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Kitchen News 23rd February 2016

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Mish is settling in to the garden and has already attracted quite a following of busy-bee students helping her out at recess and lunchtime. It’s like Central Station at rush-hour in there! Waterers and chook cleaners, tomato plant-pullers and weeders everywhere… She is picking up loads of seedlings this week and will be planting them asap in garden classes as we need crops quick smart!

The garden beds are giving up the last of their summer veggies: juicy cherry tomatoes, some tiny and yellow, others red with little wormy holes but no wormies. The children have been making our version of the famous Insalata caprese, with the baby tomatoes, torn bocconcini, fragrant basil leaves and a simple but delicious dressing of olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar.

We’re plucking the last of the eggplants from their vines to reduce them in tomato, onion and oregano and then toss with hot pasta and fresh pecorino for Penne alla Norma, a classic sauce invented in Sicily and named in honour of Bellini’s famous opera.

And we’ve been sautéing the zucchini with garlic and blending them up into a zingy dip with Greek yoghurt, lemon zest and mint for Koosa ma laban, serving it with the most dripplingly-delicious Garlicky rosemary flatbreads.

And those huge rocket leaves? Too spicy for a salad so we’ve cooked them up into Rocket soup with potato, ginger, cumin and turmeric – too hot for soup? Never! Bread and dripping next week…

Thanks to all who have booked into my ‘Secret World of Wine Tasting’ Fundraiser on Saturday 5th March – it’s all booked out! Hosted by yours truly, it’s a sit-down, relaxed look at the most popular varieties, what they are, where they come from, why you like some more than others – and nibbles. Sponsored by Joanna from Tyrrell’s Wines, nibbles from Jodie at Foodies, Bread from Michael at Brasserie Bread and Riedel glasses borrowed from Nicole Leighton! See you on Saturday!

Thanks! Melissa x

 

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Kitchen news 9th Feb 2016

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新年快乐

With a bumper twelve classes a week in the Kitchen Garden Program we’re jumping into 2016 Year of the (Cheeky) Monkey! And celebrating in true style with our famous Chinese Banquet Menu. I can quote Mr White saying today he think it’s his favourite menu so far… And judging by the empty plates I think the children thought so too. They even ate all the stinkingly-hot chillies they so carefully prepared, with only one or two capsaicin-casualties! And helping us harvest it all – and even starting lessons this week, and getting used to all the little helpers every lunch-time – was our new gardener, Mish. Mish comes highly recommended through Byron and has a wealth of green-fingered experience. Come and say hello to her!

In the Cottage we practised our wok technique with Asian greens and our chooks’ summer eggs, with a hundred little bush tomatoes and lovingly sorted coriander in Stir-fried eggs with tatsoi, tomatoes and chilli soy. We loved the crazy flavour combo of chocolatey, vegemitey Shanghai-style eggplant, braised until black and almost gooey, served with a restaurant-quality mound of Perfect steamed rice to mop up the sticky sauce. The children perfected the art of the wonton-squeeze, with the translucent Chicken and shiitake dumplings with chilli and black vinegar sauce – delicious and so easy to make at home too!

The simplicity of KK’s Chilled cucumber salad, dressed with ginger, garlic, sesame and soy is child’s play, but the savoury elements come together as adult flavours: a really grown-up dish. We wok-fried green beans, carrots, bean sprouts, some thin rice noodles and more lovely coriander and then rolled it all up into beautiful Vegetable spring rolls, making our own Sweet chilli sauce to dip them in. And to complete the banquet, some lovely Jasmine tea to refresh the palate.

And talking of palates – one last thing! ‘The Secret World of Wine Tasting’ is the inaugural Kitchen Garden Wine Tasting Fundraiser, coming up on Saturday 5th March at 7pm in the Cottage. Hosted by yours truly and $30 a head. Includes the actual tasting – a relaxed look at the most popular varieties, what they are, where they come from, why you like some more than others – and nibbles! Sponsored by Tyrrell’s Wines thanks to Joanna Robinson (mum to Summer and Chase). Bookings limited! Let me know if you’re interested!

Gong Xi Fa Cai!
Melissa

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Kitchen News 1st Dec 2015

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So we’ve just finished a Super-Spring menu of the last of the globe artichokes with lemon, garlic and herbs and a really fabulous bruschetta with zucchini, feta and basil (yes zucchini! The kids loved it!). We rolled out reams of bright purple pasta for beetroot ravioli with goats cheese and mint and also finely sliced onions and leaves for the chunky kale and borlotti bean soup – great for those 42 degree days – and chopped, blended and blended (and blended) all the fennel tops, onion, garlic, celery, parsley and sundried tomatoes for the recipe of Cornersmith’s bouillon that we water-bath and keep for stock for next year.

