What makes a great mince pie? Our lovely teacher Amanda was featured on BBC radio talking about Christmas baking and making the perfect mince pie. Click to listen to her interview and Christmas baking tips.
4th May 2015
Delia Smith and Ed Balls Visit Childrens Cooking Class in Hove
Young students at childrens cooking school; Cookery Doodle Doo enjoyed a visit from TV cooking legend Delia Smith and Labour MP Ed Balls in Hove today.
The usual baking class at The Pelican on Portland was attended by the high-profile visitors as part of the Labour campaign. The children seemed unfazed by the celebrity guests as they baked fresh bread and made hummus surrounded by TV crews and media.
Katie Elfer, Director of Cookery Doodle Doo said When our local teacher Jess told me wed have baking legend Delia popping along to a Cookery Doodle Doo class I was absolutely thrilled. She was always something of a star in my foodie household growing up and I often return to her trusty recipes when feeding my own family.
Jess Haywood said Ed Balls was absolutely charming and the children seemed delighted to have a couple of grown-ups to boss around and tell what to do! I hope they enjoyed the cooking club and wouldnt it be fantastic if Delia had a go at making our Dippidoopledoo recipe at home!
For more information please contact Cookery Doodle Doo founder Katie Elfer:
M: Katie on 07588692955
Information about the Cookery Doodle Doo
Cookery Doodle Doo launched in Brighton in 2011 and is now the fastest-growing childrens cooking school franchise in the UK. Founded by mother and entrepreneur Katie Elfer, the creative and original childrens cooking classes are available for children aged 3-10. More information can be found on their website: www.cookerydoodledoo.com
Working from Home with Kids. How to Cope.
The dream for many parents is to work from home, spend less time rubbing knees with grumpy commuters and more time with the kids.
The reality as one wise and not so old freelance website designer once told me, is that you dont work from home so much as live at work if youre not careful!
Here are some of my top strategies for working from home when you have a family.
Set boundaries in space and time.
This sounds a bit sci-fi but really what it means it to limit where (space) and when (the times) you are working and dont have them blur into a constant inefficient blur with your family time.
If you cant set aside a specific office area for your work time at home, you may want to think about the affordability of renting some desk space or even working from a café or library. Good wi fi, adequate coffee and enough buzz to make you feel youre not missing out.
As someone whos worked at home on the kitchen table, I know it can be hard to switch off work brain if remnants of my paperwork are visible at mealtimes. If you must do it, then Id recommend getting yourself a big storage box with a lid. At the end of your allocated work day put EVERYTHING in the box, shut the lid and put the box out of sight. It signals that my working day is over and I can deal with anything that comes up in the morning.
Time. This one I find the hardest but I think has the most potential to do harm. I feel sad watching parents at playgroups and parks checking their phones whether for work or leisure I think this is a poor habit that I know drives my 6 year old absolutely insane. If myself or his dad are on our phones even if its to answer an important email or check some stats he feels so frustrated that we are not in the moment, not actually paying any attention to whats around us. I agree with him, so now the phones are switched off or even placed in another room when its family time.
On certain days, Ill switch the phone off or leave it at home. Urgent callers will leave voicemails or email. When I didnt do this Id have customers calling me at 10pm to ask about a possible party or on Sundays wondering if we did group classes the calls were never urgent, often the customers themselves were surprised I had answered and the action of answering meant that I had to be in work mode and couldnt wind down afterwards very quickly. It may annoy the odd friend that calls my mobile and I dont immediately reply, but nobody can be on-call 24/7 and function as an attentive parent.
Time for work and time for play. For me, Tuesday morning and Sundays are my times to play and the phone stays at home. No emails will get answers. I will not arrange meetings. As well as having set times to do work, its great to have set times where the kids can expect you to be around and not be preoccupied with work. Voicemail and emails mean you dont have to be a slave to your phone ringer so dont be.
Keep work stuff separate from home stuff. If you havent got an office, get a big box and put the laptop, notepads, samples etc into it at the end of each day.
Figure out and fiercely protect your off times. Maybe its after 8pm on weekdays, maybe you want the whole weekend without interruptions. Whatever it is, tell people (customers or colleagues) and then make sure you switch off, unplug or bury the phone!
Book some special time each day or week that you can spend with the kids without distractions. Stressful periods can make it tough to wind down and fully embrace chaos of the Lego box so maybe opt for a Friday night rather than pre-deadline Sunday.
