Cooking is child’s play
THE SCHOOL holidays are great — if you are a child, that is. All those endless fun-filled days without double maths and homework to do. But parents have the headache of entertaining their offspring, or in my case attempting to wrest their electronic devices from them (I find Chinese burns are quite effective).
If my children were more sporty we would be outside playing football and cricket, or perhaps pitch and putt. However, for some reason, they have never been huge sports fans and regard the outdoors with acute suspicion.
So, what to do with energetic children? Well, cooking obviously.
Alex is nine and during the spring holidays I gave him his first proper cooking lesson. With some guidance he managed to make an omelette on his own. And since then he has repeated the trick several times — he is quite nonchalant about it now. A few weeks ago he decided that he wanted to expand his repertoire.
Although the temptation with children is always to make cakes and biscuits, Alex, ever practical, said he wanted to make something savoury — and one of his favourite dishes is broccoli soup.
I started Alex off by finely chopping some garlic and an onion myself (I was slightly nervous about letting him loose with a very sharp knife for the more intricate stuff), but I did give him the knife to chop a large piece of broccoli into florets while I held my breath. Thankfully, he did it very well and safely.
We sautéed the onion and garlic in a little vegetable oil and then added the broccoli. Alex boiled the kettle and very carefully poured the boiling water into the pan to cover the broccoli. He then crumbled in a vegetable stock cube, some salt and pepper and a couple of teaspoons of light soy sauce.
We waited 15 minutes before turning off the heat and allowing it to cool slightly before we plugged in the hand blender and took turns to liquidise the soup. “Do we eat it now?” Alex asked.
“Yes, but first we taste it,” I told him, handing him a spoon.
“Hmm,” he said with a studied expression. “Perhaps some more salt.” Seasoning applied, we sat down to eat our soup with some cream, some grated cheese (Alex’s idea), some croutons I had made earlier plus a crusty roll.
What to do with energetic children? Well, cooking obviously