Book review and chance to win: Grow it, cook it with kids by Amanda Grant

I was warned about the glut of courgettes we’d get at our allotment – but seeing really is believing. The plants are firing out green torpedos at a rate of knots it’s very hard to keep up with. And if you leave them for longer than a day they take on giant marrow proportions… crazy!

So I’m suddenly getting very interested in different ways of cooking them. My first port of call is to use them in baking. I had a batch of cakes to make this week for Arlo’s last day at nursery – they deserve a treat for taming him this last term!

So I turned to a book i’ve been sent to review Grow it, cook it with kids by Amanda Grant. It’s a lovely little publication full of the kind of produce you can easily grow with your children, but loads of helpful recipe ideas of what to actually do with your crops once they arrive.

Courgettes lend a fantastic juicy quality to this chocolate cake

And here’s the recipe:

Chocolate and Courgette Cake – By Amanda Grant

3 courgettes (about 450g) peeled
250g butter, softened
250g light brown soft sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
125ml milk
350g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp cocoa powder
a cake tin, 30cm x 20cm greased with butter

1. Turn the oven on to 180’C (350’F) Gas 4. Cut a piece of greaseproof paper the width of your cake tin and a little bit longer. Lay the paper in the tin so it goes up the sides.

2. Grate the courgettes using the smaller holes on the grater – you want the courgettes grated finely so that they mix into the cake mixture easily.

3. Put the softened butter, sugar and vanilla extract into a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until creamy. You can also beat with an electric whisk if that is easier.

4. Crack the eggs into a bowl. Beat lightly with a fork.

5. Add the eggs gradually to the bowl with the cake batter. Add the milk and whisk together.

6. Put a sieve over your missing bowl and carefully pour in the flour, baking powder and cocoa powered. Shake the sieve gently so that the ingredients snow down into the bowl. Take a metal spoon and fold in to the batter.

7. Sir in the grated courgettes and mix well.

8. Spoon the cake batter into your tin. Using oven gloves, put the tin in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes. Test the centre of the cake with a skewer – when it comes out clean the cake is ready. Leave the cake to cool then cut into squares.

This recipe was a real success, but what about the book as a whole?

Well it’s been out for year and was written by Amanda Grant, broadcaster, food writer and mother of three young children.  She has written several books, mostly specializing in children’s food and nutrition including the very useful Healthy Lunchboxes for Kids.

Her latest book recognises the rise and rise of the allotment and the desire to get our children interested in fruit and veg at an early age.

Who is it for?

Children keen on the idea of growing their own produce and cooking with it. Older primary school children will be able to use this book by themselves (with adult supervision of course) as it’s really clearly written and laid out. And grown-ups will love using it with their pre-schoolers.

Easy to follow?

Each chapter is divided into manageable sections that are easy to navigate – Plant it, Grow it, Pick it, 5 Ways (quick ways to use the fruit or vegetable) and Cook It

As it’s aimed at kids it’s packed with beautiful photographs detailing the steps of the growing/cooking process along with very clear instructions. The stages of the recipes are broken down into shorter chunks than a grown up book would be, which is really useful.

Ask an adult to help you – is always clearly written within the method to signpost the trickier/dangerous bits of kitchen work!

There’s also a helpful glossary to explain cooking processes like folding in and blanching, but also gardening terms too, which for a novice like myself is fantastic! I love things written for children as you’re given such a clear definition of things that doesn’t use complicated vocab or assume prior knowledge. Simpleton? Moi?

Family friendly?

In so many ways! It encourages your family to get into gardening and cooking together, but the recipes are also fab family-friendly meals. It’s all very simple and achievable for children, so it’ll give them confidence.

If I can get to the stage where my boys are cooking my dinner I shall be one happy lady and my work here will be DONE!

Most likely to cook

Green rice – a kind of fresh pesto coated rice dish that I think my vegetarian crowd would adore.

Creamy spinach pasta – very fattening with double cream and butter in it, but that’s what makes it sound so damn good!

Pea puree bruschetta – given the pea obsession in this house, I reckon this would make a very tasty lunchtime treat

Strawberry ice cubes – what a lovely idea – bet they taste fab in ice-cold lemonade or a glass of pimms….

