Storytime Chefs : Rainbow Fish Pizzas

makes four individual pizzas

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These quick and healthy pizzas are inspired by The Rainbow Fish (by Marcus Pfister), and encourage children to pile up on a variety of different coloured veggies, helping them meet their five a day targets and eat a rainbow too. I’ve honestly never seen my five year old so keen to load up with every colour of vegetable.

For speed and convenience, shop-bought pitta bread works fine (Waitrose and Ocado stock organic versions).  Pitta are easy to cut to shape with sturdy kitchen scissors, and both wholemeal and white pitta both taste great in these pizzas.

Trimming into a fish shape can be a bit awkward (there’s a good chance that little ones could accidentally chop off a tail!) but is great for developing motor skills - so be prepared to model where to cut and help little ones. (and have a few pitta spare just in case)

If you want to make your own pitta (which is great fun and everso easy) - we’ve included a recipe to make your own in the resources section of our FB group.

Next comes a topping of our veggie packed magic tomato sauce, but any good quality tomato pasta sauce will work (we like Seeds of Change and Mr Organic sauces).

Let your junior chefs get busy with the cheese grater, minding their fingers (and fingernails)  before offering them a rainbow selection of veggie toppings.

*N.B. Children should always be supervised when cooking, and an adult should oversee the use of heat as well as all preparation involving sharp utensils.

Developing cooking skills:

Encourage your children to do as much of the pizza prep as possible. We’ve highlighted the hands on skills they will be developing  below:


  1. Cut the pitta bread into a fish shape using scissors (adult/older child task unless very dextrous)

  2. Spoon and spread pizza sauce (child)

  3. Grate cheese and sprinkle over pizza sauce (child - may need support grating)

  4. Take a pinch of italian herbs and sprinkle over cheese (child)

  5. Prepare veggie toppings - dice and slice peppers, mushrooms, olives (child - younger cooks may need support slicing or offer strips which they can dice/snip with a safe knife or scissors)

  6. Snip spring onions (if using) with scissors (child)

  7. Build your rainbow fish pizza using fingers or a spoon to create colourful (veggie) rainbow scales (child)

  8. Drizzle or spritz with a little olive oil  - an oil spray works well for this (child - may need support)

  9. Ask an adult to place in the oven for approx 12 mins (adult or older child)

  10. Wait until cooled and enjoy.


Don’t forget to take some photos and share them with us in the Storytime Chef group (or tag us on instagram #storytimechef #organiccookeryschool)

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Enjoy this? Try our Rainbow Fish inspired digestive biscuits.

Where to get hold of a copy of The Rainbow Fish:

Link to Rainbow Fish on Amazon UK                      Link to Rainbow Fish on Amazon US

Or don’t forget to check your local library.

By shopping with the links we have provided, we may earn a small referral commission which goes straight back into our community outreach projects for vulnerable families It also doesn’t cost you anymore. Thank you!

Best books to encourage your children to brush their teeth (and eliminate worry at the dentist)


As parents we all want our children to understand the importance of brushing their teeth properly, but the natural consequence of not doing so (tooth decay, drilling, filling, gum disease and even tooth extractions) are pretty scary. Most of the dentists I’ve visited have been brilliant with my daughters but it can still be a little scary, particularly if you have an anxious child.

The following book list has been put together by myself and Samantha Glover,  Dental Public Health Program Manager at Public Health England, who recently answered parent questions about the best ways to look after your children’s teeth.

When choosing stories on a dentist/tooth brushing theme, Samantha tries ‘to steer away from books that link the dentist with toothache i.e ‘little princess had a terrible tooth ache so she went to the dentist to get it fixed’. We want young people to get used to going to the dentist (from one year old) as a routine thing not related to pain or anxiety.’

The following books are all available from Amazon, and should be accessible from your library too.

You can read the full article, Ask the expert - we talk to an oral health expert about the best ways to look after your family’s teeth and avoid child tooth decay and extractions, by clicking this link.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. The Organic Cookery School may receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using affiliate links.


What Foodbanks really need after Christmas (apart from your leftover Quality Street)

Annual use of foodbanks is rising, so it’s bittersweet that so many of us are loosening out waistbands and still surrounded by the excesses of a typical British family Christmas.


And as New Year's Eve approaches, lots of these foods will soon be decluttered to make way for healthier January fare - the boxes of Roses from well-meaning aunties, packets of dates, sugared almonds and marzipan fruits from the neighbours, the family sized tubs of Celebrations, Twiglets and Mini Cheddars, being replaced with fresh fruit and veg, salads and smoothies.

Many of these unwanted treats will end up in food bank donation bins, where the basics of baked beans, tea bags and tinned veg are already shuffling  for space with Christmas teas, fancy jams and endless Scottish shortbread.


And whilst the estimated 590,000 people per year who rely on food bank donations may welcome some of your Christmas leftovers, there are numerous essential items, often not food related, which are in greater need.

So next time you pass the food bank drop off at your local supermarket, church or community centre, please consider donating some of the following non food items too, as identified by The Trussell Trust.

