Monthly Archives: September 2012

A last minute school holiday idea – 2 places left!

We’ve got two places left for our school holiday program next week! One spot each day on Tuesday 2nd October and Wednesday 3rd October next week – jump to it if you haven’t arranged anything yet!

What could be better for your child than a day spent in the kitchen garden, learning all about spring vegetables, throwing dough, teamwork, cooking, eating, planting and chook care?!

Get in quick before somebody else does! Call me today on 0414 978 957

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Only 3 places available!






Two spots free on Tuesday 2nd October and one available on Wednesday 3rd – jump to it! Text your email address to 0414 978 957 & I’ll shoot you through a booking form right away…

I’m finalising the program’s menus in the next few days and I can’t wait to use all the beautiful spring produce that’s available: I’ve seen fat broad beans, juicy strawberries, crunchy beetroot, aromatic marjoram and so much more – yum yum – watch this space!






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STOP PRESS! school holiday program changes…

The broad beans are bursting!
The bees are buzzing!
The lemon blossom is blooming!
The strawberries are swelling!

This all means one thing: SPRING!!!

Here are the latest details on our Spring school holiday program:

I’ve got 4 spots available on Tuesday the 2nd October and one spot on Wednesday 3rd – so if you know any budding cook or gardener who’d like to join our merry band, let me know asap!
(The keen-bean morning session for little’uns on Friday is SOLD OUT!) xx

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Bocconcini, garden herb, rocket and red onion pizza

We love the whole gamut of pizza qualities! Making the dough is great fun (and very therapeutic…!) and we love using our big muscles to roll out the bases… We wash and spin and chop our herbs, and simmer up our own garlicky tomato sauce – with fresh tomatoes in summer and tinned toms out of season – and compile our toppings based on what’s growing…  this week it’s loads of sweet onion, marjoram, rocket and curly parsley… We grate and tear and zest, and we LOVE the smell as the pizza bakes… But most of all, we adore devouring the pizza. Mmmmm.

Fresh from the garden: rocket, red & brown onions, thyme, marjoram, parsley
Recipe source: Melissa, kitchen specialist at Bondi PS

Equipment:For the pizza dough

  • Bowls – 1 small, 1 large
    • Fork
    • Scales
    • Measures: cup, tablespoon, teaspoon
    • Stand mixer with a dough hook
    • Pastry brush
    • 2 rolling pins
    • 2 baking or pizza trays
    • wide egg lifter

For the pizza topping:

  • Chopping board & knife
  • Medium frying pan
    • Measures: ¼ cup, tablespoon
  • Wooden spoon
    • Grater, tongs
  • Kitchen towel
  • Large bowl
  • Salad spinner
  • Large board for cutting pizza
  • Pizza cutters
  • Serving plates
Ingredients:For the pizza dough

  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 3 teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 400g plain flour, plus extra for flouring
  • 2 teaspoons salt

For the pizza topping:

  • 1 tub bocconcini
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Small handful marjoram, parsley and thyme
  • A small handful rocket
  • 30g parmesan

Tomato sauce:

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • Flaked salt and black pepper

What to do:
To make the dough:

  • Place the water, yeast and sugar in the small bowl. Mix with the fork and leave for 5–10 minutes until the mixture looks frothy.
  • Add the 2 teaspoons of oil to the yeast mixture and mix well.
  • Place the flour and salt and yeast mixture in the bowl of the electric mixer and beat for at least 8 minutes, until the dough looks smooth.
  • Brush the inside of a large bowl with a little of the extra virgin olive oil, using the pastry brush.
  • Turn the pizza dough into the oiled bowl. Cover with a clean, dry tea towel and put in a draught-free place until the dough has doubled in size. This process, which is called ‘proving’, will take at least 1 hour.
  • After an hour, tip the risen dough onto the workbench and knead briefly, then shape it into a round ball and return it to the bowl. Cover the bowl with the tea towel and leave again, this time for at least 20 minutes.                                                                                 

What to do:

Start of lesson:

  • Preheat the oven to maximum. You can prepare the topping now while you wait for the oven to heat up.
  • Scatter some flour on the workbench, divide the pizza dough in two and roll to form two thin rectangles to fit the baking trays.
  • Assemble the pizzas directly onto the trays, flouring the trays a little first.

