FOOD

Three delicious French recipes to cook with children

In honour of those celebrating Bastille Day today, I thought I would share with you some seriously delicious French recipes I use to teach French cooking with my small cooking classes for children. I truly believe the best way to discover a new country is through food. It helps us to connect with the people and to learn their language. These three recipes I am sharing come from two of my favourite cookbooks which I can honestly say have both been used so much in my family cooking. In the French Kitchen with Kids by Mardi Michels is a great introduction to french cooking for children. The baked stuffed tomatoes (les tomates farcies de francine) are so good as is the carrot salad (carottes râpées). Mardi also has a wonderful instagram account to follow. The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo is a delight! I just adore Rachel’s energy and her youtube videos are great to watch with children. I have shared her recipes for fresh cheese which is such a fun recipe to make for a picnic in a jam jar and also her chouquettes which will melt in your mouth.

Strawberry Galettes

You will need:

  • 1 pack of shortcrust pastry
  • 200g strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • the rind of 1 lemon
  • the juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten for the egg wash
  • granulated sugar, for sprinkling
  • elderflower petals (optional) for decoration

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180 degree C.
  • Combine the strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and zest in a small bowl. Stir to coat the berries thoroughly and set aside.
  • On a floured surface roll out your pastry and using a round dish of approx. 10cm in diameter cut out rounds and place them on a lined baking tray. They should not be touching.
  • Spoon the berry mixture into the centre of each round. You should leave a border of about 2cm around the edge.
  • Working with one circle at a time, fold the uncovered edges of dough up and around the filling, working your way around the circle. You’ll end up with a rough pleated edge.
  • Brush the edges of each galette with a little egg wash and sprinkle the pastry with sugar.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the berries are bubbling.
  • Remove from the oven and place the galettes on a cooling rack. If elderflowers are in season, sprinkle elderflower petals over each galette for a slight floral flavour. Serve warm or at room temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or cream.

Fresh Cheese with Shallots and Fresh Chives

You will need:

  • 250g fromage frais
  • 50g creme fraiche
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 clove of garlic, crushed to a paste
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 4tbsp finely chopped chives
  • salt and pepper

Method:

  • Drain any excess liquid from the cheese. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl, saving some of the chives for the garnish, and taste for seasoning.
  • Cover the bowl and refrigerate the cheese for 2 hours.
  • Sprinkle the cheese with chives and serve chilled, with fresh bread and raw vegetables like carrot, radishes and peppers.

Chouquettes

You will need:

  • 125ml water
  • 125ml milk
  • 100g butter, cubed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 170g strong plain flour
  • 4 eggs
  • icing sugar, for dusting
  • 100g nibbed sugar

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degree C.
  • Pour the water and milk into a pan and add the butter, salt and sugar. Place the pan on a high heat and melt the butter. * You will need an adult to help you at this point.
  • Turn the heat down to low and add all of the flour. Beat hard. At this point the mixture will have the consistency of lumpy mashed potatoes. Continue to beat until you have a smooth ball that pulls away from the sides of the pan without sticking. Take the pan off the heat and continue to beat until the dough is cold enough to touch. Mix in the eggs one at a time. The batter will go lumpy when you add them, but beating continuously will smooth it out. Once the eggs are all in and the mixture is smooth, put the dough into a piping bag fitted with a 5mm nozzle.
  • Line several baking trays with baking paper.
  • To pipe, hold the nozzle at a 90 degree angle and keeping the nozzle upright pipe a walnut-sized ball of dough, then quickly flick the nozzle sideways to stop the dough trailing. Repeat until all the mixture is used. (You should hold the piping bag between your thumb and finger making a L shape and grab it firmly).
  • Dust the chouquettes with icing sugar. Leave it for a minute before sprinkling with nibbed sugar. Repeat a second layer of icing sugar before baking for 20 minutes.
  • Chouquettes are best eaten straight away, but they can be kept in an airtight container for several days. To crisp up, bake at 150degree C for 15 minutes.

If you’re further inspired with all things French, I shared another gorgeous cookery book for children here. And here you can see my list of books which we loved reading when planning a short trip to Paris.

Bon appetit and enjoy the celebrations!

Vanessa x


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