The fug and the noise in the kitchen is painful.
An oven tray is smoking with burnt cheese, over-filled little pies are bursting up and over, the over-loaded food processor is groaning, the fridge is beep-beeping shut me, shut me.
But food is being made - and will be eaten forthwith - and there is the chatter of anticipation that it would "taste better than "anything else".
Agreed, the teacher has forgotten her greens. The lesson today children, is B for Brown. Brown toastie, brown pies, brown biscuits. There is icecream, all cool white and creamy but guess what? It is B for banana.
Brown food is easy for small fingers to make. Brown food is baked, not boiled. There is no hot water to scald, no hot fat to splatter.
No knife skills are needed - just a good grater. Children accept pastry comes readymade, tomato stuff comes from jars, and a machine will deal with recalcitrant butter and sugar.
The point of learning to cook is achieving success.
Successful mastery of basic cooking techniques and useful kitchen tools, and at the end of the lesson, something nice to eat. If you want contented children in the school holidays, put them to work in the kitchen.
TOASTED CHEESE TRIANGLES
Good hot or cold, as a snack or in a lunchbox. They can be stored in the fridge and reheated .
Half a loaf of sliced brown toast bread - or more if you spread thinly.
75g unsalted softened butter
100g grated cheese (whatever cheese is available)
1 egg yolk
1 tsp mustard powder
A pinch of smoky paprika
2 Tbsp crunched potato chips
1 egg white
Cut slices into triangles - crusts on or off to preference. Mash butter until it is creamy then add the egg yolk and beat well with a wooden spoon. Add the cheese, mustard powder, paprika and potato chips and combine well. Beat the egg white until it is stiff and fold into the cheese mixture. Spread over the bread. Place on a baking tray and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 190C, then place baking tray with toasts on in oven and bake 10-15 minutes.
HAM EGG AND CHUTNEY TARTLETS
Makes 12 small pies. Use bun, pie tins or muffin tins. You will need a cookie cutter large enough to cut rounds that go up the sides of the tins not just cover the base.
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
2 slices of smoky ham , diced
1/4 cup milk
1 Tbsp cream
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp tomato chutney
2 Tbsp cheese grated
Pre-heat oven to 200C. Lightly grease tins if they are the non-stick type. Cut out rounds of pastry and place in the tins. Divide the diced ham between the tins. Beat the eggs with the milk, cream, salt and pepper in a large jug. Carefully pour this mixture into each pie tin, covering the pastry. Drop a blob of tomato chutney on the top of each pie and scatter with cheese. Place in oven and bake about 20 minutes. Pies will rise dramatically but they will fall when removed from the heat. Eat warm.
WHITE CHOCOLATE AND DRIED CHERRY BISCUITS
An updated version of Lavannahs the chocolate stuffed biscuits. Makes 12 biscuits.
100g softened butter
125g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp golden syrup
24 white chocolate buttons and 24 dried cherries (or cranberries) roughly chopped
Cream butter and sugar, add flour, baking powder and syrup. Mix with a wooden spoon until all is well combined and you have a soft biscuit dough. Now, either add the chopped chocolate and dried fruit and form into small balls then flatten with a fork, or roll the dough into equal balls, press equal amounts of the chocolate/ fruit mix in the centre of each and roll again to enclose. Bake on a baking paper lined tray at 180C until golden brown but still soft. Remove and let cool.
LAZY BANANA ICE CREAM
This is fun for children to make, but a blender or food processor is needed. Frozen bananas are transformed into creamy instant icecream. Serves 2-4.
1/2 cup of thick creamy yoghurt
5 bananas (about 650g)
2 Tbsp orange juice
Put a fine gauze cloth or a Chux cloth in a colander then the yoghurt. Leave at least three hours for any liquid to drain off. It is important that the yoghurt be as thick and firm as possible. Peel and slice the bananas into thin rounds, place on a cooking foil-lined tray and freeze (about 40 minutes). Squeeze a fresh orange and measure out the required juice.
Put the frozen banana slices in the food processor with the thick yoghurt and the orange juice and whiz until smooth. You might have to stop the machine and scrape down the frozen cream occasionally. Keep processing until you have a creamy mixture with no lumpy banana pieces.
Serve immediately with freshly sliced banana or other fruit. The "icecream" can be frozen for up to two weeks. It won't be as silky the second time around.
- © Fairfax NZ News