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Posts Tagged ‘baking with children’

bread

This Thursday 17 November is Homemade Bread Day, it is a day to celebrate and make our own homemade bread. Bread is a staple food using flour, water, yeast and sugar, usually it is oven baked but in some cuisines it can be steamed, fried or cooked on a skillet, there are many ingredients that can be added to bread to either make it sweet (sultanas, raisins, cherries, orange peel, cranberries, chocolate chips, bananas, apples, spices) or savoury (onions, pumpkin, herbs, nuts, cheese, seeds such as poppy and sunflower).

Bread is often referred to as the “Staff of life” and has been prepared for at least 30,000 years, there have been two major developments in the industrialization of bread-making the first was in 1912 when Otto Frederick Rohwedder began work inventing a machine that would slice bread, bakeries were reluctant to use it as they thought that sliced bread would go stale, later in 1928 it was re-developed to slice and wrap the bread, then in 1961 came the development of the Chorleywood Bread Process which used intense mechanical working of the dough this dramatically reduced the fermentation period and the time taken to produce the bread, this process is today used around the world in large factories.

White bread was once the preferred bread of the rich whilst the poor ate whole grain bread however in the late 20th Century in most western societies this was reversed as whole grain bread was found to have a higher nutritional value whilst white bread became associated with the lower class.

Homemade bread is far superior in taste, aroma, quality and appearance although it does have a shorter ‘shelf life’ which is not really a problem as it is usually eaten within hours of being made, if you want to have a go at making your own bread see below.

Charlotte’s guide to making delicious bread with children.

When bread making with the under 10’s we recommend preparing the dough in advance, up to step 7, and dividing the mixture into balls to make rolls.  Each child can then finish their own fairly easily.

Ingredients

  • Just over a pint of tepid water
  • 2 sachets of dried yeast
  • 1 dessert spoon of brown sugar
  • 5 cups of strong white bread flour (note our cup takes around 160g of flour
  • 2 cups of either wheat bran, ground oatmeal, wholemeal flour or granary flour (experiment to see which you prefer)
  • Handful of seeds – sunflower, poppy, sesame etc.

 

Method

  1. Add the dried yeast and the brown sugar to a jug containing the tepid water and whisk until the sugar has dissolved
  2. In a separate large deep bowl add the strong white flour and the 2 cups of either wheat bran, ground oat meal, wholemeal flour or granary flour (this will give the bread a little more texture) and mix together
  3. Add contents of the jug and stir and then with your hands form into a ball of dough
  4. If its too sticky add a little more flour but don’t add too much
  5. Work the dough by stretching, folding and kneading for 10 to 15 minutes
  6. Stand in a covered bowl in a slightly warm place until twice the size (about an hour)
  7. Knead for a second time for around 3 to 4 minutes
  8. At this stage you can add seeds of your choice (little hands love to prod them into the dough)
  9. Put into bread tins or make into roll shapes.  When making rolls with children you can be creative, try cobs, plaits and cottage rolls
  10. When the children have finished leave the dough to rise a second time, for around half an hour until it doubles in size
  11. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes for rolls.  For a loaf allow 30 – 35 minutes at Gas mark 4 to 5 or 180 C.
  12. When the bread is cooked, place on a rack until cool.  Store in a sealed tin or bag to keep the bread fresh for longer

 

Happy bread making

Gill

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Rhubarb buds

I am sure that most of you will have a clump of it in your garden or on your allotment, although it can grow quite big it is often overlooked and not really eaten – it’s Rhubarb.

If you do have a root or crown you will notice that it is coming to life, its large smooth coated ‘buds’ are splitting to reveal new leaves on short stems, to get long, tender, delicious pale pink stems you need to block out all light and ‘force’ them by covering the crown with a large container/bucket, old chimney pot, dustbin or a traditional terracotta Rhubarb forcer, my dad even uses an old dolly tub, place bricks on top to weigh them down, you can start forcing Rhubarb in January for an earlier crop. Harvest the forced stems when they are approx. 20-30cm long, cut off the poisonous yellow leaves, these can be put in your Compost Bin, to pick Rhubarb hold the stalk at the base, pull and twist away from the crown so that it tears off.

Rhubarb is actually a perennial vegetable although we often regard it as a fruit, it is available to pick fresh when other fruits are in short supply and often expensive, even if you have to buy some it is inexpensive when in season.

