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With Jam and Coconut Slice for all ages


When my daughters were small and would come back from school at about 3.30pm they were generally absolutely famished and often totally ratty. A small sandwich would smooth everything out until their evening meal. By the time they were aged about six or seven, I would put out the sliced bread, spread and filling for them to use they would set about making their own sandwiches. They loved it and their new found independence and – this is the good part – I sat down with a cup of tea and awaited the debriefing for the day.

Yes, spreading is good.  And yes, there are a whole load of other kitchen activities for the young to enjoy whatever their age.

The young do well to cook alongside an adult.  However the school holidays also offer a great opportunity  to devote a whole chunk of time  to show your children how to enjoy safe and fun cooking in your own kitchen. Maybe your youngsters would like to invite a friend or two over to join in the fun. Yes it has got to be fun!

It is important to allow plenty of time and start by instilling some safety and hygiene rules at the start. So hand washing, never run, turning pan handles in to the hob etc. All these are covered by the The Food Standards Agency which have a some fun activity sheets on their website for young cooks to learn about food and kitchen hygiene called  TEACHING CHILDREN HOW TO COOK SAFELY


*measuring and weighing ingredients

*mixing ingredients

*rolling out pastry

                                *spreading – see below  for jam and coconut slice

                *setting out  dried fruit – see below for dried apple rings

*cleaning up – not to be overlooked

*starting  their own cookery book with recipes which they have made

You might like to try  the following recipe with young cooks. It offers lots of measuring and mixing and spreading not to mention pressing down the pastry


285g (10oz) plain flour

225g (8oz) caster sugar

115g (4oz)butter

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla essence

170g (6oz) desiccated coconut

170 (6oz0 jam of your choice

Mix the flour, the butter and half the sugar to resemble breadcrumbs.

Add 1 egg and the vanilla and mix to form a dough. Press dough into a greased baking tin or silicone mould approximately 26cm (10inches) square or rectangle equivalent.


Bake at 180c for 20minutes until light golden colour. Allow to cool a little.

Spread jam over base.

Whisk two eggs with remaining sugar and stir in the coconut. Spread over the jam.

Bake at 180c for 25 minutes until slightly golden brown.

Allow to cool completely in the tin.

Cut into slices as desired


You can also try dried fruit and after the initial cutting, young cooks can take over


Ingredients: Ripe firm cooking apples or eaters such as Granny Smiths, Brine [28g (1oz) salt, 4.5L (1 gallon) water]

Peel apples, core through centre, cut in rings; throw ino brine; stand 15 minutes; drain and dry; put on rack without rings touching. Leave in cool oven for 12 hours.

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They can also be threaded and strung high in a warm dry atmosphere


Store in airtight containers.

And when they hit the teenage years

There is a whole lot more that this age group can do such as peeling and and chopping – see my daughter’s post RELISHING THE SUMMER BBQ  for an uncooked Tomato Relish – made for her BBQ. A further post on Teenage preserve cooking will  follow.

Over the next few weeks I shall be posting more summer preserves activities for the holidays so if you would like an email update just complete the boxes on the right of the website home page and learn more about foraging, pick your own farms, teenage cooking, preserves favourites and making your own labels.



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