Posts Tagged With: vegan

Rhubarb and vanilla jam

This must be the easiest jam to make in the whole wide world! And, as with all jam-making, small quantities are best: quickest to prepare and also to bring up to that all-important setting point. And if you find you don’t have the exact kilo of prepared fruit, just weigh out the equivalent amount of sugar.

Fresh from the garden: rhubarb, lemon

Recipe source: Melissa

Makes: 3 or 4 medium jars


  • 4 medium jars with good lids
  • Oven tray
  • Paper towel
  • 3 small saucers
  • Chopping boards and knives
  • Scales
  • Citrus juicer
  • Heavy-based wide stockpot
  • Wooden spoon with flat edge
  • Spatula
  • Small serving bowls

  • 1kg rhubarb
  • 1kg sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 large lemon

What to do:

To sterilise jars:

  1. Wash your jars in hot, soapy water, rinse and then drain them upside-down.
  2. Place on an oven tray right-side-up and slide them into the oven. Turn on the oven to 160C. Leave them there until
  3. Wash the lids, rinse and drain them. Wipe them dry with a piece of paper towel and keep your fingers away from the inside of the lid!

To make the jam:

  1. Put 3 small saucers in the freezer.
  2. Wash the rhubarb stalks and trim the edges. Slice each stalk into 3cm pieces and weigh to make sure you have 1kg.
  3. Slice the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds, then cut each pod half into two.
  4. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze out the juice.
  5. Put the rhubarb into a preserving pan or a heavy-based wide stockpot with the measured sugar, vanilla seeds and pods. Heat gently, stirring, until all the sugar has dissolved, then squeeze in the lemon juice and increase the heat.
  6. Boil for about 10 minutes until the fruit is soft, stirring with the flat-ended wooden spoon every minute or so. Test for the setting point by spooning a little onto your chilled plate. After 1-2 mins, push your finger through the jam – if the surface wrinkles it is ready, if not, keep cooking for 2 minute intervals, testing in between.
  7. Once the jam is ready, let it cool for about 10 mins before ladling into your warm sterilised jars and sealing with the clean, dry lids.
  8. Label with the name and date when cool. Will keep for at least 12 months in a cool, dark place.

Notes: What does to sterilise mean? What is the setting point?

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Silverbeet and garam masala soup

Garam is the Hindi word for hot, and masala, spice mixture. We often make our own garam masala blend of ground cumin, coriander, ginger and turmeric, cayenne and mustard seeds at school but it is commonly available in the spice section of any supermarket, already blended.


Fresh from the garden: silverbeet (Swiss chard), onion, potatoes, garlic, coriander

Recipe source: Melissa

Serves: 6 or 24 tastes


  • Kettle
  • Chopping boards and knives
  • Selection of mixing bowls
  • Paper towel
  • Stockpot
  • Flat-ended wooden spoon
  • Measures: jug, tablespoon, teaspoon
  • Garlic press
  • Ladle
  • Stick blender
  • Serving bowls

  • 1.5 litres boiling water and 2 tablespoons bouillon (or 1.5 litres vegetable stock)
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 brown onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • A large bunch of silverbeet
  • Olive oil
  • A heaped teaspoon garam masala
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Flaked salt
  • A small handful of coriander

What to do:

  1. Fill the kettle to 1.5 litres and set it to boil.
  2. Wash or scrub the potatoes under running water (but don’t peel!) and then coarsely chop into 2cm cubes.
  3. Peel the onion and slice into two halves, then finely chop. Peel and chop the garlic.
  4. Wash the silverbeet & shake over the sink. Finely chop the silverbeet, using the whole stalk and leaves as well.
  5. Pour olive oil to cover the base of the stockpot and heat over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add the chopped onion and cook on low, stirring every now and then, for 5 minutes and then add the potato and cook for another few minutes.
  6. Add in the garlic, chopped silverbeet and the garam masala and stir together. Cook very gently for a minute until aromatic.
  7. Increase heat to high. Add the 1½ litres of hot water and the 2 tablespoons of bouillon and bring to the boil, then simmer gently, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until the potato is almost tender.
  8. Meanwhile wash and pat the coriander dry and finely chop.
  9. When the soup is ready and the potato is soft, grind a little bit of pepper in too and taste to see if you need to add any extra salt.
  10. Add in the coriander and then blitz the soup with the stick blender until it’s really smooth.
  11. Taste and add more salt if you need to.
  12. Ladle soup among serving bowls and serve!

