Tuesday 24 October 2017

Easter bunnies - making Easter treats

Spending time with your kids in the kitchen can create memories that will last a lifetime. Let Easter be an excuse to don your apron and create seasonal treats for the whole family. Sinéad O’Carroll gets some tips from chef Clodagh McKenna

As she gets ready to run an Easter cooking camp for kids at The Village at Lyons in Co Kildare, chef Clodagh McKenna has some helpful advice for parents beginning such culinary adventures with their kids.

Obviously passionate about good food, the French-trained chef and cookbook author loves instilling that passion in the kids she teaches.

“It’s easy to make children enthusiastic about food if you yourself are,” she says. “Children love making food from scratch. During our classes, we make homemade breads, fresh pastas and pizza bases.”

This method can be fun but it also promotes a healthy approach to food and a love for all-things homemade (read: unprocessed and healthy!)

“Along the way, we learn about the food we’re cooking. If we use spices, the children fi nd out about the different varieties,” explains McKenna.

Why not use this tactic in your kitchen? Baking can become a teaching experience by simply pinning a map of the world to the wall and, as you go along, fi nd out the origin of each ingredient and recipe.

On top of learning how to measure, mix, pour and knead, there are some incredible positives to teaching a child to cook. For starters, they discover how to follow instructions and work as a team.

McKenna says it’s okay to be somewhat teacher-like when starting your kitchen adventures.

“Sitting down to read and learn the recipes is a good idea,” she advises. “This gives some structure to what is going to follow.

“Allow them be creative but with some guidance. My rule of thumb is to remember to help but not take over,” adds the celebrity chef.

Although the exercise is mostly about fun and spending time together, it’s also important to set some basic kitchen rules. Good habits learned early will stay with young children into their teenage years and beyond. Maybe write out a quick checklist and include things like remembering to wash hands before touching food and always using oven gloves when taking things out of the cooker.

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