VSWatching With Kids: The Difference Between How It’s Going To Be On Your Mind (fun, engaging, delicious, a great way to get kids to try new things) and what it can be like in practice (weirdly stressful , incredibly messy, essentially divisive) can, shall we say, be vast. Those who have tried have probably experienced both to some extent and are, therefore, more comfortable preparing food than The Advice. I’ll take the advice today (although I whisper a little prep really pays off, so get all your ingredients out and get ready), but I hope this food attracts those little hands to chop, mix, taste and eat. Good luck!
Rice cakes with ham and mozzarella (photo above)
These rice cakes are inspired by yaki onigiri, or Japanese rice balls. I often cook with my kids after lunch – they’re much more focused when they’re not hungry – so they’re ideal, as they can be made the night before, ready to fry the next day.
Preperation 15 minutes
to cook 1h15
For the rice cakes
200g of sushi rice
Salt and black pepper
60g of ham, finely chopped into small squares
100g block of low moisture mozzarella, finely grated
1 egg yolk
½ teaspoon sesame oil
20g chives, finely chopped
1½ tablespoon white sesame seeds
½ tablespoon of black sesame seeds
3 tablespoons of olive oil
For the dip
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
1 teaspoon of cornstarch
50 ml of water
1 teaspoon of lime juice
½ teaspoon sesame oil
Put the rice in a medium bowl, cover with plenty of cold water and let soak for 30 minutes. Pour the rice in a colander, run under the cold tap until the water is clear, then put in a small saucepan with 240 ml of water and half a teaspoon of salt. Cover the pot, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cook for 15 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand, still covered, for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix the ham, mozzarella, egg yolk and a good grind of pepper in a bowl, then divide it into eight portions of about 20g, roll into balls and set aside.
Place all the ingredients for the dip in a small saucepan, whisk to make sure the cornstarch is fully incorporated into the liquids, then cook over medium-high heat for three minutes, until the mixture thickens slightly and sets. a brilliant shine. Pour into a small bowl and let cool.
Distribute the rice evenly on a medium baking sheet, drizzle with sesame oil, sprinkle with chives and toss gently with a fork.
Prepare a bowl of cold water and, with wet hands, weigh about 55g of the rice mixture and flatten it to the size of the palm of one hand. Place a ball of the mozzarella mixture over the rice and bring the sides together to form a ball, wetting your hands as you go, so that the cheese mixture is completely coated by the rice. Roll the ball firmly in your hands, then flatten slightly, set aside and repeat with the rest of the rice and mozzarella mixture.
Put all the sesame seeds on a plate, then dip them into the two flat sides of each rice cake, just to coat. Put the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and, when hot, fry the rice cakes in batches for three minutes per side, until the sesame seeds are golden brown. Drain on a tea towel and serve hot with the dip on the side.
Curry and cheese pancakes
The pancake batter can be made the night before, just like the pancakes themselves: store them in an airtight box in the refrigerator. These amounts will make a few extra pancakes, but it will allow for possible pancake-related catastrophes and / or some snacking extras. For a meatless version, try leftover roasted vegetables or chickpeas instead.
Preperation 15 minutes
to cook 1 hour
For the pancakes
200 ml whole milk
75 ml of water
75g Greek yogurt
165g plain flour
½ teaspoon of ground turmeric
Salt and pepper
For the béchamel
100g whole milk
50 g Greek yogurt
15g plain flour
¾ teaspoon of medium or mild curry
¼ tsp ground turmeric
120g grated cheese – cheddar and gruyère work well
Vegetable oil, for frying
250g leftover roast chicken, beef or ham, grated or cut into 1 cm pieces
4 new onions, trimmed and thinly sliced (optional)
Mango chutney, to serve
Put all the ingredients for the pancakes in a blender, add half a teaspoon of salt and mix on high speed until smooth. Pour into a pitcher and set aside while you prepare the béchamel.
