Monday, 28 June 2010

Cooking with Kids - Cheese and Pizza!

First thing in the morning yesterday, we made mozzarella cheese.

It takes a lot of milk to make one ball of mozzarella cheese (3.8 liters - or one gallon of whole milk - the fattier the better!).

Paloma added salt, citric acid and rennet to get the whole milk to separate into curds (solids for the cheese) and whey (the liquid left over).

This is what it looked like once we poured off the whey. We then had to heat it up enough to get the curds really stretchy, in order to get that rubbery and slightly stringy texture of fresh mozzarella.

At first, it was too hot for Paloma to handle so I got it started.

Then Paloma worked it into a ball, folding the cheese in on itself until it was shiny and smooth on the outside.

Paloma claims not to like cheese unless it is on we made pizza! We used the warm whey left over from the cheese to make the dough. It was a scorcher outside so we filled the kiddie pool and swam until the dough was ready.

She decorated her personal pizza with pepperoni and tons of the fresh cheese she made herself :).
We used the whole ball of mozzarella and had a pizza picnic in the backyard.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Cooking with Kids - Elderflowers


Our neighborhood has a plethora of things to pick and eat - as you may have seen we often pick things like nettles, wild garlic, and berries (sloe and blackberry). This year I have made it my goal to follow the seasonal foraging opportunities presented in a book I bought at the Eden Project last year (Seaweed and Eat It). The book chronicles the foraging adventures of a small family with two little girls who pick and prepare anything from wild crabs from the English coast, to sloe gin (which I actually made last fall). This year, I am right on track, having made special dishes from nettles and wild garlic. We are now full into the season of blooming elderflowers.

Paloma La Fritolera

We went for a short stroll through our village to find and pick a bagful of elderflowers - enough to make fritters (as you see Paloma doing) and elderflower cordial (a syrup used to flavor carbonated water or even white wine - though the syrup itself is alcohol free). Paloma was all over helping me pick the flowers, and I think she was especially excited by the prospect of getting to eat what we were picking.

the fried flowers

We sprinkled them with sugar and served them up with applesauce and jam for dipping. Isabella wasn't so sure about them, but Paloma ate more than half of the flowered stems that we cooked. Supposedly she is a picky eater - not too much evidence of that here.

ahhh, lovely donut-flavored flowers

and for good measure, look at this beautiful face!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Father's Day

I have been talking hundreds of photos in the last few weeks but there has been little time to update the blog. I know, I have had complaints :).

First of all, Happy Father's Day to all the good fathers in our lives. Our kids are lucky to have such a legacy.

Our family on this side of the pond spent Father's Day at the Haycock Hotel, where we had a traditional, full English Sunday lunch. The food was beautiful and delicious. Paloma especially loved dessert - some decadent chocolate tart.

And Isabella especially enjoyed the little fountain, conveniently located alongside our table!