Forced Rhubarb

This picture shows forced taller, yellow leaved Rhubarb stems and smaller green leaved Rhubarb stems which haven’t been forced

Rhubarb is an easy plant to grow and will thrive on neglect, it prefers a moist fertile soil in a sunny position, plant Crowns in Spring or Autumn, although it can grow quite big it can be grown in a large Dirt Pot or Growing Bag (minimum size 40 litres), fill with a good quality Compost and mix into it well-rotted farmyard manure. Plant the crown about 3cm below the surface and water in well. Place the bags in a sunny spot watering the Rhubarb regularly especially during the Summer and during dry periods, allow new plants to become established for the first year before harvesting any stems, the following Spring only harvest a few stems at a time, remove any flower heads that appear these can be put in the Compost Bin. Rhubarb should only be forced every two years so if you prefer forced Rhubarb have two or more plants so that you can alternate them, don’t harvest stalks later than July. During Summer feed with a liquid or general-purpose fertilizer then in Autumn put your Rhubarb to bed; remove any old leaves and mulch around (not on) the crown with well-rotted farmyard manure.

Rhubarb makes a delicious dessert why not have a go at our

Easy Rhubarb Fool

Ingredients

  • 350g Rhubarb, washed, trimmed and sliced
  • Finely grated zest and juice of half an orange
  • 55g Caster Sugar
  • 150ml Double Cream
  • 150ml Greek Yoghurt
  • Shortbread or Oat Biscuits

What you need to do

  1. Place the Rhubarb, Zest, Juice and Sugar in a pan and heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the Rhubarb softens and starts to break up, remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Softly whip the Cream and Yoghurt together, fold in half of the cooled Rhubarb mixture.
  4. Spoon the stewed Rhubarb/Orange mixture and the creamy Rhubarb mixture in alternate layers into glasses or small dishes and serve with the biscuits.
  5. For a grown up version add a splash of Cointreau Orange Liqueur to the Rhubarb/Orange mixture.
  6. Serves 4

Why not have a go at our other Rhubarb Recipes?

Click here for the Rhubarb Crumble Recipe or here for Rhubarb Muffins, I don’t think you can beat Rhubarb Crumble served of course with Custard, simply delicious.

Enjoy!

Gill

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They say that the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, there is no better way to do this than with Chocolate, these Double Chocolate Chip Cookies are just perfect to show how much you care, they are quick and easy to make too.

Valentines Chocolate cookies

Valentines Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

What you will need

  • 225g butter/margarine
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 225g plain flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 100g milk or dark chocolate chips

To decorate

  • Icing sugar/red food colouring
  • Ready-made icing in tubes
  • White Chocolate
  • Cake Decorations

What you need to do

  1. Mix the butter/margarine and the caster sugar in a bowl until fluffy and light in colour.
  2. Add the egg yolk and the vanilla essence and beat thoroughly.
  3. Sift the flour and cocoa into the bowl (a bit at a time) and mix, the dough will become quite firm.
  4. Stir in your chocolate chips.
  5. If the mixture is slightly soft and sticky place it in the fridge to chill for at least 20 mins this will make it easier to handle.
  6. Divide the mixture into 12 balls, roll and put onto a baking tray lined with parchment, 6 to a tray allowing room for them to spread, and squash down slightly.
  7. Bake in a preheated oven at 190C/Gas 5 for 10 minutes, remove and leave to cool and set for at least 15 minutes before decorating when cold.

To decorate

Hearts, crosses and patterns can be made from icing or runny white chocolate (melt in a bowl over hot water) add cake decorations when wet – sugar strands, mini marshmallows, silver/gold balls, glitter sugar, sugar hearts.

Don’t forget to reward your young helpers with a sample of their hard work.

Delicious!

Gill

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Christmas Day is nearly here and Father Christmas is due to arrive in just over 12 hours, there is still plenty of time to make some home made Mince Pies to put out for him tonight, this is the recipe that I use; I will be making some this afternoon.

Mince Pies Med

Christmas Star Mince Pies

Ingredients

  • 16oz Plain Flour
  • 8oz Butter or Margarine
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1 tbsp Water
  • 1 dessertspoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 jar Sweet Mincemeat 822g approx
  • Caster Sugar

What you need to do

  1. Rub the fat into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Mix the egg yolk, water and lemon juice together and add to the flour mixture, if it is a bit sticky add some more flour or a bit crumbly a little more water, then gather the mixture into a ball.
  3. Roll out the pastry, cut out the bases with a round cutter, large enough to fit into your bun baking trays (I use shallow trays) and a pastry star for the top with a star shaped cutter.
  4. Place the round pastry bases in your bun trays, add a teaspoon of Mincemeat and top with a pastry star.
  5. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 180C.
  6. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with Caster Sugar.
  7. Leave to cool for 5 minutes before eating.

Makes approx 36 mince pies – enjoy.

We would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year from Gardening With Children and everyone at The Recycleworks.

