Monday, August 30, 2010

Cooking Old Fish

The first lesson to teach kids on cooking fish is to discard it if it is spoil or bad. However, if you still want to salvage the fish, try this recipe. But the fish at most should be old but not rotten or spoil.

I suggest to fry the fish. Don’t bake or grill, stim or boil.

Fish frying
Deep fry the fish is best to at least reduce the smell. I don’t particularly like to use too much oil, so I just place enough to cover the fish. I use sunflower, corn or canola oil.

Fish coated with curry powder
Coat the fish with salt for taste and some curry powder or chilli powder. I like curry powder to drown the smell. But you can add both.

Leave the fish for a few minutes for the salt and other ingridients to penetrate the flesh.

If you don’t like curry powder, you can use pepper or any herbs that you like, such as oregano and the like.

Happy Cooking and Teaching!
Lidia's Family Table - Fish Collection100+ Delicious FISH & SHELLFISH RECIPES Cookbook

How to Tell if Fish is Fresh – It’s In the Eyes

Teach your kids how to choose good and fresh fish. At the same time, teach your younger ones about gills, fins and scales and other body parts of the fish. It is not easy telling whether fish is fresh. But it becomes easy when you know that its in the eyes!

Fresh fish is important to ensure we are eating healthy and the dish is tasty. It would be a waste of time preparing a fish dish with fish which is not fresh.

There are 3 MAIN things we need to know in choosing fresh fish:


Fresh fish eyes are bright and clear.
Freshly caught fish eyes are clear and its pupils are black. Older fish eyes are duller and, cloudy.The eyes are the window to a truly fresh fish, for they fade quickly into gray dullness. Dull-eyed fish may be safe to eat, but they are past their prime.

Gills must be red and bright.
Old fish have faded, brownish or greyish gills.

Smell of clean water or some saline water
Old fish smells fishy. If there is ammonia like smell, the fish is definitely bad.
As I am writing this post, my hand still smells of the fish I touched. Have a look at the picture.

There are other things you can watch out for. The texture of the fish. It must have a shine and is clean. It is old if the skin or scales are dulls and discoloured. Old fish also tend to be slimy. Stay away from slimy fish. Cooking won't help.

Its best to discard old fish. However, if still want to salvage the fish, have a read of the next post.

Fish Without a Doubt: The Cook's Essential CompanionFish: The Complete Guide to Buying and Cooking

Happy Cooking and Teaching!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

15 minutes to Make Dinner - Sardines With Rice and Fried Eggs

I did not know what to cook and my nine year old suggested a meal of sardines, rice and eggs. Its easy and quick and very tasty. He cooked the sardines and fried the eggs. We took a litttle less than 15 minutes to get out of the kitchen and onto the table.

We used sardines that come in a can. The sardine cans are with tomato paste. Alternatively, is to use fresh sardines and buy the tomato paste separately or make it yourself. But this was meant to be a quick meal and I wanted my boy to prepare it.

1. Start with the basics - chopped onions, garlic and ginger
You can use as much or as little as you want or prefere. I find that a bit of garlic and ginger gives a simple dish the flavour and tantalising the taste bunds.

2. Place a little oil into a pan

3.  Let the onions, garlic and ginger fry for a few minutes (no hard and fast rules - it depends on you like them e.g. really brown or a little bit raw)

4.    Add in the paste from the sardines first and a little bit of water

5.    For a little bit more of contrasting taste - slice some chilli and add a pinch of curry powder or chilli powder

6.    Add in the Sardines

7.    Let it cook for a minute or two. Add a little water for some gravy if you like.

8.    Done. Serve with Rice and Fried Eggs.

Finished Sardines Dish

This is an excellant meal for children above 9 to prepare.

Happy Cooking and Teaching!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Food Turning Girls Into Boys and Boys Into Girls

Teenage boys are growing breasts and teenage girls losing their hair on their head for more hair on their bodies. While we know that obsesity among children is now a real problem, there is probably a worse danger lurking in our food, which is interupting with our children’s normal growth.

Hormonal imbalances in teenagers can be normal. Throwing a fit and happy the next. The adolescence period is a very delicate when a child steps into the world of adulthood. There are physical, emotional and mental changes and hormone at this stage can have major impact on their mood and behavior.

There are lots of reasons for hormonal imbalances. One is mother nature. But there are other issues which are disturbing the natural force of mother nature. Apart from stress, food is becoming a major contributor.

Teenagers today are exposed to hundreds of chemicals such as preservatives, food coloring agents and flavoring agents in foods and drinks. Chemicals are also present in the form of pesticides on fruits and vegetables, plastics, beauty products., Teens tend to live on a junk food diet rather than having balanced food that includes fresh food products. Our teens are also exercising less – spending more time with the TV and the computer.

The food chain and diet is creating more male teenagers with breasts and no hair while female teenagers are becoming more hairy.

An improper diet, or a diet largely consisting of processed foods, may exacerbate an existing hormonal imbalance.

