Let your kids loose in the kitchen with this whistle-stop culinary tour of the world written by the co-devisers of CBeebies’ I Can Cook. Sally Brown and Kate Morris have come up with a fun engaging way to get your kids involved in the kitchen whilst broadening their minds and tastes. All the recipes have been given the stamp of approval by the children who tested them, so embark on a cooking adventure from Asia to Africa…
China: Chow Mein
There are 292 languages in China and the official language is Mandarin. It has no alphabet. Children here have to learn over 7,000 characters, like little pictures, before they are 11 years old. Did you know China invented ice cream and toilet paper? In China, people eat with chopsticks instead of knives and forks, and sit on large cushions on the floor – can you? People might use both hands to eat or a knife and fork. China is also famous for its 15-day New Year celebrations, where families feast on foods that they believe will bring them good luck and happiness.
Prep time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Preheat to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 | Serves: 2 + 2
Ingredients: 250g/9oz sliced roast beef | 4 spring onions/scallions | 1 red pepper | 2 savoy cabbage leaves | 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder | 2 teaspoons ready-crushed wet garlic | 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce | 1 pinch of ground black pepper | 240ml/8fl oz/1 cup water | 300g/10 ½ oz straight-to-wok noodles Extra equipment: casserole dish with a lid, long-handled spoon
To make: 1 Cut the cooked beef into wide strips, using scissors, and put into the casserole dish. | 2 Top and tail the spring onions/scallions, using scissors, then cut the white and pale green parts into small rings and add to the casserole. | 3 Pop the pepper*, then cut it into finger-size pieces, using scissors. Cut out the thick stems of the cabbage leaves and cut the leaves into strips. Add them, too. | 4 Stir the five-spice powder, crushed garlic, soy sauce and pepper into the water. Pour it into the casserole. Put the fresh noodles on top, then put on the lid. | 5 Ask your adult to put the casserole in the oven, using oven gloves. Bake for 20 minutes. | 6 Stir carefully with a long-handled spoon, then cook for 10 more minutes until it is piping hot. Serve with a green salad – and try eating the squiggly noodles with chopsticks.
Mexico: Ham and Cheese Quesadillas
Imagine trying to learn 68 different languages! That’s how many they speak in Mexico. They laugh when they hear visitors talk about Chilli con Carne because that means ‘chilli with some meat’, not ‘meat with some chilli’. Mexicans may like their food hot but that’s silly! Mexicans love to party. They dress up in colourful costumes and celebrate with street theatre and music, parades and fireworks, and tasty food from market stalls, like these toasted parcels.
Prep time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes | Preheat to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 | Serves: 2 + 2
Ingredients: olive oil, for brushing foil | 4 small flour tortilla bread wraps | 8 thin slices of ham | 8 tablespoons grated mature Cheddar cheese | 16 cherry tomatoes | 50g/1 ¾ oz chorizo sausage | 1 pinch of ground black pepper Extra equipment: 4 squares of foil about 40 x 30cm/16 x 12in, pastry brush
To make: 1 Take four large squares of foil and brush each one lightly with oil, using a pastry brush. Put a tortilla wrap on each. | 2 Share out the ham between the 4 wraps, then sprinkle the cheese over the top. | 3 Chop the tomatoes in a cup, a few at a time, using scissors then put them on top of each wrap. Chop the chorizo with scissors and pop it on top. | 4 Fold the foil over so that the wrap is folded in half. Crunch up the edges to seal each parcel. Spread the parcels out on the baking sheet. | 5 Ask your adult to put the baking sheet in the oven, using oven gloves. Cook for 20 minutes until the middle is piping hot – they can open one foil parcel carefully to check. Serve wrapped in a fresh foil parcel, if you like, with a spoonful of sour cream and a glass of milk.
Morocco: Lemon, Date and Yogurt Cake
In Africa families in the countryside often grow their own food, which needs a lot of water so they build special ditches to get water to the plants. Large farms produce coffee, tea and bananas to sell around Africa and the rest of the world. Moroccans use their right hand to eat and serve themselves from big shared dishes in the middle of the table. Come and visit the noisy souks – Moroccan markets – where narrow passages are filled with strong smells of food and animals, and the dancing snakes will make you smile.
Prep time: 20 minutes | Baking time: 40 minutes | Preheat to 160°C/325°F/Gas 3 | Makes: 18cm/7in cake
Ingredients: 125g/4 ½ oz pot of lemon yogurt | 2 eggs | 2 tablespoons Argan or vegetable oil | 2 tablespoons milk | 2 tablespoons mixed glacé/ candied citrus peel | 3 tablespoons chopped dates | 3 yogurt pots of self-raising flour (210g/7 ½ oz/1 and 2/3 cups) | ½ yogurt pot of caster/superfine sugar (65g/2 ¼ oz/ 1/3 cup) Extra equipment: wooden spoon, 18cm/7in deep cake pan and liner, cooling rack
To make: 1 Empty the lemon yogurt into a mixing bowl, then wash and dry the pot. | 2 Break the eggs one at a time into a cup and beat with a fork. Add to the yogurt. Add the oil and milk. Mix with a wooden spoon. | 3 Stir in most of the mixed citrus peel and dates, but save a handful to decorate the top. (If you have whole dates, you’ll need to chop them, using scissors.) | 4 Tip the flour and sugar into the mixing bowl. Mix all the ingredients together really well until smooth. | 5 Line the cake pan with the paper liner. Pour the mixture into the pan. Sprinkle the saved chopped fruit on the top. | 6 Ask your adult to put the cake pan in the oven, using oven gloves. Cook for 35–40 minutes until the cake is golden and risen and springs back when pressed lightly in the middle. Leave to cool on a rack.
Enjoy a slice of this delicious cake on its own or with a cup of sweet mint tea. You can also serve it with ice cream as a delicious pudding.
Extracted from The World In My Kitchen by Sally Brown and Kate Morris © Nourish Books 2016, commissioned photography by Vanessa Davies. Paperback £12.99