31 July 2013

Kinder Kitchen Kid's Healthy Recipe - Sandra's easy peasey non-diary banana ice cream

A handful of ripe bananas
Sandra, a chefy colleague taught me this recipe on Monday. I was flabbergasted at how easy yet delicious it is. The most difficult thing in this recipe is finding room in your freezer for all the chopped up bananas and washing the head of your hand blender afterwards. Bananas can be quick to ripen and I always like to have banana recipes on hand as I don't like throwing food away. So, if you have any other banana recipes you'd like to share, please send them over.

Sandra's easy peasey non-diary banana ice cream


5 ripe bananas

(yep that's all the ingredients you'll need - honest)

  1. Peel and cut up the bananas into equal chunks
  2. Place in the freezer until frozen 
    Bananas peeled and chopped and
    ready for the freezer
  3. Once frozen, remove the chopped bananas from the freezer, place in a bowl and blend with a hand blender until smooth
Hey presto - banana ice cream. Genius if you ask me!

30 July 2013

Kinder kitchen Kid's Healthy recipe - the wonders of an avocado

My breakfast (sorry couldn't resist taking a bite)
Well the hot weather has left London and headed elsewhere. In it's place we have torrential rain
showers. It is actually a wonderful relief as the trees, plants and garden grasses are soaking up the well needed rain. My herbs are flourishing with all the sun and rain.

One of my many favourite breakfasts in the morning is soda bread with avocado. I use half an avocado which I thinly slice and place on a thick piece of bread. I pour over it half a cap of vinegar, a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper. It's a prefect way to start the day and keeps me full until lunchtime.

I love eating avocados and generally buy them from local Turkish and Mediterranean shops as they are much cheaper to buy. They are also reasonably priced in Aldi too. If they have gotten a little too ripe in your fruit bowl a great recipe for using them up is this easy kid's guacamole. I teach this a lot in all my cookery classes as initially kids go yuck but once they have followed all the processes they try it and mostly like it.

Kids Guacamole
2 very ripe avocados
1 tomato
Juice of ½ a lime
2 tbsp olive oil
A little salt and pepper 
  1. On a board, chop the tomatoes up as small as possible
  2. Place the avocados into a bowl and with a fork mash them up
  3. Now add the tomatoes, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and mix well
  4. Serve the guacamole with freshly made flatbreads (http://kinderkitchenrecipes.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/healthy-kids-cooking-together-with-your.html)

Nutritional value of avocados

Great site with nutritional values of avocados - http://www.naturalnews.com/034370_avocado_nutrition_facts_health.html

20 July 2013

Winning recipe - Easy Leek and Mushroom sauce

Below is the winning recipe from July's Kinder Kitchen Competition.

It is very easy and extremely delicious and because the vegetables were so small my 3yr old fussy eater did not complain. I also used white mushrooms as he likes to pick out the brown ones from most sauces I put them in.

Easy Leek and mushroom Sauce


Half a large leek or 1 small one
A handful of mushrooms
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 small tub of cream
2 tbsp. grated parmesan
Some black pepper


  1. Place the leek and mushrooms into a mini food processor. Alternatively slice very finely or use a hand blender
  2. Add the oil to a frying pan, and fry for 5 minutes
  3. Next add the cream and a little black pepper
  4. Once the sauce begins to bubble, remove from the heat and sprinkle in the parmesan
Serve on pasta or a great sauce to serve on top of chicken or fish.

19 July 2013

Overcoming fussy eaters - adding in hidden goodies

Over the coming weeks I will be posting more tips on how to work with fussy eaters in your family. I use all these techniques in my classes and consultations. They really do work in the long term. Your children will not change their ways over night but with a little coercion and care their taste buds will develop over time and they will be more confident around different foods.
my daughter enjoying homemade mixed
berry sorbet with reduced sugar
Hidden goodies
One of the keys of overcoming fussy eaters is to get them to try as many different tastes as possible. Many people disagree with hiding certain foods in meals but where there's extreme fussiness it can be beneficial. Try and add some goodies into everything you cook because by making your meals healthier makes them tastier and this will benefit the whole family in the long run.

Here are some examples:
  •  If you are baking a chocolate cake or muffins, grate some courgette or fresh beetroot into it. Also, by adding half the amount of sugar stated in a cake recipe will not alter the taste that much - children will definitely not realise the difference.
  • Add a red pepper to a homemade tomato sauce
  • Add some grated apple to basic pancake batter
  • Add some grated apple and carrot to homemade hamburgers
  • Add a handful of lentils and finely chopped mushrooms to a basic homemade bolognaise sauce
The food will taste slightly different but not noticeably so, so your children's taste buds will get used to new flavours and textures and as a parent/carer you will be happier as they are getting some hidden nutrients.