And then finishing the year in fine fettle, with a festive menu of carrot and potato latkes with apple sauce and a brightly coloured broad bean, parmesan and pea mash scooped up with wedges of garlicky flatbreads. We’re harvesting all that we can to finish off the garden year, so plating up End-of-Year salad bursting with tomatoes, cucumbers, crispy kale and sautéed tatsoi with bunches of herbs and a tangy dressing. And then to finish: a repeat of last year’s delicious rosemary shortbread. Hallelujah!

Thank you to all you intrepid and generous volunteers that have given your precious time to us this year. As you know, we couldn’t do it without you and YOU are the reason the Kitchen Garden Program at Bondi is such a success. Not only in guiding and encouraging our eager students, but also in supporting our roles and your continued words of wisdom and inspiration. We hope you have a wonderful holiday and get to spend it doing stuff you really love!

See you all next year,

Melissa

PS We really do need lots of help over the holidays with the chickens – when Vacation Care is closed and on the weekends – so if you’re staying in Bondi we’d appreciate your assistance!

To Volunteer for Classes or Chickens: click on VolunteerSpot at http://vols.pt/8qCfEY

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Kitchen News 18th November 2015

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Ok so here we really are in spring. Finally! With pelting November rain again and burst of brilliant sunshine the garden is finally giving up its gorgeous primavera prizes… In class we’ve been discussing why it is that a lot of our veggies have bolted to seed without forming properly, like the onions that have flowers but no bulb, and the non-bulbous fennel bulbs shooting out with towering fronds: we know it’s the hot crazy October sun, great for swimming in the ocean early but havoc for the plants. Anyway at least now the winter veg is gone and we are totally seasonal baby! If you walk through at the garden now you’ll be amazed at all the activity and sprouting green stuff everywhere. Hallelujah!

So to our menu reflecting the hues and tones of green, green and green (with some orange bits thrown in too): a brand new orange and fennel salad with (the last of the) blood orange vinaigrette, slinky silverbeet and home-made garam masala soup with coriander, a burstingly spring salad of broad beans, radishes and goats cheese, and then to top it all off, some comfort food for the odd wintry day where you need something soulful: creamy polenta with poached eggs and sage. And we even found time to bottle up some of our famous rhubarb and vanilla jam too in some classes. So there you go. All these recipes up on this blog, so clink the links if interested…

Only a few weeks left of Kitchen Garden so make the most of us! And we still have lots of Chicken spots to fill over the holidays so please sign up if you can help 🙂

To Volunteer for Classes or Chickens: click on VolunteerSpot at http://vols.pt/8qCfEY

Peace

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Kitchen News 4th November 2015

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Potato gnocchi with parmesan, burnt butter and crispy sage. Rosemary and thyme grissini. Creamy hummus made with a recipe adapted from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem book… these are some of the dishes our clever kids whipped up last week in the cottage! A major focus for one group was handling fragile lettuce: washing and spinning it dry and then rolling it up to store in the fridge until ready to compile a deliciously fresh and gorgeous looking Master salad with lemon vinaigrette. And we even made crispy herbed potato skins with leftovers from the gnocchi!

The Year 2 students continue their attack on Kitchen Garden – enthusiastically displaying their knife skills amongst other fabulous talents – and one class even got to sample one of our programs most successful and asked-for dishes ever: Globe artichokes with lemon and garlic vinaigrette. They’re very lucky as we’ve had a lot of trouble growing them in these last few years – the last ones we harvested in 2012! Hopefully we’ll have a few more popping up in the next few weeks. And I’m looking forward to seeing the Year 5 and 6 kids back next week too!

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Tea towel sales went through the roof so thank you to all who bought early. Year 2 and Kindergarten is SOLD OUT! We have other age groups but I am reclaiming my Monday and Friday mornings for a while so will be back in December – anybody wishing to buy some before then can see me in the cottage at 8.30am or 2.30pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays in the meantime.

Thanks Mx

And thanks for the little mufti Melissas last Friday! Loved all of you!

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Kitchen News October 20th 2015

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Goodness, so much on! A ripper of a GPs Day with all Farmer Rob’s sausages gone, loads of tea towels* sold and most of the jars of pickles, jams and marmalade… Congratulations to all who bought the Honey Pickled Kohlrabi too – please let me know what you do with it and there will be a prize for the best answer! Thanks as always to the small army of wonderful ladies (and grandad Johnny) who gave their valuable time on a hot day to raise funds for the SAKGP, and especially Christina (Maia and Juno) who was with me ALL DAY helping Farmer Rob & Miss Toole, I mean Mrs Lawlor! Thank you!

