Friday, December 23, 2011

Cooking for Christmas with Children


Cooking for Christmas with Children

Christmas can be a wonderful way to involve the whole family. Scenes from favourite movies can come alive in your own kitchen as you play carols on the radio and have little faces covered with flour and chocolate.

The key to cooking with children at Christmas is to relax. By accepting that children’s cooking will be original and inviting, but not picture perfect, you’ll be able to create magical wondrous delights that no one will be able to match.

Tree Decorations
The most popular recipes to use at Christmas with the children are ones that can show off their artistic talent. The Family Christmas Tree is a great backdrop for a multitude of art work made from larder staple ingredients.

Gingerbread decoration are a firm favourite, and any shape can be made, from stars to musical notes, with a hole in the top when baking, children can place ribbon through before icing and hanging on the tree.

Home-made popcorn also looks wonderful on string hung around a Christmas tree. This is best made just a few days before Christmas so it doesn’t have a chance to go off and produce stale smells.

Baking for Teachers
Children will love baking for teachers at the end of term, or even for family members that come to visit. Peppermint ices take no cooking, meaning they can make these all on their own. Mix peppermint essence with icing sugar and double cream and let the children mould them into discs. With writing icing pens they can create their own personalised messages to give to the ones they love.

Baking for Santa
This year let the children leave biscuits or mince pies for Santa, by making a batch of pastry or cookie dough and arming them with a box full of cookie cutters they will enjoy giving something back to the jolly bearded man who delivers them their favourite gifts. They can fill the pastry cases with mincemeat or jam, and be creative with the lids.
Decorating the Christmas cake
Once the marzipan and icing covers the cake, let the children decorate it. You may not have a cake that would adorn the cover of Good housekeeping magazine, but it will be completely original. You’ll be amazed at the creations children can make with some fondant icing and food colouring. Most children know exactly how to make a snowman from years of practicing with plasticine or play dough and this is really no different.

Let them Choose Dessert
A lot of Christmas desserts are too rich for children’s taste buds, Christmas pudding, stolen, and sherry trifles are not on their foodie wish list. Let them make their own desserts with a Christmas twist, such as cranberry jelly and toffee ice cream, sometimes the old classics are the best.

Above all have fun, make a mess and relax. So many of us put ourselves under so much pressure to create the perfect Christmas dinner, however by relinquishing a little control and letting the children put their creativity to good use, you’ll not only produce the most wonderful festive feast you’ll also secure some great memories too.

This is a guest post by Martina Mercer. Martina is a big fan of cooking from the garden and often uses a variety of herb plants and seeds in her dishes.

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