This week we continued exploring the changes in the weather and how that affects the kinds of food we crave and need. We looked at spices to add flavour and warmth to dishes as in our Spiced Pumpkin Soup and Yellow Rice flavoured with tumeric, cinnamon and cumin. We made bourekas to celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut as well as Greek Salad to showcase our beautiful baby green leaves that are in full bloom in the garden. Our final dish was Chocolate Chip Cookies which make people happy whatever the weather.

A theme we have been discussing in our classes is ownership. I asked the children why they thought Kitchen Garden was important and what skills they were learning and why these skills may be important. Eventually we got on to the subject of being independent, talking about being able to do things for yourself.  I am trying to give the students more independence in the classroom and I am strongly encouraging them to do more things for themselves at home – including making their own breakfast and lunch, loading/unloading the dishwasher and taking out their own clothes. Please encourage and  nurture this independence at home. I know it is sometimes easier to do things for children, but the only way they can learn to do things for themselves is if they are given the opportunity.

Happy cooking,

Ronnit

 

Spiced Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients

2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 onions or leeks, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 large pumpkin, peeled and cut into small chunks
8 cups of chicken stock (2 litres of boiling water + 4 cubes)
salt and pepper
chopped parsley to garnish

Method

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onions until glassy.
Add the paprika, cinnamon and cumin and stir for 2 minutes.
Add the pumpkin and the stock.
Bring to the boil.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender.
Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Garnish with parsley.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

125g butter, cut into cubes
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1¾ cups self raising flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips

Method

Preheat oven to 180C.
Cream butter and sugar.
Add all the other ingredients except the chocolate chips and mix well.
Add the chocolate chips and mix.
Roll into walnut sized balls and place on trays lined with baking paper. Be careful not to put to close as they spread a lot. (12 per tray is good)
Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden.
Cool on a wire rack.

Bourekas with Cheese & Spinach

Ingredients

300g feta cheese, finely crumbled
100g parmesan, grated
1½ cups cheddar cheese, grated
small bunch of spinach or sliverbeet (8 stalks), finely chopped
1 egg
Puff pastry
Egg to brush over the tops.
Sesame seeds to garnish.

Method

Preheat oven to 200C.
In a large bowl mix all the filling ingredients together (feta, parmesan, cheddar, egg and silverbeet).
Cut the defrosted puff pastry into 9 squares (3 x 3) or 16 (4 x4)
Place a dollop of the filling mixture in the centre of each square. Wet the edges of the pastry by dipping your finger in water and rubbing it along the edges. Seal to make a triangle.
Brush with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

Yellow Rice

Ingredients

1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon 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 shredded coconut 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 15 minutes or until the water has been absorbed.
Dry fry some shredded coconut in a non stick pan until it is golden and crispy. Allow to cool.
Serve the rice and top with crunchy toasted coconut and chopped parsley.

Greek Salad

Ingredients

6 firm ripe tomatoes
3 Lebanese cucumbers
1/4 red onion, finely sliced
1 red capsicum, seeded
1 head of lettuce, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon oregano (leaves only)
100g feta
Half a cup of olives

Dressing

1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon Maldon salt
Juice of half a lemon
3 tablespoons white vinegar

 

Method

Roughly dice the tomatoes cucumber and capsicum and place in a bowl.

Roughly chop the lettuce and add to the bowl.

Chop the feta into cubes and add to the bowl.

Cut the olives in half and add to the bowl.

Squeeze the lemon juice for the dressing and place it in a small bowl with the salt and finely sliced red onion. Let the onion sit in the lemon juice for at least 2 minutes (this removes the acrid taste from the onion).

Add the remaining dressing ingredients to the lemon & onion mixture and pour over the salad. Toss gently to combine and then serve.

 

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