So, this past weekend three kids took over my kitchen: our 13 year old son, his oldest friend – also 13, and our eight year old. What started out as a cooking session for the two older kids turned into a cooking tutorial headed by my older son when his younger brother was keen to get in on the action. It couldn’t have turned out better.
The main event: the easy vegetarian lasagna recipe that is one of my son’s go-to recipes when I ask him to cook. It takes advantage of premade tomato sauce, but is obviously good with homemade sauce too! For this adventure we stuck with the ready-made sauce as we felt there was enough ‘customization’ going on without adding from-scratch sauce to the list. Next time, I won’t be so cautious, as they were all totally ready for this.
In the shot above my youngest is giving the garlic press his all as he makes a series of additions to the base tomato sauce (which also included herbs and red wine). His older brother was called in for reinforcement.
Grating nutmeg for the ricotta/egg/cheese stage.
This boy loved the mathematical precision required in placing the lasagna strips.
One of two completed lasagnas. They were all very proud of their work at suppertime, although my eight year still refused to try a bite of lasagna! The theory that kids will try what they cook is a really good one, but I have ample experience that it ain’t always so.
Once the lasagnas were in the oven it was time to turn to the brownies. We used Bill Granger’s recipe from his book Bill’s Basics, which – at my house – we agree is the best brownie recipe in the world. My son was demonstrating here his ease with estimating amounts, tapping in the baking powder free-hand rather than measuring!
The one and only time I was really needed during the course of the two recipes was to redirect these two in their chocolate cutting technique. My son had pulled out two small paring knives for the job and it was painful watching them mince away at their piles of hard baking chocolate. I quickly produced two large chef’s knives and gave a quick bit of instruction; happily, they picked up the new technique rather than ignoring me (my son is notorious for doing things his own way, even if that way is painful in the extreme).
Our time in the kitchen produced a lot of great shots, some of which I just don’t have room to include here, but this shot must be my favourite. The satisfaction in their achievement is so lovely.
A quick shot of a brownie with whipped cream (I was a bit slow in taking this shot as the cream can be seen melting here!). Oh, they were good.
We doubled everything the kids cooked so that my son’s friend could take home her own lasagna and her own container of brownies. Everyone wants to know when we can do it again.