Monthly Archives: September 2013

Kitchen Garden news – 29th August 2013

Hear ye, hear ye! Why did the mushroom go to A Night at the Bondi Oscars? Because he wanted to be a fun-ghi like all the fabulous BPS kids! Boom tish.

Yes yes yes! It’s Musical Madness around the school this week and it’s Mushroom Mayhem too… we’ve been wiping and slicing like crazy in the cottage ‘cos these mushrooms are mushrooming up everywhere! Wherever you look at the moment these little sporous (?) creatures are blooming – under tables, in cupboards and even under Ali’s house – and we are totally taking advantage!

So the menu has been a right quattro stagione!  We’ve had the old classic Cream of mushroom soup, set off nicely by Soft parmesan polenta with sautéed mushrooms and a poached egg, and also brought back the favourite Pizza ai funghi! (see joke, above).

We’ve played around a bit with the salad also, and come up with a rip-snorter: the Leafy salad of kale, rocket and lettuces with roasted chickpeas, goats’ cheese and raw mushrooms. Yum Yum! Super-textural: crunchy, bouncy, creamy…

And the lucky few classes with 5 helpers have also been able to whip up our favourite dessert from 2 years ago (Ellie made the best by far): Upside-down blood orange & cardamom cake. Too good!

And to accommodate 3B’s short class on Wednesday we changed the format and had all the children whisk up their Omelettes aux champignons and A simple side salad for their own groups, where they got to create their own salad dressings. Delicious and very inventive!

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A simple side salad

This is a lovely salad to pair with heavily flavoured dishes and is easy and quick to assemble. You get the option too of inventing your own salad dressing!

Fresh from the garden: lettuce, rocket, radishes, snap peas, edible flowers, garlic, herbs
Recipe source: Melissa
Serves: 6 tastes


  • Bowl – large
  • Asalad spinner
  • Tea towel, kitchen paper
  • Chopping board& knife
  • Citrus juicer
  • Jar with lid
  • Serving bowl



  • A small head of lettuce
  • A few garnishing flowers
  • A couple of radishes
  • A small handful of snap peas

Salad dressing ingredients:

  • Balsamic or red wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Mustard
  • Garlic
  • Honey
  • Herbs
  • Flaked salt

What to do:

  • Fill up the big bowl with cold water & wash the salad leaves & flowers separately in several changes of water, making sure that no dirt remains. Spin the leaves dry and then wipe the bowls dry.
  • Scrub the radishes clean under running water and then slice into thin discs.
  • Wash the snap peas and then top and tail each one, de-stringing as you go. Chop any large snap peas in half or even thirds.
  • Tip the leaves into a bowl, tearing large leaves into smaller mouth-sized pieces. Tear the petals from the flowers and put in bowl too with the radish slices and snap peas.
  • Make your salad dressing – you can use any combination of the ingredients listed above, and use honey, garlic or mustard if you like. The correct ratio is 3 times as much oil to vinegar – so for example 1 teaspoon of balsamic to 3 teaspoons of olive oil. If you use herbs, make sure you wash, spin dry and prepare them first.Put your ingredients in the jar and shake well to emulsify, and taste as you go!
  • Drizzle the dressing over the leaves and gently toss the leaves, then pile the salad up into the serving bowls.
  • Serve immediately.

 Notes: How do you de-string a snap pea? Why do we completely dry the leaves before adding the dressing? What does to emulsify mean? What does to top and tail mean?

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Omelettes aux champignons

This appears to be an easy recipe but many top chefs are judged by their ability to execute the perfect omelette! At home you can insert a little gruyere cheese or sliced ham, but we like it here with our garlicky, slippery mushrooms.

Fresh from the garden: eggs, mushrooms, garlic, chives, parsley, marjoram
Recipe source: Melissa
Makes: 1 omelette


  • Salad spinner
  • Bowls – 1 large, 1 medium
  • Mezzaluna or scissors
  • Fork, butter knife
  • 1 x 23cm non-stick frying pan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Garlic press
  • Tablespoon measure
  • Serving plates

  • 6 eggs
  • A large handful mushrooms
  • A small handful mixed herbs: chives, parsley and marjoram
  • Flaked salt & black pepper
  • 25g butter
  • Olive oil

 What to do:

  • Trim the mushrooms of any dirt and wipe clean with a damp piece of paper towel. Chop into thin slices and reserve in the large bowl.
  • Wash and carefully dry the herbs, picking off the leaves and discarding the stalks.
  • Using the mezzaluna or scissors, gently & carefully chop the herbs without mashing them.
  • Break the eggs into the medium bowl and whisk lightly with a fork.
  • Add the chopped herbs and season with salt and pepper. Peel the garlic clove and squeeze through the garlic press.
  • Heat half the butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the frying panover medium heat until foaming. Add in the mushrooms and carefully toss a few times to cover in the butter mixture. Sprinkle in a few pinches of salt, a grind of pepper and the garlic, and then sauté until slippery.
  • Wash and dry the large bowl and then scrape out the cooked mushrooms into it.
  • Add the rest of the butter to the pan and then when foaming, pour in the egg mixture and gently rotate the pan to distribute. Cook for 20 seconds or so, until it begins to bubble, then draw the egg into the centre with the wooden spoon and rotate the pan again to redistribute the uncooked egg.
  • The omelette is cooked when the base is set, but is still slightly runny in the middle.
  • Slide the mushrooms onto one half of the omelette, fold the other half over to form a half-moon and slice out on to your serving plate. Serve immediately!

Notes:In what other languages can you say mushrooms? Why do we leave the omelette slightly runny in the middle? Where does the word omelette come from?

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Upside-down blood orange cake

This cake can be served warm or at room temperature. Garnish with double cream or vanilla yoghurt if desired, but the cake is great on its own!

Fresh from the garden: blood oranges, eggs
Recipe source: from the 52 Kitchen Adventures blog


  • Large cast-iron skillet
  • Scales
  • Bowls – 1 small, 1 med, 1 large
  • Large spoon
  • Measures: cup, ½ cup, teaspoon, ½ teaspoon
  • Microplane grater
  • Chopping board&knife
  • Stand mixer
  • Spatula
  • Skewer or toothpick
  • Serving plate



  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 blood oranges

Cake Batter:

  • 1½ cups plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 80g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

What to do:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C and position rack in centre of oven.
  • In the cast iron skillet, combine butter, brown sugar and ground cardamom over low heat.
  • Once butter has meltedthe ingredients to a single layer, remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes or so without stirring.
  • Zest one of the blood oranges into the small bowl using the microplane, then peel both and cut them into ½cm thick slices.
  • To make the cake batter, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and ground cardamom in themedium bowl.
  • Measure the milk and vanilla extract into the small bowl with the orange zest and stir.
  • Add the softened butter & the sugar to the bowl of the stand mixer and beat until light & fluffy, then add the eggs and mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Stir in half of the dry ingredients, then all of the milk mixture.
  • Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  • Lay the orange slices on top of the brown sugar mixture in your preferred design.
  • Pour the batter over the orange slices and even out if needed using a knife or spatula.
  • Bake for around 30 minutes or until the top is firm to the touch and a toothpick or skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean (be careful – that skillet handle will be very hot!).
  • Let cool for a few minutes, thenloosen the sides with the spatula or knife. Firmly hold a clean chopping board over the pan and thenturn over to flip out upside-down on to the board.
  • Cut into slices or chunks & serve warm or at room temperature.

Ugly but yum

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Leafy salad of mushrooms, goats cheese and roasted chickpeas

There is a lot going on in this salad but it’s definitely worth the extra effort!

Fresh from the garden: Lettuce, kale, rocket, mushrooms, edible flowers, garlic, lemon, parsley, marjoram, thyme, coriander, oregano
Recipe source: Melissa
Serves: 6 or 24 tastes 


  • Colander
  • Baking tray and paper
  • Bowls – 2 large, 2 med
  • Measures: 1/3 cup, tablespoon, teaspoon, ½ teaspoon
  • Scales
  • 2 salad spinners
  • Tea towel
  • Kitchen paper
  • Chopping board& knife
  • Mortar & pestle
  • Citrus juicer
  • Mezzaluna
  • Serving bowls






  • A large handful kale, rocket & lettuce leaves
  • A few garnishing flowers
  • A handful mushrooms
  • 100g goats cheese

Roasted chickpeas

  • A 400g tin of chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaked salt
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

Herby vinaigrette dressing

  • 1 clove garlic
  • Flaked salt & black pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • A small handful mixed herbs: parsley, marjoram, thyme, coriander

What to do:

For the chickpeas:

  • Preheat oven to 170°C. Line the baking tray with baking paper.
  • Drain and rinse the tin of chickpeas and place in the large bowl. Sprinkle with the salt, olive oil and spices, toss to coat and then place chickpeas on prepared tray.
  • Roast the chickpeas for 30 minutes until golden and crispy. Cool chickpeas on baking tray.

