The boy has recently discovered baking and absolutely loves it. He’ll regularly go to get the chair from the conservatory to pull up to the work surface. Thank god he can’t quite manage it on his own yet, or he’d be in the cupboards before you can say Domestic Goddess.
Anyway it’s a great shared activity for any child and particularly one with the developmental issues Oscar has. He really (and I mean really) struggles with adult led activities, but everything in the kitchen kind of has to be adult led and the fact that he requests it is great progress. All the professionals involved with us have been thrilled when I tell them about it and really keen to encourage us to do more. Which I try, but sometimes we don’t have all the ingredients or I just don’t want any more cakes in the house! And don’t think he can be fooled into making a ‘flour and lentil and old cereal and whatever other crap is at the back of the cupboards’ cake. Oooooh no! We tried that once before and it worked until he realised we were just playing and since then its been “no deal”!.
So whilst we love baking and continue to do it, I’ve started to get him involved in the every day cooking I am doing. It’s still about adding ingredients, it’s still about stirring. he doesn’t necessarily get the sweet treat at the end but that doesn’t appear to be much of a motivator for Oscar. He just wants to be involved in the process. And he enjoys it so much, I’m going to document our trials and tribulations in the kitchen, with a series of posts, called The Boy Makes……
And here’s the first one.
Last night I had him making burgers (although we haven’t quite got round to him shaping them yet) and today he helped me make BBQ Pulled Pork.
Pulled pork is one of those amazing recipes. You hear all about it, you see it and you assume its incredibly complex. Nothing could be further from the truth. You can find a myriad of recipes for it online, but I follow this Slimming World, syn free one:
- 1.5-2kg pork shoulder, all fat removed. Removing the fat is the hardest part of the recipe, and requires a sharp knife, good kitchen scissors and patience! I always do this before the boy joins in as hE has no patience at all (sound like anyone else 😉 )
- 75ml Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 1 x jar passata (I use a 68g one)
- 3tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 or 3 cloves of crushed garlic
- 3 tbsp sweetener ( I use natural plant based sweetener here. I like Canderel in my coffee, but not for cooking. You could use sugar if you felt so inclined but that would add syns)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
The recipe then goes on to suggest using a slow cooker and reducing the sauce first. I don’t have a slow cooker, and I cant be bothered to reduce the sauce. We literally pour each thing into my Le Creuset casserole (this is the bit the boy loves), then I warm it on the hob.
Before adding the meat and sticking it in the oven on gas mark 2 (150c or 300f) for about 5 hours. Ish. Give or take.
I check it after about 4 and give it a pull through with a fork. If it comes apart easily, I shred it and mix it up with the sauce and leave it for a while longer, sometimes out of the oven, sometimes in, depending on how wet it is.
It’s a very understanding dish. It basically does whatever you ask of it and will reheat brilliantly, if you add a little water. I’ve had it with chips, with pasta, with rice. It lends it self to tart flavoured veg, such as coleslaw and pickles but works equally well with roasted Mediterranean style vegetables or garden vegetables. It would be fab for a party and I plan to do it for our next games night.
Only thing is, Oscar wont eat anything with a tomato base. Ahh well all the more for us!
What’s your favourite dish to cook with your children? I cant be the only only training up their child for Masterchef?