Top Ten Meals to Cook for your Host Children

Au pairs are often asked to assist their host family in cooking an evening meal for the children. Basic cooking skills can be expected but we recommend that families put some time aside at the beginning of the placement to go through a few of the children’s favourite recipes with the au pair to make sure they have got the hang of it.

We asked our au pairs what evening meals go down best in their household. Here are the top ten responses!

“My host children love cooking. Together we make a great spaghetti bolognese. Italian food is their favourite” – Mathilde, French, au pair in London

Pasta and pesto with sausages. Really simple to make and tastes really good”Elin, Swedish, au pair in Hertfordshire

Jacket Potato with Baked Beans & Cheese is easy to make and my host kids loved it”Tamara, Austrian, former au pair in Oxfordshire

Gemma, a Spanish au pair in Surrey sent us this photo of a quiche that her host children enjoyed:

cooking-blog-photo

 

“My kids love pasta with mushroom sauce, homemade pizza, fish gratin with vegetables and also chilli (with a twist):

Cinnamon Chilli

  • 500g mince
  • 2 small onions
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tins tomatoes
  • 1 tin kidney beans
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  1. Fry the garlic and onion and add the mince until it’s done
  2. Add tomatoes and cinnamon and season with salt & pepper (and other spices if you want to)
  3. Simmer for at least 30 minutes (but longer is better)
  4. Add the beans about 30 minutes before serving
  5. Serve with bread, rice or a jacket potato (and maybe some natural yoghurt and guacamole)”

Carina, German, au pair in Kent

 “We like to cook fajitas on Friday nights. We cook the chicken with peppers, onions and spices and then serve with lots of little dishes of grated cheese, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, lettuce and tomatoes” – Diana, Italian, au pair in Surrey

“A really simple meal is pasta bake. I make a tuna and sweetcorn one with melted cheese on top and the boys always eat it all!” – Maartje, Dutch, au pair in London

“When we have enough time in the evening, we make pizzas together. The kids like to get involved. We use tomato puree on the base and choose from toppings including chicken, peppers, onion, mushroom, ham, pepperoni and cheese”Hannah, Australian, au pair in London

 
“My kids love roasts and it’s actually quite easy to prepare it just takes some time. My host dad told me the trick to put a ‘butter paper’ (the paper that the Butter is wrapped in when you buy it) on Top of the chicken. This keeps the chicken juicy and prevents the Skin from getting burned. You put the chicken in the oven for about two hours. About 30 min before you take the chicken out, you take off the paper, so the skin can crisp up. 
You can also put some whole potatoes on the tray with the chicken so you get baked potatoes. Or you Cut them in wedges, in half, … But they need less time than the chicken itself, so you need to time it right 🙂
You can use any vegetable your kids like. My host children’s favourites are runner beans, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower… I simply boil these or just roast them as well. (Sliced and roasted carrots and parsnip are great).
I serve the food with gravy which I make from granules 🙂 “
Alina, German, au pair in Hampshire

“Today I made a cheesy cauliflower and pasta bake for the second time and the girls loved it”Laura, German, au pair in Surrey

We have lots more ideas for simple meals on our Pinterest page and in our Au Pair Guide which is sent to all Smartaupairs prior to travel.

Happy Cooking!

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Guest Blog from Au Pair Evelien

Evelien is a 19 year old Dutch au pair, who started her placement with her host family in Surrey in October. Here she shares two of her blog posts, describing her experiences of two key events: Halloween and Bonfire Night!

1st November 2016

Hey everyone,

This blog post is about a holiday that I thought was only celebrated this big in America, but I was wrong: in England, they celebrated just as big.

It all started two weeks ago, my host mum was talking about home decorations, carving pumpkins, and she told me that I had to have an outfit.

I still hadn’t found anything to wear the Friday before Halloween, so I went to town with my friend, Gemma. All the shops were full of Halloween decorations and different kinds of outfits. Eventually I found a nurse (or waiter’s) dress that wasn’t too expensive and it looked quite okay, so I bought that one.

halloween

On Saturday, I went to an event called “Pillage the village!” in Reigate with my host family. All the shops with the black and orange balloons outside participated. It meant that we could trick or treat at those shops. After visiting a lot of houses, we went to a super scary Halloween house too. The children were so scared that one floor was enough for them, so we went on to a nice little restaurant and had some food.

pillage

It was time to go home now, to carve the pumpkins! Before we got started we made some sketches, and then we had to clean the pumpkins. What a work! Carving the pumpkins was quite some work too! It was harder than I thought it would be, but these are the results:

pupkins

The next day, it was time to make the front yard Halloween-proof.
We had orange spider webs, spiders, rats etc. to decorate the yard. It was super fun to do and in the dark it looked super scary!