For the salad:

  • Strip the kale from the stalks, then fill up the 2 big bowls with cold water & wash the kale leaves, the separated lettuce leaves and rocket separately in several changes of water, making sure that no dirt remains. Spin the leaves dry and then wipe the bowls dry.
  • Tear the salad leaves into mouth-sized pieces and slice the kale and rocket into very thin strips. Keep all the leaves ready to go in a big bowl.
  • Wash and carefully dry the flowers and keep reserved. Wash and spin dry the herbs, and pick off the leaves.
  • Wipe the mushrooms free from dirt using a piece of paper towel and then thinly slice. Place in a big bowl, drizzle over a tablespoon of olive oil with a pinch of flaked salt and toss.

To make the dressing:

  • Peel the garlic clove andput it in the mortar with a large pinch of salt.Pound to a paste.
  • Juice the lemon and add the juice to the mortar (without the pips) then stir the lot with the teaspoon and scrape it into the medium bowl.
  • Stir in the olive oil and grindsome pepper, then whisk the dressing lightly. Add the herbs, chopping any large leaves in the mezzaluna if needed. Add to the dressing in the medium bowl.

To assemble:

  • Whisk the dressing and then add to the bowl of salad leaves, kale and rocket. Add the mushrooms and gently turn in the dressing using your hands or tongs.
  • Transfer the dressed salad to the serving bowls, crumble over the goats’ cheese and then scatter over the chickpeas. Finish by carefully placing the flowers on each bowl.
  • Serve straight away!

Notes: What is the right way to wash the leaves?Why do we completely dry the leaves before adding the dressing? What do the roasted chickpeas taste like?

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Pizza ai funghi!

Why did the mushroom go to the party? ‘Cos he was a fun-gi to be with… boom tish!

Fresh from the garden: mushrooms, onion, garlic, oregano
Recipe source: Melissa
Serves: 8 or 24 tastes


  • 2 wooden chopping boards & knives
  • 2 frying pans
  • Bowls – large, med
  • Salad spinner
  • Measures – ¼ cup, tablespoons, teaspoons
  • Colander, grater
  • Scales
  • Paper towel
  • Wooden spoon
  • 2 pizza trays
  • Metal tablespoons
  • Wide egg lifter
  • Pizza cutting wheels
  • Serving plates

  • 1 amount Hugh’s magic dough recipe

For the pizza topping:

  • 1 handful mushrooms
  • 1 tub bocconcini
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 30g parmesan

Tomato sauce:

  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 sprigs oregano
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tin diced tomatoes
  • Flaked salt and black pepper

What to do:

  • Preheat the oven to 220C.

For the tomato sauce:

  • Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic, reserving half of the garlic for the topping.
  • 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.
  • Wash, dry and pick the herbs. Roughly chop then add to the tomatoes.
  • Simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until quite reduced.

For the topping: 

  • Wipe the mushrooms free of dirt using a piece of paper towel and finely slice. Drop them in to a big bowl, drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of olive oil and toss to combine.
  • Open the tub of bocconcini and cut each ball into 3 or 4 slices.
  • Grate the parmesan

Assembling the pizza:

  • Scatter some flour on the workbench, divide the dough in two and roll to form two thin shapes about 26 cm in diameter.
  • Assemble the pizzas directly onto the trays, flouring the trays first.
  • Usingthe metal spoon, swirl a couple of spoonfuls of tomato sauce onto the pizza bases, spreading so that they become totally covered with a clean border.
  • Layer the bocconcini on top, spoon on the garlicky mushrooms, then slide the pizzas into the oven.
  • Wash and dry the wooden chopping boards and set them out ready.

Baking the pizza:

  • Bake the pizzas for 12 minutes or until the edges are very crusty and the cheese is bubbling.
  • Use this time to make the dough for the next class if needed.
  • You may want to slip the pizza off the tray onto the rack for the last few minutes, so that you get a really crusty base.
  • Once the pizzas are done, transfer them to the wooden boards using the wide egg lifter.
  • Cut the pizzas in half first, and then each half into squares for each plate. Sprinkle with the grated parmesan.
  • Lift onto serving plates and eat!