 Notes: What do is silverbeet also known as? What is in the garam masala blend? Why do potato-based soups need more salt?

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Orange and fennel salad with blood orange vinaigrette

This salad is a fresh and gorgeous, with contrasting flavours of orange and aniseed from the fennel. The lesson focusses on slicing oranges without squashing the juice out of them in the process!

Fresh from the garden: oranges, blood oranges, fennel, red onion, parsley

Recipe source: Melissa

Serves: 6 or 24 tastes


  • Chopping boards and knives
  • Microplane grater
  • A medium jar with lid
  • Measures: jug, 1/3 cup, 1/4 cup, teaspoon
  • Selection of mixing bowls
  • Colander
  • Salad spinner
  • Paper towel
  • Bowls to serve

  • 3 oranges
  • 2 small fennel bulbs
  • 1 medium red onion
  • A small handful parsley or coriander

Blood orange vinaigrette

  • 1 blood orange
  • 100mls olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
  • Flaked salt & ground black pepper 

What to do:

To make the blood orange vinaigrette:

  1. Finely grate the rind from the blood orange using the microplane grater and reserve in a screw-top jar.
  2. Cut the blood orange in half and juice to make about 1/3 cup juice.
  3. Measure and add in the olive oil, blood orange juice, mustard and a pinch of salt and grind of pepper. Screw lid on securely and shake well.

To make the salad:

  1. Wash the fennel and trim it. Finely slice the fennel very carefully using a sharp knife.
  2. Peel the red onion and cut in half. Finely slice each half to form little half-moons.
  3. Peel the remaining oranges and cut in half. Place each half on the chopping board and very thinly slice them, without squashing the orange!
  4. Wash the parsley or coriander and spin-dry. Pick off the leaves, discarding the stalks and chop if needed.
  5. Toss the orange slices with the fennel and red onion in a bowl to combine. Place in a large mixing bowl, sprinkle with the parsley or coriander and pour over the orange vinaigrette.
  6. Toss to combine and then divide into your serving bowls.

Notes: Why is it called a blood orange? What does fennel smell like?

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Magic bean stew

Why magic? Have you heard the story of Jack and the Beanstalk? These could be the same beans… anyway this stew certainly warms you up magically, and is great wrapped in a flour tortilla, burrito-style – or simply served with a slice of crusty bruschetta on the side.

From the garden: garlic, onion, celery, carrots, coriander
Recipe source: Melissa
Serves: 6 or 24 tastes

  • Large glass bowl
  • Scales
  • Measures: tablespoon, teaspoon
  • Colander
  • A medium saucepan & a large heavy-based saucepan
  • Chopping boards & knives
  • Potato peelers
  • Salad spinner
  • Garlic press
  • Wooden spoon
  • Ladle
  • Serving bowls


  • 100g dried cannellini beans
  • 100g dried borlotti beans
  • 100g black eyed beans
  • 100g dried chickpeas
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 red onion
  • Olive oil
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 bunch coriander
  • Flaked salt & black pepper

What to do:

  • The night before, place your dried beans in the glass bowl and fill the bowl with cold water and the bicarb.
  • The next day, rinse and drain the beans, then put them into the medium saucepan with lots of fresh cold water to cover. Add 3 garlic cloves & grind of pepper. Set on a medium heat and simmer until beans are soft – should be around 20-30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the onions.Wash and shake the celery dry then slice down the stalks, then chop the thin strips and leaves into small dice.
  • Wash and peel the carrots, slice into lengths then chop the lengths into small pieces.
  • Wash and spin dry the coriander and chop finely, keeping the stalks separate from the leaves.
  • Peel and squeeze the remaining garlic cloves through the press.
  • Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in the large saucepan and fry the onion gently for 2 minutes, then add in the garlic, celery, carrot and chopped coriander stalks (not leaves, keep thewm for later) for about 5 minutes until the flavours combine.
  • Add the tomatoes and continue to cook on a gentle heat for a further 5 minutes, and then scoop out the beans and in to the tomato with a little liquid to moisten. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • Add a grind of pepper and a sprinkle of salt and taste to check seasoning.
  • Ladle into serving bowls, sprinkle with chopped coriander leaves and eat!