Kinder Kitchen Competition

Fun Boiled Egg Cup & Spoon
It's competition time again!
Thank you for all your entries last time. This time there is a egg cup and spoon up for grabs. All you have to do to win is send me through your healthy pancake ideas. They can be toppings or additions to the batter. You have until midday, Friday 2nd August to send me your recipes. Good luck!
PS For those of you outside the UK, I will post this anywhere around the world so please enter.

16 July 2013

Competition winner - Child friendly peeler

Congratulations to Polkadotumbrella who won the child friendly peeler for their wonderful easy pasta sauce recipe. Please contact me to claim your prize. Recipe to follow.
Regards Natasha

15 July 2013

Healthly kid's recipe - Thirst Quenching Homemade Lemonade

Another balmy day in London welcomed a children's tea party in my back garden. Homemade bunting and decorations, blankets on the lawn and 12 happy and hungry 5 years olds prepared a variety of dishes for their tea party. Vicky helped me today and together with the children we made:
  • Tea Sandwiches
  • Lemon & beetroot muffins
  • Strawberry & white chocolate muffins
  • Homemade popcorn
  • Thirst quenching homemade lemonade
  • Strawberries & pineapple dipped in chocolate sauce
I thought it may be a little too busy a schedule for the 5 year olds but they enjoyed every minute of it. Cooking together with friends is a great way of getting children to overcome their food fears. Seeing their friends trying new foods often encourages them to do the same. A couple of children said they don't like lemonade but when they tried the one they made themselves they loved it!

Below is the recipe for the homemade lemonade. The great thing about this recipe is you can control the amount of sugar that goes into it - either by reducing the amount stated below or diluting the lemonade with more sparkling/still water. It is all natural too and a great vitamin C booster. It was a hit with the parents too and would taste wonderful with something alcoholic added to it (once the kids have gone to bed) - especially on a warm night like tonight.

Thirst quenching homemade lemonade
1 cup sugar
1 cup water 
6 lemons, juiced
5 cups still or sparkling water
Ice cubes 
  1. To make the syrup, place the water and sugar into a saucepan and on a low heat, heat until the sugar has dissolved. Place in the fridge until chilled
  2. Juice the lemons and keep to the side
  3. Once the syrup is chilled, add the fresh lemon juice and your choice of still or sparkling water. If very hot outside add some ice cubes for extra refreshment
  4. And enjoy!

11 July 2013

My Ethos - Healthy, Easy, Tasty

The kids are finally asleep and I am sitting in my dinning room on my laptop putting off the housework that needs to be done.

I had a spare hour today and I tried to follow a recipe for a chicken pie (I wanted to use up yesterday's leftovers from a roast I'd cooked). There were so many ingredients and steps to complete the dish I lost interest half way and just made it the way I've done it before. It got me thinking about the recipes I write and I wanted to share with you the reason behind the three key words I use to describe them: healthy, easy and tasty. I also thought the more ingredients in a recipe there are, doesn't necessarily make it better or tastier.

Sweetcorn fritters with cucumber salad
By healthy I mean home cooked food using as many fresh ingredients as possible. The odd biscuit, scoop of ice-cream, packet of crisps does not count, it's all about a balance. The key is that you are cooking at home more often than not and that you and your family are eating a variety of carbohydrates (potatoes/pasta/rice) fruit, vegetables, meat/fish (pulses and other foods high in protein for vegetarians) over a the course of a week.

By easy I mean that the recipes contain only a handful of ingredients that are readily available and with only a couple of steps to complete the dish, so that children of all ages can follow it with you.

By tasty I mean just because the recipes are healthy and easy it does not impact on the taste. I look to Italy, France and Spain for inspiration as I love the flavours of the Mediterranean. The food in Italy is especially full of flavour using only a couple of ingredients. A little pinch of salt or sugar added to a sauce is not classed as unhealthy, as many foods need them to bring out their full flavours. For example, our tomatoes in England are not the same as those from Italy as Italian tomatoes are sun drenched making them sweeter in flavour. In addition, eating seasonal produce is key to tasty meals as is adding a squeeze of lemon and certain herbs and spices. Finally, it is important that food is cooked properly and overcooking something can ruin it's flavour & texture.

10 July 2013

Kinder Kitchen's Kid's Chores - How to get your children involved in the kitchen

Well it's another sunny day in London and my house has fully warmed up after months of feeling cold through. So, it's nearly the summer holidays and I'm starting to think of free and fun activities to do with my children.