For the tomato sauce:

  • Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic.
  • Heat the olive oil in the frying pan & gently cook the onion and garlic until translucent but not brown.
  • Open the tin of tomato and add to the frying pan with a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper.
  • Simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until quite reduced.

For the topping: 

  • Peel the red onion, cut in half and finely slice into rings
  • Wash and carefully dry the herb sprigs – pick the leaves, discarding the stalks. Finely chop all the herbs.
  • Wash the rocket and spin it dry. Leaving small leaves whole, chop large leaves into ribbons.
  • Peel the onion, cut in half and finely slice into rings.
  • Open the tub of bocconcini and cut or tear each ball into 3 or 4 pieces.
  • Grate the parmesan.

Assembling the pizza:

  • Using a metal spoon, swirl a couple of spoonfuls of tomato sauce onto the pizza bases, spreading so that they become totally covered.
  • Layer the onion slices on top and then lay on the bocconcini. Season well.
  • Drizzle the pizzas with the last of the oil, then slide them into the oven.

Baking the pizza:

  • Bake the pizzas for 12 minutes or until the edges are very crusty and the cheese is bubbling.
  • At this stage you can make the dough for the next class.
  • Once the pizzas are done, transfer them to a board using the wide egg lifter. Cut the pizzas crossways into small squares, and lift onto serving plates.
  • Sprinkle with the herbs and the grated parmesan and finish with the rocket.
  • Serve and eat!

Notes: What other sort of vegetables could you use in a pizza? What sort of other pizza could we make?

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Spinach soup with sour cream and crunchy croutons

This is such a lovely spring soup, verdant and vibrant! And made even more delicious by the addition of sour cream and crunchy croutons at the end.

Fresh from the garden: potatoes, spinach, onions
Recipe source: Melissa, kitchen specialist at Bondi PS


  • Small saucepan
  • Chopping board & knife
  • Baking sheet
  • Scales
  • Bowls – 2 large, med
  • Garlic press
  • Potato peelers
  • Small stockpot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Measuring: jug,1/2 cup, tablespoon, teaspoon, ½ teaspoon
  • Stick blender
  • Ladle
  • Teaspoons
  • Serving bowls



Ingredients:For the croutons

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

For the soup

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 brown onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 litre vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1kg all-purpose potatoes
  • 2 bunches spinach
  • Flaked salt & black pepper
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

What to do:

  • Preheat the oven to 200C.
    Wash the spinach in several changes of water and shake dry. Trim the stems and then slice stems and leaves into pieces 2cm wide.
  • Peel, halve and coarsely chop the onion. Squeeze the garlic through the garlic press. Wash and peel the potatoes and chop into 2cm cubes.
  • Heat the oil in stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and cumin and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until aromatic.
  • Increase heat to high. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Add potato and reduce heat to medium. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until potato is tender.
  • Meanwhile, 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 toss until coated. 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, about 10 minutes.
  • Add spinach to the soup and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the spinach wilts.
  • Using the stick blender, whizz the soup until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  • Ladle soup among serving bowls. Top with half a teaspoon of sour cream and a sprinkle of croutons.

Notes: What is an all-purpose potato? What does cumin smell like?

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Fritatte of beetroot leaf, sweet potato and feta

Gordon’s original recipe calls for spinach but I think this is a great way to use up our many beetroot leaves. He also suggests cooking in one big pan over heat and then finishing under the grill, where we pour ours into muffin pans to oven-bake… We also add some of our lovely herbs for an aromatic twist.

