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Food Fun for All the Family from CookeryEatery

Author: Emma Goulding, CookeryEatery Published: 9th April 2016 13:22


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Superfood for a Super Me: The Almighty Coconut

There are all sorts of ways to enjoy a coconut's creamy, naturally sweet and nutty flavours and top nutritional goodness. You can still buy a bag of desiccated coconut like the one in Nan's pantry, along with the many sweetened packaged treats that carry the flavour. However, these days the focus is very much on the real thing, straight from the nut. You can drink its water fresh or from a carton and you will often find it (mostly unsweetened) combined in many health food alternatives to traditional snacking bars, milks, cakes and confectionary. Remember that the coconut is a fruit and not actually a nut and so it isn't within the group of foods that can cause severe allergic reactions such as tree nuts or peanuts.

King of the Crunch

We all know that carrots are pretty amazing. They are versatile, nutritious, can be eaten raw or cooked, work as a natural food dye, grow easily and in abundance, and help us reach our daily fruit & veg needs. But did you know how much fun you can get out of them at the dinner table too? Try this crunching competition, for example. The rules are simple. Everyone has to be quiet except for the ‘Cruncher(s)'. Then in turn or in teams, you crunch on your carrot until it has, well, gone. (Bonus points to the Mums and Dads who have made a great game out of eating well without having to beg the kids to eat their veg!) Round two for next time: sugar snap peas.

The Entire Potato (Skins and All!)

We've all heard about the shocking amount of domestic food waste each year. So why not challenge your family to use all of each of the foods you buy? Starting with using the entire potato next time you make mash, roasties, or even a fancy rosti with your steak on a Saturday night. Or if you don't use the potato skins in your actual dishes, you could use the peels to make the best homemade snack you've ever had. Yes, potato skins can be fried quickly and simply on the hob to make crisps that don't have that artificial prepacked taste. You'll actually be able to taste potato, and you'll have the creative freedom to flavour your crisps exactly how you fancy at the time.

To do this start by washing the potatoes to ensure the skin is clean, removing any bits that are blemished, bad or green in colour. Then peel the potatoes with a veggie peeler, placing the peelings in a bowl of water until you've finished in order to stop them from going brown. Dry each peeling on kitchen towel until fully dry and, taking a few at a time, place them into a pan of hot oil. Carefully flip them a couple of times until golden brown (or darker if you like them more intense), then remove them from the oil. If you would like to have them plain (no seasoning) dry them on kitchen towel again until the oil has been absorbed. Alternatively, if you'd like to season them, give them a quick pass over the kitchen towel to remove any drops of oil then put them all into a dry bowl. Add the flavours of your choice, and you'll find that the little bit of remaining oil on the peels will help the spices to stick to them. Try a simple salt & pepper mix. Or paprika works well, as does mustard and onion powder. Or turn up the heat by adding a sprinkling of chilli powder! There you have it - homemade crisps and zero waste!

Getting to the Root of it: All Veg Mash-Up

Mashed potato is as standard as it gets and, although we love it, it can get a bit on the *yawn* boring side. So why not consider the following method for making your mash a bit more interesting and a whole lot tastier.

Winter root veg are making a resurgence as we focus on nutritious wholefoods that are plentiful, economical and push us beyond relying simply on carrots, tatties and peas to get through the winter. Try steaming or boiling peeled swede, celeriac, parsnips or even turnips, along with a small portion of potato that you would usually set to cook. Add as many or as few together as you wish and mash as usual, adding in a bit of butter or cream, and season to taste. The result will be a slightly multi-coloured and varied texture mash that's different but just as tasty and uses all the produce that's available at the moment.

"Can I Help Do Something Mum?"

"Yes, yes you can." should be your answer. Next time you're at the shops or market, make a point of asking your child to find a specific ingredient on your list. It could be spinach for a curry, a bunch of asparagus as it comes into season soon, or some fresh beets for baking to reduce the amount of sugar you'll add into the batter.

This will give your child the opportunity to discover a new ingredient, food or way of eating something they're used to eating another way. Then back at home in the kitchen the child may like to help you prepare the item they chose at the shops. And here's hoping their enthusiasm reaches to the table itself, when it's time to enjoy the food they're so proud of helping Mum or Dad make for supper!

For information about CookeryEatery's children's cookery classes, holiday camps and parties as well as its adult cook-alongs and monthly cookbook club visit the CookeryEatery website, call 07795 627 492 or send an email to info@cookeryeatery.co.uk.

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