Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Clever Kids

I know I have skited plenty about my son's cooking ability before but his latest project had me feeling a very proud mum indeed. Recently, Rex was set a 'cooking challenge' at school, whereby he and two of his classmates had to come up with a three course meal, cook it and serve it (and eat it) with one of the teachers from school. As he was so excited about doing this Glen and I sat down with him and asked him what he wanted to do and from there gave him a few basics on how to organise himself to complete the task- such as making lists of ingredients and tasks and when they would need to be bought/done.
Now we have done this with Rex before, tried to take a big project and break it down into little bits so that he doesn't get into overwhelm and give up (it happens to us all!!!!) This time it seemed he was really self motivated to get everything done and I was seriously impressed with the initiative and effort he put in. He planned things to the last detail and along with his friends Josh and Zubin, shared out the tasks to make sure it all went smoothly. I came along on the day to make sure no-one sliced their fingers off or burnt their hands, but I was strictly an observer. Apart from a few reminders about things and when they should go on the stove or in the oven I can absolutely say that I was hands off! (it was hard!!!!)
Well the meal was a huge success.
Here is the menu: The table all set: The 'nuggets': The beef kebabs:
The 'chocohotopots':
The boys did a really fabulous job!

Rex had great fun doing practice runs of the chocohotopots, this is a recipe he has perfected really well and is now a standby dessert in our house. He can whip them up in a flash, and they taste GREAT!
The recipes:

Ritzy Chicken Nuggets (from Nigella Feast)

2 (each weighing approximately 8 ounces with the peg bone, less without) chicken breasts
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup oil (if you are frying the nuggets)
1 3/4 cups cracker crumbs (recommended: Ritz crackers)

Cut off the chicken peg bone if there is 1, and put the chicken breasts one at a time into a freezer bag so that it lies flat. Bash with a rolling pin until the chicken is quite thin, and then take it out and slice into about 6 to 8 slices. Repeat with the other chicken breast. This is easiest done with scissors.
Put the slices into a freezer bag with the buttermilk and leave in the refrigerator to marinade for up to 2 days.

When you are ready to cook them, heat the oil in a large frying pan, or preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Tip the cracker crumbs into a wide shallow bowl, and then shake off the excess buttermilk from the nuggets and dip them in the crumbs. Coat them well before lying gently in the hot oil, and cooking for about 2 minutes or so a side until they are golden brown. Transfer to a kitchen towel on a plate to blot the excess oil.
Alternatively, you can lay the crumb-coated chicken nuggets on a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. They can also be frozen once marinated and crumbed. If cooking from frozen, add 5 minutes to the oven cooking time.

Juicy Beef Skewers (from Nigella Express)

500g beef rump

1½ tbsp red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar

3 tbsp freshly grated horseradish or hot horseradish sauce

2tbsp rosemary needles or teaspoon dried rosemary

60 ml olive oil

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp port (I used red wine concentrate instead)

200g crème fraiche or sour cream

½ tsp Dijon mustard

¼ tsp Maldon salt or generous pinch of table salt

4 tbsp chopped chives

Cut the beef into 2.5 cm cubes and put in freezer bag or ice cream container with the vinegar and 1 tablespoon of horseradish add the rosemary the olive oil the Worcestershire sauce and Port leave for 20 minutes but preferably overnight in the fridge.
Let the meat come to room temperature and soak about 10 bamboo skewers in water at the same time.
Make the dip by beating together the crème fraiche with the remaining horseradish the Dijon mustard salt and chives.

Chocohotopots (from Nigella Feast)

1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, with 60 percent cocoa solids
2 eggs
3/4 cup superfine sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Special equipment: 4 (2/3 to 1-cup capacity) ramekins

Place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
Butter the ramekins with 1 tablespoon butter.
Either in a microwave or in a bowl suspended over a pan over simmering water, melt the dark chocolate or 1 stick butter then set aside to cool a little.
In another bowl, mix the eggs with the sugar and flour with a hand whisk and beat in the cooled butter and chocolate mixture. Divide the mixture between the 4 buttered ramekins. Bake for about 20 minutes, by which time the tops will be cooked and cracked and the chocolate gooey underneath.
Place each ramekin on a small plate with a teaspoon and serve. Make sure to warn people that these desserts will be HOT!


JillyB said...

It's really good to see the youngsters cooking. Well done!

Anonymous said...

What a great job he did! Very impressive - and I'm going to show my kids this menu, it's something they would like to make!

Rhyleysgranny said...

You have really clever kids. Of course they have a very talented Mum to guide them. Great stuff

Oh my! Apple pie! said...

Wow! didnt they do a great job.
I love chocohotopots!

Anonymous said...

What a great action. nice.

Ian McDonald said...

Thanks very much for helping Josh with this and appreciate the input you guys give Josh at your house. Josh's Dad. (