This week we continued our broad theme of healthy eating and looked at food as medicine. We discussed people being made up of a body and mind and then looked at what is required for good health of each of these components – the body needing good food, water, sleep and exercise and the mind needing stimulation in the form of learning and relaxation in the from of quiet, peace or meditation (we practiced 2 minutes of mindful eating in silence at the beginning of the meal to practice this). We also talked about the connection between the mind and the body and looked at how positive self talk and kindness towards ourselves and others can promote good health this way.

We looked at different ingredients that are found in nature that give us clues to their benefits – cauliflower and walnuts look like the brain and have wonderful benefits for memory and cognition, the children connected strawberries and apples to the heart and indeed these both have proven benefits to good cardiac health. We also talked about spices – particularly ginger, turmeric and cinnamon and their warming, healing and anti inflammatory nature and touched on the importance of eating a rainbow of vegetables because each colour reflects a different vitamin or nutritional content.

We used these spices in our menu which consisted of a spicy vegetable and lentil soup, a fragrant yellow rice, a pumpkin & chickpea curry and a rainbow vegetable stir fry. As a sweet, we made spiced ginger cookies but instead of each child taking one for themselves we called them ‘kindness cookies’ and each child placed one in a cellophane bag and attached a card with kind words about what they admire and like in another student in the class and they gifted the cookies to each other. One child also brought in some lemons from his tree and home and kindly requested that we make lemonade so we made a refreshing drink of lemon juice, freshly grated ginger, maple syrup ice and water which was a hit with kids and adults alike.

Pumpkin & Chickpea Curry

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, crushed

3 teaspoons of curry powder

1 pumpkin, peeled and cut into small pieces

400g chickpeas, rinsed and drained

400g coconut milk

1 chicken stock cube

½ cup water

salt and pepper to taste

chopped parsley to garnish

 

Method

Heat oil and cook onion until glassy. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add curry powder and cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant.

Add pumpkin and chickpeas. Stir. Cook for 5 minutes.

Add coconut milk, crumbled stock cube and water. Bring to the boil.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until pumpkin is tender.

Season with salt & pepper.

Garnish with parsley and serve.

Rainbow Stir Fry Noodles

Ingredients

2 tablespoons rice bran oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 large carrot, peeled and shredded

a large handful of snow peas, stringed and cut into thin strips

1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets

1 red capsicum cut into thin strips

a handful of purple cabbage, shredded

a can of baby corn, drained

3 tablespoons of soy sauce (or tamari)

2 tablespoons of honey

1 tablespoon of teriyaki sauce

1 teaspoon of sesame oil

400g hokkien noodles, cooked

toasted sesame seeds to garnish

 

Method

Heat oil in a large wok. Add onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add other veggies and stir-fry for 5 -10 minutes until veggies are cooked (but not soggy).

Add sauces and honey and toss then add noodles and mix through. Garnish with sesame seeds.

 

Spicy Vegetable Soup with French Lentils

Ingredients

2 tablespoons of oil

1 large fennel, diced

3 carrots, diced

3 sticks of celery, diced

4 stalks of silverbeet or kale leaves, shredded

2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes

1 cup puy lentils (sometimes sold as French lentils) – pre cooked for kitchen class

1 heaped teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon cinnamon

salt and pepper

4 massell vegetable stock cubes

2 litres of water

grated parmesan to serve (optional)

 

Method

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the fennel, carrot and celery and sauté for 8 minutes.

Add the spices and mix well for 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes, lentils, silverbeet, stock and water and cover.

Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer until veggies are tender.

Serve with parmesan sprinkled on top or on the side.

 

Yellow Rice

Ingredients

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tablesppon olive oil

50g butter

1 tablespoon of finely grated ginger (use a microplane grater)

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon cinnamon

2 bay leaves

4 silverbeet stalks, finely shredded

¼ cup currants

2 cups of basmati rice

3 cups of water (cold)

2 massell chicken stock cubes

toasted coconut flakes and chopped parsley to garnish

Method

Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, ginger, bay leaves and spices and stir well for 2 minutes or until the onion is translucent.

Add the silverbeet and currants and stir for another 2 minutes until the silverbeet starts to wilt.

Add the rice and mix to combine until the rice is all coated in the spice mixture.

Add the stock and water. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the water has been absorbed. Top with crunchy toasted coconut flakes and chopped parsley.

 

Kindness Cookies

Ingredients

125g butter

1 teaspoon of bicarbonate soda

2¼ cups plain flour, sifted

1½ teaspoons of ground ginger

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

½ teaspoon of mixed spice

¼ cup golden syrup

¼ cup white sugar

½ cup brown sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten

 

Method

Preheat oven to 180C.

Beat all the ingredients together. Roll teaspoons of the mixture into small balls.

Place on an oven tray lined with baking powder and flatten with a fork (making fork lines).

Bake for 12-15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Place into cellophane bags, tie with a string and attach your note telling someone why you think they are wonderful. Give the cookie to this person.

 

Ginger Lemonade

Ingredients

3 litres water

6 lemons, juiced

1 knob of fresh ginger, finely grated on a microplane grater

8 tablespoons of maple syrup

ice

 

Method

Stir everything together in a jug and enjoy or alternatively use a blender to get a slurpee style version with crushed ice.