You can feel it in the air… Just a couple of short weeks left of school, parties on the horizon (if not on the calendar already!) and a lot of anticipation… That’s right – it’s the holidays, aka the “silly season” or, alongside June, one of the toughest months in the school year. A great way to keep kids focused on something in these exciting times is to cook with them. No, really (I see many of you thinking I have gone completely crazy – who wants all that mess and fuss when life is already a little crazy?) – in the past week I have cooked/ baked with over 40 of my students and they have been the most in-control, in-class hours of my week! Seriously!
When I spotted these phyllo bites filled with goat cheese and cranberries and a host of other goodies on Emily Richards’ Instagram feed a couple of weeks ago, I knew immediately that this is what I wanted to cook with the boys when Emily came to work with them this week. For the fifth time, I might add! She’s taught them how to make gnocchi from scratch, strawberry and rhubarb pies and sticky date pudding. And last time she came, she went down in history as “the coolest” – although they do use that term to describe many of our guest chefs! – when she showed them how to grind meat andmake their own sausages!.
I know from experience that this type of recipe will keep little hands busy – rolling, filling, folding pastry – all perfect activities for keeping little hands out of trouble 😉 and secondly, because the boys had done such a great job working with phyllo to make samosas with Charmian Christie a few weeks ago I imagined they would love this!
Because Emily understands priorities when cooking with kids (keeping everyone busy at the same time!), she prepped the filling before the boys arrived in the lab – we used parsley, pear, a little bit of whipping cream, breadcrumbs and a goat cheese log with cranberries and cinnamon already incorporated.
I know I say it a lot but honestly, if you set the bar high with kids, 99% of the time they will come up to meet you there. Although this could have potentially been a messy session with less-than-perfect results (one of my colleagues said “The boys are going to work with phyllo? Isn’t that really delicate?”), I think all the adults in the room were pleased that the boys really stepped up and produced gorgeous looking hors d’oeuvres, with very little mess or fuss. We also discussed different types of fillings for each of the pastries so I hope some of them put this new knowledge to good use over the holidays!
Thanks again, Emily for taking the time out of your busy schedule this holiday season to work with the boys. We’re so lucky!
Check out Emily’s latest cookbook “Get in The Kitchen and COOK!” – a book to get you in the kitchen preparing tasty meals quickly so you can enjoy time with family and friends both for weeknight meals as well as casual kitchen entertaining with friends. Check out what Emily’s up to by visiting her website or check out her blog and follow her on Twitter ERiscooking.
Canadians – win a Lampe Berger prize pack valued at $200! Closes December 9th 2014 6pm EST. Details here.