Cooking with your children and preparing your meals together is a great way of spending quality time with each other. Depending on your child's age and their ability there are many things you can get them to help you with. The more you allow them to do, the more confidence they gain. My daughter is nearly 6 and I am now letting her stir food on the hob. I'm there giving her guidance but she knows that she could burn herself so she is very careful.

It never ceases to amaze me how children love to cook. Due to ready-made meals, cheap frozen food and lack of time and energy, parents are not cooking as much as they used to. We (parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles, carers, minders) need to reskill the next generation in the kitchen, equipping them with the invaluable life skill of cooking and preparing their own meals.

Below is a list of Kinder Kitchen's Kid's chores your children could help you with (age 3 upwards).

Enjoy cooking together!
  • Mashing potatoes
  • Picking herb leaves off the stems   
  • Washing and spinning salad lettuce
  • Cleaning fruits & vegetables 
  • Snapping the ends off green beans
  • Pouring premeasured ingredients
  • Breaking eggs and separating them
  • Grinding salt & pepper
  • Using an electric whisk
  • Helping to blend with a hand blender
  • Tasting the food as you go along
  • Grating cheese and other foods
  • Peeling vegetables and fruit
  • Peeling hard-cooked eggs
  • Measuring ingredients using scales
  • Opening cans and jars
  • Skewering meat and fruit kebabs
  • Stirring soups & sauces
  • Tossing salads & making the dressing
  • Reading the recipes to you
  • Laying the dinning table
  • And lastly - helping you wash up at the end and clearing out the dishwasher!
Do you know any other ways children could help?

8 July 2013

Healthy kid's recipe - Simple tomato salsa

Refreshing fruit wands
Well, another successful cooking class was had in Finchley. Today on the menu were fruit wands, fruit salad that ended up on sticks so the children could take the fruit home with them to share with their families and tomato salsa.

We ventured out into my front garden and I got the children to smell a variety of herbs - thyme, rosemary, mint and oregano.
Simple tomato salsa
1 large tomato
1 tbsp of fresh oregano leaves
1 tbsp vinegar

Simple tomato salsa ready for the taking...
2 tbsp olive oil
A little salt and pepper
  1. Chop the tomatoes into small cubes
  2. Pour over the vinegar and oil and add the seasoning (salt and pepper) to taste
  3. Sprinkle over the oregano leaves and mix together
Top tip: this can also be used as the topping for bruschetta. You could substitute the oregano for thyme, parsley or basil leaves.

7 July 2013

Overcoming Fussy Eaters - playing with colours

Although my children have seen me eat most things from snails to oysters to frogs legs they are nonetheless fussy. By serving the food at the table in front of them over time they will get inquisitive and start asking to taste different food. I do put some on their plate and my older one will try new foods but my younger one will still push it away. I do however always point out how colourful our food is.

One way of encouraging your fussy eater to taste new foods is to play with the colours. If you get a chance to go to the supermarket with them you could ask them what colour they would like their dinner to be that evening. If they say red, then you could give them fish covered in tomato sauce (http://kinderkitchenrecipes.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/todays-nutritious-recipe-from-kinder.html) or pasta with tomato and red pepper sauce. If they say blue you could make them a fruit wand (recipe below). You could try cooking an aubergine and ask them to try it and tell you what ‘purple’ tastes like. Pizza faces can be very colourful using peppers, sweetcorn, peas(http://kinderkitchenrecipes.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/healthy-kids-recipes-homemade-popcorn.html). The key is to try and be inventive.

Fruit Wands

I found these on a wonderful website called Weelicious. For the recipe go to http://weelicious.com/2012/06/29/magical-fruits-wands-for-your-fourth-of-july-celebration/

4 July 2013

Healthy kid's meals - The ubiquitous children's menu - time for change

The ubiquitous children's menu

I am truly fed up. Well and truly fed up. Living in London with such an abundance of great restaurants offering food from all over the world is one of the pulls that keeps me here. As adults we are spoilt for choice. These said restaurants offer us temping daily specials and menus listing dishes as long as our arms. Why is it then that the children's menu in most eateries offer the same four dishes:
  1. fish (more often than not fingers) and chips
  2. chicken nuggets and chips
  3. penne pasta with tomato sauce or meat bolognaise
  4. baked beans on toast
Not only are these the only four choices available, the chips are mostly frozen and not hand made from fresh potatoes and there is often no vegetable in sight on any of the plates. You may sometimes get a dried up slice of cucumber or tomato shoved onto the corner somewhere as an after thought. Come on - what is going on? There is no wonder there is a food crisis in the UK with children.

