Children put vegetables into a frying pan to cook stir fry

Making stir fry at Art Block, 2018

In October 2018, Leah Morris started weekly cooking sessions at Art Block, the SLG’s free space on Sceaux Gardens Estate for local children and families to make things, be creative, and play. Here, she shares her cooking diary, highlighting five particularly fun sessions.

I have been working in the education department for over two years and have established good relationships with the children at Art Block. For me, it is very important to give children the opportunity to explore cooking for themselves early on in life. Choosing simple dishes to make together, over 15 weeks we have encouraged them to learn about food, and to feel confident recreating different meals at home.

Week 1: Veggie Stir Fry

This simple dish involves quite a bit of preparation. This was a good dish to start with as it requires a lot of chopping, which meant advising the children about knife safety and the importance of washing their hands and the vegetables.

The children enjoyed tasting the vegetables raw and then again when they were cooked. They had fun working together, adding the ingredients, stirring and of course eating the finished product.

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<p>Cooking at Art Block, 2018</p>

Cooking at Art Block, 2018


Cracking eggs had been a particularly popular activity in the first few weeks, so naturally we decided to make omelettes. A few omelettes turned into scrambled eggs and one child just wanted to make a fried egg. Nevertheless, they were all tasty!

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<p>Chopping vegetables at Art Block, 2019</p>

Chopping vegetables at Art Block, 2019


In week nine we made pasta with tomato sauce. This was the first time we’d cooked something using boiling water. The children chopped vegetables to add to the sauce and were very intrigued by the courgettes. Some of them thought it was cucumber and others tried it raw; quite soon after they decided that they didn’t like it.

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<p>Gingerbread house, Art Block, 2018</p>

Gingerbread house, Art Block, 2018


As a nice Christmassy activity we made gingerbread houses in two small groups.

It was very fiddly to stick the different biscuits together, for the staff as well as the children. However, the children were really patient and decorated each house with a huge quantity of sweets and used the extra icing as snow.

Unfortunately, one of the houses was decorated with so much enthusiasm that it collapsed. On the whole it was very fun and brought out a competitive streak in both the children and the Art and Play team.

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<p>Courgette chips at Art Block, 2018</p>

Courgette chips at Art Block, 2018


In an attempt to get the children to try more vegetables, we made courgette chips.

The children enjoyed the process, as there are many steps to go through before frying; chopping, salting, drying and then coating. Some of the children didn’t like the taste of the actual courgette and just decided to eat the breadcrumbs around it.

We kept modifying our breadcrumb seasoning to improve the taste and it was nice to see some children enjoying a slightly healthier snack.

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We did a lot of cooking in 15 weeks – here’s what we made:

  • Week 1 – Veggie Stir Fry
  • Week 2 – Sweetcorn Fritters
  • Week 3 – Veggie Fried Rice
  • Week 4 – Pancakes
  • Week 5 – Omelettes
  • Week 6 – Wraps
  • Week 7 – Banana Fritters
  • Week 8 – Spiced Apple Juice
  • Week 9 – Vegetable Pasta
  • Week 10 – Gingerbread House
  • Week 11 – Omelettes
  • Week 12 – American Pancakes
  • Week 13 – Courgette Chips
  • Week 14 – French Toast
  • Week 15 – Veggie Stir Fry With Rice

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