Monthly Archives: August 2013

Kitchen garden news – 15th August 2013

Goodness me, I can’t believe it is week 5 already! The school has been so busy this term and with so much more to do we’ve all been swept up in all the excitement of the activities… and of these lovely warm days! How lucky we are to be in the middle of winter with 24 degree temperatures (and our wonderful broad-beanstalks loving the weather too and absolutely shooting to the sky!) – although a few of us have been suffering from the lurgy currently doing the rounds…

To combat the sniffles we’ve been chopping up loads of garlic and veggies for our winter soup: cannellini beans, kale and rainbow chard, with onion, carrots and potatoes. We also rustled up a super-speedy soda bread to have with it – and mastered the art of the soufflé (and tying their collars..!) with our ‘two cheeses’ trusty failsafe version. We squashed, prodded and juiced lemon quarters, cinnamon, salt and bay into sterilised jars – and will come back in a month for lovely preserved lemons to play around with… and whipped up a little Sunday-mornin’ best mushrooms on toast! But the winner of the best ingredient so far this year has to be from this recipe: Poached egg salad with limehairy mayonnaise! So what is limehairy? Ask your kids!

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The best mushrooms on toast!

We received our first boxes of ‘live’ mushrooms last week and the children are already harvesting! What’s the best & easiest dish ever? Why, luxury mushrooms on toast!

Fresh from the garden: mushrooms, garlic, thyme
Recipe source: Melissa
Recipe source: 6 at home or 24 tastes 


  • Paper towel
  • Non-stick frying pan
  • Knives – bread, small
  • Chopping board
  • Grill trays
  • Tongs
  • Oven mitts, spoons
  • Serving plates

  • A good few handfuls of mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • A sprig or 3 of thyme
  • 25g butter
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Flaked salt
  • A loaf of great sourdough bread

 What to do:

  • Heat the grill on high.
  • Using a piece of paper towel, wipe the soil from the mushrooms. Never wash mushrooms!
  • Cut into fine slices, keeping a mushroom shape.
  • Peel and finely chop the garlic. Wash and spin-dry the thyme, leaving whole.
  • Heat the butter and tablespoon or two of olive oil in the non-stick pan until sizzling, and add the mushrooms, garlic, thyme stalks and a pinch or two of salt.
  • Toss or stir every minute or so for about 5-6 minutes. You want the mushrooms browned but lovely and soft.
  • Meanwhile, carefully slice the bread – you may find it easier to ask an adult to slice the loaf down the middle lengthways first, and cut each half separately – and place on grill trays.
  • Drizzle with a little olive oil and slide the bread into the oven to lightly grill, and turn over when needed – watching to make sure it doesn’t burn.
  • When ready bring the toast out from the grill using the oven mitts and divide among serving plates.
  • Spoon the garlicky, herby mushrooms over the bruschetta and grind over a little pepper if needed.
  • Eat at once!

 Notes: Why shouldn’t we wash mushrooms? How long do they take to mature? What do the mushrooms look like after one day – three days – five days? What else could you cook with a mushroom?

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Soda bread

We play around with lots of different types of dough and love them all. This one in particular is great with a chunky soup, or dipped into creamy hummus, or pungent pesto…

Fresh from the garden: rosemary, parsley, sage
Recipe source: adapted from The Ballymaloe Bread Book by Tim Allen
Makes: 1 loaf


  • Bowls – large, small
  • Measures: jug, tablespoon, teaspoon
  • Mezzaluna
  • Chopping boards and knives
  • Sieve
  • Baking sheet
  • Serving plates

  • 450g plain flour
  • 1 level teaspoon salt
  • 1 level teaspoon bread soda (bicarb soda)
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 small handful each of sage and parsley
  • 400ml buttermilk

 What to do:

  • Heat up the oven to 230 degrees C.
  • Wash and spin dry the herbs and pick the leaves, discarding the stalks. Finely chop the leaves – you’ll need about 3 tablespoons’ worth.
  • Sieve the flour, salt and bread soda into a large, wide mixing bowl. Add the freshly chopped herbs to the dry ingredients and stir well.
  • Make a well in the centre. Pour most of the milk into the flour. Using one hand with the fingers open and stiff, mix in a full circle drawing in the flour from the sides of the bowl, adding more buttermilk if necessary. The dough should be softish, not too wet and sticky.
  • The trick with all soda breads is not to over-mix the dough. Mix the dough as quickly and as gently as possible, keeping it really light and airy. When the dough comes together, turn it out onto a well-floured work surface. Wash and dry your hands.
  • Gently roll the ball of dough around with floury hands for a few seconds, just enough to tidy up. Then pat it gently into a round, about 5 cm high.
  • Place the dough on a lightly floured baking sheet. With a sharp knife cut a deep cross in the middle of it, letting the cuts go over the sides of the bread. Then prick the four triangles with your knife: according to Irish folklore this will let the fairies out!
  • Put this into your preheated oven for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 200 degrees C for a further 25 minutes, or until cooked. When the bread is cooked it will sound hollow when tapped.
  • Leave to cool for a few minutes, then cut into slices or chunks and divide among your serving plates.

 Notes:What is bread soda? Which country do you think this recipe comes from? What other ingredients could you add to this bread? Where do fairies live?

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Poached egg salad with limehairy mayonnaise

What a great name! Limehairy is also known as hoary basil or perennial basil and has a delicious basilly aroma and pretty flowers – and bees love it too! This salad has simple ingredients but they come together so wonderfully, with a spicy kick from the leaves, creaminess from the eggs and vibrant herby notes…

Fresh from the garden: iceberg lettuce, eggs, limehairy, landcress, salad burnet, lemon, garlic
Recipe source: Melissa (mayonnaise based on a Delia Smith recipe)
Serves: 4 or 24 tastes


  • Medium frying pan
  • Bowls – large, 4 small
  • Draining spoon
  • Salad spinner
  • Paper towel
  • Scales
  • Measures: tablespoon, teaspoon, ½ teaspoon
  • Measuring jug
  • Chopping board and knife, scissors
  • Citrus juicer
  • Stick blender & its cup
  • Serving plates





  • 4 eggs

For the limehairy mayonnaise:

  • A small handful of limehairy leaves
  • A large handful landcress
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 level teaspoon mustard powder
  • 120ml rice bran oil
  • 25ml olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 lemon
  • Freshly milled black pepper

To serve:

  • A small head iceberg lettuce
  • A handful salad burnet

Salad burnet

What to do:
For the salad:

  • Separate out the iceberg leaves over the sink and rinse under the tap. Fill up a big bowl with cold water & wash the iceberg leaves in several changes of water. Spin dry.
  • Lay out the tea towel and line it with kitchen paper. Spread the salad leaves over the paper and roll the whole lot up like a log. Keep the rolled parcel of leaves in the fridge until needed.
  • Wash and spin dry the burnet and strip off the leaves, discarding the stalks. Wrap them carefully in paper towel and keep them in the fridge with the lettuce.

For the mayonnaise:

  • Wash, spin dry and separate off the landcress leaves and discard the stalks into the compost.  Wash &spin dry the limehairy leaves.
  • Cut the lemon in half and squeeze one half to yield ½ teaspoon lemon juice. Peel the garlic clove.
  • Now break the extra egg into the cup of the stock blender, add the salt, garlic, mustard powder and a few twists of freshly milled black pepper, then blitz to blend these together.
  • Now measure the oils into the jug, mix well with a fork and ask a helper to pour it in a thin trickle into the cup whilst it’s blending. When all the oil is in, add the vinegar, lemon juice, landcress and limehairy leaves, then blend again until the leaves are quite finely chopped.

To poach the eggs:

  • Fill a medium-sized frying pan with water to a depth of approximately 4cm, heat it up to the boil, then lower the heat it to a bare simmer.
  • Then break the 4 eggs into the four separate small bowls taking care not to break the yolks and removing any shell with your fingertips. Then lower them, one at a time, into the simmering water and let them cook together, uncovered, for 4 minutes. Fill a large bowl with cold water.
  • Then, use a draining spoon to lift them from the water and transfer them to the bowl of cold water, until you are ready to use them.

