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Children love to learn new things, and there is no better way to help them understand how the food they eat is made than by teaching them to cook.  Grandchildren will love the chance to get messy while learning about food hygiene before finally tasting the fruits of their labor.

Kids also like some structure to whatever they are being taught, so consider preparing a three-course meal of a starter, main dish and dessert that they can help with every step of the way.

Mini fish fingers

This is an ideal light starter and also simple to make.


1 cup white flour

2 eggs

1 cup breadcrumbs

1 fillet haddock, cod or other chunky white fish

Cooking oil


Beat the eggs and cut the fish into small finger pieces.  Dip each fish finger into the flour, then into the egg, then finally into the breadcrumbs, making sure they are completely covered.  This can be a messy business, but that’s part of the fun.  When all the fish fingers are dipped, they can be fried in shallow oil in a skillet for three or so minutes on either side, until crisp and golden brown.  Serve with mayo or tartar sauce.  Uncooked fish fingers can be frozen and saved for later meals.

Meatballs in tomato sauce with rice

Rice is such an easy food to cook, and this recipe uses long grain rice to complement the other ingredients.


8 oz minced beef

1 egg

1 onion

1 can tomatoes

8 oz long grain rice

Olive oil


Salt and pepper to taste


This is another messy recipe, and grandchildren will have fun making the meatball shapes.  Chop the onion finely and add it to the minced beef in a bowl.  Beat the egg and pour over the meat and onion.  Let the children mix them together with their clean hands – they’ll find it nice and squishy!  Add a little seasoning at this stage.  Shape small handfuls of the mixture into balls and place in a dish.  Pour the tinned tomatoes and juice into a saucepan and gently simmer for around 30 minutes until everything is soft and runny, adding a teaspoon or two of sugar to taste.  Add a little chopped onion, crushed garlic or mixed herbs if desirable.  Fry the meatballs for about 10 minutes, turning frequently.  Rinse the rice in cold water, then place into a pan of cold water, with just enough to cover the rice, and bring to a boil.  Boil for 10 to 12 minutes, then strain.  Place the meatballs on a bed of rice, pour the tomato sauce over the top, then serve and enjoy.

Chocolate cornflake cakes

Here’s a simple and very tasty dessert to finish things off.


2 oz butter

4 oz cornflakes

4 oz chocolate

3 tbsp golden syrup


First, break the chocolate into chunks (and beware of some going missing!).  Put the chunks in a saucepan with the butter and syrup, and cook gently over a low heat until melted.  Pour the mixture over the cornflakes in a bowl and stir together.  Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases on a tray and put in the refrigerator to set.  Let the little ones lick the spoons while waiting!