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The Cooking for Kids Sanity Thread

This is a thread to share recipes that work with your kids, for the sanity of parents who might need somethng new. Extra points if it tastes brilliant and the kids like it without knowing that they’re actually eating food that’s… healthy.

(dropping off - will flesh out tomorrow).

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Fresh pasta. My daughter loves making fresh pasta. From the mixing, to the kneading, rolling and shaping. It’s also messy, which is a bonus.

I learnt how make it on a workshop by La Cucina Caldesi, which I really enjoyed and would strongly recommend to anyone who has never made pasta. Instructions below. It’s a bit wordy, but works a treat every time.

Pasta Fresca

How to make fresh pasta

Fresh pasta should be made with 00 flour. This is the finest grade, according to Italian measurements, of durum wheat flour, so fine it feels and looks like talcum powder. Do buy an Italian flour, it will be superior any other kind. You can find it at Italian stores and online. The eggs should be from free range corn-fed chickens to ensure a yellow colour and flavour.

Cheap eggs and poor quality flour give anaemic and unappetising results. Eggs should be large (approx. 63–73 g/ 2–21/2 oz). We keep our own chickens and sometimes their eggs can be small, so a splash of water makes up the difference in size. Some people add a little salt for flavour, some add water for elasticity or economy and some add olive oil to stop the pasta drying quickly. However, we use only eggs and flour.

Makes enough long pasta for 4 (as a main, 6 as a starter)

200 g (7 oz/1⅔ cups) ‘00’ flour, plus a little extra if necessary

2 large free range eggs

The standard recipe for fresh pasta calls for 1 large egg to every 100 g of ‘00’ flour.

For dusting use coarse semolina as it acts like tiny ball bearings which don’t stick to the pasta.

Pour the flour into a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle.

Crack the eggs into the well. Using a table knife, gradually combine the flour into the eggs starting with the flour around the eggs and working your way out. Keep mixing the egg and flour until they form clumps of dough.

Use the fingertips of one hand to incorporate any remaining flour bringing everything together until you have a ball of dough.

Try to squash all the crumbs of dough into the ball, but discard any that don’t make it. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a floured work surface. Knead the dough by flattening and folding it for around 5–7 minutes. Add a little more flour if it is sticky but only enough to stop it sticking to the palm of your hand. The dough should form a soft but firm ball that bounces back to the touch when prodded. If the dough becomes really dry and has many cracks in the surface wrap it in clingfilm (plastic wrap) and leave it for around 30 minutes. It will become soft and the lumps of flour will be absorbed into the egg. Failing that blitz in in a food processor with a drop of water to rescue it.

Leave the pasta to rest covered in cling film for 20 minutes at room temperature or for up to a day in the fridge. This allows the dough to relax and makes it easier to roll out through a pasta machine or by hand.

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We make pizza with the sourdough base recipe by Franco Manca. Everyone puts their own toppings on (kids like sweetcorn, ham, tomato sauce and loads of cheese) and they will even eat the side salad (the 4-year-old rarely) if they have been involved in cutting tearing up the veggies. My daughter, six, likes the sweet soy sauce (kecap manis) and lime dressing. Starting on the hob and finishing under the grill works best, the pizza, not the dressing.

There is a kids’ cookery show on the BBC that they like watching and then recreating (including the eating healthy stuff bit).

My son likes potato cream soup. The good thing is that as long as the colour is right, I can put any vegetable in it. Hello, parsnip and celeriac.

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Such a great thread, I’m definitely trying out the pasta …
We too make homemade pizza and the kids love adding toppings .
I regularly cook down a ton of veg to make a large portions of pasta sauce, I then separate and put in zip locks in the freezer so when I make a slow cooked spag bol, this mixture becomes the sauce base .
Kids have no idea they’re consuming 100 million veg whilst also eating their favourite bolognaise .
Fajitas is always a good one in this house and a good way to get peppers in to them again and they like the aspect of adding their own toppings .
They also love slow cooked beef bourgignon and curries which I make specially for them without too much heat although they are starting to build up a tolerance .
For easy slow cooked curries , throw some chicken breasts in the slow cooker , sautéed onion and garlic, a couple tablespoons of homemade garam masala and chopped tomatoes. Cook for about 4 hours on high then shred the chicken and add a tub of creme fraiche … so easy mine love it :heart_eyes:.

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Our boys love Tom Kerridge’s turkey & courgette burgers. Homemade rolls can be made in advance and then the burgers take about ten minutes to prepare. I think these have overtaken beef burgers as the house favourite.

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Oooh thanks @Maj_Chris, I’ll give this a shot :clap:!
Homemade pizza here this evening… I’ve just had to put the 5 year old back to bed and it’s only 10.20am … !
He’s shattered and emotional really don’t know why :thinking::see_no_evil::see_no_evil: !
It’s going to be a looooong day :confounded:.

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Great idea.

Chilli con carne with added chocolate. So long as they’ve seen the chocolate being added (even better, if they’ve added it themselves) you’ve basically just convinced them to eat dessert as a main course.

On a parallel note, I share my Facebook update from four years ago today:

On Friday, the whiteboard at Ezra’s nursery bore the incredible news that he had eaten ‘Lunch+’, which is nursery code for seconds. So in the car I decided to find out more.

Me: What did you have for dinner?
Ez: Corned Beef Bash! It has chicken in, and it looks like cat food. I scoffed it.

So that’s another option if you’ve got pets :grimacing:

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Sick of this on-going crap, perhaps? No school, no friends to see… Man, I know how he feels (and I’m still in bed too! :grimacing:).

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Wish I was still in bed … just watched another episode of “speed maths” in 20 minutes for the 8 year old ! :see_no_evil::see_no_evil:

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A drop of Mumm will perk him up

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I see what you did there :star_struck::wink::wink:

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