Make a Schedule
Im a sucker for a good list. Charts and lists make me really happy. A weekly schedule shared with the family of whats going on is my way of keeping control of my workload, ensuring that the kids are out of my hair when I need to put in extra hours and having clear boundaries between work and fun time (oh and cleaning, washing, life in general).
My husband is a free-spirit and not a lover of lists, charts and strict regimented routine. For this reason we only have a 6 day timetable and I have conceded that Sunday must be a little looser for his sake.
Soup may seem like an odd tip to include in this list, but as Im in the kind of business that values good food it seems a relevant one to include.
Working from home can easily turn into a cycle of pottering to the kettle, mooching in the fridge and lounging by the toaster. Food is a massive unhelpful distraction that ruins productivity. Taking breaks is important of course, but procrastinating by making lunch or snacks can be avoided by having a nice batch of soup at the ready.
Often Ill make a GIGANTIC pan of vegetable soup on a Sunday. Its filling and healthy and doesnt take long to warm up so you dont waste time. The other advantage is that it cannot sanely be eaten crumbled up over your laptop (far too risky with spills and mess) so it forces you to take a proper break from the screen win win.
Kill Jeremy Kyle
Not literally, but seriously can you really work at full capacity having a full-blown family row blaring out of the telly? Of course not. Same goes for Embarrassing Bodies, Cowboy Builders, This Morning and catch-ups on any popular TV soaps. This is not a rule I follow that respects TV snobbery either Question Time, Daily Politics and documentaries about little known species of endangered shrimp are also off limits. Turn the TV off. Youll get more done. Promise.
Wear proper clothes
For me this means everything Id need to wear to feel decent minus shoes and makeup. I just dont feel like a powerful, capable business women sat working in my care bear onesie and I swear that customers can hear the lack of professionalism when Ive tried it.
I think this advice fits back into the Time and Space heading. Make a distinction in your attire between bedtime and worktime. Swimming and worktime. Gardening and worktime. Zumba and worktime. Youll probably feel more professional and get more done.
Plus, it feels totally awesome immediately after finishing work to be able to strip off and stick that onesie on and flop with the kids.
Find a job that means you can work from home
Its obvious that some jobs require you to clock-in each day. You cant very well be a work-at-home fireman or nurse. But many office jobs now allow much more flexibility in their workforces hours and legally as a parent you have a right to ask for them. Some companies will allow you to work from home, or there are opportunities for some to make good money as freelancers.
Cookery Doodle Doo is a childrens cooking franchise that enables ambitious parents to run their own cooking school often from home and part-time from local schools and nurseries. I started the business when I had a 3 year old boy and was desperate to maximise our weekends together as I worked full time in the week. We started weekend baking classes and now the company is a national franchise with 5 teachers!
You can certainly make working from home a good set up for your family and ensure you dont just live at work. Want to know how? Find out how our franchisees find working with Cookery Doodle Doo on our franchise information pages. www.cookerydoodledoo.com/franchise
What breakfast cereal is the cheapest and healthiest?
Families aiming to reduce their childrens sugar intake might find some surprises. We looked at some of the leading brands and family favourites to find out the sugar leaders and price losers in the cereal aisle.
Bargain hunters will note that own brand varieties have been excluded from this graph which would no doubt bring the costs down on all available comparable products. Since many lower income families struggle to get transport to larger supermarkets, and rely on local shops within walking distance we have focussed on branded goods which are readily available.
The Baroness Anne Jenkin Porridge Debate
The Tory Peer Baroness Jenkin may have caused a storm when she declared that the poor go hungry because they lack basic cooking skills and could make healthy porridge – costing just 4p. Was she right?
Well, is it the cheapest? Urm no. Is it the least sugary well, no. In fact, unless you take your porridge with nothing more than oats and water your best bet is a bowl of Wheetabix with milk. Adding just a 10g drizzle of honey lifts the sugar content to over 13g per serving! In terms of cost, Wheetabix, plain porridge or a bowl of Shreddies are the cheapest cereal options we featured.
Expensive Sweet Tooth
Kelloggs Frosties and Krave were among the top offenders on both fronts with Nesquick and Cheerios being some of the most expensive breakfast cereals we surveyed.
Variety is key to good health where frugality makes it possible. Not many could face watery porridge every day but again paying top dollar for sugary cereal is no sane alternative either.
Here are some alternative frugal breakfast suggestions:
Tinned tomatoes on wholemeal toast
Baked apple and low-fat yoghurt
Boiled egg and soldiers (slices of toasted bread to dunk)
Baked apple and low-fat yoghurt
Mashed banana on toast
*Cereal prices are based on online data from www.mysupermarket.co.uk excluding offers and accurate as of 17/12/14. Sugar and cost is calculated based on a 30g portion of cereal (advised by the European Cereal Association) plus 100ml semi-skimmed milk. 10g honey is equivalent to approx. half tablespoon of runny honey.
