Thursday, February 18, 2010

Making Yoghurt

Today, we made yoghurt. We only probably took a few minutes for the process. It was an opportunity to explain fermentations and milk cultures.

First,‘how to make yoghurt at home’? It’s very simple, all you need is:

Full cream milk
Low fate, skim milk and such will not work well
Milk can either be in powder form or liquid. If it’s liquid, it should preferably be undiluted.

A teaspoon of yoghurt or yoghurt base or culture
You can get it from the supermarket or any Indian restaurant. Don’t get the ones which have flavoured. Get the ones that says natural yoghurt.

Prepare warm milk in a mug
I have found that yoghurt makes better in porcelain ones compared to glass or plastic. Do let me know your thoughts on this)

Ensure its not too hot, as it would kill the bacteria.

Mix the yoghurt into the milk and leave it for between 4 to 6 hours. Cover the mug lightly with a plate or a small lid

I would usually make it before I go to sleep and by morning my yoghurt is made.

And walla! You can add fruit when serving. Or prepare raita – add some cucumber and carrot slices.

What do kids learn? My kids get a kick when I explain simply that yoghurt is healthy spoilt milk!

• Yoghurt is a dairy product, made of milk.
• Yoghurt is actually sour milk
• The milk is fermented by bacteria – lactic acid bacteria - such as Lactobacillus
• Yoghurt contains
(bacteria that are beneficial to health and the digestive system) as well as many vitamins and minerals, such as protein, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12
• That’s why it’s good to make it at home – natural, clean, inexpensive and no preservatives
• There are many milk products that require bacteria to ferment the milk – such as cheese, sour cream and many more
• People start making and eating yoghurt at least 5,500 years ago!
• There are lots of other things that are made by the process of fermentation – like ink, beer, wine, some teas and others
• Older children can have a look at this site for brief information on fermented milk -

In just a few minutes,

You are done with making the yoghurt and having a conversation with your kids on what is yoghurt, how its made and its nutritional value – all this without them even knowing that they have just increased their general knowledge and something that would definitely come in handy in Science Class!

Happy Cooking!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Why take the trouble To Teach Kids While Cooking

The ability to cook is a great asset for our kids. Hear the phrase 'Give a child a fish, he eats for a day, Teach your Child to Fish, he eats forever. In this case, teach your child to cook, he will never go hungry and at the same time helps them eat healthy.

Children are so "teachable" and there exists opportunity for strengthening food-related life skills. And with it they take care of their own nutrition. Cooking gives children a boost of confidence, exposure to new and/or healthful foods, and often provide the curiosity and motivation needed to continue cooking. Cooking also promotes togetherness between parents and their children - cooking creates bonds and memories that cannot be taken away. It makes the trouble all so worth it.

Cooking with Kids is a wonderful strategy to help children with so many things. Helping them with school lessons, teaching them to be self reliant and the most beautiful part of it, mum/dad and kids create special moments. Cooking a meal does not become a chore but an activity that becomes incredibly fulfilling experience.

Happy Cooking!

Please tell me what you think. Look forward to your views and experiences.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Cooking with Children: 15 Lessons for Children, Age 7 and Up, Who Really Want to Learn to Cook

slI found a fantastic book on, on Cooking with Children It is written by Marion Cunningham who is probably best known for her work on the Fannie Farmer books. In Cooking with Children she shares her experience on teaching both children and parents the basic skills for the kitchen.

The book is really for children age seven and older, the books is designed partly to instruct and partly to provide an opportunity for parents and children to share in preparing and eating meals--an element of family life that is quickly vanishing in this age of busy schedules and microwave meals consumed on the run.

