Inspiring the kids

Basics to Brilliance Kids, by Donna Hay, $50, published by Fourth Estate.
Basics to Brilliance Kids, by Donna Hay, $50, published by Fourth Estate.
As the school holidays draw to a close, finding things to do with the children becomes more difficult.

This is where the kitchen comes in. Some might say it causes more stress than it's worth, but it is good to keep in mind the skills learnt in the kitchen will hold them in good stead for the rest of their lives, and maybe even inspire them to eat more healthily.

Australian cook and author Donna Hay, a mother of two boys, knows this, and last year produced Basics to Brilliance Kids, a book essentially of recipes ''to be made for kids or by kids''.

''It's no secret kids can be fussy eaters. One minute they love broccoli and can't get enough of it on their plates, the next minute they'll swear to you that if they eat it they'll die.

''Knowing how hard it is to keep everyone happy and nourished, I'm forever adding to my collection of recipes kids adore.''

These healthy recipes - from tasty meals and snacks that will help children learn the basics in the kitchen to treats for things like sleepovers and movie night - are adored by her children and eaten in her house all the time.


Photos: Supplied
Photos: Supplied
A slice of Italy - Cheat's pizzas

Serves 3-4

2 large Lebanese flatbreads (wholemeal optional)
12 cherry tomatoes (sweet as can be)
½ cup (125ml) tomato puree (passata)
180g drained bocconcini or mozzarella, torn
⅔ cup (50g) finely grated parmesan
2 Tbsp torn basil or oregano leaves

1. Preheat oven to 220degC. Line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper.

2. Place the flatbreads on the prepared trays.

3. Using a small sharp knife, carefully make a little cut in each tomato and, holding it over a bowl, gently squish to remove the seeds and excess juice (it's a good idea to wear an apron for this part). Tear the tomatoes in half and set aside. Discard the seeds and juice.

4. Using the back of a spoon, spread the puree over each flatbread until it's almost all the way to the edges. Divide the torn tomato and bocconcini between the pizza bases.

5. Sprinkle the pizzas with the parmesan and top with the basil. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melty and golden and the base is crisp.

6. Wearing oven gloves, carefully remove the pizzas from the oven and allow them to cool on the trays for 5 minutes. Slide the pizzas on to a chopping board and, using a sharp knife or pizza wheel, slice to serve.

Zucchini pizzas
Using a vegetable peeler, thinly slice 1 zucchini (courgette) and scatter it over the pizzas at the end of step 4. If you like a little heat, sprinkle on some dried chilli flakes with the parmesan and basil, before baking.

Prosciutto pizzas

Tear 4 slices (60g) prosciutto into pieces. Divide it between the cooked pizzas before they're sliced in step 6. Top with a few more basil leaves to serve, if you like.

Ham and pineapple pizzas

Tear 4 slices (60g) shaved smoked ham into pieces. Scatter it over the pizzas at the end of step 4.

Place quarter of a cup (90g) drained canned pineapple pieces on absorbent kitchen paper to soak up any extra juice, then sprinkle them over the ham with the parmesan and basil, before baking.


Everything good comes in a cone - Sushi cones

Makes 12

½ cup (90g)
½ white quinoa
½ cup (100g) sushi rice (it has short little grains)
1½ cups (375ml) water
1½ Tbsp rice wine vinegar, plus
1 Tbsp extra
1 Tbsp caster (superfine) sugar
1 tsp sea salt flakes
6 sheets toasted nori (dried seaweed)
1 large avocado, halved lengthways, peeled and sliced into 12 pieces
1 cucumber, halved lengthways and sliced into 12 pieces

1. Place the quinoa, rice and water in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 12 minutes or until tender and the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 8 minutes.

2. Place the vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl and stir with a spoon until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Place the rice and quinoa in a big bowl, drizzle with the vinegar mixture and, using a spatula, fold to combine.

3. Cut the nori sheets in half with kitchen scissors. Place 1 of the rectangles, shiny-side down, on a clean dry bench.

Dip a spoon in a small jug of water mixed with the extra vinegar (to stop stickiness) and scoop up about 2 tablespoons of the rice mixture. Position the rice on one short end of the nori, leaving a 1cm border below.

Place 1 slice each of the avocado and cucumber next to the rice (it's fine if it pops over a little at the top) and roll up into a cone shape.

To seal, dip your finger into the water and run it along the edge, pressing to join. Repeat to make 12 rolls. Serve with pickled ginger and soy sauce.

Tip: You can choose any fillings you like - have fun experimenting!

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