Posts Tagged With: Kitchen garden

Creamy polenta with crispy sage

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This is such a vibrant and comforting dish, with the frizzled sage leaves giving everything a crispy, savoury lift.

From the garden: sage, garlic
Recipe source: Melissa
Serves: 4 or 24 tastes


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

  • 250ml milk plus extra 100ml on standby
  • 250ml water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup fine polenta
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone
  • 50g grana padano parmesan
  • 25g butter
  • A branch of sage leaves
  • Flaked salt and black pepper

What to do:

  1. Bring the milk, water and bay leaf to the boil in the larger saucepan then remove from heat and allow to infuse for 20 minutes. Strain and discard the bay leaf, bring to the boil again, pour in the polenta and stir continuously until it thickens, about 10-20 minutes, depending on the variety of polenta.
  2. Meanwhile grate the parmesan and measure out the mascarpone.
  3. When the polenta is cooked, add the mascarpone and grated parmesan and mix until well combined. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. The polenta should be soft and creamy and only just hold its shape. You may need to add a little extra of the standby milk to loosen up the polenta if it becomes too stiff – this will also depend on what brand of polenta you use. You want a sloppy, porridge type consistency.
  4. Pick the sage leaves, then wash and spin them dry. With about a minute to go, heat the butter in the small saucepan over medium heat. Add the sage leaves and cook until they are dark green, crispy and fragrant and the butter is bubbling and turning brown.
  5. To serve, divide polenta among serving bowls. Season generously and scatter with the frizzled sage leaves & browned butter. 

Notes: What is polenta? What is cooking by ‘absorption’ method? What is mascarpone?

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Kitchen news 9th Feb 2016



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!


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Kitchen News October 20th 2015

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!

*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!             

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!

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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Lettuces, rocket and radish salad with poached eggs and tarragon mayo

The list of ingredients we can add to a salad is endless… here we base our salads on salad leaves, fresh herbs and then seasonal additions. This one is a favourite with just-poached eggs and a wonderfully creamy dressing. We always try to have a salad on the table for every meal – I find at the beginning of new year the children are reluctant to eat lettuce leaves or radishes, but that changes as they become used to seeing the bowls on the table, and the difference of ingredients according to the seasons…

Perfect yolky salad!

Fresh from the garden: Lettuces leaves, rocket, eggs, cucumber, radishes, tarragon, chives, oregano, thyme, marjoram, parsley
Recipe source: Melissa
Serves: 6 or 24 tastes

  • Bowls – 2 large, 1 medium, 2 small
  • A salad spinner
  • Tea towel, kitchen paper
  • Chopping boards & knives
  • Peelers
  • Mandoline
  • Non-stick frying pan
  • Slotted spoon
  • Stick blender & cup
  • Measuring: jug, teaspoon, ½ teaspoon
  • Scales
  • Mezzaluna
  • Citrus juicer
  • Serving bowls


  • 4 freshest free-range eggs
  • A bunch of salad & rocket leaves
  • A handful of herbs
  • A few garnishing flowers
  • A cucumber
  • Some radishes

For the tarragon mayonnaise:

  • 50g landcress
  • 1 large sprig tarragon
  • 1 extra egg
  • ½ teaspoon flaked salt
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 level teaspoon mustard powder
  • 120ml rice bran or veg oil
  • 25ml olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • ½ a lemon
  • Freshly milled black pepper

What to do:

For the salad:

  • Fill up the 2 big bowls with cold water & wash the salad leaves in several changes of water. Spin dry and wipe the bowls 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.
  • Fill up another bowl with water and wash the herbs and small garnishing leaves. Spin dry and  pick leaves, discarding stalks into compost.
  • Pick the petals from the flowers and reserve in a small bowl with the garnishing leaves.
  • Chop the herbs and keep separate in their own small bowl.
  • Wash the cucumber and peel if spiky. Slice into mouth-sized pieces.
  • Wash the radishes and trim any roots and stalk. Slice into smaller pieces or chunks – or even better, use the mandoline to carefully slice super-thin discs.

To poach the eggs:

  • Fill a medium-sized frying pan with water to a depth of approximately 4cm, then heat it to a temperature just sufficient to keep the water at a bare simmer.
  • Then break the eggs into the simmering water, one at a time until they’re all in, and let them cook, uncovered, for 2 or 3 minutes. Fill a large bowl with cold water.
  • The eggs are done when the white is no longer wobbly, 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.