Children are eating too much animal-based food, and those animals are fed with a lot of growth hormones. As societies become more affluent and to some extent busy and complicated, our children are relying on processed food and tend to eat meat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Plastic materials such as fizzy bottled drinks release bad hormons. Plastic containers that we use to warm our food, the polystyrene boxes in which we pack our food, the plastic bags that we wrap food in also release terrible substances. The effect from our food is made worse with the pesticides, insecticides and bad oestrogenic substances in the environment, and this will manifest in different ways for those of different ages..

As a result, these changes will effect lifestyle and increased health costs.

Teach your children to eat right. Teach and educate them about food and the bad effects some food can bring.

Real Food Has Curves: How to Get Off Processed Food, Lose Weight, and Love What You EatAvoid as much as possible processed food. Hot dog are processed foods, as are canned meats. Packaged cookies and cakes, frozen dinners and most packaged white breads are processed foods Avoid milk and other dairy products that are derived from animals fed antibiotics and artificial growth hormones to increase production. Encourage them to eat whole grain breads, raw fruits and vegetables, and natural dairy products, and drink plenty of water and fruit juice

A doctor told me that health probelms start with the stomach.  I think we probably ignore this and continue treating the symtoms rather than the problem.

Better save than sorry. Healthy eating is always the better thing to do.

Happy Teaching and Cooking!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Kids and Cooking - Activities for Different Age Groups

I received several comments sharing their thoughts on the wonderful secret of cooking and teaching kids. One of the comments asked if there could be a list of cooking activity to match the different age groups.

Thank you for the comment. It is perhaps useful to summarize.

We must recognize that each child develops differently and may have different likes and dislikes. I hope you will be able to use this as a guideline to help with cooking with your kids.

I am also hoping to put together recipes appropriate for each age group.

It would be wonderful if you can share your recipes for mums and dads all over the world to equally share them with their kids.

Children Ages 3-6 years:
1. Stirring and Mixing
2. Rolling
3. Washing - vegetables and fruits.
4. Shred lettuce for a salad - tearing large and small pieces
5. Add ingredients to the recipe

Teaching opportunities – motor skills, cleanliness, order and organization, instructions, reading, sizes

Children Ages 6-8 years:
1. Set the table - this is a great way to show organization
2. Use child safe knife to cut soft foods
3. Beating ingredients
4. Fill and measure
5. Prepare simple meals

Teaching opportunities – motor skills, accuracy, math, instructions, sizes, handling knifes, sense of accomplishment

Children Ages 8- 10 years:
1. Prepare recipes
2. Use kitchen appliances
3. Measuring and estimating ingredients

The cooking opportunities grows as the child grows

Children Ages 10-12 years:
1. Prepare more complicated recipes independently
2. Use kitchen appliances such as an oven, microwave, knifes etc
3. Figure out recipes, maybe even create own ones

Children Ages 13-16 years:
1. Prepare recipes with multiple ingredients - helps child organize kitchen skills
2. Prepare recipes independently with little supervision - mastering these skills builds self-esteem and builds trust

Cooking with kids has immense rewards! I believe the best memories center around food. Food is the secret weapon to happiness and calmness and togetherness. And the potential satisfaction to our children and for us to be able to be with them.

Happy Cooking and Teaching!
Real Food for Healthy Kids: 200+ Easy, Wholesome Recipes

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Keep Our Children’s Digestive System Happy

Unhealthy digestive systems can create lots of health issues. And if it occurs at a young age, the problems will tend to drag till they are older when it would be more difficult to manage. How to we keep our children’s digestive system healthy?

As explained in the previous blog post, probiotics are microorganisms similar to those that naturally exist in the gut. Prebiotics essentially help facilitate the effect of probiotics.

Where can we get probiotics and prebiotics in our diet?


- Food as well as dietary supplements including yogurt, milk, miso, tempeh, and soy beverages.
- The largest group of probiotics are lactic acid bacteria found in yoghurt

Have a look at this blog post for home made yoghurt - its simple and quick.
Home Made Yoghurt

Prebiotics can be derived from plants or synthesized.

- soybeans, whole grains, onions, chicory root, bananas, garlic, leeks, artichokes and raw oats.

Probioitics is commonly combine with antibiotic use. Probiotics also can be used to treat diarrhea, irritable bowel, urinary tract infection, prevent and manage eczema in children

While probiotics are generally found to be safe, side effects are typically mild (for example, increased gas or bloating). As with probiotics, prebiotics can cause gas, bloating and increased frequency of bowel movements when consumed in large quantities (i.e. you may fart and poop more). Like everything else, practice balance and moderation.

As with any supplement, always check with your doctor and choose a well-known.

The next few recipes, I hope to have those with the above ingredients. In the meantime, if you have ideas, do share. Also, get your kids to learn about eating well and prepare meals with these items and dont forget to explain why.

Going as natural as possible is always the preferred approach!