Cunningham bases her book on her experiences teaching youngsters both privately and in community center programs. What she learned about a child's capabilities, likes, and dislikes has been distilled into 15 basic lessons, all centered around a particular recipe. The first chapter, for example, entitled "Vegetable Soup," teaches how to peel and chop vegetables, how to sauté, how to be organized in the kitchen, and the difference between boiling and simmering. Chapter 6, "Pancakes and Popovers," teaches how to mix a batter, test the heat of a skillet, grease baking cups, and more. The instructions for each recipe are clear, detailed, and easy to follow. The recipes are easy enough for older children to follow on their own. Cooking with Children is a terrific introduction to the culinary arts for kids--and makes a pretty nice refresher course for adults as well.

There are 35 favorite recipes, from vegetable soup to a birthday cake in color.

I like the the book because it is easy to follow and we can get our kids to read it. It provides great guidance in the kitchen and to prepare nice and delicious meals. And it keeps it simple. And the book is not very expensive - it used one is going for less than US3.00. A new one about US16 but i think you can get it at USD6 or USD7 if you buy within a certain time period. A few of our friends bought the book and they really loved it and asked me to get it. I got one for myself rather than borrowing. And books you gonna use in the kitchen will definately get stains and drips of this and that. Best to get one of your own which you can keep and refer all the time.

Have a look. Click on the picture or any of the the links
on the article.

I hope you will let me know what you think.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Love Cookies

Valentine is coming and I thought I spend some quality time with my kids. I spent yesterday baking cookies with my 2 boys. We made some butter bookies – my intention was to have love shaped cookies but instead my boys had different ideas – there were shapes of birds and bears and stars.

But there is definitely LOVE in the air. My boys enjoyed the whole process. They was butter and flour splattered all over. We (or should I say they) changed the recipe a bit and there was a lot of learning and teaching for both my kids and myself included. Sometimes, we adults need reminders too and kids can teach us a thing or two too!

The kids learnt how to beat and mix. My younger one asked questions – Why was the yolk yellow, why this flour and not that and so on. There was a bit of math but most of all there was a lot of imagination and fund. And the best part about the whole cooking process was everybody loved the cookies! They tasted really good.

This recipe, I think is great. It is a basic butter cookie recipe which you can improvise. You can raisins, or almonds, chocolate chips or decorations

It’s up to the imagination of your kids and you!

Shopping List

125 grams of butter (or about a cup)
Learning Tips
1. How do you measure 125 grams (what is one cup?)
2. 1 kg makes a 1000grams – 125 must be 1/8 of a kilogram
3. Where does butter come from? (No, not the supermarket!)

100 grams icing sugar (or about ¾ of a cup)
Learning Tips
1.Where does sugar come from?
2. What’s 3/4 ? What’s ½? Which is more? Which is less?

1 egg yolk
Learning Tips
1. Egg yolk and egg white – what are they – see how they look like
2. Where do eggs come from?
3. Why is egg good for you?
4. What do eggs have?-What is protein

1 tsp vanilla essence
Learning Tips
It smells really good but taste horrible. Introduce the senses. Vanilla is a flavoring from orchids and is actually a Spanish word "vainilla"or little pods. Here’s how it looks.

150 grams to 200 grams of flour (or 2 cups flour)
Learning Tips
1. What is flour’s texture
2. How do you get 200grams of flour?
3. Where does flour come from?

Learning Tips
Baking powder is to help the cake rise. How does it work? Baking powder is a dry chemical leavening agent used to increase the volume and lighten the texture of muffins, cakes, scones and biscuits. Baking powder works by releasing carbon dioxide gas into a batter or dough through an acid-base reaction, causing bubbles in the wet mixture to expand and thus leavening the mixture.

1. Beat the butter and sugar till fluffy
2. Mix in egg yolk and essence
3. Sift flour and baking powder
4. Add the dry ingredients to form a soft dough
5. Let your kids enjoy shaping the cookies
6. Bake in preheated oven at 180 C for 12 to 15 minutes
7. Allow to cool and serve
8. If you like you can make some cream to decorate the cookies – beat some icing sugar and butter and add color of your choice and cream the cookies

And that’s it. HAPPY VALENTINE!

