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Quick and Easy Rocky Road

This post is sponsored by Nestle Healthy Active Kids.

Quick and Easy Rocky Road

Quick and Easy Rocky Road

Recently I found out that almost half of Australian children are not learning any cooking skills.  I thought about my own childhood and realised I had learnt to cook from a young age.  I was given a children’s cookbook at the age of seven and I tried to make my way through it.

Pouring in the nuts

Pouring in the nuts

I didn’t ever cook anything tricky, trendy or challenging; but rather attempted basic things that didn’t put my life in danger and weren’t costly or time-consuming.  We had a ginger beer bug so I learned how to brew ginger beer, I made jam pastries with my mother’s left-over pastry, I made homemade lemonade with lemons from our tree, packet cakes were a favourite to make on the weekends, and I also made pikelets, coconut ice, scones, hokey pokey, toffees, fudge and a dessert called flummery.

Chopping the Turkish Delight

Chopping the Turkish Delight


I grew up thinking it was quite normal to spend part of your weekend cooking up something in the kitchen but maybe that was because the weather in Wellington was so awful you had to find something to do indoors, (and we didn’t have the internet as a time soaker-up-erer).

Chopping the marshmallows with scissors

Chopping the marshmallows with scissors

So I was quite surprised to hear that moving forward a generation, 50% of Australian children don’t have any basic cooking skills.  Like learning a language or a musical instrument, the earlier you start, the easier it is to develop new skills.  So why not get started when you have youth on your side.

Blending the ingredients

Blending the ingredients

In 2001, Nestle Australia, in partnership with the Australian Institute of Sport, developed an interactive teaching resource for parents and teachers to educate children and students to lead healthy active lives.  Part of that program is aimed at getting children involved in the kitchen.  What the program discovered is that 27% of primary school aged children never help with the cooking at home.  44% Of parents say they’re too time poor to let their children help in the kitchen.  43% Of parents say their child knows less about cooking than they did at the same age.  Not good!

Stirring the chocolate

Stirring the chocolate

I am in no doubt that Archie and Arabella spent less time cooking in the kitchen than I did as a child.  And that certainly wasn’t my plan.  Archie went to boarding school so it wasn’t easy to involve him with any cooking duties.  I thought Arabella would show great interest so every Christmas I’d buy her a children’s cookbook and the growing collection sat on a shelf gathering dust.  Arabella showed zero interest in having anything to do with cooking except for the odd occasion when she’d be overly ambitious and suddenly announce she was going to make a sculptured cake for a friend’s birthday.

Ready for action

Ready for action

But if at first you don’t succeed, have a third child!  My little guy enjoys spending time in the kitchen and learning how to cook.  Now…he doesn’t do anything ambitious like cooking up a Beef Wellington and he doesn’t do anything dangerous like lean over a deep-fryer.  He also doesn’t do anything that requires hours of involvement as we’re dealing with a limited attention span.  But if we do something that is fairly basic and quick and easy, he’s all enthusiasm.

Pouring the chocolate into the nut mixture

Pouring the chocolate into the nut mixture

He likes to wear an apron and look like a professional, and he likes to be very hands-on.  And he likes to bash things.  Lately I’ve been marinating a lot of meats and vegetables with Thai pastes and Alfie is my basher.  I give him the mortar and pestle and he gives the ingredients a really good whack and in no time I have a perfect paste.  He also likes to separate eggs, juice lemons, and give things a good stir.

Giving the mixture a good stir

Giving the mixture a good stir

Tonight we are having dinner with my sister and Alfie’s three cousins.  I said we’d bring something to have after the main course.  I thought how lovely it would be if Alfie walked in holding something he’d made.  At the moment my pantry is bursting at the seams and so I also knew I wanted to make something that would use up some of what was sitting on those shelves.  I have an over-supply of chocolate left over from the catering I did for Arabella’s 21st and lots of nuts in ziplock bags in the freezer, and shredded coconut in the pantry.

