Reality television series Junior Masterchef has helped open the eyes of the public to the raw creativity and talent of kids nowadays when it comes to churning out cuisine.
Gone are the days of kids being only known as picky eaters. Today, kids are not only more aware of the culinary world, but with television content showcasing some of the world’s best chefs on their own shows, they’re also picking up great tips and techniques as well.
The same can be said about promising young junior chef, Uleena Udabage, who has shared some of her handpicked recipes in this month’s edition.
Speaking to us on her culinary journey so far, Ulleena says that her passion for the art began at an early age in kindergarten, where cookery classes quickly became her favourite. From, there on her favourite pastime became experimenting with new recipes, and baking. Watching cookery programs on YouTube and television gave her the inspiration to try out newer recipes and techniques and fuelled her passion further.
At the tender age of 10 however, Uleena got the opportunity to participate in an event called the Family Cook-Off organized by a well-known spice brand. At the event, little Uleena became the runner up, just behind a 21-year-old trainee pastry chef. She says that this competition helped her brush off any fears, and get used to taking on challenges.
Following this, she was invited by the Housewive’s Association and St. Pauls Milagiriya to do a cooking demonstration, which she says that as a young 11 to 12-year-old chef, she reveled in the love and attention showered on her by the ladies at the demonstration.
After this, Uleena’s profile grew even further, being featured on MTV’s Family Cook-Off as well.
However, cooking is only one aspect of this young, inspired chef. She also balances her time with her duties as the secretary of the Interact Club, as a senior school prefect, as Deputy House Captain, as a member of the school choir, and as a school Swimmer too.
Her free time she says is best spent, working on her main passion, which involves preparing new dishes and inviting guests over to try them out.
Uleena says that through her hobby, she intends to inspire others out there to begin the journey to achieve their dreams at young age and follow their passions towards success.
She is also a strong believer that everyone has a hidden talent, and that all kids should show the world what they can do and who they are.
Tomato basil bites
Fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper
Method – Select one size of tomatoes and cut them in half then gentle scop the seeds and fill it with mozzarella bocks. Place a fresh basil leaf on top and add salt and pepper to taste.
Celery peanut butter sticks
Ingredients- fresh celery stalks
Method – Cut the celery stalk into bite-size pieces and fill the gaps with peanut butter (Sweeten peanut butter) place fresh berries of your choice on top.
Cucumber and tuna bites
Ingredients – fresh green cucumber
Tuna salad (tuna, onions, red bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, fresh coriander leaves, lime juice, chickpeas, onions, green chilli, salt, pepper, chilli flakes, olive oil)
Method – Tuna Salad – Chop the red onions bell pepper and tomatoes, fresh coriander leaves green chillies and mix it all in a bowl by adding olive oil chilli flakes lemon juice salt and pepper and finally add the chickpeas, Tuna and mix it well.
Cut thick slices of cucumber and place the tuna salad on top.
Guacamole baguette bites
Ingredients- Baguette, butter, avocado, red onions, green chilli, salt, pepper, cherry tomatoes, lemon juice, honey
Method – Guacamole. in a bowl finally chop up red onions, green chilli, cherry tomatoes and avocado and mix it well until it forms into a paste. Add lemon juice, honey salt, pepper and red chilli flakes.
Cut the baguette into thick slices and toast it in a pan with butter.
Place the Guacamole on top of the toasted baguette and top it off with finely slice cherry tomatoes.
Cauliflower Spinach Alfredo
Ingredients- Milk, butter, cauliflower, olive oil, red chilly flakes, dried rosemary, dried thyme, spaghetti
Method – Blend boiled cauliflower milk, melted butter red chili flakes, salt, pepper dried rosemary /thyme.
Boil the spaghetti
In a pan add butter and the cauliflower puree (add milk if the paste is too thick) add the spinach and cook well. Finally, add the boiled spaghetti and serve in a bowl and garnish with parmesan cheese.
Salmon cooked in garlic oil
Ingredients- (salmon cooked in garlic oil)
Salmon, olive oil, butter, fresh rosemary, garlic, cloves, salt, dried rosemary/thyme, pepper, red chilly flakes, white wine, dried cranberries, chicken stock powder, lemon juice.
rocket leaves, red/yellow bell pepper, green cucumber, green olives, fresh dill olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, salt pepper, Dijon mustard
Salmon cooked in garlic oil.
Marinate the salmon with salt, pepper, lemon juice, chicken stock powder dried rosemary/thyme.
Heat olive oil and butter in a pan and once heated add 3-4 cloves of garlic and fresh rosemary then add the marinated salmon and cook well. When serving top, it with a dried cranberry.
Prepare the dressing with olive oil Dijon mustard, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar salt, and pepper. Chop the vegetable green leaves and mix well with the dressing. When serving top it off with dried cranberry and fetta cheese.
When plating place the salad at the bottom and the salmon on top.