For the sauce:

  • Wash, spin dry and separate off the landcress leaves and discard any tough stalks into the compost.  Wash & spin dry the tarragon. Pick the tarragon to yield about 1 tablespoon leaves.
  • Squeeze the lemon half to yield ½ teaspoon lemon juice. Peel the garlic clove & finely chop. Wash & dry the chives and snip finely.
  • 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 mix the oils in the jug 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, watercress and tarragon leaves, then blend again until the leaves are quite finely chopped.

 To serve:

  • Take the lettuce from the fridge and chop or tear into mouth-sized strips. Pop them into a big bowl, then add the spring onions and herbs & drizzle about a teaspoon of olive oil, a teaspoon of white wine vinegar  & a sprinkle of flaked salt over the whole lot.
  • Using your hands, turn the leaves to coat in the dressing and then divide the lot among your serving bowls.
  • Spoon an egg at a time out of the water and dry off with some paper towel or a tea towel, and then carefully arrange one egg on each salad.
  • Drizzle the mayo over the top of each salad, followed by a sprinkle of a few of the snipped chives and the flowers and serve immediately with tongs or service cutlery.

Notes: What is mayo short for? What other salad dressings could you use? Why do we need to wash the leaves so well? Why do we roll the leaves up to put them in the fridge? When would you need to use vinegar to poach the eggs? Why do we reserve the cooked eggs in cold water?

Eggcellent salads!

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OKG School Holiday Program – Tuesday 23rd April 2013

Tuesday’s menu


Introduction – Knife Licences

Carrot muffins with garlic butter*
Rhubarb and pear compote with vanilla yoghurt*
Ava’s orange Anzacs* 

Chook care – Garden Walk – Herb id

Chickpea and green veggie soup*
Spelt rags* with quick pesto*
Warm beetroot & quinoa tabbouleh*

Seedlings & seeds
Take home: start a herb garden!

The most perfect cup of chickpea & green veggie soup!

Well! We came, we saw, we conquered! Conquered the peeling, the chopping, the boiling, blending, the baking, the eating – and the washing up! We had such a wonderful time – the children were so helpful and enthusiastic, and made super delicious food. And I think we all learnt something new… Thanks to all the wonderful kids who attended, you are all so inspiring!

Warm beetroot & quinoa tabbouleh

If you’d like to try the recipes at home, click on the asterisked menu listings above to be directed…  xx

OKG Knife Licence

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Kitchen Garden Holiday Program next week!

We still have a few spots left for our kitchen garden school holiday program extravaganza next week – Tuesday & Wednesday, 9.30 to 3pm, for kids aged 7 to 12, $85 with all food and activities included… message me here asap and I’ll send you on all the details!


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Kitchen News – 6th December 2012

(OK this is a bit late but I’ve finally managed to find time to get this all updated! Watch this space…)


Sunny and hot, cold and windy, humid and foggy, sunny and windy, cold and rainy, warm and rainy, sunny and windy… What’s going on? Goodness, just as I think I can pack the heaters away and start chilling cucumber soup, the wind & rain get me reaching for the long sleeves & slow-braised lamb again… One thing’s for sure though: the broad bean season has definitely come to an end! I counted to about 25 kilos but then I reckon we plucked another 25kg after that… and even today I finished blanching & freezing another box-worth, so will be able to surprise and delight (!) some eager-beavers in the first few weeks back in 2013…

So to business: Weeks 9 and 10 of Term 4 traditionally only mean One Thing: the Festive Menu! We’re mixing it up though in the interest of sustainability and using up what we’ve got before the big break… so we’re balancing mini Christmas cakes and festive shortbread with rainbow silverbeet and spring onion calzone, and the return of our fabulous Nicoise salad as it’s just SO good with our spanking-fresh eggs, and those green dwarf beans just keep on comin’… the children have also been hard at work signing their thankyou cards and then completing them in our kitchen classes, and Ligia has been helping our groups create beautiful mandala-inspired patterns on them with some clever kitchen garden materials…