The first Monday after the midterm break, we went home very quickly to put on our Halloween outfits again, this time to go to a friend’s house. They threw a Halloween party with Halloween food and stuff like that. After having our “fingers with blood” and “dead body pudding” we went outside to search for pumpkins at people’s houses, where we could trick or treat.  The children were super excited, that was so nice to see! Even the children who are usually quite shy, were now the first to ring the doorbell!

When our buckets were full of candy, it was time to get home.

What a nice first experience of celebrating Halloween! I loved it (:

Lots of Love,

Evelien.

 

8th November 2016

Three days ago it was Guy Fawkes Night. This is an event in England were they celebrate that the parliament wasn’t attacked in 1605. In these days there were plans in London to destroy the parliament. Today they celebrate this with campfires and lots of fireworks.

On Friday I picked up the boys from school, we went to The Bicycle Shop; this is not only a shop but also a café. After a coffee, my host dad arrived and we went to the Fish and Chips Shop. There I had a real English dinner!

After dinner it was time to go to school to see the fireworks. It was an amazing, lots of different colours and music all on. They made a real show of it 🙂

fireworks

The days before and after I still heard fireworks at night on the streets.

Last Sunday, I went to Brighton with three of my friends. In the morning somewhere around 10 o’clock we took the train and after 30 minutes we were at Brighton!  Brighton is a amazing city, everywhere wall paintings, nice little shops and lots of second hand shops.

The atmosphere in the city is chill and calm, nothing needs to happen and everything is okay. It’s a bit like a student city.

First we went to The Lanes, these are small streets with little shops. Not the big brands but little private shops. It reminds me of some streets in my hometown. We went to a big second hand shop were we saw a photo booth we needed to take a crazy picture in there!

lanes

We walked on, then we saw a fudge shop, on the windows were stickers of prices. This was something we really wanted to taste. It was out of this world so delicious. We had three different flavours, sea salt, vanilla and strawberry.

fudge

After The Lanes it was time for the Pavilion building. This is a big concert building that looks like a fairy tale one. It looks like Aladdin could live there 🙂 We could see a little bit inside and after that we went to the big garden behind the building. There we have had lunch and we went to the most famous place in Brighton, the Pier.

When we walked on the Brighton Pier and we ate our fudge, but this was not a good idea. We were attacked by some seagulls, super scary! They took the fudge out of my hand and bit me. We ate our fudge quick and went to the arcades. Of course we needed to try this! We spent too much money but we got two little key rings 🙂

pier

We walked to the end of the Pier, over there it looks like a fairground. Attractions everywhere, but we spend already too much money so we went back to the station.

Back in Redhill we wanted pizza, so we went to a pizza place and had a lovely pizza. Super end of the day!

pizza

Lots of love,

Evelien

If you would like to keep up with Evelien’s au pair experience, you can read her blog here.

evelien

National Nursery Rhyme Week

This week is National Nursery Rhyme Week and a few au pairs wanted to share some rhymes from their native language.

Here are their contributions with an English translation – a great opportunity for you to learn a rhyme in another language!

If you would like to learn more nursery rhymes in English, the BBC has put together a great collection that you can find here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/learning/schoolradio/subjects/earlylearning/nurserysongs.

german-2

Jaqueline, Ilford, Essexdutch

Evelien, Redhill, Surreyspanish

Gemma, Redhill, Surrey

french

Celine, London

german

Lisa, Maidstone, Kent

Photo Competition Winners Announced!

The annual Smartaupairs photo competition was opened earlier on in the month, when many au pairs joined us for the BAPAA Boat Trip.

Since then, we have received a number of lovely photos and have had a tough time deciding on our winners! Finally, we have selected Britt from the Netherlands and Monique from Germany, and both will receive a £20 Amazon voucher.

Thank you to everyone who sent a photo to us – here are the winners and some of our favourites!

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