A bit of an over-supply of chocolate

A bit of an over-supply of chocolate

With those ingredients on-hand, I decided Alfie could make rocky road.  All I had to do was go and buy some Turkish delight and a packet of marshmallows.  When I came back Alfie was ready with his apron and while he prepared the ingredients, I lined the tins.  He loved cutting the Turkish delight and the marshmallows in halves and said, ‘This is fun; when can we make this again?’  I told him this is a great Christmas gift especially if you make it with white chocolate so we’ll make the Christmas version soon.

Stirring frenzy

Stirring frenzy

I’m trying to involve Alfie in the kitchen in a fun way, rather than making it seem like a chore.  Being a no-back recipe that has just six ingredients and can be made in less than 15 minutes, this is a very child-friendly recipe and, given the sweet ingredients, something most children would love to make.

This could get messy

This could get messy

Now…for a post about healthy active kids, this isn’t the most healthy recipe however, it’s not a meal replacement and it is something that will tempt children into the kitchen and get them excited about what they can create.  And if you can create enthusiasm with a recipe that can be put together in around 15 minutes, in no time at all kids will be ready to tackle something more challenging.

Packing the rocky road into the tins

Packing the rocky road into the tins

For some parents, letting your children loose in the kitchen brings on feelings of anxiety as you anticipate the mess that’s going to be made, the amount of time it’s going to take them to make the dish, and the cleaning up that won’t be done.  I’m one of those people!  But…having older children who now just breeze in to drop off dirty washing and then eat their way through the fridge before once again disappearing, I know how quickly the time where they are in your home and happy to be in your home, goes by.  When Alfie wants to help me in the kitchen I tell myself to overlook the negatives and just enjoy the fact he enjoys being with me.

Rocky Road

Rocky Road

5.0 from 5 reviews
Quick and Easy Rocky Road
Author: 
Recipe type: Confectionery
Cuisine: Australian
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 30 squares
 
Quick and easy rocky road made with nuts, marshmallows, coconut and Turkish Delight
Ingredients
  • 400g Turkish Delight, halved
  • 280g packet marshmallows, halved
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup blanched almonds, toasted
  • ½ cup shelled pistachios, toasted
  • 450g dark chocolate, chopped (white or milk chocolate can be substituted)
Instructions
  1. Line 2 x 8cm x 26cm bar cake pans with baking paper extending the paper 5cm above the long sides to make it easy to remove the rocky road from the tins.
  2. In a large bowl, combine Turkish delight, marshmallows, coconut and nuts.
  3. Melt chocolate and when smooth, pour over mixture. Stir quickly and combine ingredients well. Push mixture down firmly.
  4. Place in fridge to set then remove from tin and cut as desired.
Rocky Road

Rocky Road

Nestle Healthy Active Kids is giving away two sets of kids plates and aprons.  All you have to do to enter is tell me in the comments what recipe your child enjoys cooking.  The competition is open to Australian readers only and the winner will be announced on Saturday, November 21 via Facebook.

Two giveaways to be won

Two giveaways to be won

So…Do you allow your child to cook in the kitchen and if so, what do they like to cook?

Quick and Easy Rocky Road

Quick and Easy Rocky Road

Comments

  1. How sweet your Alfie is, & how wise your approach. Yes indeed, keep it simple, safe and quick. He looks like he’s having a good time. When I grew up the girls all learned cooking in their last 2 years at primary school, while the boys do woodwork. Now both girls and boys learn cooking and woodwork. We learned to stuff tomatoes, poach eggs, bake scones & make a sponge cake. I used to do the baking for the family in the weekend, I enjoyed it so much. I’m shocked to hear the statistics that you quote here.