Some days you just want a homely, cosy, snuggly kind of breakfast. Porridge can be too heavy for little ones but with this apple pie inspired smoothie you can pack in the healthy oats and fibre but make it easy peasy for them to drink!
- Cooking Apples x 3
- 30g Breakfast Oats
- 100g Natural Yoghurt
- 100ml Almond Milk
- Honey (to taste)
- Handful of Ice
- Dash of Cinnamon Powder
- You will also need a blender, baking dish and bowl.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
- Core and chop the apples. Leave the skins on as these are the most nutritious bit and will get blended up smooth and disappear anyway.
- Place in a baking tray with a dash of water and put in the middle of the oven
- Meanwhile pop your oats in the milk to soak and soften
- When the apples are soft (approx. 20-30 minutes) remove them from the oven and leave to cool. You can even do this the night before to save time.
- Put the cooled apples, oat and milk mixture, yoghurt and ice in a blender and blitz until smooth.
- Add honey and cinnamon to taste and blend again to incorporate the sweetness
Serve in a cool glass with a big fat straw and watch the kids enjoy a tasty, healthy Apple Pie in a glass!
Children’s cooking school Cookery Doodle Doo is looking for a marketing or design student/graduate for an internship placement.
This 3 month internship is part time (approx. 10 hours per week) and would be ideal for someone looking to get commercial experience while they study.
You’ll be working with a small and fast-growing company. This year we have launched a range of children’s chef clothing and have expanded our children’s cooking school to 4 new locations.
We are looking for someone who is ambitious, creative and reliable. Knowledge of graphic design, online marketing or copywriting would be advantageous and we’ll give you some awesome opportunities to show off your skills.
This placement is not about making the tea or completing dull admin tasks – we’ll work hard to make sure you come away with real skills that will supercharge your CV and give you confidence in the workplace.
You’ll be involved in:
- Marketing strategy
- Social media marketing
- Graphic design
- Product Development
Our placements adapt to suit the skills of the people we take on. If you want to develop your copywriting skills – we can help you do that. Insanely good at InDesign – we can give you opportunities to build your portfolio.
Our recent product launch has seen us feature on ITV and we’re approaching some big retailers so it’s a great time to get involved in our fast-paced business.
Here’s what a previous graduate (Jasmine) said:
“Katie at Cookery Doodle Doo, was such a great person to work for, really helpful and friendly yet super professional. The internship was to help me with my final year at uni and it gave me great hands on experience and I learnt so much with her. Giving me the right guidance in learning lots of new things in marketing and social media. I was able to take responsibility for certain things which allowed me to gain confidence. I am grateful for the help Katie and Cookery Doodle Doo gave me and I would recommend it to everyone looking to complete an internship.”
We receive many CV’s so please email your relevant key skills, interests and ambitions before Monday 10th November and we’ll be in touch to arrange interviews.
17th October 2014
Childrens cooking school; Cookery Doodle Doo has launched a new range of authentic chef clothing specifically for young bakers.
The range of chef uniforms, aprons and chef hats are all authentic professional standard designs, just made smaller and fun for children. They are manufactured in a family-run workshop in the UK, and have been inspired and mess-tested by the schools young bakers.
Founded in 2011 by Brighton mum, Katie Elfer; Cookery Doodle Doo is now a fast-growing national franchise with cooking teachers operating in Sussex Hampshire and Gloucestershire. With hundreds of children learning to cook with the school over the last few years, the company has tailored the range to encourage budding young foodies and build their confidence in the kitchen.
Cookery Doodle Doo founder Katie Elfer said Many children love watching Master Chef and the Great British Bake Off and they want to look the part too. Our students have been the inspiration for this new range and many of the little ones even drew me designs that they had dreamt up some of which have made the final cut! Its really rewarding seeing children develop an understanding and enjoyment for homemade food, and dressing the part can be great fun and also practical when it gets a bit messy!
The range has taken months to design, test, manufacture and involved many of the schools children in the development process and clothing photo shoot.
Children have been central to the design and development process with Katies own children (Finley 6, Darcy 18 months) there every step of the way to give advice and test the wash-ability of garments after some very messy baking test-runs!
Katies son Finley, 6, said Mum says Im a cheeky monkey so I think thats where the idea came from. I like the monkey one best because I like making banana milkshakes, and they look like they are up to mischief like me too!