Notes: Why do we soak the beans overnight? What is another name for stew? What is coriander also known as?

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Flour tortillas

These pliable tortillas are great for making burritos, with fillings you wrap up inside. You can also freeze any leftovers, then re-heat in a foil ‘packet’ when you need them. This recipe is also great if you want to use gluten-free plain flour, in fact the tortillas were even better!

Recipe source: adapted from a recipe on
Makes: 16 tortillas


  • Stand mixer and dough hook
  • Measures: cup, 1/3 cup, teaspoon
  • Spatula
  • Knife and chopping board
  • 2 tea towels
  • Large non-stick frying pan
  • Rolling pins
  • Tongs
  • Serving plates

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable or Rice Bran oil
  • 1 cup warm water

What to do:

  • Combine flour, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a stand mixer. With the dough hook attached, mix dry ingredients until well combined. Add oil and water with mixer running at a medium speed. Mix for 1 minute, stopping several times to scrape the sides of the bowl. After about 1 minute, or when mixture comes together and begins to form a ball, decrease mixing speed to low. Continue to mix for 1 minute or until dough is smooth.
  • Transfer from mixing bowl to a well-floured work surface. Divide dough in half, then in half again. Continue until you have 16 fairly equal portions. Form each piece into a ball and flatten with the palm of your hand as much as possible. If dough is sticky, use a bit more flour. Cover flattened balls of dough with a clean tea towel and allow to rest for 15 minutes before proceeding.
  • After rest period, roll each dough piece into a rough circle, about 15-20 cm in diameter, keeping work surface and rolling pins lightly floured. Don’t stack uncooked tortillas on top of each other or they will get soggy.
  • Heat the frying pan over medium-high heat. When pan is very hot, place one dough circle into pan and allow to cook about 1 minute or until bottom surface has a few pale brown spots. The uncooked surface will begin to show a few little bubbles. If tortilla is browning too fast, reduced heat a bit. If it’s taking longer than a minute to see a few pale golden brown spots on underside of tortillas, increase heat a bit. Flip to other side and cook for about 30 seconds. You want the tortilla to be soft but have a few small pale golden brown spots on surface. Remove from pan with tongs and stack, covered with a clean tea towel until all tortillas are cooked. This will keep them soft and pliable.
  • Wipe out the pan in between tortillas (carefully, with a piece of paper towel) if flour is started to accumulate.
  • Divide onto plates and serve warm.

Notes: What would you use as the filling in your burrito? What other sorts of tortillas are there?

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Carrot soup with lemon tahini and crisped chickpeas

Carrot soup seems to go down a treat with our kids, and this one is super-special with a wonderful lemony dollop and also some crunch from roasted chickpeas.

Fresh from the garden: carrots, onion, garlic, parsley, lemon
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe by Deb Perelman on
Serves: 6 or 24 tastes


  • Kettle
  • Peelers
  • Chopping boards and knives
  • Large stockpot
  • Measures: tablespoon, teaspoon, ½ teaspoon
  • Baking tray and paper
  • Colander
  • Mixing bowls – selection
  • Citrus juicer
  • Salad spinner
  • Stick blender
  • Ladle
  • Serving bowls









  • 1.5 litres boiling water with 2 tablespoons of bouillon (or 1.5 litres vegetable stock)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1kg carrots
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • A teaspoon ground coriander
  • A teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt, plus more if needed
  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • A small handful flat leaf parsley

Crisped chickpeas

  • 400g tin of chickpeas
  • 1 generous tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Lemon-tahini dollop

  • 3 tablespoons tahini paste
  • A lemon
  • Pinch or two of salt
  • 2 tablespoons water

What to do:

  • Fill the kettle with cold water to the 1.5 litre mark and set it to boil. Preheat the oven to 220C.
  • Wash and peel carrots and dice into small cubes. Peel and finely chop the onion. Smash and peel the garlic cloves.
  • Heat two tablespoons olive oil in the large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté gently for 5 minutes, then add the carrots, garlic, coriander, cumin and chilli flakes and cook until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Once vegetables have begun to brown, add the hot water and bouillon (or stock), using it to scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Cover pot with lid and simmer until carrots are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.

