Whether it’s helping out with dinner prep or baking something special to enjoy together, cooking with your kids is a fun, engaging and educational way to occupy a few of the many hours at home during school holidays (or social isolation).
These are a few of our favourite snacks to make with our kids, each involving steps with varying degrees of complexity so mum or dad can help out where needed, and each creating something delicious to enjoy together at the end.
Combine equal parts instant yellow polenta and breadcrumbs, then set up dunking stations of seasoned flour, beaten egg and the polenta mix. Get your little assistants to submerge strips of firm-fleshed white fish into each in turn, reserving one hand for dry work (flour, polenta) and one for wet (the egg). Shallow-fry the crumbed fish fingers in olive oil, season with salt, and serve with a quick homemade tartare sauce of mayonnaise, finely chopped cornichons, and tiny capers. Try the same technique with sliced rounds of chicken breast for homemade nuggets.
Season cooked sushi rice with rice wine vinegar and mirin, stirring until the rice is cool. Slice cucumber, carrot, avocado and a thin omelette into strips. Lay a sheet of nori (seaweed) onto a sushi roller and spread over the cooled rice (leaving around an inch uncovered on one edge). Use your finger to brush a strip of mayonnaise over the rice, then top with a line of the egg and vegetables. Roll tightly and, wetting the uncovered edge of nori with a damp pastry brush, seal the roll. Slice and serve with soy sauce and pickled ginger.
Spread salsa liberally over a flour tortilla and top with fried slices of chorizo (or add beans if you want to keep things vegetarian). Top with grated cheese, and a second tortilla. Get the responsible grown-ups to transfer the tortilla stack to a lightly-oiled non-stick frying pan and set over a medium-high heat. Press down on the top tortilla as the quesadilla cooks, flipping carefully when it browns on the bottom. Once the cheese has melted, remove from the stove and slice into segments. Serve with extra salsa.
Preheat your oven to 180C and line a 12-cupcake tray with patty cases (this recipe makes 18 cupcakes, so prep two tray if you have them, or bake in two batches). Using a stand mixer, beat together 100g room temperature unsalted butter, 2/3 cup caster sugar and 1tsp vanilla extract until creamy and pale. Add two eggs, one at a time, and beat until incorporated, then mix in 1/2 cup full cream milk. Sift in 1 cup self-raising flour, 1/3 cup undutched cocoa powder, and 1/2tsp bicarb of soda. Fold through until well-incorporated (but not over mixed). Fill each cupcake case until 1/3 full, and bake for 20 minutes.
Once cupcakes have cooled, beat together 1/4 cup softened unsalted butter, 1.25 cups icing sugar, 2 tbs cocoa powder and 1 tbs milk, and spread over each cupcake.
Whatever cooking adventure you’re looking to embark on, and however old your assistants may be, The Essential Ingredient has all the quality ingredients and professional-grade kitchen equipment you need to make sure your time in the kitchen together is as rewarding and delicious as possible.