Monthly Archives: August 2012

October 2012 school holiday program

We have only two spaces left in the full-day sessions for kids aged 7 to 12!
One spot on Tuesday 2nd & one on Wednesday the 3rd October… the morning session for the little kids on Friday 5th October is FULL!

9.30am to 3pm @ $85 per child.

Give me a call on 0414 978 957 to book in for the Tuesday or Wednesday sessions and I’ll forward on the booking form – or you can download it here – or message me below to register for future programs.

Thanks! Melissa

Our Kitchen Garden

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Hail mighty Caesar!

There are many variations on this classic salad, at home you can add some grilled chicken or crispy bacon – but this is the original, and a mighty fine one at that…!

Our Kitchen Garden

Fresh from the garden: cos (romaine) lettuce, eggs, lemon

Recipe source: adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart


  • Measuring – ½ cup, tablespoon, teaspoon, ½ teaspoon, 1/4 teaspoon
  • Small saucepan
  • Salad spinner
  • Chopping board & knife
  • Scales
  • Citrus juicer
  • Bowls – large, small
  • Mortar & pestle
  • Fork
  • Medium frying pan
  • Slotted spoon
  • Serving bowls






For the croutons

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Half a loaf of sourdough bread
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the salad

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • Flaked salt & black pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 large eggs to poach plus 1 extra
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large cos (romaine) lettuce
  • 80g Parmesan


What to do:

  • Preheat the oven to 200C.
  • Carefully melt the butter in the small saucepan.
  • Remove the crust from the half-loaf of bread and then slice the bread into cubes.
  • Combine the melted butter and tablespoon of olive oil in a large bowl. Add the cubes of bread and then sprinkle with salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper; toss until evenly coated. Spread the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until croutons are golden for about 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, discard the outer leaves of the lettuce, wash the inner leaves and spin them dry. Chop the leaves into 3cm ribbons.
  • Slice the crusts from the bread, discarding them, and cut the bread into 1cm cubes.
  • To poach 4 eggs, fill the medium sized frying pan 5cm deep with water and bring to a simmer. Fill the large bowl with cold water. Carefully crack each egg into a small bowl without breaking it and then carefully slide into the water. Let the pan sit for 4 minutes before removing each egg into the bowl of cold water with a slotted spoon.
  • Meanwhile, weigh the parmesan and grate it. Juice the lemon to yield 1 tablespoon juice. Separate the remaining egg and reserve the yolk.
  • Place the garlic, anchovy fillets, and a teaspoon of salt into the mortar. Using the pestle, mash the garlic and anchovies into a paste. Using the fork, whisk in a grind of pepper, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and egg yolk. Transfer to the large bowl and whisk in the olive oil.
  • Add the croutons, the lettuce and most of the cheese to the bowl, and toss well. Divide into your serving bowls.
  • Carefully drain the eggs one by one and place on top of each salad. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan on and serve immediately!
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Handcut rocket pappardelle with lemon and olive oil

Fresh from the garden: eggs, rocket, lemon

Recipe source: Pasta: Stephanie Alexander, Kitchen Garden Cooking with Kids. Dressing: Melissa

Our Kitchen Garden students love making pasta! This recipe includes the dough mixture as well as instructions on how to use a pasta machine. In the summer you could add chopped cherry tomatoes too, for their explosive bite…

Our Kitchen Garden



  • Salad spinner
  • Pasta machine
  • Scales, garlic press
  • Measures – teaspoon
  • Food processor
  • Plastic wrap
  • Chopping board & knife
  • Pastry brush, grater
  • Large stock pot
  • Tongs, large bowl
  • Serving bowls

  • 500g plain ‘00’ flour
  • 5 free-range eggs
  • Salt
  • 2 handfuls of rocket
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • A lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Flaked salt & black pepper
  • 50g parmesan

What to do:

To make the pasta:

  • Wash a handful of rocket thoroughly and spin dry. Discard any tough stalks and chop roughly.
  • Weigh the flour, then combine it with 1½ teaspoons of salt in the bowl of the food processor. With the motor running, add the eggs and the chopped rocket. Process for a few minutes until the dough clings together and feels quite springy.
  • Tip the dough onto a clean, dry workbench. Knead the dough for a few minutes, then wrap it in plastic film and let it rest for 1 hour at room temperature.