  2. I love that you have your kids in the kitchen, Charlie… and what a yummy thing to be making. Love, love, love rocky road xxxxx

  3. PS, when I had the cooking school, the first thing I did was initiate Kids in the Kitchen cooking classes. x

  4. Miss L just turned one, but I can’t wait until she can *help* me with cooking/baking. I hated cooking when I grew up (love it now) so I am hoping I teach her skills etc so she does not feel the same way. I know why I felt the way I did, so hopefully I won’t make her feel the same as I did. I feel I went from not being involved at all to suddenly having to cook dinner for dad and my brother (mum did late shifts) with no idea at all. So I hope to include/teach my daughter from a young age,

  5. I know I can’t win, but if you put my name in the draw, I’d happily give my prize up for an under privileged child in Australia.
    I too received a child’s cookbook so many years ago, what a wonderful memory, thank you. I had a series of “Helping Mommy” type books that would be totally inappropriate today (although, I know how to cook, clean (properly) and do laundry (properly)). As well, schools taught home-ec in those days, that taught the basics; perfect for me being first gen of European parents who weighed ingredients, I had no idea how to properly measure ingredients like North American’s do!
    This treat looks as much fun to make as it does to eat. Alfie will make a lovely partner to someone in the future, already making tasty treats.

  6. I know I can’t win, but if you put my name in the draw, I’d happily give my prize up for an under privileged child in Australia.
    I too received a child’s cookbook so many years ago, what a wonderful memory, thank you. As well, I had a series of “Helping Mommy” type books that would be totally inappropriate today (although, I know how to cook, clean (properly) and do laundry (properly)). As well, schools taught home-ec in those days, that taught the basics; perfect for me being first gen of European parents who weighed ingredients, I had no idea how to properly measure ingredients like North American’s do!
    This treat looks as much fun to make as it does to eat. Alfie will make a lovely partner to someone in the future, already making tasty treats.

  7. Rocky road is such a great treat to take to dinner and Alfie looks like a whizz in the kitchen. Funny that this is the recipe you chose for Alfie as it is similar to a recipe my sister chose for her little boy to make for my mum when they visited us earlier in the year. Sylvia probably is best at helping with the banana oat pancakes we make often on weekends. She has learnt about measuring out flour with a knife to level it off but I still get impatient at her stirring the mixture out of the bowl. When I refused to make the pancakes today she suggested she could make them – she is not quite there but will be soon I think. And is already suggesting what to make from her kids recipe book.

  8. I like thinking of Alfie in the kitchen with you and agree it is sad that so many children today don’t get that kitchen experience. I wasn’t a skilled cook growing up but loved helping my mother bake and, like you, had my own children’s cookbook that I enjoyed working through. This rocky road looks delicious, perfect for children, and perfect for Alfie’s active energy burning requirements!

  9. Love seeing Alfie in the kitchen! My kids love it too, but you’re right to keep it simple. They have such short attention spans! My kids would love this treat!

  10. I have seen photos of Alfie swimming and running . . .methinks him so busy in your kitchen are my very favourites. *big smile* Having had two husbands who both cooked way better than I I really appreciate the male tantalizing one’s tastebuds! Sadly my Mom would not let me within a cooee of that room in the house ‘to make mess’, but think fondly back to a beloved aunt who did not seem to mind my dirty pinnie and floury nose a’tall 🙂 !!

  11. That’s good that he is learning how to cook. It’s such an essential skill that really can help people understand nutrition too.

  12. Oh Charlie you make me laugh. It is always good to have a special basher available to make those pastes for you. A great cause and a very good Mum you are. x

  13. The closest I get to a child in the kitchen is when Pete is home and cooking. 😀
    Have a super day Charlie.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  14. Your rocky road looks heavenly! That is great that you started cooking at a young age…I also! I can’t wait to introduce Leila to the world of cooking <3

  15. If your children see you enjoy being in the kitchen they will want to be there too. It’s such fun to see their faces as the create. Fab recipe and perfect for kids. GG

  16. The driving motivator for learning how to cook was so I could have treats on-hand. Mum never bought cakes or lollies or junkfood! Definitely agree on the importance of knowing how to feed yourself – I’d say a majority of 30-somethings are equally inept in the kitchen!

