BAKING FOR YOUNG CHILDREN

Children love to cook and to bake and with the school holidays about to coincide with some inclement summer weather what better way to keep them occupied on a rainy day? With vegetarian recipes and complicated Greek recipes sometimes a turn-off to kids’ sense of fun, it’s advisable to stick with baking.

The age of your children will dictate the amount of supervision required and it goes without saying that children should never be allowed to use sharp knives and hot ovens without an adult keeping a sharp eye open.

A favourite of my children when they were young was chocolate fridge cake. Although no actual baking is required it still seemed to satisfy the cook in them. There are variations on the recipe although all involve smashing up digestive biscuits, melting chocolate and mixing together with syrup and butter. Whether you add dried fruit will depend on your taste buds. Kept in the fridge it will be fine for at least a week.

Fairy cakes are another favourite with children. Although part of the fun when I was a child was licking the cake mix from the bowl, nowadays concerns about salmonella from raw eggs makes this a no-no. The cakes are easy to make and it can be great fun deciding how to decorate them. With a bit of food colouring, smarties, jelly beans and hundreds and thousands the possibilities are endless.

If this all seems a bit too complicated for your children (perhaps because they are too young) then the age-old favourite chocolate crispy cakes may be more to your liking. Again no actual baking is required although, since the chocolate has to be melted, adult supervision is still required.

Jam tarts are always popular and even if pastry making is not your idea of fun you can always cop out and buy it ready made from the shops. Your kids won’t judge you and will still have fun rolling it out!