Notes: Where does pizza come from? What other sort of vegetables could you use in a pizza? What sort of other pizza could we make? What other cheeses could we use?

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Parmesan polenta with sautéed mushrooms and poached egg

Oozy yolk with slippery, garlicky mushrooms and creamy polenta backdrop… hello? Did someone say, ‘Comfort food’?!


From the garden: eggs, mushrooms, corn, garlic
Recipe source: Melissa


  • Chopping board & small knife
  • Grater
  • Scales
  • 1 heavy-based saucepan & lid
  • Garlic press
  • Measuring jug
  • 1 small saucepan
  • Salad spinner
  • Paper towel
  • Wooden spoons
  • Bowls – 4 small
  • Medium frying pan
  • Serving bowls

  • 1 large corn cob
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 100g coarse polenta
  • 50g grana padano
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • A knob of butter
  • A large handful mushrooms
  • 4 very fresh large eggs
  • Flaked salt and black pepper

 What to do:

  • Remove jacket and silk from corn, and with a small sharp knife shear the kernels off. Add them to the heavy-based saucepan.
  • Peel and crush the garlic with the garlic press and add half of it to the corn with 500ml water and bring to the boil over a moderate flame, reserving the other half for the mushrooms..
  • Rain in the polenta, stirring. Cover & reduce to a mere simmer 15 mins, stirring every few minutes. Grate the parmesan.
  • When the polenta is ready, remove the lid, beat in the parmesan and season well.
  • Wipe the mushrooms free of dirt, trim any ugly bits and then finely slice.
  • Heat the butter and a splash of olive oil in the frying pan, and when sizzling add the mushrooms with a pinch of salt, the crushed garlic and thyme and cook until the mushrooms are slippery and gorgeous.
  • To poach 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. (If you’re not ready to serve then you can slide them into the bowl of cold water until needed).
  • To serve, divide polenta among serving bowls. Spoon over some mushrooms, then place an egg on top of each serving. Season generously and serve straight away.

 Notes: What is polenta? What is cooking by ‘absorption’ method? Why shouldn’t we break the eggs when poaching them? How much butter is a knob of butter?

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Cream of mushroom soup

This is a lovely soup – so simple to make but so rewarding. If at home you might add half a cup of white wine to the pan and reduce by half before you add the mushrooms, but we like it too just like this…

Fresh from the garden: onion, garlic, leek, thyme, mushrooms, parsley
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe by Neil Perry of Rockpool
Serves: 8 or 30 tastes


  • Kettle
  • Chopping board & knife
  • Scales
  • A large heavy-based pot
  • Bowls – 2 large, 2 med, small
  • Large spoon
  • Measures: jug, tablespoon
  • Citrus juicer
  • Salad spinner
  • Stick blender
  • Serving bowls

  • 1 brown onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 leek
  • 25ml olive oil
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • Flaked salt
  • 500g mushrooms
  • 1 litre boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon bouillon
  • 100ml single (pouring) cream
  • Small handful flat-leaf parsley

What to do:

  • Fill the kettle and set it to boil.
  • Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic.
  • Trim the leek and remove the first layer. Carefully slice along the leek, halfway in and then rinse thoroughly under running water taking care to remove all the grit and dirt. Finely chop.
  • Wash and shake the thyme dry and strip leaves from the stalks.
  • Heat the oil and butter in the large pot over a medium heat. Add the onion, leek, garlic, thyme and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes or until soft.
  • Meanwhile wipe the dirt from the mushrooms with a piece of paper towel, trim any ugly bits and then thinly slice the mushrooms.
  • Add the sliced mushrooms to the pan and continue to cook for about 5 minutes or until tender.
  • Add the bouillon to the boiling water, stir and then add to the pot. Cook, uncovered, for about 30 minutes or until reduced by half. Remove from the heat.
  • Meanwhile wash the parsley and spin it dry. Pick the leaves and then finely chop. Using the stick blender, puree the soup until smooth.
  • To serve, stir in the cream and parsley and check seasoning.
  • Ladle in to bowls and serve.

Notes: Why don’t we wash mushrooms? Describe in your own words how to clean a leek. What is bouillon? How many different sorts of mushrooms can you name?

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