Place all the béchamel ingredients except the cheese in a small saucepan, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, for about two or three minutes, until thickened and creamy. Remove from the heat, add 50g of grated cheese, a quarter of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper, and whisk until smooth. Cover the surface of the béchamel with a piece of baking paper to prevent the formation of a skin, then set aside while the pancakes are cooking.
Put a small 16 cm non-stick skillet on high heat. Once hot, lower the heat to medium-high and add a quarter of a teaspoon of vegetable oil. Pour about 50ml of pancake batter into the pan, stir it to spread the batter evenly over the base, and cook for 30-40 seconds on each side. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the rest of the batter – you should end up with 12 or 13 pancakes. (If you want, use two saucepans to speed things up.)
Heat oven to 240 ° C (220 ° C fan) / 475 ° F / gas 9 and line a large 37 cm x 32 cm baking sheet with parchment paper. Take eight of the pancakes (save the rest for a snack), place them on a flat surface, and spread each one with a heaped tablespoon of bechamel sauce. Spread about 30 g of chicken, beef or ham over the bottom quarter of each pancake and top with a teaspoon of green onions and half a tablespoon of grated cheese. Fold the top half of each pancake over the bottom half, to cover the filling, then fold the left side to cover the right, resulting in small open triangular packages.
Place the packages on the lined baking sheet, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and drizzle with half a tablespoon of olive oil. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown, then serve hot with the rest of the spring onions sprinkled on top and a little mango chutney on the side.
Raspberry Frisbee Cookies
Is it possible to call a cookie a frisbee and get mad when food flies through the kitchen? Use another berry in place of the raspberries, if you prefer, and double the amount of jam to leave some left over for breakfast.
Preperation 15 minutes
to cook 1h15
For the cookies
300g plain flour
100g icing sugar
15 cardamom pods (2 g), ground, to make ½ tsp. (optional; omit if your children don’t like them)
210g butter at room temperature, cut into 2 cm cubes
1 tsp of vanilla paste
For the jam
225g raspberries, fresh or frozen and thawed
100g of golden powdered sugar
½ tablespoon of lemon juice
For the icing
60g icing sugar
1 tablespoon of water
15 g freeze-dried whole raspberries
Heat oven to 180C (160C fan) / 350F / gas 4. In a large bowl or food processor, combine the flour with the icing sugar, ground cardamom, if any, and one-eighth of a teaspoon of salt. flakes. Add the butter and vanilla paste, and mix or pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Pour into a bowl and use your hands to bring everything together into a ball.
Place the dough between two sheets of baking paper and, using a long rolling pin, roll it out ¾ cm thick, pushing back the cracked edges as you go. Peel off the top sheet of paper and save it for baking cookies later. Lift the bottom sheet of paper on each side, with the dough on top, transfer it to a large, flat tray and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the jam filling. Mash the fruit with a fork until smooth (or blend in a food processor), then strain the resulting mash through a fine sieve placed over a bowl, using a spoon for push it through, until all you have left is the pips in the sieve.
Pour the mash into a large saucepan, add the caster sugar, lemon juice and an eighth of a teaspoon of crumbled salt, then cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, until it boils furiously. Pour into a bowl, cover and let cool.
Take the cookie dough tray out of the refrigerator, lift the sheet of paper with the dough still on it, and transfer it to a work surface. Using a 5 cm round cookie cutter, cut 18 cookies and place them on a large baking sheet lined with the reserved sheet of paper. (If there are any leftovers, put them on a second platter, then bake and keep them to crumble on the desserts and / or yogurt another time.) Bake the cookies. for 17 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges, then use a spatula to transfer them to a wire rack and let cool.
Combine the icing sugar and water in a small, flat-bottomed bowl, and mash the freeze-dried raspberries in a second small bowl.
Once the cookies are cold, pour half a tablespoon of jam into the center of nine cookies, cover with the remaining cookies and press lightly to form a sandwich. Roll the edges of each sandwich cookie in the frosting, as if you were rolling a wheel, allow the excess to drip off, then roll the frosted edges in the crushed raspberries, so that you have a pretty pink line all around each cookie. Set aside until you are ready to eat them.