The National Fostering Agency have once again teamed up with Gregg Wallace (Masterchef judge and TV presenter), along with the charity, Place2Be of which HRH the Duchess of Cambridge is Patron, and Welsh book publisher Graffeg Books to produce the third Cooks and Kids book. A recipe book by kids for kids.
Gregg, along with Tom Kerridge, Michele Roux Jr, Aldo Zilli, Cyrus Todiwala and a whole host of talented chefs, Masterchef contestants and former winners teamed together with children from 6 to 18 years of age to produce a wonderful recipe book, full of inspiration, ideas and delicious recipes. Children were invited to submit their favourite recipes for the opportunity to take part in a ‘Cook Off’, where they were to be paired off with chefs and celebrity chef to create their culinary creations which were judged by Gregg Wallace.
The National Fostering Agency is one of the largest Fostering Agencies in the UK and supports fostering parents and children with individually tailored care plans for the children. More information on how you can be a foster parent or carer can be found on their website www.nfa.co.uk or by contacting them on 0800 044 3030.
Royalties for the book will be going to the Place2Be charity which provides therapeutic and emotional support assistance to children and families into 257 primary and secondary schools in the UK for children with complex social issues such as bereavement, family breakdown, bullying, domestic violence, neglect and trauma to enable them to thrive and achieve their potential.
I was invited to the book launch which was held at Aveqia in London who had generously allowed use of their demonstration kitchens for the children and chefs to create their wonderful dishes, as well as the launch, where I was able to ask Gregg Wallace a couple of questions about what inspired him to get involved and continue to work with the charities on this third book.
What prompted you to get involved with the charities and the book project? I’m a huge rugby fan and got involved through the Wasps Rugby Charity, where I have previously coached some of the rugby players. As a single parent myself I understand how important is to provide kids with support.
How did you choose which chefs to choose to participate in the project? As you know, I’m a Masterchef judge, so I approached some of the chefs, participants and previous winners that I’d worked with and invited them to take part. They all couldn’t wait to be involved in the project.
Do you have any plans to produce a fourth book? There are no current plans for a fourth book, however I will stay involved with the charity and we’re possibly planning a banquet next year. Watch this space!
During the launch, I had the absolute honour to meet and chat to one of the young cooks, Bethany, along with her foster carer, Janie. Bethany was teamed with Celebrity Masterchef 2014 winner Sophie Thompson, and together they created Flat Breads and a wonderful Chocolate Cheesecake, both of which are featured in the book.
The book is available for sale at the RRP of £20.00 via Amazon with profits going directly to Place2Be to enable them to continue their incredible and valuable work for our next generation. On a personal level, as a former School Governor for over 6 years, as well as with a friend who suffered the bereavement of one of her young children, I’ve been able to see first hand just how valuable emotional support and assistance is to families and children to help them cope as they go through incredibly difficult situations in life, and therefore cannot urge you enough to help support this charity and their cause.
When you’ve been sent some bottles of refreshing Grace Foods Aloe Drink to try and you want explore what you can do with it, apart from enjoy drinking it, then what else can you do, except make a deliciously moist and tasty cake?
Well, this is exactly what happened recently and exactly what I did. So, read on, get your apron on, your ingredients out and enjoy some time in the kitchen before tucking into a slice (or two) of this deliciously moist cake.
- 85g Unsalted butter
- 180g Caster sugar
- 2 medium sized eggs
- 1tsp Nielsen Massey Vanilla Extract
- 60ml Coconut milk
- 30ml Farringtons Yellow Mellow Rapeseed oil
- 180ml Mango purée
- 190g Plain flour
- ¼tsp Salt
- ½tsp Bi-carbonate of soda
- ½tsp Baking powder
- 50g Caster sugar
- 60ml Grace Mango flavoured Aloe Refresh Aloe Vera Drink
- 2½tsp Grace Mango flavoured Aloe Refresh Aloe Vera Drink
- 100g Icing sugar
- ½tsp Mango purée
- Heat the oven to 160ºC (140º Fan).
