May 4, 2014

D285: Scones and quarter circles

There are lots of tutorials about making quarter my circle templates.  This one at Sew Inspired blog was just the second one I found, and close to how I imagined I'd be making mine, so off I went.

The main difference between my quarter circles and most on the net is that I want to take my curve to the very edge, not short of it like in a Drunkard's Path block.  So I decided to make my own and have made an instructional post for that. 

In the meantime, Bub and I made scones!!  

Tip of the day: Any time you ever make or do something for the first time with one of your children, get someone to take photos.  I'm a bit sad I didn't drag in Hub from the shed to take snaps.
Scones, Cookery the Australian Way

We used the recipe from CTAW.  I probably didn't need to rush as much as I did between steps, when I was asking her to wait while I faffed about with ingredients and tools.  Although I've looked forward to cooking with Bub, I've been a little worried about how it would go - nothing like having your dreams dashed with pure indifference.  But I needn't have worried so much, she was darling and I loved watching some much of her character come out in the activity.  It also helped that she really likes scones.

There are probably lots of tips and instructional posts about cooking with toddlers too (hundreds? Probably.) But, obviously, I don't care.   Here are my pointers for cooking with a littlie, keeping in mind I have a toddler who can focus on a task.  Some of these are pretty obvious, but I put them here in case you're new to baby-sitting or just wondering...

Set expectations to 'Low'.  Start with a simple recipe, something with mixing and pouring, where mess and waste don't matter.  It doesn't even matter if the food is no good.

Pull out all the ingredients and tools before you start.  If you're using the oven, set that off early too, unless you're up to teaching that part.  If things need to be chopped preparing that prior might be good too, unless your helper has an activity to do while you're chopping.  

Choose to make something they already like to eat.  I mean, I rarely cook things I don't like eating... And this way, they can get excited about the result.  

Prepare an accessible space for your helper. If they can't easily reach across the bench top, do it at the table or on the floor.  We have some picnic cloth, left over from a previous project, that I threw on the kitchen floor.  This is just the sort of thing I imagined using it for.  One of my friends sits her bubba on the table top.  I opted out of standing on a chair at the table because we're discouraging standing on chairs right now and she's too young to understand 'special occasions'.

It's called 'hands on', not 'eyes on'. Any 'thing' they can do that's related to the task is worthwhile, even if it's not what needs to be done right now, or even needed at all!  At step 2. I used my crumbing tool; Bub stirred with a spoon and scooped the flour about which was 'very important help'.  Scooping and pouring are tricky and occupy her well.  Every now and then I'd point and say "More here please," or she'd say "More?" and she'd feel involved.

Pouring is a great way to involve your helper.  Some people hog this task for fear of spillage.  Please don't - there's no real need.  At step 3. I measured the milk and she poured it in with my guidance.  While bub held the handle I had my fingers on the base of the jug.  My table top friend will break eggs into a cup and her little one will tip them in.  Use as many containers as necessary.  The involvement is what it's all about and the dishes are worth it.

Pretending still counts.  Although I pulled the dough together and got it into a ball shape, I was able to put a big bread board on the floor mat and we took turns kneading.  Bub also put her hands on the middle of the rolling pin, while I used the handles at the ends.

Get tools that help your little one.  Bub was a star with the cutter.  I got cutters with handles over the top especially for her.  She needed help to press hard enough, but I pressed my fingers on the circle rim when I helped, not on her hands or the handle.

Don't be in a rush.  Bub was really good at the procedure of cutting ("Scone!" every time) then putting the cut-out on the pre-floured tray.  Just pulling the dough out of the cutter is new and tricky and putting each scone in it's own carefully chosen place on the tray is a thoughtful task.  If you've done anything with toddlers you may already know that rushing something (or someone) that shouldn't be rushed is a sure-fire way to create trouble*.
Look at that messy tray! So much shuffling :)

Mess means it's going well.  I use a little sushi dipping dish for milk when brushing.  Bub hasn't been very good at painting - very random and without much concern for colours or making a mark - but all her concentration went into loading that brush and carefully putting milk onto each scone.  She was very deliberate and thorough, with milk going everywhere because she wanted lots of it on her brush.  It was cute as all get out.  By the end she even had the obligatory flour in the hair.  This is what washing is for.

The next time we make scones someone will take pictures.  I might even make it into a picture story for Bub because she loves the photobooks of family holidays & activities.  As I type this, I think I might actually have become one of those mummy bloggers for real.  Pictures stories of our scone baking?  More pureed fruit for the reusable food pouches?  Oh, and Hub was busy in the shed cutting out parts to make a stepping stool for Bub - because we're that adorable.  I can least reassure myself that I still have rubbish photography on my blog.  Plus I don't remember when the laundry was hung up and I have no idea how to grow veggies.  Stereotypical perfection is a long way off for me folks!

"More scone?"
*I think there's probably some law out there about it... "The stamina and creativity of your toddler's resistance is inversely proportionate to your task's urgency and importance." Or some such.

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