From the garden: sweet potato, beetroot leaves, eggs, marjoram, parsley
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe by Gordon Ramsay


  • Pastry brush, potato peelers
  • Scales
  • Chopping board & knives
  • Paper towel
  • Measuring tablespoon
  • Large frying pan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Large bowl
  • Tongs, whisk
  • Cupcake tins: 2×12-hole large or 2×24-hole mini
  • Serving plates

  • 1 large sweet potato (about 500g)
  • Large handful of beetroot leaves
  • Small handful marjoram and parsley
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil plus extra
  • Flaked salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 200g feta cheese
  • 20g parmesan
  • 12 large eggs

What to do:

  • Preheat the oven to 180C. Brush a little olive oil into each cupcake hole.
  • Peel the sweet potato, and then chop flesh evenly into 1cm cubes.
  • Wash the beetroot leaves in several changes of water and shake dry. Chop the stalks and leaves into 1cm strips, to yield about 150g cut strips.
  • Wash the herbs and pat dry with paper towel. Strip the leaves from the stalks & chop finely.
  • Heat the frying pan with the oil and toss in the sweet potato. Season well with salt and pepper. Cook, turning occasionally, for about 4 minutes over medium heat until the cubes are just tender and lightly golden at the sides.
  • Meanwhile, cut the feta into small cubes and grate the parmesan.
  • Stir the beetroot leaves into the sweet potato and cook for about 3 minutes until wilted.
  • Then add the cubed feta and gently stir to mix in.
  • In the large bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the herbs, parmesan, a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper.
  • Divide the sweet potato mixture evenly into the cupcake holes, spoon the egg mixture over and bake in 180C oven: about 15 minutes for the mini frittate and 20 minutes for the large.

Notes: Why is the name of this recipe frittate, ending in e? What other vegetables could you use in the recipe? Which animals’ milk can make feta?

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Blood orange honey cake with vanilla yoghurt

At this time of year we try and incorporate as many blood oranges into recipes as possible! Cakes always go down well as a treat, and this one is dairy-free too if you don’t serve the yoghurt.

From the garden: eggs, blood oranges
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe by Melissa Klemke for Kidspot


  • A large cake tin
  • Pastry brush
  • Baking paper
  • Measuring: cup, ½ cup, teaspoon, ½ teaspoon
  • Microplane zester
  • Bowls – 2 big
  • Electric mixer
  • Citrus juicer
  • Skewer
  • Wire rack
  • Serving plates

  • 2½ cups self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup raw caster sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 blood oranges
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 200ml natural Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon white caster sugar


What to do:

  • Preheat oven to 170°C.
  • Brush the cake tin with a little vegetable oil and then line with baking paper.
  • Using the microplane, carefully zest the blood oranges.
  • Juice the oranges and mix the zest with the juice.
  • Mix the eggs, honey, raw caster sugar and vegetable oil in a large bowl.
  • Sift flour, baking powder, bicarb soda and cinnamon into another bowl.
  • Using the electric mixer, mix in the flour and orange juice/zest alternately until all combined.
  • Pour into the greased & lined tin.
  • Bake in oven for 40 minutes, checking after the 30 minute mark – use the skewer test to check that it is cooked.
  • Meanwhile, if making the vanilla yoghurt: halve the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds from inside each half. Mix these into the yoghurt with the tablespoon of white caster sugar. Chill until ready to serve.
  • When the cake is cooked, turn out on wire rack and cool before cutting.
  • Divide among serving plates and serve with the vanilla yoghurt if needed.

Notes: Why do we grease and line the tin? What do baking powder and bicarb soda do?


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Salad of blood orange, beetroot, radish and goats’ cheese

We love the arrival of blood oranges to signify the end of winter & beginning of spring! This salad is a firm favourite of ours, with its contrasting flavours and textures, and beautiful deep colours.