  17. Hi Charlie, Alfie looks so comfortable in the kitchen, looks like he is a pro.

  18. I grew up cooking from an early age, too. But my kids are only interested in licking the frosting bowl or fudge pan! Alfie has such varied interests—what a neat kid he is!!! xo

  19. One of my favourite activities is cooking with Anais. We also have a 16 year host student from France living with us at the moment so we have enjoyed cooking French food with her also. I was so young when I got my first cookbook, I loved deciding what to make from it.
    The plates with the portions sizes are such a good idea 🙂
    Thanks for sharing
    Julie
    Gourmet Getaways

  20. You are a wise mama to encourage Alfie in the kitchen. I rather failed in that department, probably because I don’t really enjoy cooking. Now baking, I enjoy. But I seldom bake any more because the kids are gone and I don’t need the sweets in the house.

  21. Sweet Posy Dreams says:

    Kids are great and all, but I’d make that rocky road for myself! I think I let my younger child cook with me more than the older. He used to help me mix up ingredients for easy cakes and things. Today at 23, he’s a pretty good cook and is always experimenting in the kitchen. We cook together now when he comes home for a visit — usually making some spicy dish he’s found online. Alfie is such a sweetie pie; I’m glad he likes to help out.

  22. Hey Charlie,
    I was looking for a treat to make because I wanted to create a 24 days advent calendar to stuff with goodies for my man. =D I think so I found what I needed!

  23. Charlie I’d like to know where to buy those plates and aprons – the site doesn’t seem to have an online shop. I have three grandchildren who are very fussy, picky, poor eaters – and I love to cook! They are staying with us this weekend and I will make Alfie’s Rocky Road with them. On Sunday morning I’ll make Donna Hay’s Ricotta Hotcakes with them but I have to be a bit sneaky about beating the buttermilk and ricotta together before they know what they’re getting, that way they get good calcium and protein – sloshed with Maple Syrup – and I am one happy Nanny. They also get to experience the transformation of egg whites into cloud magic. I don’t want them to grow up and miss the real pleasure of making and sharing all the wonderful foods we have available to enjoy.

    • Hi Jan, sounds like you’re going to be very busy this weekend; that’s a lot of cooking. I’m so pleased you’re going to make the rocky road – do let me know how it turns out. It certainly didn’t last long here! I don’t think the aprons and plates are available for sale; I think it’s just something they have put together for promotional purposes.

      • Thank you for letting me know Charlie – Saturday was such a very hot day here I abondened Kitchen Plan A and we headed to the local water park and remained blissfully damp all day. Sunday breakfast went according to plan and happiness reigned.

  24. What a staggering statistic! It’s so important to introduce kids to cooking and prepping food or they’ll end up in college only knowing how to make toast for themselves. Great post!

  25. Love the pictures of Alfie! I never did much cooking when I was a kid, although my sisters did. That was kind of the times, though (50s and 60s). Too bad! Although I actually took up cooking when I was a teenager, simply because I wanted to try dishes my mother just didn’t want to make. Turned out I’m the best cook in my family — by a lot! 🙂 Fun post — thanks.

  26. What a fun thing to make with kids! I’ll have to remember this when my friends bring their urchins over. They love cooking with me. 🙂

  27. So cool you have the kids in the kitchen with you, Charlie. My mom encouraged us to be a part of the cooking process when we were growing up, it gave us a much better idea about what we were putting in, an understanding of nutrition I guess. We were not lucky enough to do sweet stuff, it was always vegetables from our garden, but the rocky road guarantees they will be with you until the end, because who doesn’t love a chunk of that sweet treat. 🙂

  28. You inspire me to think more about involving my granddaughters in cooking with me. I don’t think I involved my own daughter all that much when she was young, and perhaps that really stemmed from the fact that my own mother really didn’t enjoy cooking, and we didn’t share that activity. I did cook with my own grandmothers and I think it’s a wonderful gift to give a child. THe statistics you share about children in Australia I’m quite certain is mirrored in the U.S. You’ve challenged me to think about that and see what I can do with the young people closest to me. And this recipe would surely be a treat for all of us! 🙂

  29. When you said half of the Australian kids aren’t learning cooking skills, it made me wonder about American children. Probably more than half are not–I wouldn’t be surprised in the least. Seeing Alfie making is Rocky Road reminded me of fond memories of when my son was younger–always special to work together or alone with a little supervision! I have never seen Turkish Delight in Rocky Road and find it a nice addition.

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