Children in the Kitchen

Cooking with your child can be a really wonderful experience. Not only are you creating valuable memories together but also cooking is a fantastic activity that can be a lot of fun and equally educational. Cooking with your child will also encourage healthy eating habits. For children to help with the preparation of a meal gives them a real sense of where their food is coming from.

 My childhood memories are ones filled with rolling dough, cutting biscuits and icing buns all by my mother's side. I have such cherished memories and with some of my recipes on the blog I want to encourage this wonderful bond that can be made with children through cooking together.

To encourage your child to cook has a wealth of benefits but most importantly you are teaching them a very important life skill. When this interest is encouraged at an early age it will be carried through to teenage and adult life and before long you'll be enjoying the seeds of fruit you planted.

On this page, I will link to some recipes that I find work well when cooking with children. I will also be updating the page with a few video recipes I've made with the children.

I have always found that baking is a lovely way to introduce a child to the kitchen. One of the first recipe I would attempt with the children while running my children's cookery classes was a basic bun mixture. The mixture can be made quite easily with just a bowl and a wooden spoon. The spooning of the mixture into the bun cases may be somewhat tricky for the younger child but with practice, they will perfect it. This is a wonderful exercise for little ones eye to hand co-ordination. Even if you preferred to make the buns yourself all children love to get creative with the decorating of the buns. We always leave a few plain so they can be brought to school on 'treat day' or to have as a dessert with custard.

 Here are some of my favourite bun toppings that the children will enjoy making and eating - Creamy Lemon Topping I love butterfly buns and with this Vanilla Buttercream Icing they are just delicious. The children love Nutella as a treat so these Nutella Cupcakes were a big hit with them.

The children love scones and they certainly make a very convenient lunch box filler. They can be made at the beginning of the week, popped in the freezer and then defrosted in the microwave each morning for school. I always maintain that a picky eater is more inclined to eat foods that they have made themselves and some Wholemeal Scones are easy enough for the children to make while still being nice and healthy.

Most children adore chicken goujons and these homemade ones are a lot tastier and much more nutritious than the shop bought variety. I also love them, especially with this garlicky dip. Just ensure that the children wash their hands really well after making them.

Whenever there is a special day ahead we always make pancakes for breakfast. This is a very easy recipe that requires no weighing scales and one that the children will love to make.

The boys are also quite fond of French Toast and these days will have it ready for me to put on the pan before I even realise that they are whipping something up in the kitchen.

We tend to make many egg-based dishes, due to our supply of daily fresh eggs. These Spanish Tortillas are a big hit with the children.

Another cake I made many times with the children at my cookery classes was this Carrot Cake. Again, all that is needed is a large bowl and a wooden spoon. Children love to make this cake and it makes the perfect gift for Granny or Grandad.

The favourite smoothie in our house is this Tropical Super Smoothie. It is deliciously sweet and nicely nutritious.

When we have plenty of fruit in the back garden we love to make this Strawberry & Blueberry Milkshake.

We have lots of cookie cutters that the children love to use. I find this shortbread biscuit recipe works well with little hands.
Tiarnan making some Cookies.

Other biscuits that I like to make with the children are these Chocolate Butter Biscuits.

The children made some Fudge that they gave as Christmas gifts which turned out lovely.

I love to make a big pot of Soup, especially during the winter months. I normally get Fionn to cut up the softer veg, such as mushrooms, for the pot. This little man loves Indian food and when he's making the soup with me he insists on adding a spoonful of curry powder to the veg before cooking. He is always very proud to declare that it is his own special recipe.

Here is one of Jack's favourite soups - Carrot & Coriander.

Making brownies!
All the kids love basil in their pasta dishes so we regularly make pesto together.