If you are looking for some homemade cookies for valentine, there are some great shops offering discounts for the season. Try this link, I thought it offers great offers and makes beautiful gifts 15% Off All Items for Valentine’s Day at David’s Cookies! Use Coupon Code VDAYLS at Checkout. Valid Thru February 28, 2010. Click Here.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Where Does Ice Lemon Tea Come From?

Ice Lemon Tea is a gorgeous drink. My kids love having the drink, probably because of the tangy taste from the mix of tea and lemon.

An ordinary glass of ice lemon tea is such a great thirst quencher. For me, I take it without sugar. I like the taste of tea and the sourness of the lemon. And the combination makes a good internal clearner.

Here's a simple way to make a glass of ice lemon tea:

One black tea bag simmered in hot water
Add sugar (it would be better to caramilised sugar - heat water and add about 2 tablespoons of sugar)
Squeeze half a lemon (you can substitute it with lime)
Add everything together.
Lastly add ice.

As you mix and stir and caramalise, talk to your kids and you can teach your kids several things in just perhaps 10 minutes:

1. Tea
Which part of tree does tea come from, how is tea made (you can refer to ) for guidance. For older children, explain how black tea can be good for health

2. Sugar
Does sugar come from plants or chemicaly processed. Sugar actually comes from sugar cane.
Caramilising sugar changes its form - why - because heat changes the molucule structure of sugar.

3. Lime and Lemon
There is a difference between the two. One is usually green and the other is yellow. Interestingly, lime grows in tropical climates while lemon in colder climates.

Have a fun time with your kids. You will find that its a beautiful experience . Watching kids making drinks - mixing and stiring. And let them concort mixtures. It gets them thinking, their imaginative mind is triggered and their general knowledge just explodes in a matter of minutes. And quite often ignored is the development of their motor skills. ITs simply a
brilliant mix!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Happy Pancakes

Do you get your kids asking for snacks or saying that they are hungry or there is just nothing to eat!

In situations like this, I look to the good old PANCAKE. There are other quick bites too but I thought I’d share with you my simple pancake recipe in this blog.

Pancakes are quick, easy and tasty snack.

Have a look at this recipe, it’s extremely easy to remember and easy to make. It makes about 5 to 6 pancakes.

Lets see how to get your kids involved and what they learn with such a simple recipe.

Shopping List and Parent’s Teaching Aid

1 cup self raising flour
(self raising flour is better than plain flour
because of its enhancing structure)

1. What is flour 2. What is flour’s texture 3. What is flour made of 4. Numbers – 1 cup

1 cup milk
(for kids, please use fresh milk or full cream.
Low fat milk is simply not encouraged for kids

1. Where does milk come from?2. Fresh milk vs ow fat milk because of the low fat content
3. What does milk have? 4. Why is milk good for you

1 egg

Let your kids break the egg. Show them the yolk

1. Where do eggs come from
2. Why do eggs have the yellow and the white
3. What happens if you boil eggs
4. Where do chicks come from

Notice that everything comes in 1.

For older children – this is a simple and great recipe to teach multiplication and division and using common sense

1. How much flour, eggs and milk I need if I need to make 10 pancakes
2. What happens if I half the ingridients? (Teaching fractions)
3. What happens if I double or triple the ingridients? (fractions and multiplying

A little sugar and salt
Not too much. Only enough to give a taste.

Blend everything together. Have your kids know what’s little or a lot

Place some oil in a pan and fry the pancakes a little at a time You can help your kids. Be careful of the fire. Teach kids about fire and how something that was raw gets cooked with fire

Serve as is or with butter and honey or marmalade or fruit, or anything that the kids or adults like.

Mums and Dads,

I hope you and your kids have a wonderful time making the pancakes.

Please let me know how they turn out and whether your kids learnt a lot more that either of you thought!

Happy Cooking!