To serve:

  • Bring the lettuce out of the fridge, gently slice up the leaves and arrange the leaves on each plate.
  • Holding a clean tea towel in one hand, scoop up an egg with the slotted spoon and carefully pat dry. Arrange a poached egg in the centre of each salad plate, drizzle some of the mayonnaise over the top of each salad, followed by a sprinkle of the burnet leaves.
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Stephanie’s preserved lemons

We have been quite successful in our preserving efforts at Bondi – olives from our trees, bouillon from our veggies, chilli oil to dress fresh pasta, and the odd jam here and there… I’m looking forward to seeing how the lemons turn out with Stephanie Alexander‘s recipe – and what we can make with them!

Fresh from the garden: lemons, bay leaves
Recipe source: Stephanie Alexander
Makes: 1 large jar


  • Large jars with lids
  • Paper towel
  • Chopping boards and knives
  • Measures: tablespoon
  • Large bowl




  • 250g coarse kitchen salt
  • 10 or more thick-skinned lemons (depends on the size of the jar)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 cloves
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 10 peppercorns
  • Extra lemons for juice

What to do:

  • First, sterilise your jars. You can do this by washing the jars in soap and hot water, and then or placing in a 150C oven for 10 minutes until dried thoroughly. Fill the jars while warm.
  • Wash and then dry the lids with a clean piece of paper towel.
  • Scrub the lemons clean, wipe dry with paper towel, then chop into quarters, removing any pips. Discard any lemons with imperfections.
  • Scatter a large tablespoon of salt into your sterilised jar.
  • Place the lemons into a large bowl and cover with remaining salt.
  • Tear the bay leaves into pieces and break the cinnamon sticks into shards.
  • Pack the lemons tightly into the jar, skin side out, inserting pieces of bay leaf, pepper, cloves and cinnamon at intervals.
  • Press down hard on the fruit so that as much juice is released as possible.
  • Make sure that the lemons are completely covered in juice, otherwise mould will develop. If required, squeeze extra juice into the jar to cover the lemons.
  • With a fresh clean piece of paper towel, wipe the cap of the jar free of salt. Tightly close the lid.
  • Leave in a cool, dark cupboard for at least a month before using. Refrigerate the lemons once you have opened the jar.

 Notes: What is a preserve? Why do the lemons have to be completely covered? What could we use the preserved lemons for afterwards?

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Two cheeses souffle

Cheesy, eggy – comfort food in its most simple form… and deceptively simple to do!

Fresh from the garden: eggs, chives
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe on
Serves: 4 or 24 tastes


  • 4 x 250ml ramekins or soufflé dishes
  • Baking paper
  • String & scissors
  • Baking tray
  • Scales
  • Paper towel
  • Bowls – 1 large, 5 small
  • Saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Measuring jug
  • Stick blender
  • Metal spoon
  • 4 under-plates to serve

  • 25g butter plus extra to grease the ramekins
  • 150g soft goats’ cheese
  • 100g parmesan
  • A small handful chives
  • 5 eggs
  • 25g flour
  • 250ml milk
  • Flaked salt & black pepper

 What to do:

  • Heat the oven to 200C. Butter the ramekins.
  • Make a collar for each ramekin by tearing a 40cm length of baking paper, folding it into thirds, and buttering one side. Then roll it around the ramekin, buttered side in, and tying with string to secure. Place them on the baking tray when done.
  • Measure the parmesan, then grate it. Crumble the goats’ cheese.
  • Wash the chives and pat dry with paper towel. Using the scissors, finely snip them to yield about 2 tablespoons.
  • Carefully separate each of the eggs.
  • Melt 25g butter in the saucepan, stir in the flour and gently cook on a low heat for a minute or so. Slowly add the milk, stirring all the time to make a thick sauce. Cook for a couple of minutes to cook out the flour.
  • Stir in the cheeses and chives then add 4 of the egg yolks, season generously and mix well.
  • In a clean and dry bowl, use the stick blender to whisk all the egg whites until they are stiff and form soft peaks.
  • Using a metal spoon, start folding the egg whites into the cheese mixture carefully – begin by using about 1/3 of the whites first and then adding the rest once combined – and pour into the buttered soufflé dishes.
  • Cook for 12–15 minutes until the soufflés are risen and golden.
  • Using pot holders, carefully place a soufflé on to an underplate and serve TOUT SUITE!

