It has been a great start to the 2016 Kitchen Garden program. The garden is positively bursting with late summer produce – zucchinis, eggplant, tomatoes, basil, beetroot, capsicums, cucumbers and lots of leaves and herbs.

Some of the Year 4 classes have had their introductory lesson, learning about safety in the kitchen and practising their knife skills. Their menu was designed to allow them to put these skills into practice by cutting lots of vegetables and fruit. They made veggie sticks (and some kids were delightfully creative making ‘vegetable sushi’ out of cucumber rounds stuffed with carrot and capsicum pieces), hummus and tuna dips, spiced pita crisps, fruit skewers and chocolate & beetroot muffins  (which some of the kids were surprised about in theory, but delighted about once tasted).

The Year 5 classes will be picking up where they left off last year and making use of the gorgeous basil and plentiful tomatoes as they make penne pesto, pizza scrolls, caprese salad as well as some of the things on the Year 4 menu.

The energy in the kitchen has been very high with lots of excited students, parents, grandparents and teachers. Based on the first two classes this week, I am anticipating a wonderful year with all the budding cooks I have met so far, and I am so appreciative of all the wonderful parents and grandparents who are volunteering to come and help out.

Please, as always, let your kids in the kitchen with you to practise their cutting (and cleaning) skills and hopefully both children and parents will enjoy the experience of cooking together.

Please enjoy the recipes and some photos from week 1.

Ronnit

 

Pita Crisps

Ingredients

1 Packet of pita flat bread
Olive oil spray
1 teaspoon of cumin
Maldon salt

Method

Preheat oven to 180C.

Line a few trays with baking paper.

Cut the pita in half and then into pizza slice shapes and put on the trays so they are NOT overlapping.

Spray with oil. Sprinkle with salt and a tiny bit of cumin.

Bake for about 7 minutes or until golden.

Allow to cool and serve with yummy dips (or another time broken up into a salad).

 

Hummus

Ingredients

2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup tahini paste
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons Maldon salt
1 cup very cold water

Method

Place everything except the cold water into a food processor and blend until smooth.

With the motor still on, slowly add the water through the chute until you get the hummus to the desired consistency (you may not need all the water).

Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.  To serve, remove the blade from the food processor. Use a spatula to spoon the hummus into 3 bowls (or 2 if we are sitting outside).
If you desire, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle over some finely chopped parsley and a shake of paprika.

 

Tuna Dip

Ingredients

1 x 425g can of tuna in oil, drained
1 egg, hard boiled and mashed
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon dill, finely chopped
1 spring onion, very finely chopped
1/2 a stick of celery, cut into batons and then very finely chopped

Method

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well.

Season with salt & pepper and mix again.

Divide into bowls and serve.

 

Fruit Skewers

Ingredients

Assorted fruit

Watermelon – cut into 2x2cm cubes

Strawberries – hulled and halved if they are big
Grapes – taken off their stalks
Peaches – cut into 2x2cm cubes

Method

Thread the fruit onto the skewers alternating the colours to make it look pleasing.

 

Vanilla Yoghurt Dip

Ingredients

500ml natural yoghurt
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Method

Thread the fruit onto the skewers alternating the colours to make it look pleasing.

Mix the yoghurt with the vanilla and maple syrup. Taste and adjust if necessary.

Place the yoghurt into bowls and serve with the the fruit skewers.

 

Penne Pesto

Ingredients

1.5 cups basil leaves, tightly packed
1/3 cup parsley leaves, tightly packed
3 tablespoons of sunflower seeds
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (plus extra to serve)
1 small garlic clove
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of Maldon salt

750g dried penne

Method

Fill a large saucepan with boiling water and bring to the boil.

When the water is boiling add a tablespoon of table salt and the pasta and cook for 10 minutes.

When you drain, save 1 cup of the pasta water.

Meanwhile, pick the basil and parsley leaves and wash them well. Dry them well using a salad spinner.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat and cook the sunflower seeds for about 2 minutes, until they are golden.

Place all the pesto ingredients except for the oil into the small food processor and process until it is finely chopped.

Add the oil gradually until you get it to the right consistency.

Taste the pesto for seasoning and adjust if necessary, then, using a clean spatula, put the pesto into a big, clean mixing bowl.

When the pasta is cooked and drained (remember to keep aside some of the cooking water), mix the pasta trough the pesto with a little bit of the reserved water to loosen the sauce.

Serve with extra grated Parmesan cheese.

 

Pizza Scrolls

Ingredients

4 sheets puff pastry
1/2 cup tomato passata
1/4 cup basil leaves, finely chopped
3 cups cheddar or tasty cheese, grated
1 egg, beaten

Method

Preheat oven to 220C.

Line 3 baking trays with baking paper.

Place pastry, one sheet at a time, onto a chopping board.

Spread tomato passata over the pastry. Top with basil leaves and then sprinkle the cheese over.

Starting from the edge closest to you, roll up the pastry. You want it firm but not too tight.

Cut each roll into 12 equal portions.

Place on the baking tray (cut side up) and allow room for spreading.

Brush each scroll with egg.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until pastry is golden and cheese is melted.

Allow to cook for 5 minutes of a wire rack before serving.

 

Caprese Salad & Pita Crisps

Ingredients

A bowl of tomatoes, halved or sliced depending on their shape

A bowl of bocconcini, sliced

A good pinch of Maldon salt & black pepper

1/2 cup, basil leaves, torn

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Method

Place the cut tomatoes on serving plates. Top with the bocconcini and basil leaves. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.

Just before serving, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Serve with pita crisps.

 

Chocolate Beetroot Muffins

Ingredients

1 large beetroot, peeled & grated (about 200g)
1.5 cups self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 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.

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.

 

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