Recipe Ideas

Recipe Ideas

For those of you who have read Venice Escape - Maria's Golden Gondola Adventures, you'll recall that she discovered many different styles of food and drink during her magical voyages.  Below you can find a selection of some of the dishes she sampled.

If you have reluctant reader in your class or home, why not introduce a cooking lesson.  The children will not necessarily consider reading a recipe as a difficult task.  Even if they do, with encouragement you can make the exercise seem easy.

Here are some fun recipes to make with children.


As "discovered" by Maria in Canada:

Maple Ice Sweets

300g desiccated coconut
300g icing sugar
300g tin of condensed milk
tea sp maple syrup (for flavour) - you can also add a few drops of food colouring for special occasions (Pink etc)

Place the condensed milk into a bowl and add the icing sugar. Beat well. Blend in the desiccated coconut, add the maple syrup and mix well. The mixture may be stiff as first but stir well until everything is combined.  You can get the children to do this part by mixing with their hands!

If you want different colour sweets, divide the mixture into two (add optional food colourings to each) and spread into an 20cm/8inch square tin giving two coloured layers.  Take the two different coloured mixtures and shape into a rectangle.  Place the rectangles on top of each others.  Then take a rolling pin (dust your board and pin with icing sugar) and roll together to form a thickness of approx 3cm/1.5 inches.  Leave mixture uncovered for 3 hours (or overnight if you prefer). 

Cut into small cubes and spread on a sheet of greaseproof paper.  These tasty sweets can be stored for up to one month, if placed in an airtight box.

Blueberry Muffins

200g (8oz) butter*
200g (8oz) caster sugar
3 large eggs

300g (11oz) self-raising flour
2tsp baking powder
2tsp vanilla extract
280ml (1/2 pint) milk

300g (10oz fresh or dried blueberries

*Optional: For an authentic flavour you can use half cup of oil in place of butter.  Also add a dash of cinnamon for extra flavour.
Ask you child to place paper muffin cases into a tray or grease a muffin shaped tin.
Then in a bowl add butter and sugar, blend well. Next, add eggs and mix well. Add the milk and vanilla extract then fold in the flour and baking powder to make a nice thick batter but do not over mix.   Gently fold in blueberries.  Spoon your mixture into the muffin cases or tin.
Bake for 25-30 minutes160°C (325°F).   To ensure muffins are cooked - listen to them.  If they are still "singing" - making a soft sound, leave them to cook for 5 more minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for 10 minutes before serving.  Also excellent to store and serve for breakfast.
Serves 24 muffins.


As "discovered" by Maria in Persia

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons butter

1½ cups sliced almonds

1 tablespoon saffron

2 tablespoons hot water

Save some sliced/chopped almonds (or pistachios) for decoration

Place the sugar, honey, and butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves.  Next add the almonds and stir occasionally until they turn golden brown.   Do not over stir.   Dissolve the saffron in hot water and add to mixture.   Take off heat and cool.  For the fun part, invite your child to place spoonful "blobs" onto a well greased cooking tray.  Then sprinkle each almond "sweets" with a few slices of chopped almonds (or pistachios). When the sweets are completely cool careful remove and store in an air-tight container or serve.

Typically served at weddings or for new year celebrations.


Irish stew*

"Ballymaloe" or "stobhach gaelach" as it is called in Gaelic. 

As discovered by "Maria" in Cape Breton, Canada.

 2 lbs lamb shoulder arm chops (1 kg)

8 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp salt (2 ml)

1/2 tsp pepper (2 ml)

1 sprig thyme

3 tbsp chopped parsley (45 ml)


  • Trim excess fat from the chops.
  • Cut into 2 or 3 pieces each.
  • Peel the potatoes and cut into quarters.
  • Slice onion thinly.
  • Place half the potatoes in a large pot or Dutch oven. Layer the meat, onion, salt, pepper, and thyme on top, then cover with remaining potatoes. Add just enough water to barely cover potatoes.
  • Cover pot with a well-fitting lid and bring stew to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or cook in a preheated 330°F (170°C) oven for 2 hours.
  • Scatter parsley over stew and serve.

Serves 6-8

*Recipe courtesy of Cottage Life

Cajun Chicken

As Discovered by Maria in New Orleans

1 1/2 cups Olive oil

2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (if you like it very hot add 3 tbsp!)

2 tablespoons dried Italian-style seasoning

Garlic powder to taste

2 tablespoons lemon pepper

10 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves 


Take your chicken breast and pound them to 1/2 inch thickness and place to one side.

Mix the oil, Cajun seasoning, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and lemon pepper. Place chicken breast in dish and pour over mixture.  Turn breasts in dish to ensure meat is well covered.  Cover dish with plastic film and place in fridge for minimum 30 minutes (if you are in a hurry).  For stronger flavour, marinade for several hours.

Drain chicken, and discard marinade. Pre-heat your grill to high heat.  Place chicken on greased, hot grill and cook for 6 to 8 minutes on each side, or until juices run clear.  You can also cook in shallow frying pan.

Serve with salad and rice.

Orange and Lemon Marmalade

Inspired by my lemon and orange trees, created by my children's Italian Nonna (Grandmother)

4 large oranges

2 lemons

1 vanilla bean (optional)

8 cups sugar

8 cups water


  1. Cut the oranges and lemons in half and then slice them thinly.
  2. Put all the sliced fruit and their juices into a stainless steel cooking pot. Add 8 cups water and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar until dissolved. Split and add the vanilla bean (if desired for extra flavour).  Cover the pot and allow to stand at room temperature overnight.
  3. The next day, place on heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer (on low) uncovered for 2 hours. Turn the heat to medium and boil gently, stirring often, for another 30 minutes. Skim off any foam. Cook the orange/lemon marmalade until it reaches 220 degrees.
  4. To confirm that the marmalade is ready, place a small amount on a plate and refrigerate until it is cool.
  5. Once cool push it with your finger – if a wrinkly skin forms, it has reached setting point. If not, continue cooking and do more testing at 15-minute intervals. When it has set, leave the marmalade to cool for 30 minutes before ladling through a funnel into jars that have been washed thoroughly in warm soapy water, rinsed and dried, then warmed in a medium oven.   You can also wash jars in a dishwasher and then place in a medium oven to warm and dry.  Seal the jars with waxed discs while they are still hot, then label the next day when cold.
  6.  Add your own decorative label and for a finishing touch, add a colourful round fabric cover over the lid.  Secure in place with an elastic band or ribbon.

More recipes will be added soon.  Please visit again.