To celebrate National Baking Week, here are some top tips with getting the kids baking and getting creative in the kitchen.
We love cooking and baking with our little crew but, oh boy, have we learnt from our mistakes along the way. Our visions of domestic bliss have dissolved into flour-caked mayhem faster than you can say, ‘in the bowl, darling, the eggs go IN THE BOWL.’
Through trial and error, and a lot of messy fun, we are now a little slicker at organising our little chefs. Here are our top tips for kitchen calm:
- Make a plan
Thinking on your feet (AKA ‘winging it’) is a big part of parenting, and familiar territory for us, but in certain situations it really pays to have a plan. We like to give everyone age appropriate tasks in advance (including clean-up ones), and make sure they understand their roles. Little ones may like to practice their stirring and measuring techniques before the real ingredients come out.
- Set up for success
We get all our ingredients and equipment ready before our Giggling Gourmets report for duty. Kids can have short attention spans, so letting them dive straight into the action helps to keep their interest.
- Give it time
Lots of time. It will always take much longer than you think. We like to team up with another family (many hands…), and make a morning or afternoon out of it.
- Process not product
Keep your eye on the prize, which isn’t perfectly crisped biscuits or Instagram-worthy pancakes (although our mixes should help the cause there). If your main goal is enjoying spending time together and having fun, then you’re unlikely to be disappointed.
- Embrace the mess
Get the messy play aprons out and dress the kids, and you, in clothes that can only be improved by the addition of uncooked dough and biscuit mix. Have the clean-up kit ready with hand wash, towels, wipes and kitchen roll all to hand. And enjoy it!
Making pizza is one of our favourite kitchen adventures for kids, not least because you get a meal out of it at the end. Kids love decorating their own pizza, and it’s easy to cater for fussy eaters and different tastes.
Here’s a pizza recipe that usually disappears fast in the Sweetpea kitchen.
Pesto, pepper and pine nut pizza
Pesto is a perennial kids’ favourite so we sometimes switch our tomato pizza sauce for a bit of green goodness. The sweetness of the peppers suits young taste buds, and the pine nuts add a satisfying crunch.
- Olive oil for the pizza dough mix and for veggies
- Pesto (we use 2-3 tbsp per large pizza)
- Mozzarella (we use 1 ball per pizza)
- A handful each per pizza of:
- Red onion (sliced thinly)
- Red or orange bell peppers (sliced)
- Pine nuts
- Fresh basil leaves (torn)
- Make the pizza dough according to pack instructions, remembering to allow an hour for the dough to rise.
- Preheat the oven to 220 degrees – the hotter the better for crispy pizzas!
- Fry the onion and pepper slices in a little olive oil over a medium heat, for a few minutes. This softens them nicely as the pizzas cook quickly. This can be done in advance: we often cook a stir-fry for dinner the night before a ‘pizza party’, and fry up some extra veg ready for our pizza toppings.
- When the dough is ready and rolled out, simply top the pizza bases with pesto and then add the rest of the toppings before placing in the oven. We roll the pizzas thin, so ten minutes cooking time is usually plenty.
Find more tips on making perfect pizza over on our website. And happy cooking!