The Great British summer has arrived and weather permitting (!), the delicious smells of sizzling sausages and burgers will be wafting into our South London back garden at the weekends. Kids love outdoors eating so what better way to get them interested in the food, by letting them get involved with the preparation and cooking of it.
My son loves all the wonderful dips that go so well with BBQs. Maybe it’s his Greek heritage, but hummus, olives and tzatziki with carrots, radishes and cucumber sticks never get turned down. Why not try making another Greek favourite, melitzanosalata (aubergine dip) as alternative to the usual shop bought one? It is really simple and this fab recipe from BBC Food is really easy to make and a real winner (see attached photo for the proof!). Serve with crudities, tortilla chips, pita or mini breadsticks.
Children love getting their hands mucky so making homemade burgers and rissoles is a great way to get them involved with your BBQ feast. I have attached a couple of tried and tested recipes to get you started.
Minced turkey works very well instead of chicken and is often easier to find. Mini burger buns can be found in most supermarkets to accompany these dishes. Serve with a mild cheese slice and ketchup. Yummy!
It can be difficult to encourage children to eat leafy salads, so I find that this recipe for Greek salad is a real winner. Children love to choose what they will and won’t eat so by cutting the ingredients up into individual bite sized pieces, they can select their favorites. The marinade is delicious so the adults will love it too!
Kid Friendly Greek Salad
1 tbsp – lemon juice (freshly squeezed is best)
½ tsp – lemon zest
1 tbsp – extra virgin olive oil
2 tsps – mint, finely chopped
1 small clove garlic – finely chopped
200g block feta cheese, cubed
½ a cucumber – sliced in to 1cm rounds and then quartered
20 cherry tomatoes (whole or quartered depending on the age of your children)
a large handful of pitted olives (green, black or both – I think Kalamata olives work best with the feta)
Stir the lemon juice, zest, oil, mint and garlic together and pour it over the feta. Leave to marinade while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Mix everything together and serve.
I’m sure parents will agree that finding desserts that children will eat is never as problematic as finding savory courses! Most children love summer fruit salads with fresh seasonal berries with or without a scoop of ice cream. For something slightly different but still healthy, I absolutely love making this Jamie Oliver mixed berry ice cream. For busy parents short on time, it is ridiculously simple to throw together and the children can’t get enough of it.
BBQ Safety and Tips
Whilst BBQ’s are good fun for all the family, care needs to be taken when small children are involved.
- Never leave children unsupervised around a hot BBQ even when you have finished the cooking as it will remain very hot for sometime afterwards.
- If you are cooking items with lots of fat, remember that they may spit hot fat onto sensitive skin.
- Always put cooked food onto a clean plate and not the plate that brought the raw food out to be cooked (unless it has been washed first).
- Make sure all meats and fish are properly cooked; it is a good idea to halve thick or large cuts of meat into escalopes. Thighs and drumsticks can be part cooked in the oven before being finished off on the BBQ.