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*Tea towels! If you have been out of the loop this week you may have missed out on the tea towel story… All our students by year – all the way through from K to 5/6 – have illustrated their face and are included on a beautiful and present-worthy tea towel (75% linen, 25% cotton!). They are $15 each and will be sold on Monday and Friday mornings from 8.45am before school. Look out for us around the office and form an orderly queue please!

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So last week we had some of the groups chopping, pickling, sterilising and canning beetroot and kohrabi and rhubarb and blood oranges to get jars shop-ready, so this week the pressure is off and it’s back to B.A.U… Spinach and ricotta calzone, Silverbeet soup with curry spices and coriander, Leafy poached egg salad with kale & herby mayo and even a new recipe with yet another way to spell tabouleh, tabboulleh etc: Green tabule salad for spring. So there you go!

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Term 4 is a busy time of year and historically volunteer numbers always drop off, even though we still really need you. A glance at VolunteerSpot and you will see – we had no parent helpers for one of our classes this week, only one for another and just two parents for another. We are set-up to run five groups for every class – with ingredients bought and vegetables harvested – but in most stages are only able to run as many groups as there are adults, for obvious safety reasons. It’s such a pity for the children to be prepped for a dish and then to realise they are not able to make it due to low adult attendance. Please, if you can come and help please do! There are not many lessons left til the end of the year so we’d love to see you if you can spare the time. Thanks

Love Mx

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Kitchen news 11th March 2015

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Even with the dusty old summer plants pulled out and new beds filled with soil and tiny seedlings, we have still managed to complete a wonderful menu of delicious dishes… Autumnal pomegranates from the Kindy Playground trees and watermelons from the garden beds; the last of the beautiful basil and late summer blackened eggplants; and vermillion stripes of rainbow silverbeet spiking the air. The children too have been very clever in slicing large clumsy things like watermelons and half-pumpkins, and frenziedly chopping hardy herbs. I love seeing how much initiative they show year by year: asking to help and deftly handling tasks – and even washing up, drying up and packing away everything neatly in the case of the Stage 3 students! Such a joy to watch.

So the menu in full: Watermelon, pomegranate, feta and mint salad, with a handful of finely chopped red onion and white balsamic dressing; our hand-rolled Thyme and rosemary grissini, to dunk into silky Silverbeet soup with sour cream and chives; our old classic of crispy/ creamy Roasted pumpkin with goats’ cheese and pesto – such a wonderful autumn dish, so many delicious mingled flavours and perfect as a veggie lunch or side to roast chicken; and a new fave, a slinky and cheesy Eggplant and rosemary pizza with rocket. Great food.

Why not come along and see what the fuss is about! Classes are a burst of activity followed by fabulous food and time spent with your own gorgeous kids… Cooking real food, with NO artificial colours or additives! Lots of veggies, a little fruit, and good fats: olive oil, cheese, butter. We are so lucky for our children to be experiencing such a wholefood environment in this school: in the meals and snacks and gorgeous natural treats that the Canteen supply in massive demand each day; by being around the gardens and veggie beds and experiencing the wealth of knowledge of our gardeners and learning how to grow and maintain a veggie garden, and by learning in the cottage what to do with fresh produce, and trying it and ultimately enjoying it. Pleeeease respect this unique vision by sending in healthy options for your kids in their lunch boxes and especially at birthday times! Packaged items with artificial food colour numbers (ie frozen coloured icy-poles) are bad news for our kids, but the good news is that there are better options available always. Now endeth the sermon! If you’d like more info please get in touch.

Anyway please let us know if you’re coming along to help so that we can we adequately plan our classes! We need 5 spots filled for every Kitchen and Garden class. It’s easy now – click here to sign up & let us know that you’re coming: VolunteerSpot http://vols.pt/8qCfEY

Cheers lovelies xx

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Kitchen news 25th February 2015

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THE most delicious food has been produced this last fortnight. Oh my goodness yes!

Our pre-Xmas spuds made great in an Easy potato salad with late summer tomatoes, rocket and basil oil; the most amazingly vibrant and spicy/sweet Asian cabbage slaw you could ever imagine; Handmade linguine pasta squelched with People-Powered Pesto (hand-pestled indeed, TVM!*); and a TBT Curried carrot soup with yoghurt and coriander… and we blitzed our own curry powder for it too, natch.

