FIONA Bird of Littleton of Airlie, near Kirriemuir, travels the length and breadth of the country with her Stirrin’ Stuff initiative to educate children about food.
In conjunction with Inspire, Fiona, a Masterchef finalist, shares some of her favourite recipes with our young readers.
Over the last few months she has been cooking with a group in The Damacre Centre, Brechin, ably assisted by Angus Council community worker, Jennifer Anderson with funding from NHS Tayside (Angus Healthy Happy Communities).
She said: “Most weeks the recipes have included minimal quantities of fat, sugar and salt but in our final session we made some ‘treats’: jam, a cordial and vanilla ice-cream using a recipe from Kids’ Kitchen (Barefoot Books 2009).
“Most children are now aware that they should choose fruit at snack time and try to eat a balanced diet, eating foods from all of the five food groups but with plenty of fruit and vegetables.
“By showing the children how much sugar goes into a home-made foraged cordial, they realised that fizzy and diluting juice drinks need to be drunk in moderation – a glass of water will quench thirst but for a treat, cordial is fine.
“We made strawberry sorbet using local fruit wonderfully donated by McLarens at Bankhead (Meigle) and again, the children were amazed at the high sugar content of the sugar syrup blended with the berries.
“We decided that a sorbet is healthier than ice-cream due to its lower fat content - but with vanilla pods sent from Uganda, by Lulu Sturdy, the flavour of the ice-cream was at the top of the wow scale. Lulu Sturdy was very generous and sent enough vanilla pods for the children to take home (www.ndali.net).
“The children also made a jar of raspberry jam using Bankhead berries from the local world Jampionships:
“‘Crikey, there is a lot of sugar in jam,’ said one child and another said, ‘If I wanted to sell my house, I would show people round while making raspberry jam.’
“The smell was indeed intoxicating and the lesson learnt was portion control; there is indeed an awful lot of sugar in jam, even jam made with delicious Tayside berries.”