I am back in the blogging hot seat after an unscheduled break. My excuse…Motherhood!
Since my last blog, I’m happy to say that I now officially work in the cooking industry and I love every minute of it. I am the Cook for a very nice, brand new childcare centre. Whilst it is completely satisfying to have a job that I enjoy and am passionate about, it still comes with its trials and tribulations. I no longer cook for just one toddler, I cook for a centre full of the fussy little tots!!!
It is a real pleasure to walk into work each morning and be greeted with happy smiling faces. Being in a brand new centre from day one has allowed me to bond and build relationships with all enrolled children. It however comes with negatives. I now feel somewhat obliged to keep these little ones happy and try to accommodate all their personal likes and dislikes just as if they were my own children. As we grow, we will have 120 children everyday at capacity, I logistically and mentally cannot keep up with the demands. In a very short time I have learnt that what they like today, they may absolutely loathe tomorrow. I am learning to not take it to heart. It’s what kids do!
The biggest challenge faced by childcare cooks is the extremely tight budget. Less than $2 per child a day to provide morning tea, a wholesome, nutritious cooked lunch and afternoon tea. It is a real stretch for some. Budgets are calculated per head, so whilst we only had a few children each day, the budget reflected this. I slowly filled my pantry over a few weeks with home branded staples and avoided convenience sauces and prepackaged foods. This has really helped in keeping the costs down. Home brand (or supermarket branded) products are super cheap and of a good quality. I would definitely recommend if you were on a tight budget. Budget cooking doesn’t need to be boring and tasteless. With a little know how, you can get really good tasting food without the heavy price tag.
Here are a few of my latest dishes that really were cheap to produce and hits all round at work and at home.
Sweet and Sour Pork, came in at $15.00 for a family of 4. The pork fillet was the expensive component at $9.90 as I used Pork Fillet. I served this meal with plain steamed rice, which was just $1.50 per kilogram.
Honey Soy Chicken, came in at just $5.70!!! This fed 4 very hungry children and 1 adult when paired with noodles and steamed vegetables. I used Changs Long Life Noodles (they taste like Maggi 2 Minute Noodles without the seasoning) at $1.10 a packet. Purchasing the Chicken Breast Fillet from the supermarket Deli department rather than the meat department held down the cost.