This will be my last Kitchen News of 2012… So with that I would like to thank all the Bondi children for being so enthusiastic and inspiring, for being so helpful and happy, for saying hello in the playground and telling me that they made one of our dishes at home, for trying new foods and for being brave. I’m very sad to be saying goodbye to the beautiful Year 6s (and some year 4s too) who have been such a joy to work with this year, but in reality the circle of life continues and I’ll be a proud mum waving my big girl off at the school gates for the first time in the New Year…

Our heartfelt thanks too to our great community of KG volunteers who help these kids achieve so much every lesson – and that’s not just the delicious food: I see first-hand the changes in self-esteem, self-control, technical ability & fine motor skills, the ability to work as a team (and even vegetable identification and preparation!) – and then stay and sweep the floor too! And a big group-hug to all the amazing staff and teachers at Bondi who help me do this great job and keep me smiling day after day…

Thank you for a great year. Love, Melissa x


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Kitchen news – 2nd August 2012

With a crack of the starting pistol, we’re off! The Olympic fortnight has leapt from the springboard here in the cottage and we’ve been dishing up gold with our Brit chefs’ middle-eastern inspired menu of winning dishes… First up is a wonderful almost-spring (or almost-autumn, depending on which side of the world you are) recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of chickpea, kale and potato curry, with Simon Rimmer’s carrot and chickpea falafel with herb yoghurt and pita bread, Gordon Ramsay’s very simple broccoli soup , Rose Elliott’s beetroot and quinoa tabbouleh and a wonderful dessert from the fab Jamie Oliver, who is right now trying to start up  a UK-version of a Kitchen Garden project inspired by our very own SAKGP, stewed rhubarb with vanilla yoghurt. Look for the recipes on this site soon!

We had a visit to the cottage yesterday afternoon from Mr Fielding and Mr Patterson, the School Education Directors and a group of potential SED high school students, who rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in with 5/6P… Much thanks to Fort St High, JJ Cahill Memorial, Sydney Secondary College and Randwick Girls’ for supplying us with such generous and talented cooks: well done Harriet, Henry, Olympia, Ciaran, Vickie & Gabriella for helping out so beautifully! And thanks always to Ms Parry, Ms Kendall, super-Ellie and Jill (our Wednesday arvo regular) – the food was extra-delicious…

And thanks again to all our volunteers for continuing to support our little program – every week I see and hear more and more reference in the newspapers, magazines, books and radio to the benefits of exposing children to good food, vegetables and ‘real food’ cooking, along with the necessity of organic horticulture and lessons of recycling, re-using etc and feel that we’re doing our small bit for the future health and well-being of our kids and the planet. Hooray!

And only one thing left to say now: Come on Aussies, come on!!!

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Kitchen News – June 20th 2012

Today was the most beautiful day and we had the kindie kids playing sports in the grassy playground beside the cottage all afternoon – it was lovely to hear all their voices and to see them hula-hooping away in the sunshine! And good it is too that the grass has hardened up a bit after the deluges we’ve had recently … I picked some beautiful bright yellow wattle for the vases on our stripy tables, and its presence reminds me that we are in the deep midwinter, with solstice – and shortest daylight – upon us… lucky we are indeed to live with such beautiful days!

Getting down to business – this week’s menu theme is tapas/ antipasto/ mezze, with some great class discussion on foods from other countries that we now call our own… we’ve whizzed some delicious hummus from chickpeas we soaked overnight and then simmered (yes, more pulses this week, I just can’t get enough of them!) eaten with our own rosemary and thyme grissini; some fabulous mozzarella and thyme arancini; the most moist and gooey tortilla de patata that my stepmother Carmen would be proud of; and some power-packed and spicy champiñones al ajillo (garlicky mushrooms) served with a simple Spanish-style dressed leaf salad… poor chooks though: nothing left for them! The girls in 4W today ate it ALL UP! Luckily our feathered girls got the mushy veggies left over from making stock or they would be turning against me in hunger & disgust! Next week we’ll also try our hand at pickling some of our wonderful cauliflower, broccoli and carrots for a juicy giardiniera…

To all our readers: please think of volunteering if you have a little time next term! Some of our trusty helpers have had to say goodbye & we will be looking to fill lots of spots… we need you! Thank you!

PS All these recipes are up (or about to be!) – please post a comment here if you want one from the past few months & don’t see it, as I’ll try and get the popular recipes up asap.

And don’t forget our kitchen garden SCHOOL HOLIDAY PROGRAM! Book now, spaces are filling fast!

Cheers! Melissa

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