To make the chickpeas:

  • Meanwhile, line the tray with baking paper. Drain the chickpeas and then pat dry on paper towels and pop into a large bowl. Toss chickpeas with the olive oil, salt and cumin until they’re all coated. Spread them on the tray and roast them in the oven until they’re browned and crisp. This can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the size and firmness of your chickpeas. Toss them occasionally to make sure they’re toasting evenly.

To make the lemon tahini:

  • Meanwhile cut the lemon in half and juice to yield 2 tablespoons. In a small dish, whisk together the juice, tahini, salt and water until smooth with a yogurt-like consistency. If more liquid is needed to thin it, you can add more lemon juice or water, a spoonful at a time, until you get your desired consistency.

To finish:

  • Wash and spin-dry the parsley. Pick the leaves from the stalks and chop.
  • Puree soup with the stick blender until smooth. Taste to check seasoning, then ladle into bowls. Dollop each with lemon-tahini, sprinkle with crisped chickpeas and garnish with chopped parsley. 

Notes: Carrot and cumin goes well together. What other classic combinations can you think of?

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Bush tucker: Barilla bower spinach and sweetcorn soup

This is a wonderful soup, full of gingery goodness! We were lucky enough to get some fresh organic turmeric that added quite a savoury aspect to the soup, and stained everything bright yellow, including fingers!

Foraged bush tucker food: Barilla bower spinach
Recipe source: adapted from a Javanese recipe on
Serves: 6 or 24 tastes


  • Kettle
  • Chopping boards & knives
  • Peelers
  • Garlic press
  • Microplane
  • Mixing bowls
  • Colander
  • Stockpot
  • Measures: jug, tablespoon, teaspoon
  • Serving bowls

  • 1.5 litres water
  • 1.5 tablespoons bouillon
  • 2 onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2cm piece of galangal
  • 2cm piece of ginger
  • 2 fresh corn cobs
  • 2 large handfuls Barilla spinach
  • 1cm piece of fresh turmeric
  • Rice Bran oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Flaked salt & pepper

What to do:

  • Fill the kettle and set it to boil. Peel and finely chop the onions. Peel and mince the garlic.
  • Peel the galangal, turmeric and ginger and carefully grate using the microplane.
  • Peel the silks from the corn cobs and wash the cobs. Cut in half across the middle and then, keeping the flat side on the chopping board, carefully slice off the kernels with a small sharp knife.
  • Wash the Barilla spinach in a big bowl and several changes of cold water, drain in the colander then roughly chop.
  • Drizzle roughly 2 tablespoons of oil into the stockpot and heat on medium. Fry off the onion gently for 3 minutes, stirring, then add the garlic, ginger and turmeric and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add the hot water and bouillon, turmeric, bay leaf and brown sugar and simmer for 5 minutes, covered.
  • Add the corn and simmer for 5 minutes, partially covered, until the corn is tender.
  • Add the spinach and taste to check if you need any more seasoning.
  • Ladle into bowls and serve.

Notes: What is Barilla bower spinach like and where does it grow? What is turmeric and what does it look like?

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Lemongrass and lemon balm tisane

Alice says: ‘A tisane is a fresh tea, an infusion of fragrant herbs, or flowers or spices, in boiling water. It is a soothing a refreshing finish to a meal, is complementary to most desserts, and offers a mild alternative to coffee. Tisane can be made from such flavourings as lemon verbena, mint, lemon thyme, lemon balm, hyssop, chamomile, citrus rind and ginger – alone and in combination. The one I make most is a combination of mint and lemon verbena. It is very beautiful made in a glass teapot so you can see the brilliant green leaves… I like to use small clear tea glasses, as they do in Morocco, so the lovely pale green colour is visible.’

