Saturday, November 13, 2010

Kids in the kitchen and a contest!

Before I start my post, let me tell you about the contest. I am giving away 5 copies of Sanjeev Kapoor's newly launched Fun Foods for Fussy Kids (UPDATE personalised with winners names and signed by Sanjeev!) with some lovely ideas for packaging food attractively for fussy eaters. For a chance to win a copy simply leave a comment of not more than 200 words at the end of this post sharing your favourite memory of cooking with your mother as a child or cooking with your child as a parent. Even if you choose to blog about it on your blog, paste in the 200 word story here along with the link. The contest begins NOW and ends on Sunday the 21st November.

With the career I have and the my obsession with food, a lot of my time is spent in the kitchen. In fact the kitchen is the centre of my home. So it was a logical that my kids entered the kitchen early. I first began cooking with my children after my son began to create "something" in the kitchen. He didn't want to follow a recipe. He just wanted to create something using, whatever he could think of. (Thanks to watching me develop recipes and style food shoots). He would have one of us cut chunks of cucumber, tomato and toss it with orange and coriander, sugar, salt, apples, whatever he could find and say "Mom, take a picture of my creation." It made me see how much he wanted to be part of what he saw me do.

And as we cooked together I learnt a few thing that made me indulge him in the kitchen even more. Learning to cook helps children learn about nutrition and healthy eating in a very defining way, a way that no amount of telling them will achieve. And this is important because their generation is more exposed to fast food and junk food than we ever were. And that is one reason why child obesity is on the rise!

Teaching my son to cook has instilled eating habits I hope will last him a lifetime; love for fruit and vegetables for one. And hopefully they will also remember the more important things later like balanced diets and the importance of wholegrain. Learning to cook also helps kids pick up skills to last them a lifetime, boost their self esteem as they savour the joys of accomplishing a task, learning something important and contributing to the family. And cooking helps reinforce lessons in science, language, math and creativity. Working together as a team, whether it is with a parent or with a sibling to get the job done also empowers them to be independent in the future by learning life skills and not having to rely on unhealthy options to sustain themselves. And for all you moms out there that struggle to feed kids what is good for them, Kids will be more conducive to eating what they make! Really! Maybe because of the enthusiasm of creating something themselves, they eat whatever they had a hand in making with greater gusto.

Kids love to cook and want to ‘help’ in the kitchen. And for me cooking with my kids creates family time and bonding and hopefully a few memories that they, in turn, can pass on to their children one day. Yes it also means more time to get the meal done, more patience and much more cleaning up but those moments with my children are priceless. (Just remember to have patience. Don't worry about flour on the floor or spilled milk).

And for all you moms out there that struggle to feed kids what is good for them, kids will be more conducive to eating what they make! Really! Maybe because of the enthusiasm of creating something themselves, they eat whatever they had a hand in making with greater gusto. Here are some of Aman Ghildiyals recommended recipes for Chidren’s Day tomorrow.

SAFETY TIPS: Keep your child's age and attention span in mind before starting any cooking project. Ensure all cooking is done under adult supervision. Tools and implements should be safe; plastic knives, small flexible icing spatulas for decorating cakes and cookies and blunt-edged scissors are recommended. Teach children to keep things clean (and save you more work later) by covering work surface with news paper. Make sure there are ample paper towels and damp sponges ready for quick cleanup along the way!

Butterfly Pasta salad (Serves: 4, Time 15 mins)

250 g Farfalle or Fusilli, cooked

100 g cheese, diced

1 red pepper, chopped fine

1 yellow pepper, chopped fine

1/3 cup olive oil

1 cup sweet corn, cooked

1 cup cooked mixed vegetables such as carrots, beans and peas)

Salt and pepper

1 tsp chilli powder

salt to taste

Method: Combine everything and mix well in a large bowl!

Corny cups (Sweet Corn Salad) (Serves 2-4, Time 15 mins)

for the dressing:

½ cup extra virgin olive oil or butter

Juice of 1 lemon

salt and pepper to taste

For the salad:

2 tomatoes, in small (corn-sized) dice

2 capsicums, chopped fine

500 g corn, cooked (or canned corn, drained)

½ cup coriander, chopped fine

Method: Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Chill until ready to serve.

