It is half term this week and I have welcomed a well earned break from what has actually been a very busy couple of months. The sun is shining and the garden is coming to life but I am currently sitting in the house with two out of three sick children.(This photo was taken pre-illness as part of a Brownie badge challenge)
Plans for this week have been put on hold and I am grateful that they timed their sickness perfectly. No need to cancel any work commitments and we all get a chance to just sit around and take naps whenever we feel like it, drinking drinks I never normally allow in the house.
My work so far this year has proved to be rewarding. Teaching in Family Learning has allowed me to engage with young mums, dad’s and their toddlers as well as parents together with their school age children. The aim is to get them all interested in cooking and interacting positively with their children through the medium of cookery.
So far all the groups have enjoyed chatting about and learning to cook a variety of foods but what wins hands down for all of them is the baking. They all love it. We have done breadsticks, quick bread rolls, scones(savoury and sweet), pizzas, flapjacks and muffins. By the end of their sessions they all would have moved straight onto a baking course, so keen were they to learn more.
I can only hope that this trend continues and that more families get the opportunity to embrace food, cooking and getting their children involved in any way they can with learning about where food comes from and the benefits of eating and cooking fresh food as well as the benefits to long term health.I am determined to help make a difference, and will continue teaching my subject with the utmost enthusiasm!
Following on from my news I have a triple whammy of a book review. Two of the books are relevant to food education and one is an homage to all things cake. All three get my vote and will be used for teaching resources. I can lure the learners with beautiful and marvellous cakes before hitting them with the facts gleaned from the other two books.
I will review them in the order they came to me, staring with……….
A quote form Daniel Raven-Ellison of Mission Explore:
“We think that food and play are REALLY important. We also think that kids should have a good understanding of food as a whole, including the invisible and hidden bits.. that’s why the book talks about lots of things 99% of other “cookbooks” for kids don’t”.
I couldn’t agree more. Kids learn so much through play and this is a book packed full of activities and challenges for your children to get involved in. More importantly it is a book full of humour and wit. Some of it the kids will get, other parts you will. My 8 year old absolutely loved it for this reason and this is a perfect age to enjoy Mission Explore. She read the book and then we talked about it and decided on which activities we both wanted to get involved with.
The book is divided up into a series of 6 chapters.Grow.Harvest. Cook. Eat. Waste. Soil.
Each chapter features a series of activities that are simply good fun, interesting and quirky. Even the most snivelly and contrary of children will find this book hard to resist . I think the cartoon style illustrations and positively amusing, often gross facts will have them coming back for more.
I did find myself gravitating towards the “Cook” and “Eat” chapters. There are so many experiments here that I could go on to use in my lessons and me and my daughter have spotted some fruit leather we are dying to try out. It doesn’t require a dehydrator either!
Each chapter of the book takes you on a journey about food. For example why not keep a poo diary and eat things that will turn it into funny colours. Think beetroot, spinach, and glitter! This is only a small insight into what has been a revelatory read. It is unique and a far cry from the standard children’s cook book.
For real originality and personality I would urge you to go buy it now!
There is so much that is cool, amusing and innovative to tell you about. I am certain much of the book will have you captivated as much as your child. And that is rare for me. One example I can give you is a test called “Fragrant or Foul”. Name a smell that will make your breath smell the best/worst. Trying this game out for real would be far more fun though I think. I do love a book with a personality and sense of humour to match.
For more information you can go to the Website and get experimenting.
*Many thanks to Daniel Raven-Ellison for my free downloadable copy of this book. I was not asked to write a positive review of this book and all views expressed here are my own.*
Grow Organic Eat Organic
Like Mission Explore, this beautifully illustrated book includes projects and activities for you and your children to share throughout the year. This book is aimed at being a first introduction to little budding gardeners. The book is perfect for explaining the principles of organic gardening to children. I found I could share the book with my children, reading through a few pages at a time and discussing topics such as “What does organic mean?”, “How plants grow”, “Growing food to eat” and “Eating the food you have grown”.
What I liked most was how this compact little book manages to cover so many aspects of gardening so eloquently and in a style that engagaes with you and your child together.
Each topic is broken up into a series of short paragraphs, combined with some key facts and lots of wonderful illustration to back up the written words.
My 5 year old son, a lover of facts, asked me to read him the book each night and we would then talk about and enjoy the illustrations together. There are not many gardening books that I could say the same about. This is certainly a book I could see being used in schools to discuss growing, planting and enjoying your harvest.
As someone that follows organic principles in both my garden and allotment, this book is the perfect way to explain to my children about just what exactly the benefits are to being an organic gardener.
I would also recommend this book to someone who knows little about gardening but would like to become familiar with how to get started. It is the perfect short introductory read to get you into loving nature and caring about what you eat. You can buy it here.
*Many thanks to Liz Scott and b small publishing ltd. for sending me a copy of this book to review. I was not asked to write a positive review and all views expressed here are my own.*
The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook
Lynn Hill started a secret tea room in her very own sitting room. In December 2010 the location for the first ever secret cake club meeting turned out to be the first ever “Clandestine” cake club meeting. Things had swiftly moved on for Lynn and her Clandestine Cake Club grew and spread in popularity and Twitter played a part in this. More clubs soon followed and there are now CCC’s based throughout the UK. There is only one rule to follow. It has to be cake. Not cupcake, brownie, cookie or pie. Just cake and one made for sharing with your fellow CCC members.
This is such a celebratory book. The recipes are divided into one of eight categories, covering themes such as “Victorian”, “Global”, “Zesty”, and “Creative”. What appeals to me particularly is the amount of photographs in the book. If I am going to be tempted into making a cake I have not baked before, I definitely want to see the end result. Here I can feast my eyes on so many decadent beauties and for that reason alone, I would heartily recommend this book. The instructions are also laid out in clear columns, none of which are too lengthy.Each recipe has a brief introduction which paints a picture of just what the cake will taste like, sometimes giving you a little background into where the recipe originated from.
I was also impressed to see so many fellow bloggers featured in the book. Many of the contributors in the book also run their own cake/food businesses. This is a feature of the book, at the end ,where you can find links to their websites/blogs. There are many familiar names to me there but also a whole new collection of names and blogs that I will be visiting to get further cake inspiration . You see, I do get asked to make cakes for friends, as I’m sure many of you fellow food bloggers do. But, I never get asked round to dinner though.
If you are a budding baker or if you want a book to make you feel the need to share the cake love in this world then I would sincerely suggest you get yourself a copy of this book of gorgeous gateaux. You will not regret it. You can buy it here.
*Many thanks to Lynn Hill and Quercus Books for my copy of this book to review and for Sue at A Little Bit of Heaven on a Plate for pointing them in my direction. I was not asked to write a positive review of this book and all views expressed here are my own.*