This weekend we visited one of my sisters’ homes and celebrated my oldest niece’s birthday. The event highlighted for me the inevitability of growing up and getting older. The third generation of my family now consists (my side) of 2 children (boys), one nephew, and now no less than four nieces.
The youngest of these is not yet one (at least I don’t think she is, I’m really rubbish at ages and birthdays) and is still small enough that even though she can sit upright she has a tendancy to roll around on her backside and then flop forward and face-plant if you aren’t careful.
Nevertheless she provides good entertainment value: I was holding her (she is small but seems to weigh her equivalent size in lead) and gave her one of those baby biscuits; she was happily chomping on it and then when I looked down she seemed to have forgotten it. I pulled her hand up so she could see it and then she reacted like it was something she had never seen before and she continued gnawing at it; the whole episode made me think that babies have memories like goldfish – 3 second retention span.
This made me think about the boys – one minute you are changing nappies, reminding them to go to the loo and so on, the next minute you are explaining to their teachers that they ‘are good kids’ and that ‘they just need a firm hand’ and whatnot.
Nevertheless I have found that the older children get the more useful they become…especially in the kitchen. The capacity for children to eat food (especially males) is quite amazing. The oldest boy now only seems to appear when he requires fuel. He sort of just appears like a jack-in-the-box, eats, and then disappears.
So in an attempt to stay connected with these people, (seems like the best description), I try to encourage participation in the kitchen.
And there is no better way to encourage this juvenile collaboration than when making trifle. It’s simply irresistible.
To make Trifle, and as a consequence remain relevant to your offspring, you will need:
- ‘Trifle’ sponges
- Jam (strawberry or raspberry)
- Fresh strawberries
- Jelly block
- Instant custard powder
- Double Cream
- A dash of sherry
- Hundreds and Thousands
First get the assistant acquainted with the ingredients…
Now he needs to chop up the jelly into cubes:
Then put the jelly in a jug, add some water and heat in the microwave for a minute.
Meanwhile get a ‘responsible’ adult to cut the sponges in two, lengthwise:
Now spread the slices with jam and sandwich them together:
Cut each jammy sponge into three strips and stick them round the edge of your trifle bowl and put some strawberries in the bottom:
Pour in a splach of sherry and the jelly:
Now carefully put in the fridge for an hour or so….
Meanwhile prepare the custard (as per instructions I mean we aren’t Gordon Blueing this sucker….)
You need to let the custard cool down – place some clingfilm over the surface so it doesn’t form a skin:
Now pour the custard on to the jelly:
Pop the creation back in the fridge to set. Get the cream ready. Pour into a bowl:
Use a balloon whisk to get some peaks (not too stiff). Then spoon the cream onto the custard. Sprinkle on some Hundreds and Thousands. Voila…
Now dig in…
Obviously this isn’t the best thing to serve your child for dessert. Carob sticks and grapes would probably be a better idea. But seriously getting children interested in cooking is a whole lot easier if you stick some jelly in front of them. (PS My sisters’ children wouldn’t even look at their corn-on-the-cob, primarily because their Uncle opened a massive packet of Tortilla Chips which they finished off before their mother served up dinner – sorry Sis!)