This week we continued our journey west across the globe and explored the foods of the Mediterranean. We concentrated on Spain (tortilla), Italy (pasta) and Greece (spanakopita & Greek rice) and gave the menu a decidedly multicultural twist by including warrigal greens (a native Australian plant) in our Greek rice dish. This blending of ingredients emphasises the point that there are no rules one has to adhere to in Australian ‘fusion’ cooking. We made wonderful use of the abundant greens from our kitchen garden (including spinach, silverbeet, spring onion & parsley) in a variety of the dishes. We also used our beautiful, freshly picked beetroots in a very decadent chocolate & beetroot muffin recipe (the kids very much enjoyed licking the bowl!).

Our conversations with Year 4s this week continued with regard to locations and mapping of the countries whose food we are cooking, the settlement of people from different countries into Australia and how that has shaped our national cuisine. In the Year 5 classes we have been discussing consumer choices and how they apply in a food context. We have looked at seasonal produce versus imported, and discussed the choices and consequences of buying each of these. We also touched on marketing and ingredients of packaged food, and looked at the layout of a supermarket and where things are placed and located.

It has been amazing to see how far the students have come since the beginning of the year with respect to their skills in the kitchen, the pride and ownership they take in their food and spaces and also the discussions we are having in relation to our menus and classes.

Ingredients

Pasta Dough

600g plain flour

3 teaspoons salt

6 eggs, lightly beaten

Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

100g butter

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 heads of broccoli, cut into small florets

6 stalks of silverbeet, chopped

large handful of parsley

grated parmesan to sprinkle

Method

Bring a large pot of water to the boil ready for the pasta.

Pasta Dough

Combine the salt and flour in a food processor. With the motor running, add the eggs. Process until the dough starts to cling together and forms a ball. Tip the dough onto the bench and knead for a few minutes. Wrap in glad wrap and leave to rest for an hour.

Divide the dough into 6 pieces. Pass it through each setting of the pasta machine starting from 0 until number 5. Lay sheets of pasta on a floured surface. One all the pasta has been rolled into sheets, place the pasta through the cutter.

Place the cut pasta in boiling water for 3-4 minutes or until al dente.

Sauce

Place olive oil, butter and garlic in a large saucepan and simmer for a few minutes. Add broccoli, greens and herbs and stir for a few minutes until wilted and vibrant green in colour. Pour over pasta and toss until well combined. Serve with parmesan on top.

Spanakopita

Ingredients

2 large bunches of spinach and silverbeet leaves, roughly chopped

4 spring onion, finely chopped

200g feta cheese

200g ricotta cheese

3 tablesppons grated parmesan cheese

4 eggs, lightly beaten

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

12 sheets filo pastry

olive oil spray

Toasted sesame seeds to garnish

Method

Preheat oven to 180C

In a large mixing bowl, combine spinach, silverbeet, spring onions, feta, ricotta, parmesan, eggs and parsley. Mix well.

Cover filo pastry with a clean, damp tea towel. Line an oven proof dish with baking paper. Spray with oil and lay down the first sheet of filo.

Lay down 4 more sheets, spraying in between each layer.

Pile the spinach mixture on top of the filo and spread evenly.

Layer 5 more sheets of sprayed filo over the mixture. Tuck in the edges and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 30 minutes, until the top is crisp and golden.

Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.

Greek Rice with Warrigal Greens & Silverbeet

Ingredients

a large bowl of warrigal greens

4 silverbeet leaves, leaves and stems separated and then both finely sliced

4 tablespoons of olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

a handful of dill, finely chopped

a handful of parsley, finely chopped

2 cups basmati rice

3 cups of chicken stock (3 cups of water + 1 chicken stock cube)

salt & pepper to taste

400g tin of crushed tomatoes

1 heaped tablespoon of tomato paste

crumbled feta to garnish (optional)

 Method

Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Place the warrigal greens in the water and blanch for 3 minutes. Drain and squeeze out as much water as you can (the water is bitter so really try to squeeze it out). Then roughly chop.

Heat oil in a heavy based pot. Add onions and cook until glassy (translucent). Add the warrigal greens, the silverbeet, and tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the rice and tomatoes and keep stirring for 1 minute until the rice is coated.

Add the stock and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat to low. Cover the pot with a lid and cook for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

Season with salt & pepper. Stir through dill and parsley.

Squeeze over the lemon juice and garnish with crumbled feta.

Spanish Tortilla

Ingredients

8 potatoes, cut into pieces and par boiled

2 onions, sliced thinly and caramelised

10 eggs

1/3 cup milk

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon of smoked paprika

1 teaspoon of Maldon salt flakes

1 cup parsley, finely chopped

Method

Heat oil in a frying pan and cook potatoes and onions until crispy. Add spices, salt and parsley and toss to combine.

In a bowl, beat the eggs with milk and season with pepper and a pinch of salt. Pour the egg mixture over the potato mixture.

Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 5-10 minutes or until almost set. Place under the grill for a few minutes to brown the top. Make sure to put silver foil over the handle of the frying pan first!

Allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Cut into pieces to serve.

Chocolate & Beetroot Muffins

Ingredients

1 large beetroot, peeled and grated (about 200g grated)

1½ cups self raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ cup cocoa

150g butter, melted

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup sugar

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup milk

Method

Preheat oven to 180C

In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cocoa and sugar. Mix.

Add beetroot, egg, milk, butter and chocolate chips.

Gently combine together with a fork.

Fill patty pans with the mixture.

Cook for 10-12 minutes or until they bounce back when touched.