This is a blog post & video that I posted last September for Moate's Culture Day:
Culture Day/Night is taking place around the country on Friday September 23rd. There are some fantastic free events to attend. Log onto for details of events happening in your area. If you are from Moate and on facebook check out Moate Culture Night. There will be plenty of action around Moate for the day and night of the 23rd. Last year I held a cookery demo at Mount Temple School and this year I am organising an on-line cookalong.
I will post the recipes and the needed ingredients here in the next few days. You can then see me making these dishes here on this page at 6pm on the 23rd. If anybody would like to cook these dishes at the same time as me {from your own kitchen} I will be on-line for questions and a chat here on this page, on my facebook page  and on twitter, Between 6 and 7 pm. :)

So I will be cooking a White Soda Bread with sun dried tomatoes & fresh herbs. Also I will be making a Blueberry & Banana Smoothie. I have 'helpers' for this demo so you may need to refer to the recipe as it will get very noisy in the kitchen!!!

 White Soda Bread with Sun Dried Tomatoes & Fresh Herbs

450g (1lb) plain white flour,
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
60g semi sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tbsp freshly chopped sage and thyme
400ml (14fl oz) buttermilk

1. Preheat the oven to 230ºC/400ºF/Gas Mark 9.
2. Sieve all the dry ingredients into a large, wide bowl, add the tomatoes and herbs and combine well. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the milk. Using the fingers of one hand, or using a fork stir from the centre to the edge of the bowl in circles. The dough should be softish, but not too wet and sticky. When it all comes together, turn out on to a well-floured work surface.
3. Wash and dry your hands. Pat the dough into a tidy shape and flip over gently, then pat it into a round. Gently transfer to a floured baking tray. Cut a deep cross into the loaf and prick the centre of each quarter to 'let the fairies out'.
4. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 200ºC/370ºF/Gas Mark 6 and bake for a further 30 minutes or until cooked. If you are in doubt tap the bottom of the bread: it should sound hollow. Cool on a wire rack.

Blueberry & Banana Smoothie

125g (4 oz) fresh  blueberries
2/3 bananas (sliced and frozen)
250g ml (8 fl oz) thick natural bio yoghurt (Glenish) or yoghurt of your choice
300mls orange juice

1 tbsp honey


1. Peel the bananas and roughly chop. Either pop in the freezer for a few hours or use as fresh.
2. Put them into the blender with the rest of the ingredients.
3. Whiz in the blender until the mixture is smooth, thick and creamy.
4. Pour into 4 tall glasses and enjoy.


Imen McDonnell said...

Awesome vid Nessa!!!!!!!!!!! Who is your cinematographer? I have been wanting to start doing film/video on my blog as well, but need a good assistant! Really lovely post...keep the vlogs coming! You're great on camera! xx

Nessa Robins said...

Hubby got that job!! Thanks a million Imen. I will have a mic for the next video. Hard to hear me over the kids!!

cb said...

Great video you are a natural in front of the camera! You have a lovely family

Mary said...

Really enjoyed the video Nessa. The kids were fab. It was nice to get a peek at someone else managing with little helpers! I haven't made smoothies in ages but am feeling very inspired now, thanks.

Nessa Robins said...

Thanks for your lovely comments. I've a great bunch! They make me very happy indeed. Oh Mary those 'helpers' always have their own idea about what they're cooking. They certainly keep me on my toes! :)

denicy said...

Excellent video made me laugh so much such happy helpers enjoying the limelight it is fabulous to see them enjoying the experience so much! my two and half yr old is the very same cant wait to get stuck in!!Im loving the recipes so simple!! Keep up the good work looking forward to reading the book!

Anonymous said...

Hi Nessa. Have you any plans to run a kid's cookery camp over summer or even during term time? I'd be interested in sending a fussy eater....if he cooks it himself, he might be more willing to eat it :-)

Nessa Robins said...

Hi Maria, That's very true - quite often fussy eaters will love whatever they have made with their own hands. I've no plans for classes at the moment. All I can do is recommend that you maybe try a couple of the recipes with him. In the past I have found the Easy Peasy Pizza a great one for fussy little ones. Let me know how you get on. Thanks for the enquiry. Nessa

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your advice, Nessa. I'll try the pizza recipe over the summer - he currently won't touch maybe this will change his view. He's 8 years and has always been fussy. Bland food only. My other two are much easier when it comes to food. At least, they'll try something news. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks, Maria

Kate said...

Great post!