Non food items to donate to your local Foodbank:

  • Deodorant

  • Toilet paper

  • Shower gel

  • Shaving gel

  • Shampoo

  • Soap

  • Toothbrushes

  • Toothpaste

  • Hand wipes

  • Laundry detergent or powder

  • Washing-up liquid

  • Sanitary towels

  • Tampons

  • Nappies

  • Baby wipes

  • Baby food (but not Baby Formula due to UNICEF regulations)



It’s also very helpful to check with your local foodbank as to which items, food or otherwise, they are particularly low on, or have plenty of.

Many, like Exeter Foodbank, issue a monthly priority list which you can find on their social media feeds.

If you and your family are struggling, you can find out more about being referred to your local food bank via the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.


How else can you help:

If you’d like to make a donation or volunteer to support the operation of your local foodbank, find out more here

In 2016/17, The Trussell Trust handed our over 1.8 million emergency food parcels. They operate a network of 400 foodbanks across the UK.

Organic Week at Lidl - the ten ingredients we're stocking up on this week

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We love Lidl  - they always stock a great range of organic and fairtrade goodies, and a couple of times a year they run their Organic Week promotions. This week is one of those weeks (running 3rd August to 9th August inclusive).

Here are out top ten storecupboard essentials to stock up on whilst on promotion.

Organic Grains:

 Organic Bulgur Wheat (£1.99 for 500g)

 Organic  Spelt (£1.99 for 750g)

 Organic  Buckwheat (£1.99 for 500g)

 Organic  Amaranth (£1.99 for 500g)


There's also this very affordable muesli, which works brilliantly in flapjacks, homemade granola  bars:

5) Organic  Wholegrain Muesli (£2.19 for 500g)


Next up organic pasta at just 99p for 500g. (Check out their basic organic tomato pasta sauce too)

Followed by three storecupboard bargains:

Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (£2.99 for 500ml)

Organic Tomato Ketchup (£1.29 for 450ml)

Organic Coconut Oil (£3.99 for 500ml)

Add this to organic smoked salmon, tons of organic fruit and veg choices, eggs, milk, yogurt and more and you're sure to save a few pennies at Lidl this week.


What will you make?

BAKE IT OFF! Five ways to reduce exam (SATS) stress by Cooking with your Kids

Five ways to reduce exam (SATS) stress by cooking with your kids

It's SATS week for 10 and 11 year olds across the UK, and after months of practice tests at school, most Year 6 pupils are feeling pretty tense about this week. As a former primary school teacher, I'm feeling pretty aerated by the unnecessary pressure these tests put on our little ones (and they are still little!), so I've come up with some relaxing afterschool activities for my 11 year old. We've made slime, done cartwheels (her not me!), played on a giant piano in the garden, and next up it's cooking.  

But why cooking? Well obviously I'm biased, but of all the downtime activities I can rustle up with little effort and expense, this hits a lot of positive buttons. And guarantees smiles (lots of them!)

Here are my five top tips:

  1. Choose a recipe: planning the recipe together is an important stage - leaf through some cookery books or browse some blog posts/pinterest for easy, tested recipes which appeal. Ask them to make an ingredient list and read it out whilst you check which ingredients you already have/need to get in. This teaches your child about planning and prep and builds the excitement about the time you are going to spend cooking together. Result - #buildsexcitement - and give them something to look forward to.

  2. Stress can inhibit appetite - which in turns affects performance and concentration. Baking something delicious together will relax your child and stimulate their appetite. I’d recommend a healthy failsafe muffin or batch of wholefood cookies (see examples below) - sneak in some veggies or dried fruit for added fibre (as stress can affect digestion too). Other great ingredients for exam time are oats, eggs, and seeds. Result - #feelingnourished

  3. Set aside time - cooking together is quality time that can’t be rushed (please don’t rush it or you’ll defeat the object) and illustrates you want to spend time with them and you value their company. Result - #feelingvalued  - another great stress buster

  4. Cooking is social and, when shared, involves teamwork, taking turns and collaborating. Decide together who is doing what, and make sure they know which jobs they are solely responsible for (and if you veer towards control freakery, hold back and let them do it themselves!). Result -  #feelingindependent - and elevating the importance of non academic skills

  5. Cookery is a sensory, tactile and whole brain experience - and will help balance out the exhaustion many children feel during test week. They’ll use the left part of their brain following instructions, and weighing and measuring, the right for creative flourishes, and evaluating tastes, smells, textures and how the experience makes them feels. Result - #feelingbalanced

Try it out - even as an end of week treat.

I can’t wait to hear how you get on. I guarantee smiles and happier, relaxed kids!

Here are some recipe ideas to get you going.

Any tips you'd like to share on how to relax and restore balance in your kids' lives? Comment below, I'd love to hear from you. And if you enjoyed this post, please share.

Five Best Smoothie Makers for your family in 2017

So, it’s January, and we are all full of new year’s resolutions for our family’s diet and wellbeing. If that includes eating more fresh fruit and veg, and you haven’t yet invested in one, you’re probably thinking of investing in a smoothie maker.

But which to try? Will a stick blender do just as good a job or do you need a full on magic bullet/seed and nut blitzing top-of-the-range model?