Least likely to cook

I couldn’t find one objectionable recipe to be honest.

Would you buy it for a friend?

I think all my friends who have children and space to grow veg would ADORE this book – it’s fab! It would also make a great gift for primary school aged kids who are keen to get into gardening.

Rating out of 10


Grow it, cook it with kids is published by Ryland Peters & Small

Thanks for my review copy! 


I have a copy of Grow it, Cook it with kids to give away to one lucky reader…

1. For a chance to win please comment on this post telling me about your what you like to cook with your children

2. For a second chance to win please tweet this post “Win Grow it, Cook it with kids recipe book @cookingkt” and comment HERE telling me you have done so along with your twitter username

3. For a third chance to win please follow me @cookingkt on Twitter and comment HERE to tell me you have done so.

This giveaway is open to all readers with a UK mailing address. The winner will be chosen using an online randomiser and announced in a subsequent post.
When commenting please leave your e-mail address so I can contact you if you win.

I am running this competition on behalf of Ryland Peters & Small who will be responsible for sending the prize to the winner. Their decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

There is one main way to enter and several ways to get bonus entries. You must leave a separate comment for each bonus entry otherwise they will not be counted.

Closing date: 10pm Thursday 18th August, 2011

Good Luck!


About Katie Bryson

Katie Bryson is a freelance food writer and blogger. She left a career in online news at the BBC to immerse herself in the culinary world, taking in courses at Leiths School of Food and Wine and an internship at Waitrose along the way. Her family food blog is bursting with recipes and tips for feeding hungry families that’ll help inspire all those frazzled parents out there wondering what on earth to cook for tea!
This entry was posted in allotment, Baking, Book review, Competitions and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

57 Responses to Book review and chance to win: Grow it, cook it with kids by Amanda Grant

  1. lindsey bluff says:

    Hi just tweeted, username MashandSoph x

  2. lindsey bluff says:

    Oh forgot to add, I love baking with my 10 year old and 2 year old, we make fryut and cheese scones, fairy cakes with butter or fudge icing, quiches and corned beef plate pies!

  3. lindsey bluff says:

    I also follow you on twitter x MashandSoph

  4. Kirsty Fox says:

    I love to make Fairy cakes with my 4 year old son James, they are easy to make and taste delicious!


  5. Kirsty Fox says:

    I have tweeted – @bloomingfox

  6. Kirsty Fox says:

    I am already following you (@cookingkt) on Twitter – @bloomingfox

  7. Stacey says:

    Tweeted under @sussexgirl67

  8. Stacey says:

    Am following you on Twittter – @sussexgirl67

  9. Stacey says:

    Don’t have any children but it would be ideal to use with my god-daughter.

  10. We love to make pancakes and experiment with the fillings


  11. Tweeted too


  12. Already following you on Twitter


  13. Cheryll H says:

    We love to cook fairy cakes – my 4 yo loves decorating them but only ever eats the icing on top he he 🙂 @pipersky1 on Twitter

  14. Cheryll H says:

    I’ve tweeted your giveaway 🙂 @pipersky1

  15. Cheryll H says:

    I already follow you on Twitter 🙂 @pipersky1

  16. Sarah Ballantyne says:

    I love cooking pizzas with my daughter – she enjoys playing with the dough and putting her own toppings on. We make lots of mess but it is such fun!

  17. Sarah Ballantyne says:

    I am already following you on twitter (@rugbylovingmum) and have tweeted.

  18. Catherine Harris says:

    Apart from the usual cake baking that goes on in our house my 2 girls love helping to cook their favourite tea – spaghetti bolognaise 🙂

  19. Catherine Harris says:

    I’ve tweeted your message @catharris04

  20. Catherine Harris says:

    Oh yes, and I follow you too 🙂

  21. Lucy Jackson says:

    Hi, I’m not on twitter as I’m usually too busy baking! Today my children and I have made a carrot cake (they’ve literally just finished icing it with fresh orange and cream cheese icing!). We’ve also weeded our veggie patch and picked some french beans ready for supper.
    I’ve just asked my children their favourite recipes to cook
    Stanley (3) – Elliot soup (this is a lentil and carrot soup from a recipe given to us by Stan’s friend Elliot!)
    Daisy (6) – Homemade pizza
    Molly (13) – Gingerbread
    Shame I can’t upload photos of them baking!
    Lucy 😀

