Review: DK Children's cookbook - Eat your greens, yellows and purples ft. Carrot & orange muffins recipe.

I had a conversation with my 11 year old niece over the weekend which left my mouth on the floor.

She is in year 7 at school and received commendation for her baking in food tech. 

She has been baking with her mother since she was a tiny tot, the same as my children have with me.

She loves baking and cooking and as a result is really quite good at it and even has to tell the teacher a thing or two when his bakes go wrong.

The part that had me baffled was the rest of the children in her class of whom many, if not all, didn't even know how to cook pasta in class last week! 

A basic thing like cooking pasta and they all failed.

I also know of some children who don't know what many vegetables look like. Vegetables I consider 'normal' like a courgette and aubergine are just alien to some children in their raw state.

I get that some older children might not be interested in cooking as much as my niece is and when you are not interested in something, you don't really learn, but I have yet to meet a younger child yet, through all my years as a child-carer, who doesn't like getting involved and stuck right in in the kitchen.

They just love to feel like a grown up any way they can and get so so proud when they produce the final product to everyone.

I find they also eat a heck of a lot more and a better variety of foods if they have had a helping hand in making it. 

Somehow makes it taste a whole lot nicer if they've cooked it themselves huh?

And it is a great way to introduce mathematics through weighing and measuring ingredients.

My children love cooking.

To the point where it is a little irritating at times that I can't do anything in the kitchen without them grabbing their stools to get stuck in and 'help'. 

I use the term 'help' very loosely as more often than not it is a hindrance.

But, I let them, because they enjoy it and they are willing and keen to learn & help.

And that's all that matters right?

I went to a Mothers Day assembly that LB's class did recently where they played little video's they had filmed of the children telling everyone why their Mummy was the best. LB said I was the best Mummy because I let him cook the dinner. So cute!

LL is at an age now (6) where she is wanting to take more control and do much more 'grown-up tasks'. She has mastered the cracking of eggs and chopping soft veg and fruit like grapes and cucumbers and wants more and more responsibility.

So when I had the opportunity to review a new cookbook specifically for children, I new it would be perfect for them.

The book is split into categories based on colours of the fruit or vegetables involved and features recipes from stir-fry to cheesecake.

All healthy and all vegetarian.

The beginning of each section gives lots of facts about the foods used and how they are good for your body.

And each recipe page has facts specifically about it's featured vegetable too.

What I love most about this book is how bright & colourful it is throughout. 

The little friendly faces on the fruit & veg is adorable and makes it engaging for children from a very young age.

As soon as it arrived, LL was straight in there flicking through the recipes to see which she was going to make the family for tea.

She decided on the bean and corn bake.

It's great for LL as it really helped with her reading too as she insisted on reading each instruction all by herself and did a fantastic job at it too.

The instructions are all simple and easy to read. No pretentious big chef-y words. Just plain easy to understand English.

For those that don't read or need a little help like BB, there are step-by-step pictures to help along the way.

We normally stick to baking with the kids or the prep part of dinner so they never really have a helping hand in any actual cooking.

Of course with the bean and corn bake, LL wanted to do it all, so for the first time she was able to stir the food on the hob. (under my supervision obviously!)

She was ever so grown up and proud of herself.

There are also notes throughout on where the children might need to have a little bit of help from an adult for trickier tasks.

The result of her cooking was delicious.

I think that cooking and independence should be nothing but encouraged in our children and this cookbook is an absolute winner in promoting that.

And her taking the reigns and cooking it all herself is a lot less irritating than me interfering unnecessarily in what she is doing! 

Of course because LL had cooked something from the book, BB had to have a go too, so he was on dessert.

He chose the carrot & orange muffins to bake - good choice!

He squeezed, grated, mixed & spooned like a true pro. A little baker in the making.

They were scrummy & very kindly DK have agreed that I can share the recipe with you all!!! 

Carrot & Orange muffins

140g (5oz) plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
85g (3oz) light brown sugar
50g (1¾oz) hazelnuts, chopped
1 tbsp poppy seeds
100g (3½oz) carrot, grated
60g (2oz) sultanas
½ tsp ground cinnamon
100g (3½oz) porridge oats
Zest and juice of1 large orange
200ml (7fl oz) buttermilk
1 egg, beaten
75g (2½oz) butter, melted
Pinch of salt 

1.       Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and sugar. Stir in the nuts, poppy seeds carrot, sultanas, cinnamon, oats, and orange zest.

2.       In a second bowl, mix the buttermilk, egg, butter, salt, and orange juice. Mix with a spatula then pour the wet ingredients onto the dry.

3.       Use a spatula to gently fold the mixture together. Be careful not to mix it too much or it won’t end up light and fluffy.

4.       Line muffin tins with 12 muffin cases, then spoon the mixture into the cases – filling them up about two-thirds of the way. Bake for 20–25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Eat your greens, yellows and purples is available from 1st April 2016 and is priced at £9.99.
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