Serve in little paper cups like at the movies.

Cheesy pin wheels (Serves 2-4, Time 10 mins)

8 slices bread

4 tbsp cheese psread

Dampen a cotton or linen towel/napkin and spread on table. Lay a few slices of bread on half of towel, leaving space between the slices. Cover with the other side of the towel and roll gently with a rolling pin so that bread becomes thinner and larger, thinner and slightly damp. Lay a slice of flatten bread on a board or wax paper. Spread with cheese spread leaving the edges without cheese. Sprinkle with herbs. Roll from the cream cheese edge in a tight roll toward the plain edge. Wrap in wax paper. Place wrapped rolls in a pan. Cover the pan of wrapped "sandwiches" with the damp towel used in the flattening process. When ready to serve slice into pinwheels with a sharp knife.

Russian Salad Open Sandwiches (Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side, Time 15 mins)

1/2 cup peas, cooked

1/2 cup french beans, diced and cooked

1 cup carrots, diced and cooked

1 cup boiled potatoes, cooked and diced

Salt to taste if needed

Mayonnaise to taste

Good soft white bread or multigrain bread

Combine all the vegetables in a large bowl. Mix well. Gently mix mayonnaise in one spoon at a time, so that your potatoes don’t break, until the vegetables are lightly coated and clumping together. Take a slice of toasted bread, spread with a layer of the salad. Top with another slice of bread or leave open and use cookie cutters to cut shapes out of the sandwiches.

Cookie sandwiches and pizzas – (Time overnight plus 15 mins, Makes 4 sandwiches or 8 Pizzas)

8 large cookies

1 c hung yoghurt/ricotta cheese

4 tbsp honey

2 c sliced fruit such as grapes, Kiwi, strawberry

1 c 100s and 1000s or other sprinkles

For the hung yoghurt: Line a sieve or small colander with a clean cloth and suspend over a bowl place yogurt in lined sieve, cover and refrigerate for at 24 hours. Remove from refrigerator, discard liquid and transfer to a small bowl. Stir in 1-1/2 Maple syrup, mix well and chill until required. Spread yogurt mixture evenly over cookies and arrange fruit attractively on top for pizzas, drizzle additional honey on top and sprinkle over the 100s and 1000s. For sandwiches, cover with another cookie and squeeze gently so that the yogurt comes to the edge of the cookie sandwiches. Then roll edge of sandwich in 100s and 1000s. Chill until ready to serve.

Snowy Mountain in Chocolate Lake

4 scoops of Chocolate Ice-cream

4 slices of sponge cake

½ cup powdered sugar

1 cup of Chocolate sauce


4 individual serving bowls

2 Tablespoons

1 tea strainer

Lay out the 4 bowls in a row.

With the tablespoon spoon 1 tablespoon of the chocolate sauce into each bowl.

Break the slices of cake into two three pieces each and make little piles of cake in each bowl.

Place 1 scoop of ice-cream over each cake pile.

With the tablespoon spoon some the remaining chocolate sauce over each mountain to make little chocolate rivers over the cake and ice-cream Mountains.

Take the strainer in your left hand and hold it over each bowl, spoon in some powdered sugar and gently shake the strainer so that the sugar slowly falls on your ice-cream mountain like snow.

NOTE: (You can make little flags with your kids names on them and stick them on the peaks of the ice cream mountain before you serve it...)


The knife said...

great way to bond with looks great too...all the happy vibes I guess

Anonymous said...

Hi! I would like to try out for the Sanjev Kapoor's book contest. Here goes my entry:

Hi, I am Hema and since I do not have kids of my own, I am writing of a fond experience of simple poori making with my mom during my childhood days. During the annual holidays, my mom started making puris for breakfast on a fine saturday morning. I and my sister, being the monkeys we were, wanted to try first hand the art of making round pooris. We took a big bowl, took the ground wheat flour given by my mom and started pouring it in the bowl. While adding water, my sister had a brain wave to make sweet pooris. So we added sugar, brown sugar to the mix and came up with a sticky dough while our mom looked on with a look of horror on her face. But, being the lovely lady that she is, she turned the dough into something doable and made small sized sweet pooris with it. We ate it with relish along with a potato sagu curry. What's more, she even gave off few pooris to the neighbourhood kids as well. She was so proud of us and used to tell this experience to one and all.