Best Wishes

Gill

P.S. Don’t forget to feed the birds over Christmas

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Halloween is just over a week away and Thomas and I are getting excited.

Pumpkins, Costumes, Decorations and Treats are in all the shops and supermarkets, but if you can make your own I think it is much more fun and it could save you money too. Here are a few ideas if you are celebrating at home or at school.

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PUMPKINS

Now widely available to buy, look for one that is firm with a tough skin and not damaged (they can soon go rotten if their skin is broken, especially if they are kept somewhere warm).

If you have grown your own now is the time to harvest them before any frost, cut them off the plant leaving a long stem then place in a cool greenhouse/polytunnel or windowsill in the sun to ripen, if you want to grow your own next year click on the link below, it not as difficult as you might think and perfect for children to do.

Grow your own Pumpkins for Halloween

The traditional way to decorate your pumpkin is to carve it and place a light inside to make them glow, click on the link below for a step by step guide.

Make a Pumpkin Jack O’ Lantern

Lit Halloween Pumpkin 1

There are many other ways to decorate your Pumpkin without carving, these are ideal classrorrm activities in schools and nurseries and for young children at home, here are a few suggestions.

Sparkly Pumpkin – Cover your Pumpkin with glue and sprinkle generously or make patterns and shapes using different colours of glitter.

Painted Pumpkin – Simply use paint to decorate your pumpkin, paint on patterns, swirls, spots, stripes, flowers, faces, cats, spiders or use stencils or paper doilies for templates.

Collage Pumpkin – Accessorise your Pumpkin by sticking on sequins, beads, ribbon, string, wool, stars, gems, buttons – make an abstract pattern or a face.

Natural Pumpkin – Collect Autumn leaves of different colours, shapes and sizes and stick them all over your Pumpkin.

FUN AND GAMES

Pin the Nose on the Wicked Witch

Draw a witch on a large piece of card, it can be an outline or more detailed if you wish include its pointed hat, colour in or decorate with spiders and webs, hang your witch on a wall.

Draw and cut out a large crooked nose, place a piece of sticky tack on the back.

In turn, blind fold each child and ask them to stick the nose on the witch, older children/teachers/adults may need to be spun round to make it more difficult, the nearest to the spot wins.

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Pass the Pumpkin

A Halloween version of pass the parcel, fill a hollowed out, carved pumpkin with sweets when the music stops whoever is holding the pumpkin picks out a sweet, the winner gets to take the pumpkin home.

Rosy Apples

Apple Bobbing

Fill a bucket or large cauldron ¾ full with water and add some eating apples, place an old towel or sheet underneath to catch any spills. Try and bite the apples with your hands behind your back, keep a towel handy. For a dry alternative or for those in Halloween make-up hang apples by their stems from doorways or for little ones use marshmallows or mini doughnuts.

TREATS

If you have carved your own pumpkin use the flesh to make Mini Pumpkin Cakes and toast the seeds for a delicious snack – Sweet or Savoury the method is still the same.

Sweet Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Butter melted
  • 1 tablespoon Granulated Sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon Nutmeg

Savoury Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Worcester Sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • Sprinkle of Garlic Salt

What you need to do

  1. Rinse the seeds and remove as much pulp as possible, dab with kitchen roll to remove most of the moisture.
  2. Add the seeds to a bowl containing all the remaining ingredients and stir until well mixed and the seeds are completely covered, spread the seeds out on a tray lined with baking parchment.
  3. Cook in a preheated oven 275 F/135 C for about an hour or until crunchy and golden brown turning occasionally.
  4. Allow to cool.

Quick and Easy ‘Spook’ Cakes

Ingredients

  • Fairy Cakes – shop bought or homemade (plain or flavoured)
  • Ready to roll white Icing
  • Icing Sugar
  • Glace Cherries
  • Marmalade or light coloured Jam
  • Currants or suitable dark sweets for eyes

What you need to do

  1. Take the fairy cakes out of their cases and place upside down.
  2. Melt your jam in the microwave and brush over your fairy cakes.
  3. Place a cherry on the top of each, and brush with the jam.
  4. Dust your worktop with icing sugar and roll out the icing thinly.
  5. Cut out circles of icing using a saucer as a template.
  6. Re roll the offcuts to make more circles.
  7. Drape the icing circles over the cakes to create wavy pleats.
  8. Press your currants/sweets into the icing for the eyes.

