Cooking with Toddlers

It feels like an age since I wrote anything cooking related and unfortunately that is because very little of interest has been happening in the kitchen lately.  There has been so much to do in the garden and life in general has become quite busy.  My usual weekend cooking time has been replaced by other lovely activities and family gatherings and it looks like this will continue for a while longer.  Generally I enjoy cooking on my own and when I have the head space to concentrate on what I’m doing.  This means I need Mr Good around to amuse Miss Two and that too has been hard to arrange in recent weeks.

In light of this I decided today I just had to get back into the kitchen so found a couple of toddler friendly recipes.  First on the agenda was a cake, in this case a coconut cake that I had heard some of the mums from playgroup talking about.  I thought I had caught enough of the details to give it a go – it is a remarkably simple cake – and would be perfect for Miss Two to help with.  Basically it’s a cup of coconut, a cup of self raising flour, 3/4 cup of sugar and 3/4 cup of milk.  Mix it together – Miss Two’s favourite job – and then bake in a loaf tin.  I didn’t hear the cooking instructions so guessed at 180 degrees for 20-25 mins and it seemed to work well.  This makes quite a small cake, but is very tasty.  If you’re like me a cake isn’t finished until it’s iced or topped with something – in this case butter icing with a little lemon juice added (I did think lime would be even nicer but didn’t have any). 

Next was something interesting for lunch.  Our normal fare is sandwiches or occasionally ‘noodles’ (which can be any form of Asian noodle or pasta), but I thought something a little different was in order for today.  Instead we made quesadillas filled with ham, cheese and tomato.  To prepare these take a flour or corn tortilla spread on some avocado and the on half the torilla layer some ham, sliced tomato and grated cheese.  The filling can be adapted any way you like (eg left over chille con carne is nice).  Fold the tortilla in half and then grill or cook in a sandwich press.  These are great for kids to fill themselves if you have everything already cut up for them.  Once they’re cooked cut them into triangles, as big or small as you like.  No photos of this one, hungry two year olds don’t have the patience to sit and look at food while Mum decides how best to photograph it.

And as we’d been cooking up a storm Miss Two was quick to volunteer to help with dinner as well.  I had planned a slow cooked Irish Beef Hotpot so it wasn’t the ideal dish for little hands, but once everything had been cut up and I had browned off the meat onions and garlic she was able to put the vegetable into the casserole dish along with the meat and onions and give it all a stir.  In the meantime she ‘cooks’ with a couple of bowls, a wooden spoon, the vegetable scraps and a little water.

So while it wasn’t quite the relaxing, carefree cooking I usually enjoy and it definitely took some thinking to get the right recipes, it was lovely to spend some time in the kitchen and to share that with my daughter was extra nice.  Her love of cooking is already quite evident now I just need to embrace her enthusiasm a bit more so that it’s a more enjoyable experience all around.  I’d love to hear of other great toddler friendly recipes, those that don’t involve to much chopping or working with hot liquids and so on, but also which toddlers will enjoy eating.

PS I’m still waiting (impatiently) for my Diggers seed order to start my project, I might have to plant some other seeds I have if they don’t turn up soon.

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2 Responses to Cooking with Toddlers

  1. Liz says:

    I like the sound of that cake. I have been baking with Miss 5 and Mr not quite 2 today and whilst I’d love to say the experience was enjoyable hellish probably comes closer……still the cake for Miss 5’s party on Saturday is now awaiting assembly so its not all bad. Miss 5 is actually quite good in the kitchen but frankly what I was thinking getting the other one to crack eggs I don’t know….. Miss 5 does like to go her own way whilst cooking and likes to make very strange combinations and call them salads – usually they involve yoghurt, fruit & vegetables but can involve virtually anything. Daddy helps her eat them…..I’m usually too full……When I can get her to actually help me I think things like marinades are great. Honey and Soy being a favourite. Also salad dressing. She is also great at measuring spices. But most often we makes drop scones (pikelets) and corn cakes (sugarless drop scones with sweetcorn, capsicum and herbs in it) or muffins (both sweet & savoury).

  2. Barbara Good says:

    Oh Liz, I’ve been catching up on your blog and reading all about Miss 5’s salad creations, I must say sacrificing that last ever cucumber was a real act of love, especially after waiting all that time for it to ripen. But perhaps Daddy is the real hero in this case, I’d be full too! I’ve often contemplated the egg cracking task but as yet have not been brave enough. Miss Two does love to break up the eggshells into her ‘cooking’ bowl once I’ve cracked them though. I like the idea of marinades and salad dressings, I hadn’t thought of that. And I’ll put picklets at the top of the list for next time we’re in the kitchen, yum! Thanks for the ideas.

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