- Butter and flour a 6 cup Bundt© tin. I used the Nordicware Anniversary tin that you can find on Amazon.
- In a stand mixer, or using an electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until fully combined.
- Add the vanilla extract, coconut milk, rapeseed oil and 120ml of the mango purée and beat thoroughly for 4-5 minutes on a medium speed until it has increased in volume and is creamy.
- In a separate bowl, sieve together the flour, salt, bi-carbonate of soda and baking powder.
- Mix half of the flour into the wet mixture until just combined.
- Add the remaining 60ml of the mango purée and fold together.
- Fold in the final half of the flour gently.
- Pour the mixture into your Bundt© tin and smooth the surface level.
- Bake for 65-70 minutes until the cake has just started to shrink from the edges of the tin and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the thickest part of the cake.
- Allow to cook in the tin for 5 minutes, whilst you make the glaze.
- In a small saucepan, heat the caster sugar and Aloe Vera Drink until boiling, then reduce the heat to a rolling boil and the syrup has reduced by half.
- Using your skewer, make a series of small holes in the flat surface of the cake and slowly spoon half of the glaze over the cake, allowing it to soak in fully.
- Invert the tin onto a wire cooking rack and prick the top with your skewer all over then, gently and slowly spoon the other half of your glaze over the top of the cake, again allowing it to soak in fully.
- Leave the cake to cool completely.
- Mix together the Aloe Vera Drink and mango purée, then sieve the the icing sugar into it, mixing thoroughly until you get a thickish icing.
- Gently pour the icing over the top of the cake, allowing it to drizzle down the outside edge and into the centre hollow.
You can find mango purée and coconut milk in the international food aisle of your local supermarket. I tend to use my Kenwood Major Titanium stand mixer to make cakes in if it involves beating the mixture for several minutes as it leaves me to get on with setting up the next stage of my preparation. If it’s something that only needs a very quick mix, then I use my Kenwood K-Mix hand mixer instead.
Grace Foods sent me some bottles of their Aloe Refresh Aloe Vera Drinks to sample. I was under no obligation to develop any recipes or provide a review of their products in return for these drinks.
Wow! That’s a mouthful of a recipe title for sure! However, it does tell you exactly what’s in the cookies I made, doesn’t it?
Inspired by the original recipe by the finalist of the Great British Bake Off, Holly Bell, which is incredibly versatile and can easily be altered, depending on your mood and fancy. Last night, I decided to go a little Persian with some wonderfully fragrant Nielsen Massey Rosewater, some delicious green pistachios from Sainsbury’s, along with some cranberry & blueberry mix which I’d bought from Holland and Barratt and some creamy chunks of Callebeaut white chocolate. The recipe made about 21 cookies (I forgot to count before we started eating them, still slightly warm from the oven, sorry!)
- 250g Butter, room temperature
- 150g Soft brown sugar
- 1½tsp Nielsen Massey Rosewater
- 150g Self Raising flour
- 230g Quaker Porridge Oats
- 100g Cranberry & Blueberry mix
- 100g White chocolate chunks
- 100g Pistachios, chopped
- Preheat your oven to 160ºC.
- Line your baking sheets with parchment paper (I used 4 baking sheets and baked them in pairs).
- Cream the butter and sugar, along with the rosewater until light and fluffy. (I was watching The Fall on BBC iPlayer as I was baking, can you tell?!) It’s much easier to use a hand mixer when creaming your butter and sugar, and I use my Kenwood K-Mix one.
- Add in the flour and oats and stir to combine fully.
- Gently stir in the cranberries, blueberries, chocolate chunks and chopped pistachios.
- Take out plum sized balls (I used a level table spoon measure for my cookies).
- Place the cookies on to your baking tray and flatten them out roughly to about 1cm thick. You need to leave about 2cm between them to allow them to spread a little.
- Bake for 16 minutes.
- The cookies will still be soft when you remove them from the oven, so allow them to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes.
- Remove the cookies to a cooling tray and leave until cold.
- Store in an airtight container, but you won’t be able to resist them for too long!