  • Fill the large stockpot with water and set to boil on high with the lid on.
  • Fix the pasta machine to a suitable bench or table – if the surface is not thick enough you may need to place a thick book under the machine. Screw the clamp very tightly.
  • Clear a large space on the workbench alongside the pasta machine. All surfaces must be clean and dry. Press or roll the dough into a rectangle about 8 cm wide.
  • Set the rollers on the pasta machine to the widest setting and pass the dough through. The dough will probably look quite ragged at this stage. Fold it in 3, turn it 90 degrees and roll it through again. Go to the next-thickest setting and pass the dough through 3-4 times.
  • Continue in this manner (changing the settings and passing the dough through) until the dough has passed through the second thinnest setting. Don’t use the very thinnest setting, as the dough gets too fine and is hard to manage. If the dough gets too long to handle comfortably, cut it into 2-3 pieces using the large knife, and roll each piece separately.
  • Lay the pasta strips on a lightly floured surface & dust with a little more flour. Fold up carefully 2 or 3 times and then using a knife or cutter, slice pasta into strips about 2cm wide.
  • Carefully unravel each strip as you go and hang to dry.
  • Clean the pasta machine by brushing it with a dry, wide pastry brush & putting back in its box. At this stage you can make the dough for the next lesson!

To finish the dish:

  • Check that the stockpot has been filled with water and is set on high to boil.
  • Wash the remaining handful of rocket and spin it dry. Discard any tough stalks and chop roughly and put into the large bowl.
  • Wash and dry the lemon and zest it into the rocket. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice of one half into the bowl.
  • Peel the garlic cloves and squeeze them into the bowl.
  • Measure the parmesan and grate what you need.
  • Measure 1/3 cup of olive oil into the bowl and sprinkle on a few pinches of flaked salt and a good grind of pepper and toss to incorporate.
  • When the stockpot has started a fast boil, gather your drying pasta on a large baking tray. Add  the pasta to the pot with a tablespoon of cooking salt, stir once and quickly put the lid back on.
  • As soon as the pot begins to boil again, take the lid off. The pasta should only take 2 minutes or so to cook from boiling. Taste to check – it’s important that the pasta remains al dente and is not overcooked!
  • Using tongs, carefully pull the pasta (and some of its cooking liquid) out and into the big lemony, rocket bowl and toss to thoroughly incorporate. The rocket should start to wilt.
  • Divide into serving bowls, sprinkle a little parmesan on and eat immediately!

Notes: Never wash the pasta machine – it will rust! Just brush down with a strong brush to remove the leftover dough.

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Borscht – of one kind or another

This recipe is an easy variation of the Eastern European variation. It is usually made with beef broth or stock but with a garden full of veggies we can’t go past using our rich vegetable stock!

Our Kitchen Garden

Fresh from the garden: onion, thyme, chives, beetroot

Recipe source: Melissa, kitchen specialist at Bondi PS


  • Chopping board and knife
  • Garlic press
  • Kitchen paper
  • Grater
  • Tablespoon measure
  • Measuring jug
  • Stockpot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Stick blender
  • Teaspoons
  • Serving bowls

  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • Small bunch chives
  • 3 large or 6 medium beetroot
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1lt beef or rich vegetable stock
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small tub crème fraiche or sour cream

What to do:

  • Peel and chop the onion. Peel and squeeze the garlic through the press.
  • Wash the chives and lay out on a piece of kitchen paper to dry, then snip or chop finely. Wash and dry the thyme and pick the leaves, then chop finely.
  • Wash and peel the beetroot. Chop into 1cm cubes or grate.
  • Warm olive oil in the stockpot over medium heat. Stir in the onions and garlic and cook until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in chopped & grated beetroot and the chopped thyme and cook for 1 minute.
  • Stir in tomatoes and stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and then cover and simmer until the beetroot is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • Whizz the soup with the stick blender, stirring to get all the solids mixed in. Check the seasoning, then ladle into bowls and garnish with a swirl of the crème fraiche or sour cream and sprinkle of chives.

Notes: What other dishes have their original names in a different language?


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Beans and greens

Soaking dried beans and then cooking them the next day is such a rewarding experience – and these simple accompaniments make the beans a lovely cool-night dish. Serve with crusty sourdough or even a little steamed rice for a lovely midweek meal…

Our Kitchen Garden

From the garden: sage, spinach, silverbeet, chard, beetroot leaves, mustard greens, kale

Recipe source: Melissa, kitchen specialist Bondi PS

  • Bowls – large, heatproof
  • Colander
  • Medium saucepan
  • Large frying pan & lid
  • Kitchen towel
  • Measures: cup, tablespoon
  • Chopping board & knife
  • Serving bowls


  • 250g dried cannellini beans
  • 1 tablespoon bicarbonate of soda
  • A small branch of sage
  • Cooking salt, flaked salt & pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 1 large bunch of greens (such as spinach, silverbeet, mustard greens or kale)
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

What to do:

  • The night before, place your dried beans in the large bowl and fill the bowl with cold water well over the beans, add the bicarb and stir. They will need to soak for at least 12 hours.
  • At the start of your lesson, drain the beans into the colander and rinse them well, then put them into the medium saucepan with about 3cm cold water to cover.
  • Rinse the sage, keeping the branch whole, and shake dry. Peel the garlic cloves and add 3 of them, whole, to the saucepan. Also add the branch of sage, a teaspoon of cooking salt & grind of pepper. Set on a low heat with the lid on and simmer until beans are soft, probably about 2o minutes.
  • Thinly slice the remaining 3 cloves of garlic.
  • Wash the green leaves and shake dry. Remove any thick stems, and cut the leaves into 3cm ribbons. You can leave any baby spinach leaves whole.
  • Heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil in the large frying pan over medium heat.
  • Add the garlic and chilli flakes and stir until the garlic is pale gold, about 1 minute. Add the greens by large handfuls and stir just until beginning to wilt before adding more, tossing with the tongs to coat with oil.
  • Add the stock, cover with the lid, and simmer until the greens are just tender, adding a little cannellini bean cooking liquid in spoonfuls if dry.
  • When the beans are soft, turn off the heat and let them cool slightly in the water.
  • Set the colander over the clean heatproof bowl and carefully pour the beans and their liquid in to drain. Add the beans to the greens and then simmer uncovered until the liquid is almost absorbed for about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in 1 teaspoon vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, taste and add more vinegar if desired; drizzle with remaining tablespoon of oil and divide into serving bowls.
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Blood orange cordial

Blood oranges arrive at the end of winter and herald the start of longer days and slightly warmer weather. They’re the quintessential seasonal fruit and are only around for a short time so get out there & grab some while you can! And look: too much sugar is a bad thing but at least with this treat you’re avoiding all the hideous all-pervading artificial colours & flavours seen in supermarket brands…

Our Kitchen Garden

Fresh from the garden: blood oranges

Recipe source: Melissa, kitchen specialist at Bondi PS


  • Chopping board and knife
  • Citrus juicers
  • Electric juice fountain & parts
  • Medium saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Glass bottles & lids
  • Baking tray
  • Measuring jug
  • Large jug
  • Strainer & funnel
  • Glasses to serve

  • 6 blood oranges
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1½ cups caster sugar
  • 1½ litres mineral or soda water
  • ice


What to do:

  • Roll each blood orange a few times between the heel of your palm and the tabletop to release the juice, and then cut each in half. Hand juice the oranges with the citrus juicer and measure the liquid to yield about 375ml.
  • Or, if using an electric juice fountain, peel the skin from all the oranges, turn the motor on with dry hands, fix the jug underneath the chute & juice away! You will need to clean the machine straight away after juicing otherwise the pulp will stick – do this by dismantling the machine parts and carefully scrubbing away at them under running water. The leftover pulp can go to the compost.
  • Place the water, blood orange juice and sugar into the saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for 10 minutes with the lid off until the liquid is reduced by about a third.
  • Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180C. Wash the bottles in hot, soapy water & rinse. Drain them and then place on a baking tray and carefully slide into the hot oven for 5 minutes. Remove when the bottles are dry and leave them to cool somewhere safe. This process is to sterilise the bottles before filling.
  • Cool the liquid in the saucepan for a few minutes before measuring out & then pouring into a large jug filled with ice. Add twice the amount of fizzy water to the cordial and serve immediately!
  • If you’re bottling the cordial, strain it into a large jug and then funnel it into the bottles. Close tightly and store in the fridge for up to a month.

Notes: What does seasonal mean? Why are they called blood oranges? Why do we sterilise the bottles?

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Kitchen news – 29th August 2012

HELLO BONDI! Well how busy have we been this week?! Superbusy! We had the awesome Jessica Watson & the enviroweek team in for morning tea with the school captains on Wednesday… amazing to hear her story first-hand and understand what her take on sustainability is – lots of food for thought! And a renewed vigour to ‘do the right thing’ with regard to re-using, renewing & recycling …

And we’re almost at my favourite season of all: Spring. Hooray! Which means right now we’ve got blood oranges for the cordial to mix in jugs of ice and mineral water; crunchy cos lettuces for our original the mighty Caesar salad; we’re rolling handcut pappardelle with rocket and lemon; grating beetroot for Borscht; and soaking yet more cannellini beans for beans and greens… The children’s food is so delicious – come, have lunch and taste for yourselves if you haven’t yet had the chance! And it’s free! All we need is about an hour of your time beforehand* 🙂

(*especially on Tuesdays at 11.20am)

Cheers all! Melissa

PS recipes will be up anon!

