Michelle Darmody: fun recipes for the youngest bakers

Michelle Darmody: fun recipes for the youngest bakers

“There are quite a few skills to master in the kitchen – children can build these up one by one.”

Michelle Darmody: fun recipes for the youngest bakers

Picture: iStock

Sat, 04 Mar, 2023 – 21:00

There is lots to learn in the weighing and measuring of ingredients. Pancakes are a good way to get children into the kitchen, as they are forgiving if the measuring gets a little over enthusiastic. Lots of different fruit or mashed vegetables can be added. If bananas are not a favourite, raspberries are a nice substitute in this recipe, very finely chopped mango or mashed sweet potato also work well.

There are quite a few skills to master in the kitchen. Children can build these up one by one. Learning how to safely use a box grater will allow them to experiment with many different recipes. If an adult patiently shows the technique a few times, ensuring the child keeps their fingers and knuckles away from the sharp teeth, confidence and ability will come with time.

Cooking and baking are about having fun and creating something delicious to eat. The tomato and courgette muffins are really nice for school lunches, or to make on a weekend for lunch. They combine vegetables with the salty taste of cheese and nutty flavour of sesame seeds. Sesame seeds come in three different colours, white, golden and black. Any of these will do for this recipe.

Banana Coconut Pancakes

recipe by:Michelle Darmody

Fruity, flavoursome and perfect for small handies!

Banana Coconut Pancakes

Preparation Time

15 mins


  • 1 egg

  • 1 tbsp plain flour

  • ½ tbsp desiccated coconut

  • ½ tbsp milk

  • ¾ of a banana


  1. Put the egg, flour, coconut and milk into a large bowl and use a whisk to combine them all. It is good to be gentle at first until the flour mixes in then you can give it a good whisk until it is smooth.

  2. Mash the banana well. Add this to the batter and whisk it again until the banana is mixed in.

  3. Get an adult to heat a little butter or sunflower oil on a large flat pan.

  4. An adult can also help you with the next step. Use a ladle to scoop about a quarter of the mixture onto the pan. It will spread about once you pour it. Allow it to go golden underneath them flip it over until both sides are golden.

Tomato and Courgette Muffins

recipe by:Michelle Darmody

Perfect lunchbox fare that combines salty and nutty flavours!

Tomato and Courgette Muffins

Preparation Time

30 mins


  • 1 small courgette

  • 1 medium tomato, or four semi sundried tomatoes

  • 225g self raising flour

  • 100g Cheddar cheese

  • 2 eggs

  • 90mls light-coloured olive oil

  • 50mls milk

  • 1 tsp sesame seeds


  1. Grate your courgette using a box grater. Put the grater on a large plate so that the grated courgette piles up on the plate. Make sure to get a grown up to show you how to use the grater safely. You do not have to grate the very last bit, just enough so that it is still easy to hold the courgette.

  2. Once the courgette is grated squeeze it between your hands over a bowl, so that any liquid that is in it comes out. You can throw away the liquid but keep the squeezed courgette.

  3. Slowly grate the cheddar as well. I find it easiest to use a big bit at first them to weigh the cheese after it is grated. Having a big piece of cheese ensures that your hands are not too near to the sharp part of the grater.

  4. Get a grown up to help you chop up the tomato (or semi-sundried tomatoes) into very small cubes. It is best to cut the tomato in half first, then put the flat side onto the chopping board, and carefully slice it up.

  5. Put the flour, cheese, eggs, olive oil and milk into a large bowl and whisk them until combined. Stir in the courgette and tomato.

  6. Scoop the mixture into your prepared bun tin and sprinkle the top of each muffin with sesame seeds.

  7. Ask an adult to place the muffins into the oven and leave them to bake for about 25 minutes.

  8. Once they are cool enough so you can pick them up, put them onto a wire rack.

Start a kitchen garden

It is the time of year to start planting vegetables and edible flowers. Most can be started inside on a windowsill. If you do not have little seed trays you can use the base of an egg carton. Fill each of the six holes with compost. 

Peas or beans are good seeds to start off with as you can really see them grow. It is lovely to watch the strong green stems push their way up through the soil. Press a shallow hole in the centre of each little pot and place one pea or bean into each one. 

Cover them over with some more compost or soil and water them well. Place onto a sunny windowsill and keep an eye on them each day so that the pots do not dry out. After a few days you will see little green shoots appearing. It is best for the shoot to have opened out and have at least four leaves before you plant them out into the garden or in a bigger pot for a windowsill or balcony.

Rhubarb, close-up

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