Cooking with your kids is a great way to explore new tastes and broaden your child’s horizons. If you’re heading overseas this summer, make a special meal before you jet off to talk about the language, culture and geography of your destination. Your child may then have more confidence about trying the real thing on holiday. If you’re not going abroad you can take your family on an adventure though Spain, Greece and France – without the hassle of the airport check-in!
Spain – seafood fideuà
What the kids can do: Get children snipping herbs with scissors, scrubbing mussels and peeling prawns.
What you can talk about: Paella is served all across Spain, but it originally comes from Valencia on the south-east coast. There are many variations on the basic recipe, but most are made with rice and either seafood or meat, although mixed versions are also popular.
The invention of fideuà (noodle paella)
Rumour has it that the noodle version of paella was created by a boat cook from Gandia in Spain. His captain loved rice so much that the rest of the sailors were left feeling hungry and with much smaller portions. The cook decided to try using noodles instead of rice to see if the captain left more for the rest of the sailors. But in fact it was so popular it soon spread through harbour restaurants. Although some people say he just forgot to pack the rice!
France – steak haché with pommes frites & Béarnaise sauce
What the kids can do: Children can mix and shape the patties, tip the chips into cold water and drain them.
What you can talk about: Steak haché is a version of burger and chips, minus the bun. It’s often served rare in restarants in France, so if you’d prefer it cooked through, ask for it ‘fait bien cuit’. Pommes frites are skinny chips and usually fried – however, here they’re baked, so children can help to cook them. If your kids like creamy sauces, encourage them to try the classic Béarnaise, flavoured with the beef juices and tarragon.
Greece – chicken gyros
What the kids can do: Little ones can mix, knead and divide the dough for the pitta breads and make the tzatziki.
What you can talk about: Gyro is a popular fast food choice in Greece. Skewers of marinated meat are cooked over an open fire, and it can be lamb, pork or chicken. It’s normally served with tomatoes, red onion and tzatziki (chopped cucumber mixed with Greek yogurt, garlic, mint and lemon juice). In some tavernas they serve chips inside the pitta bread, too.
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Have you tried one of our recipes with your kids? We’d love to hear how you found them below…