It has been a massive week in the Kitchen Garden. In the kitchen we began our culinary world tour which correlates to the Year 4 unit on Culture. We talked about Australia being multicultural and how that affects what we eat. Throughout the rest of this term and all of next term, we will be exploring the cuisines and cultures of different countries and areas. Our discussion in some classes began with why this was important. Some students thought it would be handy to know what people eat if you travel to other countries and some students touched on broader topics like tolerance and combating ignorance.
Our first stop on our kitchen class food tour was Italy, largely because the produce coming out of the garden at the moment lends itself perfectly to Italian cooking. We still have basil, some eggplant and peppers – all summer plants, still fruiting as we head into winter. There has been a wonderful sense of tag teaming between kitchen and garden as the garden classes have been blitzing the basil into pesto which the kitchen classes have used as a basis for our Pizza with Pesto, Pumpkin & Feta. This pizza dough is so simple and works fantastically as pizza, foccaccia (which the lunchtime Garden Club got to make and enjoy), calzone or grissini. The garden classes have also roasted the eggplants and cooked the peppers down with some onions into a jammy sofrito which some of the garden classes have come into the kitchen and eaten cooked into a frittata with sorrel and parsley.
As well as pizza, the Kitchen classes made pasta, rolling out the dough into silky sheets to be cut into fettuccine and then combined with a broccoli and kale or silverbeet sauce – a big hit! We also made a Minestrone soup and a Caesar Salad using lots of baby salad greens. This gave us the opportunity to talk about emulsifying oil and vinegar when the students made their own mayonnaise dressing. We made a surprising biscuit – a Rosemary & Honey Shortbread, which had beautiful floral notes from both the herbs and the honey and which the children and adults all throughly enjoyed.
Our conversation this week continued on the topic of being independent and I encouraged the kids to use the next few weeks to start being more independent at home – including, but not limited to, making their own breakfast and lunch, stacking and unloading the dishwasher, setting and clearing the table and being in charge and accountable for themselves and the spaces they are in. A big part of the Kitchen Garden program is to foster these skills in the students and while they can all do it in class, it would be wonderful to hear that they are taking these learned skills out of the classroom and applying them in other places.
Pasta with Broccoli & Silverbeet
600g plain flour
3 teaspoons salt
6 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil
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
Bring a large pot of water to the boil ready for the pasta.
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.
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.
We are preparing this pizza backwards. You will be rolling out the (pre-prepared) dough, preparing the topping and then making the dough ready for the next class.
375g plain white flour
375g strong white flour
2½ level teaspoons of fine sea salt
1½ teaspoons of instant dried yeast
1½ tablespoons of olive oil, plus a little extra
Put the two flours into the bowl of the stand mixer with the salt and yeast. Mix well using the dough hook.
Add the oil and 500ml warm water and mix to a rough dough. Knead for 5–10 minutes, until smooth. This is quite a loose and sticky dough, which is just as it should be – you get better-textured bread or pizza base this way – so try not to add too much flour if you can help it, it will become less sticky as you knead.
Trickle a little oil into a clean bowl, add the kneaded dough and turn it in the oil so it is covered with a light film. Cover with a tea towel or cling film and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in size – at least an hour, probably closer to two – or if using the next day, wrap bowl in cling film and put straight into the fridge to prove slowly.
When the dough is well risen and puffy, tip it out and ‘knock it back’ by poking it with your outstretched fingers until it collapses to its former size. It’s now ready to be shaped to your will.
Pizza with Pesto, Pumpkin & Feta
1 quantity of pizza dough
1/2 cup pesto sauce (this has been made for you)
1 pumpkin, peeled and cut into 2x2cm pieces and roasted (this has been done for you and you will do it for the next class)
200g feta – crumbled
100g Parmesan – grated
Semolina to line the pizza trays
Preheat oven to 220C.
Scatter semolina on the pizza trays.
Divide the pizza dough into 3 (or 4 – depending on how many pizzas you are making) and stretch it out gently and evenly over the pizza trays.
Smear a scant about of pesto over the pizza bases. Sprinkle over some roast pumpkin then feta then Parmesan.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and crisp
Once your pizzas are in the oven, prepare the pumpkin to roast for the next class. Peel and chop the pumpkin then drizzle with a little olive oil (just enough to lightly coat) and a sprinkle of salt. Place on a lined baking tray and roast on 200 degrees for about 30 minutes or until golden.
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 potatoes, cut into tiny cubes
3 stalks (including leaf & stem) of silverbeet, chopped
8 cups of water
3 vegetable stock cubes
3 cups of tomato passata (1 bottle ~ 700ml)
1 cup small pasta shapes (pre cooked to yield about 2.5 cups of cooked pasta)
Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the onions, celery, carrots and potatoes and cook for 8 minutes, stirring often. Add the silverbeet and cook for another minute.
Add the water, stock cubes and tomato passata and bring to the boil.
Reduce heat and cover for 10-15 minutes, until the veggies are tender. Add the pasta and stir through.
Season with salt and pepper.
5 slices crusty sourdough bread, torn into bite-sized pieces
Olive oil spray
1 bowl of baby salad greens, washed and dried very well
100g parmesan, finely grated
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Spread bread, in a single layer, on a baking tray and spray with oil. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crisp and golden. Set aside to cool completely.
Meanwhile, to make the dressing, bring a saucepan of water to the boil over high heat. Add the whole unpeeled egg and cook for 2-3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove egg from the water. Crack the egg into a bowl and use a teaspoon to remove any remaining egg from the shell. Place the egg, garlic, vinegar, mustard and half the lemon juice in a small food processor and process to combine. With the motor running, add the combined oil in a thin, steady stream until the dressing is thick, adding a little of the remaining lemon juice until the dressing is a pourable consistency. Season with pepper.
Arrange the lettuce on serving dishes. Top with half the dressing and toss gently to combine. Scatter over the croutons (bread), croutons and half the parmesan. Gently mix again. Drizzle over the remaining dressing and top with the remaining parmesan.
Rosemary & Honey Shortbread
150g butter at room temperature
50g caster sugar
1 tablespoon honey
250g self-raising flour
1 pinch salt
A medium branch of rosemary with extra sprigs to garnish
Preheat the oven to 170C.
Wash the rosemary and wipe dry. Strip the needles from the medium branch and finely chop. You will need about 2 tablespoons worth.
Line the baking tray with a piece of baking paper.
Beat the butter and the sugar and honey into a creamy mass. Stir in the flour, with the rosemary and salt. Do not beat too long, it just has to be well blended. Knead a few times on a countertop dusted with flour until it turns into a smooth dough ball.
Cut the dough into 3 equal pieces and roll each into a log. Slice each log into 10 circles and place on lined baking trays. Using a fork, prick a few holes in the dough and garnish each circle with a small sprig of rosemary.
Bake the shortbread in the oven for about 15 minutes until light brown. Leave to cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from the trays.