I can never forget my first cooking experience with my family and still think of it fondly. I intend to cook sweet pooris for my kids too.

Hema (

aaanamita said...

Rushi dear well i do remember those days when with my mom i used to help her in the kitchen. you do know that she just love salads so during parties it used to be our job to create beautiful salads. mummy used to get real agitated,if the carrots and onion were not cut in proper round shape.Then there were times when during chilled winter afternoon Didi ,me and Rakhee used to bake cake ,our method was rustic but it was fun ,one of us used to mix batter,other one will churn the icing etc.It was always trial and error method but in the end the creation was always appealing and edible.......

Anonymous said...

Hi, it so happens that my favourite food memories with my mother are me introducing her to new recipes and she trying these at home with my Dad at the receiving end. I left home for studies when I was 18, and then moved to Bombay for work. So I have learnt cooking mostly on my own.

This one time, I taught my mother to make ‘Pudina Anda’ - Samar Halarnkar’s recipe of making steamed egg with pudina and onion, tomato masala. My dad, who is a really fussy eater, loved it! And then my mother made it once as starters for a dinner, and so ‘my’ Pudina Anda started making waves back home. Same happened with Shahi Tukda that I taught her to make when some people came over without notice, and a sweet dish had to be produced literally out of thin air! So it was bread, sugar, ghee, milk, cardamom and some magic. She is too proud of me, because cooking isn’t exactly her thing and can’t understand where the food DNA got implanted in me…


kriti maroli said...

My mom had magic hands.until i was twelve she never let me inside the kitchen, because she wanted her kitchen to herself. She used to say that me entering the kitchen would interrupt her thought process. When my grandmom was home during my summer vacationsn i told her my story and she said that she is going to give me a three day crash course on how to cook. I am a very cookbook kind of person. Even if ive tried the recipe a hundred timesn i still would feel insecure about cooking without a glance at the book. A south indian that iam, my grandmom started the three day intensive session by dictating the spices in a zillion dishes. From chutney powder to the authentic sambhar powder i tried them all. A critical person that she is, my grandmom would tell me which of the fifteen spices was missing in the puliyogere mix in a jiffy. When we invited a guest over for my first cooked lunch, i still remember him saying that anyone who would eat the food that i cooked would marry me, even if i was an illiterate.A few days later i started experimenting with the recipes that i learnt. When one day i just burnt the curry on the stove. Thats when i realized the magic of my moms hands. I dont know what she added to it, she converted the not so appetizing burnt curry into a culinary delight! Even though i never have learnt from my mom in the kitchen, she has always been there for damage control. Iam married now and miles away from her, but i just cannot beat her rasam, though my rasam has a hundred more spices in it! My heart longs for her soothing food. And shes just a call way to quickfix the damage that i do!:)

Sands said...

Life can be quite unfair at times. The first 16 years of my life that I lived at home, I never really got a chance to cook much with my mom. I have watched her closely in the kitchen, sitting on the kitchen counter-top, I would just admire her skills. A simple dal and rice eaten from her hands with that dollop of ghee would be a divine experience. If I think back today, I have missed out on a lot!
I have definitely inherited my culinary genes from my parents, my mom who was an awe-inspiring cook and my dad who is an ardent food critic. Our foodie family of three, dad, mom and me loved to experiment with flavors. My mom was a cooking genie, she would amazingly re-create every dish we had eaten at our favorite restaurant and my house was quite the hot-spot. She had perfected the road-side chaats, pav bhajis, dosas, vada pavs, shahi stuff that you get at high-priced restaurants to the T and we preferred eating in than eating out.
I have missed that, miss that even more now, now that she is gone forever. One thing surely positive, my mom wanted to pass me her culinary skills, she was writing a cook-book for me during her last year and she managed to record more than 300 of her finger-licking good recipes. I’m indeed lucky! Love you and miss you mom!

Pinky said...


havng kids of my own & always feel that we should create memories with them when they grow up. i didnt help my mom a lot in the kitchen , but the one i used to luv dng is is filling idli batter in small idli moulds ( a spoon batter moulds).......i used to do it 4m a very early age & now when ever i prepare idlis i have that memory with my mom in my mind.