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2024-02-01T08:34:39.834Z

Easy Recipes to Make with Kids During Lockdown

 

With extra spare time during the coronavirus forced self-isolation, it’s good for parents to teach essential life skills to kids. Cooking and baking are fun activities that also relieve anxiety during stressful times.

Children can be incredibly good in the kitchen. My son, for instance, is extremely precise, therefore he’s an excellent baker. Baking is different from cooking. When you make a cake, you need an exact amount of each ingredient, while cooking allows more creativity and flexibility. During lockdown we have organised our own bake-off sessions and my son has usually been the winner. I am a better cook, though, so together we are a winning team.

Woman cooking with her family

The Recipes

Here are London Mums’ tried and tested easy recipes to make with kids during lockdown.

Nuts

SICILIAN ALMOND SWEETS

These Italian cookies are called Amaretti and can typically be found all over Italy, but particularly in Sicily and Sardinia. They are very quick to make and tasty. Amarettis are also a good way to get my kids to eat some almonds. The name Amaretti comes from the Italian word "amaro” which means "bitter," as these little biscuits are made with bitter almonds. “Amaretti” is the literal translation for "the little bitter ones.”

They are also often called "biscotti da credenza," meaning biscuits that can be left out on the kitchen sideboard for a long time, always ready as a quick snack.

To make them, simply take 200 g of ground almonds and 200 g of sugar. Mix them together. Add some lemon rind or a teaspoon of cinnamon. Fluff up 2 egg whites and add to the almond mix.

Make the mix into small balls, add an almond on the top and bake for 15-20 minutes at 150°C until golden. Watch them closely, though, as they burn easily.

Italian Cookies

TIRAMISU

Try to make this delicious recipe from Tuscany - tiramisu, which literally means pick me up - with the kids. As farmers used to have it in the morning, the coffee plus the raw eggs and sugar gave them the strength to go out and do a hard day’s work. The Tuscan version of the well-known Italian recipe doesn’t have any alcohol.

Tiramisu - A Tuscan Italian receipe

INGREDIENTS (which make enough for six people) include:

  • 2 tubs mascarpone
  • 5 tbsp sugar
  • 5 organic eggs
  • Espresso coffee
  • Pavesini or Savoiardi biscuits
  • Grated chocolate.  

Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Mix the sugar and egg yolks for about 5 minutes with an electric whisk. Add the mascarpone. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until stiff and add them to the mascarpone mix. Dip the biscuits in the coffee and layer them in a glass dish. Spoon the mascarpone mixture on top. Do another layer of biscuits and mascarpone mixture before grating the chocolate on top. Keep in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.

Here’s a how-to video: 

BAKED ASPARAGUS

As parents, we always try to squeeze nutrients into yummy meals. This recipe is from Tuscany in Italy where you can find lots of wild asparagus in open fields. It’s really easy to make baked asparagus. The kids will enjoy preparing them and then get some of their five-a-day in the process.

Place the asparagus and some tomatoes, pine nuts and a little garlic in a baking tray and sprinkle with salt, pepper and lots of good-quality Tuscan olive oil. Bake for 29 minutes in the oven at 180°C.

Baked Asparagus

FLATBREAD WITH PARMA HAM, MOZZARELLA, AND CHERRY TOMATOES

Being in lockdown with great weather is the perfect opportunity to organise picnics either in the back garden or in the park. A quick and easy sandwich to make with the kids is this flatbread with parma ham, mozzarella, and cherry tomatoes.

Parma ham is becoming increasingly popular with British picnickers. It does not contain nitrites thanks to its all-natural production process, and is an excellent option for al fresco dining, as it is perfectly paired with other popular picnic foods like avocados, artichokes, and ricotta. Flatbread can be store-bought or made from scratch for an easily transportable picnic treat. This recipe serves four.

INGREDIENTS

  • 250 g Manitoba flour
  • 250 g type 2 flour (with fibre)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 7 g freeze-dried brewer’s yeast
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 300 g warm water
  • 200 g of parma ham
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 hot chilis, chopped
  • 2 pieces of Buffalo mozzarella, sliced and drained.
  • Basil, crumbled
  • Salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil 

 

METHOD

  1. 1. Mix the two types of flour, salt, yeast and oil in a large bowl and add enough water that the mixture can be formed into a soft ball. Knead for 5 minutes.
  2. 2. Place the ball in a greased bowl, cover it and leave to prove until it’s doubled in volume.
  3. 3. Meanwhile, dress the tomatoes with the chopped chilis, salt, oil, and basil.
  4. 4. Divide the dough into pieces weighing about 60 g each and, with a dusted rolling pin, roll out the dough to thin disks of roughly the same size.
  5. 5. Leave the dough disks to prove for 5-10 minutes.
  6. 6. Heat a large pan over medium heat, place one disk in at a time in it and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.
  7. 7. Serve the flat bread disks with the dressed cherry tomatoes, parma ham and slices of mozzarella. 

flatbread with parma ham, mozzarella, and cherry tomatoes

Healthy Ways to Eat Pasta

Quality carbohydrates are an essential part of a balanced, healthful diet. If pasta is your go-to carb, there are ways to take advantage of this low-cost food to make it even healthier.

Cook pasta only until it is al dente (barely tender). When it is cooked this way, it achieves a lower glycemic index than fully cooked pasta because the pulverized grain comes apart slowly in the stomach. (Low glycemic load carbohydrates should be the bulk of your carbohydrate intake to help minimize rapid rises in blood glucose levels.)

Ideally you should skip the creamy sauces – they can provide unhealthy fats and more calories than traditional tomato-based sauces. From time to time you can add cheese instead of cream.

Aim for two to three servings per week (one serving is equal to about a half cup cooked pasta).

Here is London Mums’ top pasta recipe suggestion!

RIGATONI ALLA VESUVIANA

With a name like this - direct from Mount Vesuvius, the famous volcano in Naples - this recipe can only be hot and fiery! This pasta dish is inspired by Catherine Fulvio, author of Eat Like an Italian, and serves four.

INGREDIENTS

  • 400 g rigatoni
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 4 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 red chillies, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp capers, drained
  • 24 whole small black olives
  • 2 tbsp sliced green olives
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp caster sugar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, to serve
  • Cherry tomatoes on the vine, roasted 

 

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package, retaining some of the cooking liquid. Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a large frying pan over a low heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute, taking care that the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the tomatoes, chillies, capers, olives, salt and sugar and simmer for 3–4 minutes. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Add a little pasta cooking liquid to the sauce, then add the cooked, drained pasta. Toss and add the parsley, then sprinkle over the Parmesan. Place the roasted cherry tomatoes on top before serving.

Rigatoni alla Vesuviana - Italian Pasta

Which recipes have you and your children tried? Which were your favorites? Let me know in the comments!

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