Trick or Treaters

Whatever you are doing to celebrate have lots of fun

Gill

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October truly is the month of the apple and this year growers have reported bumper crops with fruit that is tastier than ever due to the favourable weather. If you wish to taste some new or old varieties, many of which do not appear in our supermarkets, have a look out for an Apple Day near where you live. There are many organised events throughout the country where you can eat apples, make apple juice, walk round orchards, ask the experts about growing, pruning and training apple trees, bring in your own apples to be identified or to simply buy apples or even a tree.

You cannot beat a Bramley Apple for that lovely tangy taste and fluffy texture, they are very versatile and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes – delicious! They are at their best at the moment and widely available, but of course if you grow your own they are even better!

This week is Bramley Apple Pie Week when we celebrate this wonderful apple, here is a delicious recipe for those of you with a sweet tooth, it would be perfect for a Halloween or Bonfire Night Party.

Toffee Apple Pie

Your ingredients

The pastry

  • 250g Plain Flour
  • 125g Butter/Margarine
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons cold water

The filling

  • 50g Caster Sugar
  • 50g Dark Muscavado Sugar
  • 50g Butter
  • 25ml water
  • 700g Bramley Apples
  • Juice and zest 1 lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon Cinnamon
  • Caster Sugar for sprinkling

25cm pie dish

What you need to do

Sift the flour and salt in a bowl, rub in the butter/margarine until it resembles breadcrumbs, add the cold water and mix with a knife until it comes together, gather up and knead to form a ball. Cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for ½ hour.

Peel, core and slice the apples, sprinkle over the cinnamon, the grated lemon zest and the juice, and stir.

Melt the butter in a pan, add the water and the caster and dark muscavado sugar, bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes, add the apple mixture stir and cook for a further few minutes until the apples start to soften then leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 170C.

Roll out 2/3rd of the pastry and line the bottom of the pie dish, fill with the cooled apple mixture.

Roll out the remaining pastry to make a lid, brush a little water around the edges of the pastry bottom  so that the lid will stick, press/crimp the edges to seal the pie and trim off any excess pastry, make 2 or 3 slits in the middle of the lid. If you wish to decorate the top, roll out the leftover pastry and cut out leaf or apple shapes, wet them underneath with water to help them stick.

Sprinkle with the caster sugar and bake for 30mins until golden brown.

Serve with cream, ice cream or custard.

You know what they say an apple a day…

Gill

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Strawberries on plate

I seem to be surrounded by Strawberries: at my allotment, in my garden and even when I visit my parents, they have a strawberry bed which is simply overflowing with fruit (I can’t resist them and always leave with a tub full). This year has been an exceptional year for Strawberries, they are at their best now and simply delicious, however you choose to eat them.

HomeBetween 1st June – 31st August Breast Cancer Care are encouraging people to support them by holding a Strawberry Tea. Simply get together with friends and family, buy or bake some cakes, add some strawberries, put the kettle on and away you go!

You can hold a Strawberry Tea at home, at work, at your Sports Club in the clubhouse, with your community group, gardening club, art group and at school.

Holding a Strawberry Tea at School is a great way to get children involved, I am sure there will be lots of eager volunteers to help make the Strawberry Treats as well as designing posters, invitations and planning the event, why not combine it with the end of term Summer Fair.

There are some delicious Strawberry recipes on their website, this is one of my favourites, it’s perfect for parties too or as a cooling and refreshing treat on a hot day.

Mini Rainbow Jellies

This recipe uses small shot glasses, you can use larger plastic cups by increasing the quantities of Jelly and adding more Strawberries, why not try different flavours of jelly and use other seasonal fresh fruits.

Makes 12     Preparation time: 20 minutes     Chilling time: 3½ hours

Ingredients

  • 35g Pineapple Jelly Tablet
  • A drop of blue food colouring
  • ½ x 35g Lime Jelly Tablet
  • 4 Strawberries sliced

What you need to do

  1. Make up the pineapple jelly with water as the pack directs. Pour half into a jug and add a drop of blue food colouring to darken the jelly slightly. Allow the jelly to cool slightly.
  2. Pour the darker coloured jelly into the base of 12 plastic shot glasses then chill in the freezer for 15 minutes or until just set.
  3. Make up the lime jelly as the pack directs using half the amount of water. Leave to cool.
  4. Pour the lime jelly over the set coloured pineapple layer, then put back in the freezer for 15 minutes or until set.
  5. Press a slice of strawberry into each jelly then pour over the remaining uncoloured pineapple jelly to fill each glass. Chill in the fridge for about 3 hours or until set.

If you have a glut of Strawberries why not put them to good use; hold a Strawberry Tea, have a great time and raise money for a good cause at the same time. If you have a large crop turn them into delicious Strawberry Jam and bake some Strawberry Jam Drop Cookies or into Strawberry Smoothies.

Enjoy

Gill

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