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Christmas Cooking with Children

Kiddi Caru - 7th December 2022

The lead up for Christmas can be a magical time for families with children in their early years, full of many new experiences and ‘firsts’ for both parent and child. Whether it’s experiencing your child’s first Christmas or watching your child as they progress through different milestones in their development – there are a lot of wonderful moments to be cherished.

Make memories with your little one this Christmas and try a few of our everyday recipes, with a Christmas twist! Cooking with children can provide a great learning opportunity and you might even start a new family Christmas tradition!

This year, we have teamed up with Jana ‘The Alternative Nutritionist’ our skilled early years nutritionist, who has put together three easy and nutritious recipes for you to try at home with your little one. Read on for easy Christmas recipes to make with your toddler or preschooler this holiday.

Our festive recipes:

  • Cosy Chicken Soup
  • Christmas Wreath Pastry
  • Festive Cake Pops

1. Cosy Chicken Soup

Two bowls of soup displayed on a table

 What you need:

  • 7 chicken thighs
  • 1 brown onion
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 celery
  • 1 leek
  • 2 parsnips
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small piece of ginger
  • 2 tbs turmeric
  • 1 tbs mild curry powder
  • (1 stock cube, optional)
  • ½ bunch of parsley
  • pasta (optional)

How to make it:

Peel all vegetables and cut them into chunks – it’s a blended soup, if the chunks aren’t equally sized it isn’t the end of the world.

Heat your pot and add the chicken, onions and garlic.

Fry until they are golden, then add the rest of the vegetables and the spices. Grate the ginger into the soup.

Fry the vegetables, the chicken and the spices a few minutes, then fill the pot with water until everything is covered.

Boil and then reduce the temperature and let it simmer for an hour.

Take the chicken thighs out and remove all bones, then add the meat back to the soup.

Blend the soup to your desired consistency.

You can serve the soup as it is or add some pasta to it – it’s up to you!

2. Christmas Wreath Pastry

Christmas wreath pastry displayed on a baking sheet

What you need:

  • 1 pack of puff pastry
  • 1 bunch of basil
  • 1 bunch of flat parsley
  • 30g sunflower seeds (can be replaced by tinned beans)
  • 50ml olive oil
  • vegetable stock if necessary
  • 150g red lentils
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 carrot
  • ½ onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tbs of paprika
  • 1 egg (for the pastry)

How to make it:

Bring water to the boil and add the red lentils, pepper, carrot and onion.

Cook for 15 mins, then put through a sieve and blend thoroughly (the consistency you’re looking for is spreadable) – if there is too much liquid, add some cornflour to thicken.

Add paprika to it and stir.

Create a pesto with the washed herbs (you can use the stems too), the sunflower seeds, garlic and olive oil – the consistency should be spreadable, but if your blender is struggling, add a few spoons of vegetable stock

Lay the puff pastry out in front of you with the short sides at the top and bottom and cut it in half lengthways

Spread your lentil mix and pesto on either half. Fold both sides in half, then cut them lengthways again.

Turn them so the open / cut side is pointing upwards, then braid them with each other to form a wreath.

Crack the egg and brush the wreath with the egg, then transfer onto a baking sheet and bake until the wreath is golden brown and crispy (roughly 25-30 mins at 190 degrees).

P.s. This recipe makes 2 portions.You can replace the puff pastry with gluten free puff pastry and the egg with dairy free margarine to make it gluten free and / or vegan.

3. Festive Cake Pops

Christmas Cake Pops on a baking tray

What you need:

  • 1 box of cake mix of your choice with frosting
  • 1 bar of white chocolate
  • 1 bar of dark chocolate
  • Assortment of Christmas sprinkles of your choice
  • Cake pop sticks

How to make it:

Prepare the cake from the cake mix and bake it.

While it cools down, make the frosting, then mix the cooled cake with the frosting.

The easiest way to do that is a kitchen mixer, but you can use your hands.

Form small balls and line them up on a baking tray.

Melt a very small amount of chocolate in a water bath or the microwave.

Dip the cake pop sticks into the chocolate, then stick them into the cake balls.

Freeze them for half hour.

In the meantime melt your chocolate over a water bath and place in two bowls.

Put the sprinkles in shallow bowls or onto plates.

Get the cold cake pops.

Dip them into the chocolate, until they are covered, spin them to loose excess chocolate.

Dip them in the sprinkles and let them dry.

Tip: Fill a glass or bowl with rice and stick your finished cake pops in there – done!

 What are the benefits of cooking with children?

  • Children tend to eat healthier food if they help to prepare it themselves and much more likely to try it if they have made it!
  • Helps support fine and gross motor skills.
  • Engages all the senses.
  • Broadens knowledge of different cultures and foods associated with them.
  • Encourages social skills and interactions (sharing and taking turns).

In our nurseries, our Make and Bake programme forms part of our Foundations for the Future 2-5s curriculum programme, supporting the pillar of learning that encourages our children to become innovative and curious explorers. Find out more about our educational programmes here.

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