|Given that we’ve spent A LOT of time at home in the last few months, people with children may be having mixed feelings about the school holidays starting next week. If you’re facing two weeks of juggling parenting and work (“I’m bored”, “I’m hungry”, “I need some money”), these real-life tips from Food Writers NZ members might help…
“Cooking with kids can bring some sanity during the holidays (although it depends on the amount of mess created!). We often dust off the pasta machine and make fresh sourdough pasta, or make dumpling skins from the sheets using a glass to press out the rounds. It doubles as a fun activity (they love getting their hands into soft dough) and a tasty lunch or dinner.”Nicola Galloway
“My saving grace was safety in numbers! I have an unofficial deal with my son’s friend’s parents. We get together every few months and agree a few rules around pocket money, curfew, general rules etc. Then we split the duties – so each of us has the group for a couple of nights, and take over parental duties. It works well, as none of us have families to rely on, and the boys love it. Basically we share the chaos, and all get time off for good behaviour!”Catherine Milford
“I remember having fun making some silly vegetable creations with my daughter Camille a few years ago when she was about six. It was a good opportunity for her to think about fruit and veges while she learned a few knife/prep skills at the same time. It didn’t take too much time or effort to organise while I cooked dinner. I remember how pleased she was with her efforts and taking photos for the grandparents before deconstructing what she made and cooking and eating the various components, so no waste – brilliant!”Victoria Harris
“Put the sandwich press/toaster on the benchtop. Leave it there for two weeks. Every child at any age can use this one. At least one meal every day should be composed of two pieces of bread and cheese. Optional extras – chutney, pickles, the random fridge leftover. Or as the father of my children says as he sends me yet another photo of his culinary creations (an egg! some steak! leftover chips! Crispy mac and cheese!) ‘Is there anything it can’t do?’”Ginny Grant
“Scone dough takes no time at all to make (I have to say my Thermomix has made it even simpler, and always perfect, and no, I’m not a salesperson for it!). To please different palates – namely indecisive me – I like to halve a batch of dough to make savoury and sweet scrolls. Just use what’s to hand: a layer of chutney, Marmite, creamed corn, or tinned tuna, topped with grated cheese then rolled up and sliced. For sweet you can’t beat butter with cinnamon and brown sugar, but also lovely is lemon curd with frozen berries. If that sounds like too much faffery, what’s even simpler is making said scrolls using frozen pastry sheets instead of dough.
Keep the freezer stocked with sliced banana for stop-gap smoothies and banana bread. DIY or you can buy frozen sliced banana to make things even easier. Cake for breakfast is totally acceptable – in fact, there’s probably more sugar in many breakfast cereals than in a homemade cake so don’t feel guilty about slicing into yesterday afternoon’s baking project for everyone’s breakfast the next morning.
Always make more than one standard batch of crepe or pikelet batter. Even if it’s just for two kids – I swear that since my two were about 7 and 5 they have wolfed down a whole batch and fought over the last one.”Anna King Shahab