We at Glittering Muffins have been cooking and baking with Nico for about 4 years now, even though he is only turning 5 in August. Out of his ever increasing interest in creating food (even though he still only sometimes will actually try what he helps make), came the creation of the “Around the World in 12 Dishes” series, where together with other blogs we “travel” and “visit” a different country every month and cook or bake a dish from that country. It has helped us discover new dishes and cuisines that we had never even thought of giving a try and in the course of this, Nico’s skills in the kitchen have also improved more and more. It is amazing to see this boy measure, slice, dice, knead and more and one day he will finally also try and eat what he has been making. One day…
“Around the World in 12 Dishes” is in its third year now and so far we have been to 26 different countries on each of the five continents and with the biggest sports event in the world (other than maybe the Olympics), the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil happening, we wanted to have a look back at some of the countries we have visited in the past that also have qualified for the big football event (yes, it is football, not soccer, since it is played with a ball and a foot, not with an egg and the hands…) 🙂
The first country we had gone to, was the United Kingdom, which is represented by England this time around (for the uninitiated, the United Kingdom has actually four different independent football associations, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) and is looking for its first title since 1966. We started out with the classic Sunday Roast Dinner, with a rotisserie chicken, roast potatoes, leeks and carrots, before rounding it off with some delicious Chocolate Chip Chocolate Scones.
Next up was Russia, the official successor of the Soviet Union, and they are still looking for their first title, but they scored high with us with the delicious Shashlyk skewers, that we served with some roasted potatoes…
…but the ultimate hit was the Apple Sharlotka dessert, which is somewhere between a cake, a pancake, with apple pieces and just to die for!
Japan doesn’t really have a strong football past, but their Teriyaki Chicken and our Gyoza inspired pockets were both surprisingly successful with Nico, something that we couldn’t really say as much about the following visit to…
Mexico has been a staple in the World Cups of the past few years (or rather decades, since they only happen every 4 years) and during the making of their kitchen staple of Chicken Quesadillas Nico baffled us with his kitchen skills, including cutting bell peppers, and he ate at least two of the four ingredients we used to make them, lol, so at least a partial success.
Record world champion Brazil, 5-time winner overall, has been one of the biggest successes and surprises of the whole “Around the World 12 Dishes” series, with what Nico calls “yellow chicken”, which in fact was Brazilian Curry Chicken, since it had ginger and curry in it, but he loved it!
Greece had been the surprise winner of the 2004 European championships, but on the World Cup stage their participation had been limited. Our Greek stew Spetsofai, though, turned out to be very tasty 🙂
France, winners of the 1998 World Cup, was one of the first countries which we baked a bread for and the French bread was an instant hit with our resident bread lover, while the equally delicious Boeuf Bourguignon was met with the “picky diva” card of Nico, unfortunately.The currently reigning champion Spain came next, and our double whammy of the Basque chicken stew Euskal Oilasko Erregosia and Pan de Hogaza faring a little less successful. For the stew, Nico had a lot of fun making it, but refused to even try, while the bread did not work out as planned, with the yeast not doing its job and falling flat in the end…
Korea has been a regular participant at the World Cups, yet with very limited success. Thankfully our Beef Bulgogi was a hit with us, while Nico didn’t want to try it, as usual.
Always a very talented squad, but in the end never quite living up to their potential, Portugal’s dish fared way better. Both Nico and myself loved our Pao Doce (Sweet Bread), which actually reminded me of brioche-like breads from my own childhood!
So don’t let your child’s age prevent you from cooking or baking, it could kindle a passion and definitely help with many things to learn, be it gross and fine motor skills, math, new cultures, new ingredients and flavours or just spending some quality time with your kids, the kitchen might be the perfect place for that 🙂
Do you cook with your kids? Share your posts with the hashtag #MKBKidsCook !
Valerie grew up in Quebec, while Alex is originally from Germany. They now live in Calgary, Canada, with their energetic son Nico. Nico loves to bake and cook, though usually doesn’t eat what he makes! They hope you will be able to find inspiration at their blog Glittering Muffins and that you can use some of the ideas to do yourself, with and for your kids and maybe put your own spin on it. Alex is also an avid football fan.by