We put five of the most popular models to the test in The Organic Cookery School Kitchen.

The Nutribullet

Our review: The ubiquitous Nutribullet magic bullet has everything you need to make healthy and delicious smoothies. It’s easy to clean, handles frozen fruit and veg well and makes short work of blitzing nuts and seeds.

It comes with a selection of cups in two sizes and lids, plus a spare blade, all of which are dishwasher proof.

It’s also come down considerably in price over the last year making it a good investment buy for the future.


The Nutri Ninja

Our review: Another big price reduction means the Nutribullet’s main competitor is now closer to £50, rather than the original £100 launch price. It’s powerful motor handles nuts and frozen fruit/veg well. The basic model comes with just one blade,however, and less cups than the Nutribullet. A good contender though, making a delicious blended juice in seconds.



KMix  Blender

This traditional freestanding blender comes in an eye popping range of colours. It'sa great blender and looks amazing in situ, but with a glass jug, we prefer the Nutribullet or Breville (see below) for ease of use and safety when making smoothies with kids.


Breville Blend Active Family Blender

Our review: What a great buy! Rather than cups it comes with three portable bottles (which you may or may not prefer) and at this price point it delivers great value for money. It doesn’t feel quite as weighty as The Nutribullet or Nutri Ninja, but it handles frozen fruit and veg well.


Braun Stick Blender

Our review: We thought it only fair to give our trusty stick blender a chance too, and tested the Braun MQ100 model. It's not the cheapest handblender there (there are models from around £5). The limitations are that you can’t blend frozen fruit or veg (so no frozen spinach, avocado or bananas for us) or seeds. So whilst it’s great for baby food and soup, you will be limited to very ripe fruit and veg for your smoothies. 

Our Conclusion:

Whether you've a fiver or £50 to invest, we are a big fan of homemade smoothies. We are big Nutribullet fans, but our second choice would be the Breville Blend Active Family Blender. 

We'd love to hear what you think and your favourite smoothie recipes.

The Organic Cookery School Five Best Family Smoothie Makers Review for 2017
All opinions in this article are unbiased and our own and we haven’t received any free products or renumeration for featuring these products.
We include Amazon affiliate links, and any affiliate income earned contributes directly to our free community cookery programmes for vulnerable families.

Toddler Portion Sizes – Ideas and Strategies to Ensure Your Toddler’s Diet is Balanced and Varied.

Toddler Portion Sizes - the Organic Cookery School

There’s no doubt that when babies become toddlers, everything changes – they’re more mobile and engaged, their motor skills are developing at a rate of knots and whether speaking just a little or a lot, they soon start to communicate their preferences and dislikes to you. And that includes what they want to eat.

The Organic Cookery School offers a number or practical  courses which support parents in the next stage of meeting their child’s changing nutritional needs. As well as recipe ideas, these courses are as much about how to deal with the challenges you may face and how to get your child’s relationship to food off to the best possible start.

So how much and what should my toddler be eating?

Whatever our age, we all need variety and balance in our diets, to ensure we are getting the right mix of nutrition. Toddlers tend to have smaller tummies, so appropriate portion sizes are important to make sure they aren’t filling up on just a few food types:

The amount of food your child will want to eat at any given time will depend on so many factors – are they having a growth spurt? Have they just done a big poo? Are they tired? How much exercise have they had today? So offer small portions and top up with seconds, if they are still hungry.


Each meal should offer a mix of the main food groups:


Starchy/Carbohydrate rich foods (up to 5 portions a day)

The Organic Cookery School Toddler Portion Guide Carbohydrates



Fruit and Vegetables (aim for at least 5 portions a day)

The Organic Cookery School Toddler Portion Guide Fruit
The Organic Cookery School Toddler Portion Guide Vegetables


Dairy/calcium rich foods (aim for three portions a day)

The Organic Cookery School Toddler Portion Guide Dairy / Calcium


Protein foods (aim for two portions a day, or 3 if vegetarian)

The Organic Cookery School Toddler Portion Guide Protein



Over the next few blog posts we’re going to explore each food group in more detail and give examples of recipes which are perfect for toddler tums. 


Our Cheesy Spinach and Apple Muffins are a great mix of dairy, veg, fruit and protein and a hit with our little foodie testers.

A note on drinks and what foods to avoid:

During the day time, your toddler will need to remain hydrated and water should be offered frequently from a cup or beaker. They can also drink full fat cow’s milk from one year and need approx 300ml  a day. Squashes, sweetened juices and fizzy drinks should not be given to children and can impact dental health. We have created some toddler friendly whole fruit/veg smoothies, which are a great way to boost your families’ vitamin and mineral intake, but bear in mind that, like milk, they can be quite filling. Try a small (150ml) portion of smoothie at breakfast with some toast and scrambled egg for a great start to your toddler's day.

Avoid, raw or very lightly cooked eggs, high salt foods (or the addition of salt), whole nuts (until the age of 5), low calorie or diet foods, raw fish or meat (eg sushi/steak tartare).


The Organic Cookery School Toddler Portion Guide