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Food: The heat is on - Spook-tacular snacks!

Byline: with Jenny Longhurst

CHILDREN might be renowned for being fussy eaters, but get them in the kitchen and one rule applies - too many cooks don't spoil the broth.

At least this is the view of Kaye Emberlin, senior principal at Cookhouse Children's Cookery School in Cardiff. While to many parents the thought of little people let loose with ingredients conjures up a vision of scraping food off the ceiling, Kaye believes you should involve them in the kitchen from as early an age as possible.

A mother-of-two herself, the 30year-old from Llantrisant lets her sons Matthew,two,and four-year-old Daniel, help her when she is cooking - even if just by doing something as simple as stirring a cake mixture with a wooden spoon.

``Cooking is a very sociable thing and once you learn it, it is a skill you keep with you for life,'' she said.``Children can sometimes be fussy eaters, but in my experience if they are involved in cooking and can see what goes into something they are much more inclined to eat it.

``So many people eat convenience foods and ready meals these days because of hectic lifestyles, but if you can make just a little time to cook with your child you will be making a big difference as well as bonding with them in a different way.''

Cookhouse, which is heldat Howells School, Llandaff, Cardiff, every Saturday, was founded by local entrepreneurTim Riley back in 1999 and has grown year on year ever since.There are currently around 35 children who attend the school, and more on the waiting list.

Kaye said:``I think people like Jamie Oliver have made cooking more fashionable and, at the end of the day, even if the children go home coated from head to toe in chocolate at least they have had fun and had a go.''

Kaye herself grew up cooking with her parents and started entering culinary competitions from the age of 11. After studying catering at college in Essex, she managed a restaurant in Cheltenham before moving back to Cardiff. She has just recently taken over the running of Cookhouse.

As well as the regular Saturday cooking school, Kaye also holds seasonal children's workshops in holidays throughout the year, with the next one being a Halloween themed day onWednesday, October 23.

Kaye said: ``We try out a couple of Halloween recipes and the children make their own lunch - as long as we change the names ofbiscuits to beetles or something they are happy!''

# For more information on the Halloween workshops or Cookhouse, contact Kaye on 01443 238645.

SPOOKS SOUP Serves four


25g (1oz) butter 1kg (2lb) pumpkin,peeled and cubed 450g (1lb) sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed two onions, sliced five cm (2in) piece ginger, peeled and chopped two tsp cumin seeds 1.7 litres (two-and-three-quarter pints) vegetable stock 2 tsp clear honey 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Method Melt butter in a large pan over a medium heat.

Add the onions and cook over medium heat for five minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add pumpkin, sweet potatoes, ginger, cumin and stock.

Cover,then simmer for 20 minutes.

Puree in batches in a food processor.

Place back in pan and add honey and cinnamon.

Bring to the boil. Season to taste and serve immediately.


Ingredients 100g (4oz) butter, softened 100g (4oz) light muscovado sugar one tbsp golden syrup 150g (6oz) self raising flour 100g (4oz) dark chocolate chips OR 100g (four ounces) raisins

Method. Preheat oven to gas mark four, 350F, 180C.

Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and creamy using a wooden spoon.

Beat in the syrup. Add half the flour and mix well. Add the chocolate chips or raisins, along with the remaining flour.

Work into a dough using your fingers.

Divide into 14 equal size balls. Place them well apart on lightly greased baking sheets - do not flatten the balls.

Bake for 12 minutes until pale golden around the edges. Cool on a wire rack.


Ingredients 12 wooden skewers 12 small apples 500g (one pound) caster sugar 150ml (one-quarter pint) golden syrup


Wash and dry the apples. Insert a stick into each one and set aside.

Combine the sugar, syrup and 175ml (just more than one-quarter pint) water in a deep heavy pot.

Place over a low heat and stir until all the sugar has dissolved.

Turn the heat up to high, then cook syrup, without stirring, until it starts to turn amber.This should take around four to six minutes. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with foil and lightly brush with oil. When syrup has turned amber, remove pot from the heat.

Very carefully dip each apple into the hot toffee to coat, letting any excess drip back into the pot.

Transfer apples to the baking sheet and allow to set.


CAKE MAKERS Kaye Embelin and Philippa ParryJones, 10, above have fun while making a cake, and, left, youngsters busy cooking.; PICTURES: Peter Bolter
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 12, 2002
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