Monday 9th April 2018
What fun we all had cooking together, last Wednesday, in a real family atmosphere!
The event was my first ever “Teen’s Cook in,” on April 4th in my farm house kitchen, in Great Chilmington Green, Ashford, Kent.
The teens arrived punctually, if a little nervously, at about 3pm. Speedily and somewhat nervously, they donned the aprons provided and washed their hands in preparation for the cooking session. To my surprise all the teens seemed to enjoy the cookery demonstration, and appeared interested! Possibly it helped that I made a fruity smoothie using milk, raspberries, blueberries, pear and Kiwi fruit with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, for them to sample, at the outset!
The Teens worked in pairs, preparing and cooking the two dishes I had shown them, i.e; chicken fajitas and avocado, mango and tomato salsa. I heated all the Tortillas, in two batches, wrapped in foil, just before they sat down to eat.
Chicken Fajitas were tackled first, with chunks of red and orange peppers and red onion wedges cooked in the juices of the mildly spicy chicken. Once the fajitas had been cooked and covered with foil, they prepared the colourful and tasty mango and avocado salsa to accompany the chicken.
My 6 teens, 4 girls and 2 boys, ranged in age from 12 to 17. They all worked really together, to produce a delicious supper which they sat round our dining room table to enjoy.
With not a single mobile phone in sight, everyone interacted well. I was incredibly proud of all of them.
It really did prove my point that teens really want and need to learn to cook.
Out of my 6, only one studied Home Economics in school!
I believe this simple exercise shows how desperately sad it was that the government, in their so called wisdom, removed proper, hands on Home Economics from the national curriculum, in the 70’s I believe it was. They ripped out most of the well-equipped domestic science rooms from all schools, probably as a quest to save money.
Let’s start a proper campaign to bring Home Economics back to all schools, including Grammar schools. After all, we all need to eat, even brainy people!
Home Ec. not only teaches you how to cook. It teaches cleanliness and food values and what calories are and how they are used, so helping to prevent obesity. It shows how to use up left over food; how to shop and store food; how to make the best use out of the oven, fridge and freezer; how to economise when necessary, by buying cheaper cuts of meat, and by serving plenty of vitamin and fibre full but cheap vegetables.
It is, quite honestly, the only real way to prevent obesity in future generations.
The next session for “Teens” is on May 11th when they are going to make Pizzas from scratch and Carrot Cup Cakes. Bring it on.
Below on my YouTube channel are some of the videos from my last Teens session.
Recipes from this week’s Session, taken from my new book Teen’s in the Kitchen:
Cajun Chicken Fajitas
Approx. 3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 large chicken breast fillets
11/2 Teaspoons Cajun Seasoning
1 Teaspoon sweet Paprika
1red pepper, de-seeded and thickly sliced
1 orange pepper, de-seeded and thickly sliced
1 red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
6 large flour tortillas
To Serve with the tortillas: shredded lettuce, 2 ripe tomatoes, de-seeded and chopped; about 60ml sour cream; 1 lime, cut into wedges.
- On a chopping board, cut each chicken breast into 2.5 cm dice. Transfer to a dinner plate, and toss the chicken in the Cajun seasoning and paprika, to coat.
- Divide chicken roughly into two portions.
- Heat 2 Tablespoons oil in a large frying pan and fry the chicken one batch at a time, over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until lightly browned on all sides, and cooked through. Each batch should take 5-6 minutes.
- Transfer cooked chicken to a clean dinner plate. Keep warm.
- Add remaining oil to the pan and heat for about 30 secs. Add prepared onion and peppers to the pan. Stir fry for 5-7 minutes, until softened and lightly charred.
- Add garlic to the pan and stir fry for about 1 minute, until garlic gives off a pleasant aroma.
- To serve: pile vegetables onto a serving dish. Top with the spicy chicken.
- Garnish with wedges of lime and serve with the warmed tortillas, salsa, and a bowl of shredded lettuce, a bowl ofchopped tomatoes and the soured cream.
Avocado, Mango and tomato Salsa
1 large ripe avocado
2 medium size ripe tomatoes
A little salt
½ mango, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 red chilli
Small handful coriander leaves
Juice ½ lime
- On a chopping board and using a sharp knife, cut the avocado in half and carefully remove the central stone.
- Push the flesh of the avocado out of the shells, using a teaspoon and chop in to a rough dice,
- Transfer to a medium size mixing bowl.
- Once the avacado is in the bowl.
- Add the diced mango.
- Chop the coriander and add to the bowl.
- Add a good squeeze of lime juice. Toss everything together gently and turn into a serving dish.
- Serve as soon as possible.