A Cooking Day has moved to a cooler place for a few days.
I love Amsterdam. Food talking, I love all these different types of amazing bread, plenty of organic products easily available (often cheaper than in Spain), and so many charming restaurants offering a wide selection of food from almost any country in the world. But at the same time I can’t help to be proud of Spanish gastronomy (quite trendy here, by the way) and how important food is for us, our cooking and eating rituals.
As we are travelling with kids and summer is, necessarily for many of us, dedicated to these little creatures, I notice specially these days how important it is to bring them into the kitchen. To introduce them to the food universe, the knowledge of ingredients and culinary procedures (far from cheating them with little lies hidden in purées) to open together the amazing book of flavours and dedicate part of the playing time we share with them to have fun in the kitchen.
There are countless tasty things to “play” with specially in summer. Like a gazpacho, a very easy to “drink” salad you can season to be adapted to every taste. Chopping tomatoes or soaking the bread in water are ideal tasks for beginners, and pressing the electric blender button is exciting, let them take a pinch of salt to season it and involve them in the presentation or serving.
Homemade ketchup is an addiction suitable not only for kids. It is very easy to prepare, and you can preserve it in sterilised jars or in the freezer. Tell your kids it’s got their favourite ingredient: sugar (but you decide how much), and let them help in whatever you think may be appropriate for their age. Potato wedges with salt, pepper and some aromatic herb like thyme, cooked in the oven and combined with this sauce are amazing. My ketchup recipe comes from adapting several recipes I found on internet, as I don’t always have all the ingredients, but it tastes good the same. Here I leave a link to one of them: Homemade ketchup recipe.
We can also celebrate summer by changing the liquids we offer to our kids. Get rid of canned juices, packed with artificial ingredients and sugar. Natural fruit juices become slushies in a few hours. Choose the fruits with the kids, put the juice in the freezer for a few hours and blend it before it gets completely frozen. Provide some straws and ready to drink! Or let the juice to freeze completely in popsicle moulds and let the kids to get enough of them.
So we leave Amsterdam with renovated inspiration to put our efforts in guiding these “small trees” from an early age, planting the seed of taste to grow with your help and patience. And we will continue taking in families willing to have fun in the kitchen with A Cooking Day.