21 October 2013

Happy National Apple Day - Kinder Kitchen Apple Challenge

Little did I know that it is National Apple Day whilst doing an apple challenge in one of my afterschool cookery classes this afternoon.

I love apples. They are abundant at this time of year and shops are full of different varieties, many of which I have never heard of. We tend to go for the ones we know - Cox, Braeburn, Pink Lady. But on closer inspection there are lots of different varieties, all with different flavours, colours and textures.

When I was a teenager we nearly always had Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples at home. I hadn't eaten a Golden Delicious apple in many years until holding my apple challenges. And I must say they are a mighty good tasting apple - strong tones of honey. I liken apple tasting to wine tasting as the apples all have different notes of acidity and sweetness. 

To do this at home with your kids you will need:

A chopping board
A kitchen knife
3-6 different kinds of apples
A blindfold

  1. Cut and core each apple and in turn try each one, one after another.
  2. Ask your children what flavours they can taste (honey, lemon, sunshine). Get them to tell you which ones are their favourites. Also, tell them the apples different names and get them to spell them out.
  3. If you have time, you could blindfold each child after the first round of tasting and get them to taste the apples again and tell you the apple's names.
It is a great game to play together and also a good way of getting children to eat seasonal healthy fruit!


14 October 2013

Kinder Kitchen kids healthy recipe - Plum muffins

Autumn is here. It takes me a week or two to mourn the summer, but once I have gone through this process I give myself a big hug, put on another layer and enjoy all the lovely fruit and vegetables that have been growing throughout the summer.

Apples are abundant this year due to all the wonderful sunshine we have had over the summer months. The cooler nights in September have also helped the apples and they are lovely and crisp.

Another favourite fruit of mine at this time of year is the plum. We used to have a plum tree in my back garden and whilst growing up every year my mum and grandmother used to make a German speciality - Zwetchenkucken - Plum Cake. It is still my favourite cake today.

In my afterschool club today we made plum muffins (we didn't have time to make the plum cake unfortunately). They were a hit and one of my little sous chefs declared prior to making the muffins that he would not try a plum. When the finished muffins came out of the oven, he changed his mind very quickly and devoured his portion with no complaints.

Plum Muffins - Makes 12

225g self-raising flour
100g caster sugar
100g butter
2 eggs
A punnet of fresh plums (400g) washed, stoned and cubed 
1 tsp. baking powder
Pre-heat oven to 180C / gas mark 5 & place 12 muffin cases in a muffin tin 
  1. In a bowl mix the butter and sugar together with an electric whish for a couple of minutes
  2. Next, sieve the flour and baking powder into the bowl with the butter and sugar and mix together
  3. Lastly add the eggs, mix and then fold in the cubed plums
  4. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases and bake in the oven around 20 minutes
When ready, leave to cool slightly then gobble them up!
Top Tip: How to tell when cakes are ready
Place a tooth-pick into the middle of a cake and pull it out. If the tooth pick is clean then the cake is ready. If there is a little mixture attached then bake for another couple of minutes.

4 October 2013

Kinder Kitchen Top Tip - how to de-seed a pomegranate

A beautiful pomegranate cut in half
It's rain showers and sunshine here in North London at present and I have yet to see a rainbow! It's my daughter's birthday tomorrow and I have been busy wrapping her presents and organising a wonderful day for her. She will be six! How time flies!

Anyway, whilst taking a break over a cup of coffee, I read a mutual bloggers post about de-seeding a pomegranate. There are lots of way to do this and most of them involve their juices staining everything in close proximity. When however you have managed to get the seeds out, it is totally worth it as they are deliciously juicy, sweet and nutritious. I eat them on their own or I add them to vegetable salads and fruit salads. I particularly like them sprinkled over toast and pate with some chopped chives. Yum.

Anyway the easiest way I know to de-seed them is:

1. Cut the pomegranate in half
2. Place one half seeded side down in the palm of your hand
3. Bang the top of the pomegranate as hard as you can with a wooden spoon, splaying your fingers slightly to allow the seeds to drop into a bowl

Kids love bashing the pomegranates and watch the seeds fall and they love eating the little seeds too!

2 October 2013

Cook and Craft Halloween Workshops - Friday 25th October, North Finchley, London

Cook and Craft Halloween Workshops

Kinder Kitchen along with I Can Craft will be hosting 2 workshops on Friday 25th October in North Finchley.

"Let your children have their senses charged as they enter our Halloween House. Led by two witches the Children will prepare, cook and eat a ghoulish lunch (or tea) and will get creative making some spooky Halloween decorations to take home"

Session 1 - 10am - 12 noon
Session 2 - 3.45pm - 5.45pm

£15 per child (sibling discount available).
Ages 4-10. Maximum 12 children per workshop.

We are both fully insured and CRB checked.

Please email me for more info and to book a place. Sessions are filling up fast...

Looking forward to hearing from you....

Kinder Kitchen Top Tips on shopping smart continued.....

Well, my classes are back in full swing and yesterday afternoon I made sweet scones with 8 flour drenched children. Apologies to the parents - it's only Wednesday and their children's uniforms already needed to be fully laundered but at least you didn't have the mess in your kitchens! We served the scones with hand whipped double cream and strawberry jam. They were a hit and apart from the ones set aside for their parents, the children devoured the rest within minutes.

Following on from my previous post, here are a couple more tips on how to shave money from your shopping bill.  I follow many of these and have really noticed a difference in my monthly outgoings:

6. Collect and use any vouchers, coupons or discount cards available. Facebook and other social media sites have now started advertising these so keep your eyes peeled and remember to carry them with you when you go shopping.

7. Buy seasonal produce. Seasonal produce tends to be cheaper as supply is high. For example root vegetables and apples are abundant and therefore cheaper than other times of the year. Always purchase berries over the summer months, unless they are frozen, as they can be costly in autumn and winter months. An added bonus of buying seasonal produce is that they generally taste much better too.

8. Locate the reduced section in the supermarket. Every supermarket, whether low or high end, will need to get rid of perishable stock nearing it's sell-by-date. Get to know your local supermarket. For example, my one sells a lot of meat at reduced prices on a Monday morning. I take it home and freeze it straight away. I have saved a lot of money over the years by purchasing fresh food that has been reduced.

9. Websites such as mysupermarket.com will help you locate special deals and the best prices. If it is something specific you want these websites can be a gem - it may mean driving an extra couple of miles to a different supermarket but give it a go.