Friday, 23 May 2014

Toddler cooking (2)

So we've carried on cooking and Doof is enjoying it more and more. It's lovely seeing how he learns different skills every time we make a new dish and it's nice to have a 'sitting down' activity to do together now that he spends most of his time running around like a Duracell bunny!


Chocolate Easter nests

Toddler age: 18 months

Ingredients: large bar dairy milk, cornflakes, mini eggs to decorate 

Equipment: saucepan, mixing bowl, wooden spoon, spoon, cupcake cases

1. Break up chocolate into saucepan and slowly melt over gentle heat 
2. Pour melted chocolate into plastic bowl
3. Add handfuls of cornflakes and mix well. Keep adding handfuls until all the chocolate is all soaked up on the cornflakes 
4. Spoon mix into individual cupcake cases
5. Add decorative toppings (we used mini eggs)
6. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours if you have time - this helps the chocolate set, especially important if you haven't used a 'binder' like golden syrup

 What did Doof enjoy doing?
- adding handfuls of cornflakes to the chocolate bowl
- mixing the ingredients together
- laying out the cupcake cases
- spooning the mix into cupcake cases
- adding the toppings (rather suspiciously one Easter nest ended up with a lot more mini eggs than the others... I think D was hoping that was going to be his nest!)

What was Doof not interested in or unable to do?
- I didn't let him help with either breaking up the chocolate (too difficult for his little hands as it was straight from the fridge) or with melting the chocolate (he's still too young for me to want to have him anywhere near a heat source and I was doing it on an Aga so all the surfaces were hot!)

Note: we made a really simplified version of this recipe to make it more Doof-appropriate. You can also make it more "gourmet" by adding butter and golden syrup to the chocolate. Or even try using mint or orange-flavoured chocolate for a little twist :)


Chicken quesadillas 

Toddler age: 19 months

Ingredients: tortillas (we used the mini ones from M&S as they were perfect toddler size), ripe avocado, red pepper, sweetcorn, cooked chicken, 2 spring onions, cheddar cheese, tomato salsa (we used ready made from a shop), creme fraiche, olive oil spray

Equipment: spoon & fork for scooping and mashing, plastic bowl, cheese grater, frying pan, heatproof spatulas x2

1. Cut the avocado in half and scoop the inside into a bowl. Mash up with a fork
2. Cut half a pepper into thin strips and top/tail a few spring onions, removing the outer layer
3. Grate a large portion of cheddar cheese
4. Using blunt knife cut up the spring onions and pepper strips
5. Shred the cooked chicken pieces into small bits - around 1-1.5cm in size, shape and regularity doesn't matter!
6. Arrange all the ingredients in small bowls or plates within reach of your toddler - grated cheese, diced pepper, chopped spring onions, sweetcorn, shredded chicken pieces, salsa - this is why I find it much easier cooking with D sat on the table rather than in his highchair...
7. Pick a tortilla, cover half with salsa and then add a mix of ingredients - if your children are older they can try to keep the ingredients on one half, or if they are younger you can just shuffle all the ingredients onto one half when you fold the tortilla in two! 
8. Try to keep about 1cm of clear margin around the tortilla edge with no ingredients on as this will reduce spillage out of the sides when cooking. Easier said than done with a toddler but even with fully open sides they still tasted delicious :)
9. Spray a frying pan with cooking oil and heat. Then add the halved tortilla and cook for around 2 minutes. Turn the tortilla over carefully (I used 2 spatulas) and cook the other side the same - the cheese should be melted inside
10. Cut into triangles and serve with a dollop of creme fraiche they can dip into

What did Doof enjoy doing?
- mashing up the avocado
- chopping up the spring onions and pepper
- sprinkling all the ingredients onto the tortillas
- sampling everything as he was going!

What was Doof not interested in or unable to do?
- I didn't let him grate the cheese as I think he is too young
- he needed some encouragement to get approximately the right proportions of ingredients in each tortilla and to keeping adding things rather than just eating everything as he went along!
- I didn't let him help with the cooking as I think he's too young to be safely around a lit hob

Although D did a lot of sampling when making these I was very happy with that as I think it's really important for him to play with raw unprocessed food, see what it feels like, taste it etc. His face after trying raw spring onions was fantastic - and the experience didn't stop him from immediately trying the avocado afterwards!! 


Hope you enjoy these recipes if you try them - you can see what else we've made here. I'd love to see anything you make with your toddler so please link up below or leave a comment :)

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