  22. Solange says:


  23. Ashleigh says:

    we love making chocolate tiffin

  24. Ashleigh says:

    i have tweeted as @ashlallan

  25. Ashleigh says:

    i am following as @ashlallan already

  26. Caroline French says:

    My children are 2 and 10mths so i am just beginning to get my eldest involved with cooking (even though they are ALWAYS watching and hanging off my apron strings since they could crawl!). Recently i have let my little girl mix for cupcakes and scones and use cutters for biscuits, she is really into for about 5 secs or until she realises she has to wait til its cooked to eat most of it! She’s quite creative so does enjoy spooning coloured icing onto cakes or adding the sprinkles and she does wash my carrots and other veg/salad for me (usually resulting in a soaking but all good fun!)

  27. Caroline French says:

    already following on twitter but have tweeted x @french_caroline

  28. Rachael G says:

    I like to make chocolate brownies with my daughter.

  29. Rachael G says:

    Have tweeted (@rachiegr).

  30. Rachael G says:

    Am already following you on Twitter (@rachiegr).

  31. pamela gossage says:

    I would love this to use with my grandaughter

  32. Jamie-Lee Norris says:

    I love baking especially cakes with my daughter. i had her mixing the ingredients in a bowl from 8 months haha (with my help obviously 🙂 ) although all i get now is her crawling behind me picking up anything i drop and then later me finding it stored in her cheeks eg: raw carrot. therefore when i cook i sit her in her highchair next to me so she can see what im doing, i then give her plastic childrens utensils to use and give her some food thats safe for her to explore with her utensils. Ok she may not be cooking with me as i don’t use the food she has completely mauled but still for now as far as she is concerned she is helping her mummy at 11 months old cook daddys dinner 🙂

  33. lucy robinson says:

    we love making spaghetti carbonara

  34. lucy robinson says:

    am following you on twitter @lucyrobinson3

  35. lucy robinson says:

    Have Retweeted @lucyrobinson3

  36. ellen says:

    cooking with a granchild soon

  37. Judy Wright says:

    We like to bake cakes and biscuits! We’re just making a chocolate beetroot cake 🙂

  38. Chelsea Blair says:

    We love to make cookies, cupackes and brownies!

  39. cheryl fothergill says:

    We love to bake and decorate caks and cookies (not very adventurous!). Would love some inspiration from this book though as we have loads of beans, corguettes, sweetcorn and october we will have loads of pumpkins in our garden!

  40. Isabelle Smith says:

    we love making cookies with lots of chocolate chips in 🙂

  41. Isabelle Smith says:

    have tweeted @isabellee1992

  42. I am useless at cooking and always looking for inspiration especialy as I now have a cooker after being without one for 6 weeks so sounds boring but all we could do together was make a jelly.

  43. Claire Butler says:

    My son and his dad love making proper american style pancakes for breakfast. He’d eat them everyday if he could

  44. Claire Butler says:

    Have tweeted @BBDIVA1977

  45. Claire Butler says:


  46. andi g. says:

    I would love to win this! I cook with both of my children and am always looking for new, healthy recipes to keep them interested in good wholesome food!

  47. I love cooking with my daughters, they mostly prefer making cakes but try to ‘help’ with whatever is being made.


  48. I have tweeted the competition – @pepicola3

  49. Hi, thanks for the giveaway
    I am following on Twitter and have RT

  50. Julie Cook says:

    Chocolate beetroot cake from our allotment crops, the kids love the pink mix it makes and cant believe it makes chocolate cake

  51. Deborah Bird says:

    Me and my son like to cook pizza, and we also like baking 🙂

  52. Deborah Bird says:

    I have tweeted! @zebedee01

  53. Deborah Bird says:

    I am following @cookingkt on twitter! @zebedee01

  54. Philip says:

    I’d like to cook pesto pasta.

  55. Philip says:

    I have tweeted as @pandcands.

  56. Philip says:

    Following you on Twitter. @pandcands

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