Our Tip of the Day has a celebrity bent today. Actress and mum of two Fay Ripley is well known for her many TV appearances. This year she extended her repertoire to cookery writer, with the publication of her first book, Fay's Family Food.
Now Fay's working with the Child Accident Prevention Trust to encourage families to be more safety-conscious in the kitchen.
These are Fay's top tips for getting your children involved in cooking. She says:
It's brilliant to involve children in cooking. It's great fun and you can teach them all about food, nutrition and safety. The key thing is to do it when you have enough time. If you've only got 10 minutes to knock up a meal don't do it then. When you've got a spare half an hour, that is the time to get cooking, all put on aprons and make it an event on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
The key thing is to pick jobs that are right for their age. For example for my three year old I might give him a bowl with a few ingredients in that he can stir away in a safe spot. Then for my seven year old she can measure ingredients and maybe line a cake tin. Let them stick to the basics and then whilst you're all working together you can explain the dangers in the kitchen – for example a hot oven.
In our house, which I think is quite common now, our main living space is the kitchen. Whenever I'm cooking I tend to keep a running commentary along the lines of "Mummy's going to pour some boiling water now which is really hot" so that the children are aware and stay away. I even do it when they're not there! I think more than anything it keeps me aware and on top of it. You know, we're all busy and multi-tasking and I think that's when danger happens if you don't give yourself the time. You need to stop what you're doing, do the dangerous thing and then get on with everything else you were doing.
So what are Fay's favourite recipes to cook with her children?
I've got a no crust salmon pizza, which is a popular one. The base is made completely from salmon, so it's a great way to get them to eat fish and then it has a pizza topping. Once you've made the base, the kids can get creative and decorate the top with the pizza topping and get involved. It's absolutely delicious and is really nutritious so good all round. My jam tart recipe a nostalgic one as lots of people remember making jam tarts when they were little. Children can help roll out the pastry and then fill the cases with jam. Easy and tasty.
Fay says that in her experience, it's easy to get children enjoying cooking:
It's fun, they can get their hands in all sort of textures and can get messy. It's a bit like playing with playdough but at the end of it you get a sausage roll, cake or quiche that you can eat. I think kids like cooking for the same reason that I do! It's the buzz of creating something and the satisfaction that comes with it. The pride of my kids when they plonk something down in front of their dad and announce 'I made that' is like nothing else and he always has to eat it no matter what it might taste like.