Our Kitchen Garden

Serves: 6 or 24 tastes
Fresh from the garden: blood oranges, radishes, beetroot, beetroot leaves, lettuce leaves, marjoram


  • Chopping board & knife
  • Small saucepan & lid
  • Colander
  • Paper towel
  • Measuring: tablespoon, teaspoon
  • Bowls – large, small
  • Garlic press
  • Salad spinner
  • Fork
  • Plates to serve

  • 3 or 4 baby beetroot
  • A small bunch of radishes
  • Small sprig of marjoram
  • A handful of lettuce leaves
  • 3 blood oranges
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • A small roll of goats’ cheese
  • Flaked salt and black pepper

What to do:

  • Cut the leaves from the beetroot, leaving about 2cms of stalk and reserving any small leaves. Gently scrub the beets to remove any dirt and place them in the saucepan with cold water to cover by about 5cm. Heat on high with lid on and boil for 20 minutes until soft when pierced.
  • Remove the stalks from the radishes & discard. Wash them well and then wipe dry with paper towel. Finely slice the radishes into thin discs and slide them into the big bowl.
  • Wash, dry and pick the marjoram leaves and reserve for the garnish.
  • Carefully wash and spin the lettuce and beetroot leaves dry. Break up into smaller pieces with your hands if needed, then roll up into a kitchen paper-lined tea towel & place in the fridge until needed.
  • Peel the oranges, removing any white pith and discarding it. Carefully cut the oranges into thin slices crossways and then place them into the big bowl. Scrape any juice into the bowl.
  • Squeeze the garlic through the garlic press into the small bowl.
  • Mix into the garlic the balsamic vinegar and olive oil, whisk with the fork and pour over the orange and radishes.
  • Season with salt and pepper and stir together gently. Leave to marinate for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile when the beetroot are soft, drain the saucepan and fill with cold water to cool the beets. When cool to handle, slide off the skins and root and thinly slice the beetroot. Add the slices to the radish and orange and combine in the dressing.
  • To finish, divide the salad leaves among your serving plates and scatter the beetroot mixture on top. Remove the wrapping from the goats’ cheese and dab chunks of cheese over each salad. Sprinkle with the marjoram and serve.

Notes: What other fruit and vegetable combinations can you think of for a salad? What other fruits can be dressed with balsamic vinegar? Why do we let the salad ‘rest’ for 10 minutes?

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Kitchen news – 13th September 2012

I begin the kitchen news this week desperately trying to avoid the most obvious cliché but my fingers are itching to type it, I can’t hold them back, I must write this…SPRING HAS SPRUNG!!! There. Phew… It’s done!

Spring is well and truly doing its thing: warm sunny t-shirt weather, leaves are sprouting, citrus flowers blossoming, the dozy flies have returned – and best of all is that the broad beans are imminent! It’s my favourite time of the year (although I haven’t quite packed the heater away, just in case…)

Delicious food all round in the kitchen this last fortnight. Yum, yum, yum! We’ve continued our blood orange celebration with two dishes: Salad of blood orange, beetroot, radish and goats’ cheese, and the occasional blood orange honey cake with vanilla’d Greek yoghurt. We’ve learnt how to make the most of the fabulous beetroot, with the bulbs going in to the aforementioned salad, and the leaves mixed in to frittate of beetroot leaf, sweet potato and feta… also featuring is spinach soup with sour cream and crunchy croutons, and rounding out the pack of recipes is ye olde but goode bocconcini, garden herb, rocket and red onion pizza – always a sell-out, and great fun to take out all your homework frustration pummelling the dough… Thanks so much to all the wonderful & calm volunteers for helping our students achieve great results!

And we’re starting to get very excited about the new book! In planning for next term’s VIP press extravaganza I would like to put a request out there for a few things: I’m begging to borrow or steal (preferably!) any big and beautiful platters (not plastic or melamine), any Guzzini-style Perspex drinking cups (you never know!), and any little funky glasses that might be hidden at the back of the drinks’ cupboard… Thanks – am willing to pay, in kind 🙂

That’s all for now – enjoy the hols and see you next term! Love Melissa

PS – Recipes to follow!
PPS – Got to love Sydney, first week of spring: 25 degrees C, 7.30 at night


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