Every Friday, R brings back a school bag with his school work and a book that the school loans out for the weekend. I was quite impressed by the idea of allowing the child to read a book with the parent because I believe not many schools do such a thing. As a mum whose always on a lookout for good reads, I get very excited when I look in his bag every Friday. So on this particular day, I peeped into the bag and was surprised to find Eric Carle’s Pancakes Pancakes book.
If you know Eric Carle, he’s famous for his collage like pictures in his books. We’ve got the popular The Very Hungry Caterpillar book that R and I have read countless times. Pancakes, Pancakes is no different with a simple story line of a boy who wanted to eat pancakes but his mum didn’t have the ingredients and set him out to get them.
So after reading the book before R’s nap, we made pancakes together using the recipe at the back of the book. It’s truly a simple recipe with 5 pantry items. For a toddler of about 26 months, he was able to whisk, mix and stir the ingredients together. I spoke a lot about the ingredients we were adding, the actions that we were doing and the various types of cutlery and utensils we were using. I also believe that lots of talk is necessary to keep the learning going and for the toddler to pick up vocabulary in an active manner.
Essentially the recipe in the back cover of the book is really simple. Apparently, it’s Eric Carle’s mother’s recipe and that’s what we followed. (The book has since been returned and I forgot to note the ingredients however based on memory and until I can confirm it, they were:
- One cup of plain flour
- One cup of milk
- One egg)
Mix it all up, put a dollop of butter in the frying pan and pour a ladleful of batter when pan is heated.
This makes another good activity on a rainy morning or afternoon where pancakes are good for breakfast or tea. And why not get your little assistant to help you along.
I’d love to have R help me in the kitchen. I’m certain that kids take great pride in their work when they are actively involved in the process. The outcome may not be the best, great if it is but if not it’s alright. However, the learning process is more important.
With that I decided that he could help me in making his tea time snack that day. I figured that if he liked it, I could freeze a few and when I was short of time or had no idea on what to feed R, I could easily pop this in the microwave for a quick and fuss free meal.
The preparation is a little tedious as you’d need to chop the spinach and ham otherwise, the combining of ingredients is very fast.
2 cups of grated cheese (I used cheddar)
2 cups of self raising flour
1.5 cups of milk
0.5 cups of ham (I added about 1 cup)
A large handful of baby spinach
Half a teaspoon of salt (for taste especially if the ham is not salty enough)
Method: (makes 12 muffins)
1. Preheat oven at 180°.
2. Chop the ham and spinach.
3. Sift the flour.
4. Whisk the eggs.
5. Make a well in the flour and combine all the ingredients together.
6. Mix well.
7. Spoon the mixture into a greased muffin tin.
8. Bake for 25 minutes or till the top is golden.
R helped me with whisking the eggs.
And with combining the mixture.
I think he enjoyed greasing the muffin tin the most.
The end product was a little too bland for my liking. I didn’t add salt to the mixture but the next time, I would for more taste. R wasn’t so interested in eating the muffin although he managed to dig all the pieces of ham and that was really what he wanted.
Cooking with a toddler also means there’s a little bit more to clean up like when the mixture spills on the floor or when he gets a little curious and sticks his finger in the mixture. Nevertheless, it’s really the process that counts and the fun of making something together. I was glad he understood my instructions and I definitely enjoyed having him help me.
I must add that I’m really no expert when it comes to baking. So, giving credit where it’s due, this is the site for the recipe http://www.learnwithplayathome.com/2014/06/ham-cheese-and-spinach-muffins-cooking.html?m=1