On a mission to help get kids cooking, Liz Ashworth meets two young ‘domestic scientists’ in a Scottish kitchen, who share some recipes that other children can learn, too.
This month we travel to Newburgh in Fife to meet the “domestic scientists” in the Mainwaring family, aka brothers Fergus, 12, and nine-year-old Duncan.
How did I meet the family?
A mutual friend, Barbara, sent them a copy of my book, the Scottish Baking Bible, and in between looking after their hens and home schooling, the boys have baked their way through the book!
As soon as they were old enough to hold a spoon, they began baking with their French mother, Christele, who encouraged them to concentrate on weights, measuring, mixing and the transformations that occur to a mixture of ingredients as they cook or bake.
They are an important part of the kitchen team joining their mum and dad, Stephen, baking bread, cakes and biscuits and making meals together.
Each weekend the boys make a special pizza, one that’s different every time.
Below is their pizza recipe for you to try at home.
Meanwhile, why not think about re-educating your tastebuds by reducing sugar and salt in your diet?
Some sugar is essential to bake a cake or a biscuit for example, but too much is not good for us.
Christele continues her French family tradition of cooking everything from scratch, adding little sugar or salt because fresh ingredients add their own flavour, and where possible, reduces sugar by at least one third.
As a domestic science teacher, my mother adhered strictly to recipes.
I wonder what she would have thought of Christele’s no-sugar version of her waffle biscuits, which are delicious!
Liz Ashworth, from Moray, is a well-known food writer and food product developer. She’s passionate about teaching children to cook, and will present some simple recipes to make at home every month.
Fergus and Duncan’s pizza
- 1 pkt instant yeast
- 300g white bread or plain flour
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- A generous pinch of salt
- 170ml water
- Put the ingredients in order into a bowl and mix together.
- Let it rest for 15 minutes then knead for 5 minutes, then rest again at room temperature for 25 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/425F/Gas Mark 7. Oil two pizza or baking trays.
- Divide the dough in two. Roll out thinly into two circles on a floured board and lay on to the prepared trays.
- Topping: Mix together some canned tomatoes, olive oil, tomato puree and dried oregano to taste.
- Spread this over the pizza bases, then add the toppings of your choice. For example: Sliced mushrooms, sliced red and orange pepper, cherry tomatoes halved, stoned black olives, Parma ham, sliced chorizo. Then top with grated mozzarella or cheddar cheese.
- Bake for 12 minutes.
Crunchy waffle biscuits
(Makes 24 small biscuits)
- 175g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 115g butter
- 60g golden syrup
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Heat the oven to 180C/160C Fan 350F/Gas mark 4. Oil two baking trays.
- Sift the flour and mixed spice into a bowl.
- Melt the butter and syrup in a deep pan. Stir in the baking powder till it froths and then the flour and spice.
- Mix to a smooth paste. Scoop teaspoons of the mix with one teaspoon, and use the back of another to slide the mix on to the tray.
- Flatten with the back of a fork to make a waffle pattern, and leave room for them to spread.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes till set, golden and crisp. Cool a little on the tray and then on a wire rack.
- Store in an airtight container.
A favourite fun recipe is smores, which I would term “biscuit, melted marshmallow and shut!” Yummy.
Outdoors, the Mainwarings use a special fork to toast marshmallows over a fire, before depositing them between two digestive biscuits.
Christele warns against using chocolate-coated digestives as that can result in sticky fingers!
- Allow 2 biscuits per smore – digestives, rich teas or cookies – you choose the type
- 1 regular-sized marshmallow per smore.
- Make a parcel by cutting squares of tin foil.
- Place 1 biscuit in the middle of the foil, top with the marshmallow, then place another biscuit on top. Wrap neatly in the foil.
- Bake for 5 minutes in a moderate oven. Or, place under a low-to medium grill for 5 minutes, then carefully turn the parcels over and leave under the grill for another 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven/grill, and cool before opening the parcel.