Happy Cooking and Happy Teaching.

Guts: Our Digestive System

Probiotics Vs Prebiotics

Probiotics and Prebiotics! What are they? What are they for? Which is better? Should our kids take them? They are increasingly becoming important for children (and adults). Good intestinal health keeps the away lots of diseases. Start young.

Perhaps, I am digressing a little from the blog focus. But this topic of probiotics and prebiotics is quite popular and important. I realize that my children's pediatrician continues to prescribe friendly bacteria to my kids. Our meals should consider this as well.

I did some research and made some enquiries that I would like to share.

I will break up this topic into two posts (1) about probiotics and prebiotics and our children and (2) the sort of meals and food and our cooking that our children can benefit from

Digestive System

You could use the diagrams and the information on this post to teach your children about our tummies and the workings of the intestinal systems and the importance of keeping them healthy with the right food.

There are bacteria living in our tummies and intestine. Some are ‘good’ bacteria and some are ‘bad’. We need these "friendly" bacteria:

- To help keep bad bacteria and yeast from growing in your intestinal tract.
- To help make vitamin K and keep your immune system functioning properly.

When the bad bacteria and yeast become overgrown in your intestinal tract, it can cause diseases such as yeast infections, irritable bowel syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis. And the antibiotics that we can to treat the infection will also kill the healthy bacteria.

One of the worrying things about our digestive system if there is improper care is the kind of ailments that can arise:

Infant allergies and infections (when used in formula), Inflammatory colitis , Candida yeast infections (in all body areas) , Atopic dermatitis, Bladder infections, Vaginal infections ,Acute pancreatitis, Indigestion, High cholesterol , Crohn's Disease , Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, Antibiotic-induced diarrhea, Gastroenteritis (stomach flu), Diarrhea, ulcers, and many others.

What is Probiotics and Why We Need It?

The most common types of probiotic bacteria are Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. Our body reacts towards unhealthy bacteria with diarrhea, cramps and abdominal pain. And with antibiotics, the reactions can worsen. These healthy probiotic bacteria can crowd out those bad bacteria.

What is Prebiotics and Why We Need It?

Prebiotics is the food for probiotic bacteria to help it grow and live in our bowels. The most common kind of prebiotic is made of fructo-oligosaccharide molecules. We don’t have the ability to digest them ourselves. The molecules pass through easily and are available for probiotic bacteria to use as nutrition for their own purposes.

Therefore, it would be ideal to have both prebiotics and probiotics to create a perfect environment for these bacteria to thrive and get rid of unwanted bacteria.

I read of an example where a probiotic and prebiotic combination can have a curable effect on the entire body. An individual with diabetes who takes several courses of an antibiotic for a bladder infection and before long get vaginal yeast infection and that, about the same time, her allergies worsen. She could get medication for her illness but it could worsen the problem as explained above. An alternative is to get good probiotic/prebiotic combination supplement clean out the toxins in the colon.

Is it safe to take probiotics?

Probiotics are nutritional supplements and it’s generally safe. Some take probiotics after an antibiotic therapy to restore the balance of friendly bacteria. Probiotics may also be very beneficial for people with digestive tract disorders, yeast infections, and systemic candida

Can children take probiotics?
Absolutely. In fact, the use of probiotics can be very beneficial for your children. A healthy digestive system is very important for a strong immune system in kids as well as in adults.

At what age might a child benefit from taking probiotics?
Actually at any age. They can be taken as a daily supplement as they heavily influence the entire digestive and immune system.

Can probiotics help with any specific childhood disorders?
Absolutely. If a child has been on an antibiotic, it is extremely important to replenish the beneficial bacteria lost by taking a quality probiotics. Probiotics can help boost the immune system whenever a child might be coming down with symptoms of a cold or flu.

What is the best way for a child to get probiotics - food or supplements? Due to the pH of the stomach, supplements may be better. Supplements assure the bacteria are not going to get killed off by the acidity of the stomach and they can make it safely to the intestines where they really make a difference.

But, as always, it is useful to speak to your doctor or pharmacist.
Probiotics and prebiotics can be bought off the counter.

The next blog post, I talk about the foods and meals that is useful for our digestive system.

Happy cooking and Happy Teaching!
Digestive System wall chart 84x118 cm ,4 kg

Thursday, August 5, 2010

What Kids and Cooking and Teaching Means? And How to Do it?

I  found this wonderful video on UTube. It shows how 2 very young children (5 years and a toddler) prepare a wonderful smootie! See how they do it. An execellant example of kids and cooking and teaching while cooking.

Watch the kids confidence and the fun they are having. There is a lot of encouragement and guidance. They need to mix and think and move - there is muscle movement. And they have their own preparation building pride for their work.

Kids and Cooking and How and What They Learn

Happy Cooking and Teaching!

The Top 100 Recipes for Happy Kids: Keep Your Child Alert, Focused, Active and Healthy (Top 100 Recipes For...)
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