a great way for children to get in touch with their senses. You can help them do this by bringing to their attention how different foods look (colour, shape), feel (rough, smooth, sticky etc), taste (sweet or savoury) and smell and also by drawing different sounds to children’s attention, for example the oven timer beeps when dinner is ready, or even the simple hiss of food cooking in the frying pan. You can also talk with children about what they use for each sense i.e. feel with your fingers, taste with your tongue. This simple activity helps children learn about their bodies.

When we made dinner tonight, Thomas and I went to pick the chives from the garden that we needed for our recipe. I gave Thomas some chives to eat. It is important to allow children to taste different foods individually so they can learn to differentiate flavours and also to develop their likes and dislikes. Encourage children to try new foods but don’t force them, if you make tasting foods a positive experience children are more likely to try new things.

I originally got this recipe from a Super Food Ideas magazine but have added my own spin to it. I usually double the recipe and freeze some, it can be eaten cold if you are looking for lunch box ideas.


1/2 cup medium grain brown rice

1 large carrot, peeled and grated

1 large zucchini grated

125g can corn kernels, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh chives

1 cup grated reduced fat tasty cheese

3/4 cup self-raising flour

4 eggs

1/2 cup reduced fat milk

To this I also add

1/2 cup ham or cooked bacon

1/2 cup pumpkin, grated


  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC/160º fan forced. Grease a 3cm deep, 20×30 cm (base) lamington pan. LIne with baking paper allowing 2 cm overhang at long ends.
  2. Cook rice following packet directions. Drain. Cool for 20 minutes.
  3. Combine rice, carrot, zucchini, corn, pumpkin, chives, cheese and flour in a bowl. Whisk eggs and milk together in a jug. Add to rice mixture. Stir to combine. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 35 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked through. Stand in pan for 20 minutes. Cut into pieces. Serve.
  4. To freeze: wrap each piece in plastic wrap then foil and freeze for up to 2 months.

Strawberry Pikelets

14 Mar

I have to say that I’m not the best pikelet maker around. I can never seem to get the consistency right and they never stay in a nice circle shape but thats the beauty of cooking with kids, they’re not all that worried about the aesthetics of it all, especially when they’re involved in the process.

I wasn’t feeling particularly energetic about cooking this morning but my ‘mini masterchef’ had other ideas. This recipe seemed like a good compromise as it is pretty easy and quick. Not to mention delicious! It’s from the Sydney Markets Fresh for Kids website http://www.freshforkids.com.au


1 egg

1/4 cup caster sugar

1&1/4 cups SR flour

1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda

3/4 cup milk

250g strawberries, hulled, halved lengthways and sliced

olive oil spray for greasing

low fat ricotta to serve (opitional)

extra sliced strawberries to serve (optional)


  1. Beat egg and sugar in medium bowl until well combined. Sift flour and bicarb together and gently fold into mixture with the milk. Using a whisk, mix until smooth. Gently stir through strawberries until just combined.
  2. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Lightly spray with olive oil spray to grease. Using about 2 tablespoons mixture per pikelet, cook pikelets in batches for 2-3 minutes on each side or until puffed and golden.
  3. Serve warm pikelets topped with ricotta and extra strawberries.

Makes 12

The recipe says to use about 2 tablespoons of the mixture but this makes quite a big pikelet. I only used about 1 tablespoon and they made a nice little person’s size. I didn’t involve Thomas in the actual cooking of the pikelets. He’s too fast and unpredictable around hotplates. I did pick him up to show him the pikelets cooking in the fry pan so he could identify with the process.

A way to extend on this recipe is by planting your own strawberries in a pot or in the garden. They’re relatively easy to grow and its very rewarding to pick your own fruit and include it in your cooking!