I love Playcentre.
Mamas Papas Carers Grandies – check it out if you haven’t already.
You get 3 free visits (a great outing even when it’s raining).
I say to people interested in going to Playcentre with their families that:
It’s like a KIndy without the teachers – which is of course is incorrect, because ‘the parent is the child’s first teacher.”
12 stations of play are offered daily from this list: painting, puzzles, books, carpentry, finger paint, water play, swings, sandpit, playdough, family play, climbing apparatus (physically active), music, science, trucks, trains, dolls, (building) blocks, collage, process cooking.
I could continue with my promo of Playcentre but today is not quite the day. I’m gestating a post about ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and Playcentre features in that. TBC.
Today is about B A K I N G with our T A M A R I K I.
On that note: Who has noticed it’s Te Wiki O Te Reo Maori? And on that note: What’s your kid’s favourite waiata?
My mum baked with us. Her mum baked with her. I bake with ‘mine’.
I once wrote that our grandparents live on the flavours and colours we feed our whanau and friends.
The first meal Mum taught me to cook was Spaghetti Bolognese.
And the first biscuit ? Hmm? That’s a toughie. It definitely came from The Edmonds Cookbook. Today’s guess afghans or anzacs or quite possibly the then sante biscuits AKA chocolate chippies.
My job was always to grease the tray. Watch the butter softening in the sink and alert her to when it started melting. Sift the flour. Sometimes break an egg if she was feeling courageous and i was lucky. And saving the best part for last, Zoe got to lick the K beater and I the bowl and wooden spoon (or vice versa).
What a legend my mama was and is. To be patient and generous with those ooglies from the girls under the pine grove. To share the joy of baking with us. To involve us in her activities and share with us her rhythm.
But there was a bit missing in those late 70s early 80s.
We didn’t get to eat as much dough as we wanted in the process. We didn’t get to squash the dough onto those greased trays. We didn’t get to litter the floor with oat and golden syrup deposits as the mix gingerly got pushed over the edge of the bowl with our exuberant stirs.
Playcentre introduced me to P R O C E S S C O O K I N G.
It’s an exercise in restraint for the parents as much as an exercise in production for the children.
sweet pizza’s using pre-cut squares of short pastry (found in the freezer section of the supermarket). The toppings on offer in bowls easy for the children to see and reach and choose were sultanas, bananas, chocolate chips, jam, berries.
savoury pizzas using mini pita breads. The toppings offered were cheese, tomato puree, pineapple, ham. You can be elaborate and offer exotic flavours for the kids to try e.g. olives, capers, salami, roast pumpkin, pinenuts, sundried tomatoes, feta cheese.
a sweet or savoury scone (children choose). Fillings added to their own-made basic scone have been: dates, orange peel, cheese, herbs (they’ve collected from the garden at home or at the centre). You could jazz it up and add spinach or feta or sauteed onion – but whose kids are ‘into’ onion?
I L O V E watching the process pizzas. Our first born loved to construct a dense pyramid of ham amassed dead centre of her pizza. I observed myself wanting to tell her to “spread it out so the ham goes all crunchy and yum rather than soggy and un-yum”. A similar thing happens when they make cutter-shaped ‘tarts’ with jam as i make our quiche lorraine or feta and spinach pie. First born loves a plump high-rising tart – she must be going for that ‘moist’ centre again?
I’m getting to the point slowly.
A recipe share.
Here is a recipe for process (gluten free) A N Z A C biscuits. This recipe is modelled on the Edmonds recipe which uses wheat flour and white sugar. I offered a small in-home holiday-programme over this last school break and did this with the kidlettes. What an invitation for a chuckle.
What makes it ‘process’ you may ask? The recipe is halved so that each child can make a handful of biscuits solely. You even give them their own row of tray to ‘moosh’ their biscuits onto.
How do you know whose was whose? Line the tray with baking paper and either circle around the child’s biscuit(s) and write their name in the centre of the circle OR write their name at the foot on their row.
NB: I did this with 4 children and I will admit to melting their golden syrup and butter collectively in one saucepan and then guesstimating measurements and pouring the liquid into their wee bowls of dry ingredients. I will also admit to doning all children with my collection of miniature aprons.
Without further ado. I pronounce the:
Gluten Free Anzac Biscuits – Process Cooking Style
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius
1/4 cup gluten free flour
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/3 cup coconut
1/3 cup rolled oats
25 grams butter (melted) – I’d love to try dairy free ones and replace with almond oil or maybe coconut oil
1/2 tablespoon golden syrup (melted)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon of boiling water
Have you forgotten to turn the oven on?
Is it on bake and off grill?
Sift flour into a bowl.
Add sugar, coconut and oats and stir.
Melt butter and golden syrup together.
Combine baking soda with boiled water and add this to butter ‘mix’. Stir well.
Make a well in flour, pour in butter ‘mix’.
Roll into balls and press down flat.
Makes about 8 biscuits.
Bake for 15-20 minutes.
I can’t help myself i have to add photos.
True process cooking Playcentre styles is complete with basic instruction cards set up in a linear fashion left to right. The child filters down this ‘line’ completing each step in front of the card, to encourage pre literacy. Card 1: Horoira O Ringaringa.
My favourite waiata to sing with kids is Tutira Mai – i get all nostalgic and they love the tahi, rua, toru, wha, kss i aua hi finale.
My favourite waiata to sing for me is Purea Nei.
I love it when humans express the Tao – when we can be soft and strong.
Let me be soft and strong.