Herby Cooking with Children
Many children will adore cooking with herbs, however if you produce a spice rack they will see it as a shelf full of magical ingredients and will want to overload a dish with flavour.
Teaching them that quality is better than quantity is the key to their success in creating flavoursome dishes that the whole family will love and not just the teddy bears at the picnic!Starting the lesson by explaining the herbs they already eat everyday can be a revelation, for you as well as the little ones.
Children will love seeing where the sage from their sage and onion stuffing comes from or where the rosemary from the Sunday roast is grown. The more children are involved in the growing process the more likely they are to want to try the finished product, so try to begin early by sowing seeds and watching them mature to herbs you can use in cooking.
Most children appreciate Italian cooking, whether it is a family lasagna or tagliatelle with meatballs they will adore making their own sauce and contributing to the family meal. Basil is your friend here, as not only does it grow very quickly, it is readily available in most garden centres and supermarkets.Let the children try the basil fresh from the plant, and then make a simple tomato sauce allowing them to bash the garlic and chop some onions to fry gently for five minutes until golden. Add fresh tomatoes or canned chopped tomatoes and allow bubbling over a low heat letting the onion infuse. You can add other vegetables too such as peppers, grated carrots and celery, all according to your child’s taste.
A pinch of sugar works well to bring out the flavour of the fruit, and then let your children taste before adding the basil. To add the basil simply tear the leaves, (little ones love this), dip in a little olive oil, and throw in. Leave for five minutes before serving.
Burgers and fries are always a winner with children; they can shape the patties and help to cook them adding their own ingredients along the way. A myriad of herbs can be added however sticking to one will ensure all the family are in agreement about taste.
Teaching your children the basic flavour combinations helps if you grow your own,
· Lamb Burgers benefit from a little fresh mint added to the mince
· Pork Burgers will taste richer with sage
· Beef Burgers will adore a little rosemary
· Fish Burgers will love some Rosemary
· Chicken Burgers will sing with a little thyme added
Mince whichever meat you choose, and lay the strands horizontally. Add your herbs and some salt then roll into a sausage shape to place in the fridge. After an hour remove the sausage and cut off discs, or burger shapes to fry on a barbecue, on a griddle pan or in a shallow frying pan.To add a little extra Martina Mercer zing, try adding the herb of choice to some mayonnaise and mix in with a little lemon juice to bring out the flavours, and hey presto your herb cooking just met with a feast fit for a family of four!
Thanks Sam!! If anyone is interested in guest posting- I would be happy to have you on board- anything cooking or nutrition related.