Our Kitchen Garden

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Spring School Holiday Programs for 4 years and up!

Do you have a kid as-keen-as-a-bean in the garden and kitchen? Send them to us in the holidays to participate in a ‘Day in the Life’ of a Kitchen Garden School Program! We are offering a full-day program for 7 to 12 year-olds and also now a half-day mini-program for 4 to 6 year-olds!

Check out the School Holiday page on this site for more info… and take a look at my recent posts on this site with photos of the wonderful kids on our last school holiday program where we harvested, chooked, chopped, stirred, set and ate over the course of a full day… We’ve just announced some new dates so lock in a reservation for your Year 2 to Year 6 mini-Heston or Costa Georgiadis straight away!

And due to  overwhelming demand, I will be offering a half-day session on Friday for the little ones – so if you have a keen 4, 5 or 6 year-old wee wannabe cook who would like to feed the chooks, help me in the garden, and then cook up a storm for  morning tea and lunch – book them in ASAP!

Message me below if you have any questions!

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Pita bread

If you’ve never made bread from scratch, pita is the perfect place to start. If you have made bread before, you’ll know how delicious these can be! They are great served with hummus for dipping, or our falafel with herby yoghurt… this recipe makes about 20 small pita breads.


  • Measuring jug
  • Bowl – 2 small
  • Bowl – large mixing
  • Teaspoon
  • Tablespoon
  • Glad wrap
  • Rolling pin
  • Fork
  • 6  tea towels
  • Medium frying pan
  • Large knife
  • 4 serving plates

  • 7g dried yeast
  • 20g sugar
  • 375ml warm water
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 500g plain unbleached flour, plus extra
  • 100g fine semolina
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra

What to do:

  • Dissolve the yeast and sugar in 125ml warm water, cover and set aside for 15 minutes until frothy. Dissolve salt in remaining 250ml warm water.
  • Place flour and semolina in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Add yeast mixture, 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt water. Knead with hands for 10 minutes in the bowl. Shape into a ball in the bowl, cover with glad wrap and place in a warm area to rise. Wait about one hour until dough has doubled in volume.
  • Punch down dough and knead on a floured surface for one minute. Divide dough into pieces slightly larger than an egg and roll quickly into little balls. Leave to rest under a damp tea towel for 5 minutes, then roll out on a floured surface to a thickness of about 6mm. Prick bread with a fork in several places.
  • Preheat a frying pan, add a dash of olive oil and cook bread over high heat for a couple of minutes each side until lightly browned. Repeat with remaining breads, carefully wiping out the frying pan if smoking and adding oil for every second one if necessary.
  • Stack breads on a clean tea towel, placing clean tea towels between each second one to absorb the moisture, and allow to cool.
  • Slice into quarters or strips and divide onto the plates.

Notes: Where does pita bread originate? Where are other flat breads used? What other sort of dishes do they go with? What does dissolve mean? What does absorb mean?

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Gordon Ramsay’s broccoli soup

Quite often here in the cottage we prepare dishes with loads of ingredients… here is a recipe with very few! Simple and delicious… at home you can also add some walnuts to the finished soup if you like.

Fresh from the garden: broccoli


  • 2 large stockpots, 1 lid
  • Chopping board & knife
  • Bowls – large
  • Colander
  • Slotted spoon
  • Blender
  • Measuring – tablespoon
  • Ladle
  • Bowls to serve

  • 2 large broccoli heads
  • Cooking & flaked salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Water
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small log of goats’ cheese, preferably ashed

What to do:

  • Fill one of the stockpots with water and set to boil.
  • Cut the broccoli into florets the size of a golf ball and wash, shake dry.
  • When the water is at a rapid boil, add a tablespoon of cooking salt and then carefully drop in the broccoli and replace the lid to return to the boil.
  • You will want to slice your goats’ cheese at this point. Dip the knife into the boiling hot water before each slice for even, smooth slices.
  • Your broccoli is finished cooking when you can pierce it with little or no effort – should be about 4 minutes but check first.
  • Place the colander over the 2nd stockpot, and then drain the broccoli into it, reserving the hot broccoli water.
  • Using the slotted spoon, add the broccoli to the blender to fill about ¾ of the way and then pour enough of the broccoli water in to fill the blender half way. Add a pinch of flaked salt. Use several pulses on your blender to break the broccoli up and then puree for several seconds. Check the seasoning.
  • Place the slices of goats’ cheese into the centre of your serving bowls and then carefully pour the soup around.
  • Drizzle lightly with a trickle of olive oil and serve at once.

Notes: Why do we put the lid on the stockpot when boiling water? What does ashed goats’ cheese taste like?

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