The clothing range is now available online from the cooking schools website www.cookerydoodledoo.com/shop and purchased direct from the schools cooking teachers.
Notes to editors
1) Photos are attached in the Press Pack, more available and high resolution photos are available on request.
For more information please contact Cookery Doodle Doo founder Katie Elfer:
M: Katie on 07588692955
Information about the Cookery Doodle Doo
Cookery Doodle Doo launched in Brighton in 2011 and is now a national cooking school franchise. Childrens cooking classes and holiday clubs for children aged 3-10 are available across Sussex, Hampshire and Gloucestershire.
More information can be found on their website: www.cookerydoodledoo.com
The full range of chefs whites, chefs hats and aprons is available at www.cookerydoodledoo.com/shop
23rd September 2014
Inspired by The Great British Bake Off, Hampshire children are helping busy mums and dads by taking over Sunday pudding duties.
Children’s cooking school, Cookery Doodle Doo in Laverstoke has created a new weekend class for primary school children. At the Sunday Pudding Club, youngsters are given the ingredients and skills to prepare a pudding for the family Sunday dinner.
The Sunday Morning Pudding Club runs monthly and aims to encourage family get-togethers over Sunday lunch while also teaching the children a vital life-skill. Recipes include traditional Lemon Meringue Pies and sticky Banoffee Puddings.
Katie said “The Sunday Pudding Club has been a huge success – thanks in part to the popularity of TV shows like The British Bake Off. We were sold out on our first session and are now fully booked until December! I love seeing the kids proud of their cooking and looking forward to presenting their contribution to the meal. The parents also enjoy having a couple hours of extra free time too!”
Cookery Doodle Doo runs cooking classes nationwide and combines fun recipes with good quality ingredients to help children develop a life-long love of cooking.
Amelie Poffley, aged 7, one of the first children to sign up to make a Banoffee Pie at the first class said “Cookery Doodle Doo is very fun. The best bit was putting the chocolate flakes on top and crushing the biscuits with a rolling pin!”
The next class in October has already sold out and November (a Chocolate and Pear Tart) has now got a waiting list. Bookings can be made online at www.cookerydoodledoo.com or contact Katie Black on 07473958402 for more information.
Information for editors:
Katie Black runs Cookery Doodle Doo North Hants, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07473 958402.
Katie Elfer is the company director and can be reached at email@example.com or 07588 692 955
Cookery Doodle Doo was founded in 2012 and operates across the UK, offering cooking and food craft classes to children. More information about the children’s cooking franchise is available on the website www.cookerydoodledoo.com/franchise
1st August 2014
Cookery Doodle Doo will be launching cooking classes for pre-schoolers in August at The Pelican on Portland cafe in Hove, Sussex.
Children from age 2 ½ will be able to join their parents at a series of low-cost taster session throughout the summer holidays and the brand new café venue in Hove. For just £3.50 little ones can book into a class and learn to cook Salmon Fishcakes, Blueberry Muffins, Flowerpot Cheesecakes or savoury Mexican Corn Muffins.
Cooking teacher Jess says:
Were always getting asked when were going to start a weekday cooking class for pre-schoolers. As a mum of a toddler myself, I know how important it is to get out of the house and do some creative structured activities! These half-price taster sessions are a good way to see what we get up to in a Cookery Doodle Doo class and come away with a delicious treat for a summer picnic
Limited taster sessions are running on the 14th and 19th August with courses starting in September. To find out more visit www.cookerydoodledoo.com or phone Jess on 07970997224.
Contact: Katie Elfer
There’s been a surge in self-employment in the UK since the recession and Bloomberg have investigated the trend interviewing Cookery Doodle Doo founder Katie Elfer.
Read the full article on Bloomberg here: British Find Way to Beat Working For a Boss
Many parents are increasingly finding the idea of dropping the 9-5 in favour of being their own boss appealing. Flexible hours, independence, job satisfaction – or just spending more quality time with the kids can be powerful motivation for making a change.
Katie Elfer says “I’m so pleased to be able to talk about the benefits of working for Cookery Doodle Doo and how it’s changed my family-life completely. Nothing worth having is easy, but I genuinely believe that my quality of life has much improved since I launched the company and now we’re recruiting more teachers with the franchise it’s a really exciting time for us all.”
Find out about running your own Cookery Doodle Doo childrens’ cooking school. Franchise with us.
Want to know what running a childrens cooking franchise is really like? Read testimonials from real women who have taken the plunge!