 Notes: What is a ramekin? Why do we separate the egg yolks and whites? Why do we need to cook out the flour? Where does the word soufflé come from?

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Cannellini bean, kale and rainbow chard soup

Our kids love soup – blended and smooth or chunky and funky – and this one makes the most of our winter garden veg. At home please add some toasted buttery sourdough rubbed with garlic!

Fresh from the garden: celery, carrots, onion, garlic, potatoes, kale, rainbow chard
Recipe source: Melissa
Serves: 8 or 24 tastes


  • Bowls – glass, large, small
  • Kettle
  • Measures: cup, tablespoon
  • Colander, sieve
  • 2 saucepans, med and large
  • Chopping boards and knives
  • Peelers & garlic press
  • Wooden spoon
  • Ladle
  • Serving bowls




  • 150g dried cannellini beans
  • 1 teaspoon bicarb soda
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 brown onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1.5 litres boiling water & 1.5 tablespoons bouillon (or 1.5 litres vegetable stock)
  • 2 Desiree or other red potatoes
  • One large bunch kale
  • A couple of stalks of rainbow chard
  • Flaked salt and black pepper

What to do:

  • The night before, soak the cannellini beans in plenty of cold water with a teaspoon of bicarb.
  • At the beginning of the lesson, drain and rinse the beans. Add them to the smaller saucepan with plenty of water to cover and the bay leaves. Peel 2 of the garlic cloves and add them whole to the pan. Heat on high to boil and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring every now and then.
  • Fill the kettle and set it to boil.
  • Wash and shake the celery dry and chop into small pieces. Wash and peel the carrots and chop into small pieces.
  • Wash and chop the potatoes into 2cm cubes, leaving the skin on.
  • Peel and finely dice the onion. Peel and squeeze the remaining 3 cloves of garlic through the press.
  • Wash the kale and chard in several changes of water, and then shake dry. Trim the stalks from the kale and discard. Trim the stalks from the chard and chop into 5mm pieces, keeping separate. Roll up the kale and chard leaves and slice or tear into 1cm strips.
  • In the larger saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering.
  • Add the celery, carrots, and onion, and cook, until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for another minute or so, and then add the potatoes and stir to coat.
  • Using caution, measure the litre of boiling water into the jug and stir the bouillon in. Add to the vegetables and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  • Strain the beans & garlic and add to the vegetables with the kale and chard stalks and simmer for another 10 minutes, then add the chopped chard and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Check for correct seasoning, then ladle out into serving bowls.
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Kitchen Garden news – 1st August 2013

We’re back in the swing of things in the cottage and my word, how the children have grown! I swear that they’ve all grown 20cm since last term! It is wonderful to see them again – and lovely to taste the amazing dishes they have been preparing in the last two weeks.

The garden held an interesting array of goodies for us upon our return from the holidays – a little bit of broccoli, a handful of snowpeas, a bunch of coriander, loads of parsley, some juicy radishes nudging their heads out of the soil, a few branches of kale, a forest of rhubarb, a hundred lemons, a thousand eggs, and two dozen beautifully straight carrots planted with care in term two… What to use to compile a tasty menu? This is what we cooked from the spoils: a Warm salad of Nolan’s Road chickpeas and kale with Greek yoghurt  (the unexpected hit of the week), Veggie patch frittata (with sautéed radishes and chopped snowpeas), Broccoli and lemon risotto (with our own bouillon made by 5P last week), Olive and rosemary focaccia (with the bottled Bondi olives that the classes marinated in May this year, and own dried rosemary) and Rhubarb and apple crumble tarts (the expected hit of the week…) So delicious. The recipes are up NOW btw!

We’ve had a few of our regular helpers head back off to work so we are left with quite a few spaces free…  In order to have successful sessions we would love some more volunteers across the 8 sessions a week: if you’re keen to help, please get in touch!

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