Friday 25 April 2014

Mini-Me in Must Cook Will Cook.

 Mummy on the edge (Families Magazine March/ April 2014)

It was a lazy Sunday morning. I glided downstairs after arising late and writing in my journal and my nose was met by a pleasant waft of parfum de warm fluffy pancake, travelling in the opposite direction. Mini-Me was in the kitchen, pouring thick American pancake batter into the heart-shaped mould I had bought from Lidl a couple of weeks earlier. A stack of flattened, golden clouds lay on a plate that was teetering off the edge of the worktop.

“Mmm... those look yummy” I remarked appreciatively, shoving the plate back from the precipice and switching the kettle on. And they really did look delicious.

“Good morning Mummy! My pancakes have come out really well! Go on, have one!” Mini-me beamed. I picked one up, broke it into two and stuffed one half in my gob. It was the lightest, steamiest, cakey morceau. I had ever tasted. So soft, sweet and...

“Bleaurgh!! Um... did you use a teaspoon or a tablespoon for the salt?”

Crestfallen, she realised her mistake. “Never mind,” I assured her. “It's a learning experience. That won't happen again because you will make super special effort to read the recipe next time. Anyway, the texture is fantastic. And they are still quite nice really,” I said, stuffing the other half in my mouth and fearing the immediate onset of salt-induced hypertension.

Mini-Me is eager to widen her repertoire in the kitchen and it is of course up to me to help her do so. Finding the time is not easy when there is piano, flute, singing practice, electric guitar-jamming and homework to attend to; to be honest, it is just easier to get on with it and produce a miracle meal all by myself which, I know, is the wrong attitude. Sometimes I do delegate and she's quite a good sous chef, adept at chopping and preparing ingredients for me, washing rice and kneading dough for the dodgy chapatis I turn out. It is definitely time to let her get on with it. Aside from everything ending up on the floor (why is it kids always let things teeter off the edge) only good things will come of this, maybe even a Cordon Bleu standard dinner.

The bloke who launched Leon, the worthy food chain (upstairs in Brent Cross, it's quite nice) is responsible for, a campaign that aims to make sure that every 16 year old is equipped with 5 fail-safe recipes that they can cook, unaided. I'm sure Mini-Me will have no trouble with any of the recipes listed helpfully by age on the website because she has been been raised on a healthy, televisual diet of Come Dine with Me and we have recently graduated to The Taste. Yes, shockingly fruity language, but whatever. The combination of Nigella, the horribly arrogant Ludo and Ross's dad from Friends! (- seriously, just ask the google about Tony Bourdain and Elliot Gould-) makes for compulsive viewing.

Anyway, Cook5 run a monthly competition where your mini-you can upload pictures of what they've cooked and compete for cash prizes (ker-ching!) for their school and themselves. It says so on the website: “To celebrate your hard work, every person who cooks all five dishes will automatically be entered into a grand prize draw at the end of 2014, with one winner receiving £5,000 plus “ blah blah... not really interested in the rest. They had me at five grand. Mini-Me now knows what she will be doing to pass the time in the next set of school holidays because I have my eye on a Kitchen Aid 4 litre Artisan Food Mixer in Almond White which is currently listed on Selfridges' website at £389. She can think of it as an investment in her own future. After all, it will all be hers in the end...

Have I inspired you to nudge your own mini-you into the kitchen - metaphorically, of course? Why not try one of the below:

Sheetal Karia (one of my talented Sing and Sign mummies from years ago, in fact) runs Kiddi Cook classes in Stanmore, Radlett, Watford and surrounding areas for kids from 2 to 11 years old. Call 07821 920 166 or email

Cinnamon Square Bakery in Rickmansworth are finalists of The British Cookery School Awards 2013 and they run children's baking workshops from their 400 year old Grade II listed shop during school holidays. Visit or call 01923 778353 for details.

More from the edge at Follow on twitter @appleina.

Angelina runs Sing and Sign award-winning baby signing classes in Harrow, Bushey and Rickmansworth. You can also follow @AngeSingandSign on Twitter