Tempelicious: Making Child’s Play of Cooking

Food writer Nessa Robins came up with a unique way of raising funds for her local national school – she helped the kids to create Tempelicious, a recipe book of their favourite family recipes. Nessa took some time to chat to us about what it took to create a cookbook with many small cooks in the kitchen!

Who came up with the idea for ‘Templelicious’?
I approached the school last year about the possibility of publishing our own cookbook as a fundraiser. The staff loved the idea, and were fully on board form the start.
What are the funds needed for?
The money raised will go towards the school’s new extension.
How involved where the children in the creation of the recipes?
The children were fully involved every step of the way. Each child from 4th, 5th and 6th class submitted a recipe, then from choosing the title of the book to styling the photos, the children got the opportunity to be completely hands-on with the publication of their own cookbook. In January, I spent over two weeks in school capturing the photographs for the book. I brought along boxes of my own props, which each child could use to style their photo, but the children also brought in some beautiful pieces form their own homes. For the ‘Granny’s Kitchen’ chapter I asked the children to bring along something that actually belonged to the granny whose recipe we were including in the book. I was completely overwhelmed by the ‘props’ the children brought in for the photos. One child brought in the tea set her granny got as a wedding present over fifty years ago. For me, this cookbook was such a great project to work on, but things like this made it truly special.
Why do you think it is important for kids to learn about food and cooking?
In my opinion, cooking is a basis life skill which should be taught from an early age. Since my children were tots, I always involved them in the preparation of our meals and encouraged them to help me out in the kitchen. Thankfully, the four of them now have a love for good food. Teaching children about where their food comes from and how to cook it has a wealth of benefits. Hopefully, in time, we’ll see food nutrition incorporated into the primary school curriculum. 
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Mini Strawberry & White Chocolate Pavlovas
by Amy Murphy, 6th Class

I chose this recipe because my Mam makes it for almost all the family occasions. It’s one of the family’s favourites.


4 large egg whites
A pinch of salt
250g caster sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
A drop of vanilla extract
1 tsp white wine vinegar
375ml whipping cream
400g strawberries, sliced
50g white chocolate, melted


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas mark 4.
  2.  Whisk the egg whites with the salt until they are holding firm peaks but are not stiff.
  3.  Gently add in the sugar, spoonful after spoonful, still beating, until you’ve got a bowl full of gleaming, satiny, snowy meringue.
  4.  Sprinkle in the cornflour, a drop of vanilla extract and the white wine vinegar on top and fold in to combine.
  5.  Spoon heaped tablespoons of the meringue on to baking trays. This mixture should make about 8 mini pavlovas. Use the back of a spoon to make an indentation in the centre of each one, to hold the cream later. Put it into the oven, turn it down to 150°C/fan 130°C/gas mark 2 and bake for about 50 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave it to cool in the oven.
  6. When cool enough to assemble whip the cream and dollop it into the indentations and smooth it with the back of a spoon, leaving the odd peak. Top each with a handful of sliced strawberries and drizzle over the melted white chocolate. Dust with some icing sugar and serve.

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For Lunch or Dinner, It’s Always a Winner
by Tara Mullins,
6th class

This yummy dinner came into my family’s hands a couple of years ago from one of my Mam’s friends and we all love it. We have made it numerous times and I can safely say it’s my favourite dinner. I hope you like this dinner as much as we do. This recipe only serves one person’s dinner so double it or triple it for more.


3 smoked rashers
1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
Small handful of freshly chopped basil
90g penne pasta
2 tbsp cream


  1. Grill the rashers, cut into small pieces and leave aside.
  2. Grate the cheese and leave it aside. Leave the basil prepared in a bowl.
  3. Use a medium size pot and bring some water to the boil for pasta. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 12 minutes. Strain the pasta and return it to the pot.
  4. Add all the ingredients into the pot with the pasta and stir gently for 1 minute.
  5. Then plate up and enjoy.

Tempelicious is available directly from An Grianán National School in Mount Temple, Co. Westmeath on 090-6481085 and in many outlets around Moate.

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