We were fabulously aided by team of amazing helpers, and we gloriously salute your presence & appreciate you so much… the children have benefitted enormously from your help: your guidance and knowledge, your skills and patience, your humour and Being There-ishness… Thank you!

And on more exciting news, B&G have had a mountain of soil delivered for all the new seeds and seedlings – come and take a look! There is so much going on; beds cleared; chooks furnished; vines trellised; bushes trimmed… and they need help to get our food planted. Can you spare 45 minutes to supervise a small group of children? No experience necessary (but also appreciated!) Come and get some garden expertise for nix… and a whole lot more besides… or just come and say hi. 🙂

And please let us know if you’re coming along to help so that we can we adequately plan our classes! We need 5 spots filled for every Kitchen and Garden class. It’s easy now – click here to sign up & let us know that you’re coming: VolunteerSpot http://vols.pt/8qCfEY

Cheers lovelies xx

*Thanks Very Much!

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Kitchen news 11th February 2015

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With the Swimming Carnival swum, Meet the Teacher met, Kindergarten children tendered to, Chinese New Year paraded and general start-of-school-year business accomplished we are Back In Business in the SAKGP 2015!

First up is a big Bondi welcome to our new Garden Specialists: Byron and Grant, who bring an amazing amount of horticultural knowledge to our garden beds and a wonderful presence in our garden lessons. Welcome!

And then with the Chinese New Year we present the CNY Banquet Menu, always the first off the board: Vegetable spring rolls with homemade sweet chilli sauce, the very soft, chocolatey and velvety Shanghai-style eggplant served with ‘perfect’ saucepan-made Steamed rice and a quick-whisked Stir-fried eggs with tomatoes, Tokyo Bekana cabbage and chilli soy.

We also gobbled up Chicken and shiitake dumplings (or a carrot & tatsoi alternative) with chilli and black vinegar sauce, and finished it with Chilled cucumber salad & a small Chinese cup of Jasmine tea.

Super-delicious, and wonderful to see the new Year 3s stepping up to the cooking challenges alongside the Year 4s, 5s and 6s… Bravo! And how fab are all the classes? You’re all so clever!

And of course, a big thanks to all the volunteers that have made these two weeks such a smooth transition, we are so grateful! But we need MORE of you please… We have changed to a new online system at VolunteerSpot so please enrol if you can help us with Kitchen Garden classes or even looking after the chooks on the weekends (opening up & feeding / closing up later)? Minimal time and maximum kid happiness… The link is below.

Thanks xx

To pledge help: click on VolunteerSpot at http://vols.pt/8qCfEY

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Teamwork!

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Kitchen news – 28th August 2014

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We have started our lessons this menu with a little masterclass on dicing and slicing vegetables: how to finely chop an onion easily; the dos and don’ts of carrot division (!); and the simple way to 1cm-dice a potato. Lots of fun – and made me feel rather like a David Jones Saturday demonstration lady… think I’ll stick to this job. The children responded beautifully in class by showing me they had listened and taken in what they had seen, and our veggies were chopped just right!

One group got the lion’s share of knife experience: the Broad Beans, who had the mammoth task of cleaning and chopping mounds of carrots, onions, leeks, fennel, parsley, carrot tops, coriander and sun-dried tomatoes for the vital Bouillon that we use in all our soups, risotto and other dishes needing stock. We have preserved enough to sell at our stalls at Grandparents’ Day and at the Halloween Fete so pop by and pick some up then – you’ll never have to buy stock again!

Also making use of the chopping boards this fortnight were the Artichoke group, making my friend Sharon’s broccoli soup, with the cunning late addition of a spoonful of pesto, made in May this year and frozen for use now to remind us of summer flavours… thick and rich and fragrant. Perfect for this Melburnian weather!

The Olives made Flour tortillas from scratch – so easy to do at home, and free of all the rubbish additives. The gluten free version we made was actually tastier and more pliable than the usual one, using just G-F plain flour from Woolies, and we wrapped these around the Tomato group’s Magic bean stew, burrito-style. At home you could add avocado and a fried egg with some crispy bacon and chipotle sauce for the best brekkie burrito. Just saying.

And the Carrot team made the loveliest Winter salad with roasted bits and poached eggs – the bits: cauliflower florets and Brussels sprout leaves with cumin, coriander, salt, olive oil. And salad leaves, garlicky lemon dressing and wonderful eggs. Congrats to 4W for not breaking a single yolk in the process!

Thanks again for all the jars, especially Georgina for the massive box full of them, and also to Amir for the fab new juicer! Cheers! Mx

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