The worst places for offering the above, and often adding cheap sausages, frozen burgers and pizzas to the tasteless mix are soft play centres. I haven't yet gone to one that offers a varied and healthy menu for kids. Although there are signs everywhere warning you not to consume any of your own food or drink on the premises, I couldn't care less. I come equipped with packed lunches and drinks for my children as I do not want to pay for the pleasure of seeing my children eat cardboard. Speaking to the owner of a local soft play centre and asking him why he did not serve healthy freshly cooked food at his establishment, he answered 'it would cost me too much money to employ a chef to do this.'

Come on! Change your menus please. So, if anyone can suggest any nice places to eat where children's taste buds are given the same respect as adult's please let me and my readers know.

Ok. Rant over. Have a wonderful weekend and for all us Londoners out there, enjoy the sunshine.


1 July 2013

Healthy kid's recipes - homemade fish fingers & easy shortbread biscuits

Well here in North London the weather has just been wonderful today. Warm sunshine, no clouds and only a slight breeze. So during my class today all the windows and doors were open and the children happily prepared homemade fish fingers and deliciously easy shortbread biscuits.

Homemade fish fingers

Chips and fish fingers ready for the taking
Fish can be expensive but it's nutritional values are worth it. I try and cook fish for my children twice a week. My homemade fish fingers always go down a storm at home and in my classes. I tend to buy fish that is on special offer or frozen as this way it is a little more affordable.

Many people are turned off by fish because of it's smell. Fresh fish does not smell! If you have never cooked fish before these fingers are great recipe to start with.


A piece of filleted fish (cod, tilapia, salmon etc)
1 egg
¼ mug of flour in bowl
½ mug of breadcrumbs with 1tbsp sesame seeds
Salt and pepper

Optional: add 1 tbsp sesame seeds to breadcrumbs for extra crunch and omega 3

Children enjoying their fish fingers and homemade chips

1. Cut the fish up into finger/nugget sized pieces
2. Place the flour, breadcrumbs and lightly whisked egg into separate bowls
3. Add a little seasoning (salt and pepper) to the flour
4. Firstly coat the fish pieces in the flour, next in the egg, then in the breadcrumbs and place on a clean plate
5. In a frying pan with a little oil lightly fry them on each side for a minute or two until crispy and cooked (fish fillets cook very quickly). Alternatively you can cook them in a pre-heated oven on 180C for 10 minutes

Top Tip:

If due to allergies/religious requirements you or your child cannot eat eggs use milk or water instead to glue the crumbs and sesame seeds to the fish.

Easy homemade shortbread biscuits
In my opinion homemade biscuits are the best and the healthiest (when eaten in moderation ;-). Not only can you eat them when they are still warm out of the oven but you can govern what goes into them. Many recipes have too much sugar so I always tend to halve the amount of sugar that the recipe stipulates especially when making biscuits for children. Making your own biscuits also means that children are not eating any hidden preservatives, colouring or flavouring which are very unhealthy for them. Give thee shortbread biscuits a try - you'll never want a shop bought one again!

250g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
250g plain flour 


Preheat oven to 180 C/gas mark 4

1. With an electric whisk cream the butter and sugar until fluffy
2. Stir in the vanilla extract then add the flour and mix well
3. Roll out the mixture to 1cm in thickness and cut the biscuits out to whichever shapes you want – use either a knife or biscuit cutter
4. Bake on a baking tray for 10-12 minutes.

If you want to create a pattern on the biscuits, lightly press a fork into the uncooked biscuits.

Serving suggestions:
Gorgeous with strawberries and cream!



Kinder Kitchen Competition - your chance to win a child friendly peeler

Every month I will be running a competition. The prizes will be children's cooking utensils and the like.

This month I have a wonderful child friendly peeler up for grabs. These peelers are fantastic for kids and I use them in all my cookery classes. The children will sit there for up to half an hour happily peeling carrots, cucumbers, parsnips potatoes, etc. Due to it's shape, children are able to get a good grip of the peeler. Getting your child to peel in the kitchen with you not only keeps them out of mischief, they learn an important food preparation skill and also get to perfect their fine motor skills.

To win this great utensil all you need to do is send me your favourite quick sauce recipe. I will try them all out and the winning sauce will be the easiest and quickest to make and the tastiest! So please enter your winning quick sauce recipe in the comment section to share it with us all.

You have until next Friday, 12th July to enter your recipes...

Good luck!

Joie peeler