Melissa says, ‘this is my tea! The botanical name for lemon balm is Melissa Officinalis – Melissa means honeybee in Greek, and so lemon balm was thus named as its white flowers attracted bees.’ Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Fresh from the garden: lemongrass, lemon balm
Recipe source: inspired by Alice Waters: The Art of Simple Food
Makes: 2 to 3 litres

  • Stockpot
  • Tea glasses


  • A bunch of lemongrass leaves
  • Several branches of lemon balm
  • 2 or 3 litres water

What to do:

  • Fill the stockpot with water and set it on high to boil with the lid on.
  • If you’re using lemongrass then take care as the leaves are sharp! Grab a bunch and tie together in a loop, then rinse the bunch well and shake dry.
  • Wash the lemon balm in cold water and shale dry. Strip off the leaves & discard the stalks.
  • Once the water is boiling, turn the pot off and carefully drop the herbs in.
  • Let the tisane steep for several minutes and serve, ladling the tea carefully into each glass.

Notes: What else is tisane know as? What other herbs or spices could you use? What are aromatics?

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Green salad

The title is simple but the ingredients are many and varied! Just take care when washing young delicate leaves so that they don’t get squashed…

Fresh from the garden: rocket, lettuces, pea shoots, baby spinach, kale, spring onions, herbs
Recipe source: Melissa
Serves: 4 or 24 tastes


  • Mixing bowls – 3 big, 2 med, 2 small
  • Colanders
  • 2 salad spinners
  • Scissors
  • Paper towel
  • Measuring – 1/4 cup, tablespoon, teaspoon
  • A small jar with lid
  • Bowlsto serve



  • A few stalks of kale
  • A large handful of rocket
  • A large handful lettuce leaves
  • A large handful pea shoots
  • A large handful baby spinach
  • A small bunch of spring onions
  • Edible flowers
  • A handful baby nasturtium leaves
  • A bunch of aromatic herbs: marjoram, basil, thyme, coriander
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • A teaspoon of honey
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Flaked salt & black pepper

What to do:

  • Wash the kale and shake dry. Cut the leaves from the stalks and discard the stalks. Roll up the kale leaves into a tube shape and then finely slice into very thin ribbons.
  • Wash all the leaves & pea shoots in several large bowls and many changes of cold water, filling up the bowls with the water and gently swilling the leaves around, draining in the colander and checking each time for any dirt left in the water. Spin dry in handfuls, reserving the leaves in a large clean, dry bowl.
  • Wash and trim the spring onions, discarding any roots and browning layers. Using scissors, snip into tiny discs and add to the bowl of prepared leaves and shoots.
  • Reserve the edible flowers and nasturtium leaves in a small bowl of cold water. When ready to use, drain on a piece of paper towel and use for the garnish.
  • Wash & dry the herb sprigs, leaving small leaves whole and chopping or snipping with scissors any large leaves and the coriander stalks into tiny pieces.
  • For the dressing, measure the olive oil, vinegar and honey and pour them into the jar. Add all the herbs with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, then put the lid on & give the jar a good shake.
  • Drizzle the dressing around the leaves and gently turn the leaves with your fingers so that all the leaves are covered. Lift out and drain the dressed leaves, dividing into serving bowls.
  • Finish by popping the edible flowers and nasturtium leaves on top of the bowls of salad. Serve immediately!

Notes: Why do we have to be so gentle when preparing these leaves and pea shoots? What is vinaigrette? What do the edible flowers taste like?

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Moroccan chickpea hotpot

As soon as the weather starts to chill, our thoughts turn to hearty veggie soups and stews…

From the garden: onion, garlic, celery, carrot, coriander
Recipe source: Melissa
Serves: 6 at home or 24 tastes


  • Kettle
  • Chopping boards and knives
  • Stockpot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Measures – jug, tablespoon, teaspoon, ¼ teaspoon
  • C0lander
  • Paper towel
  • Scissors
  • Serving bowls
  • Ladle



  • 1 litre boiling water and a tablespoon of bouillon (or 1 litre stock)
  • 1 brown onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • A pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 2 tins diced tomatoes
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • A small handful fresh coriander

What to do:

  • Fill the kettle and set it to boil.
  • Peel and coarsely chop the onion. Peel and crush the garlic.
  • Wash and trim the ends from the celery and thinly slice. Wash, peel and finely chop the carrot.
  • Heat the oil in the stockpot over medium-low heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the garlic, ground cumin, sweet paprika, ground ginger and the ground cinnamon and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until aromatic.
  • Add the tomato and hot water and bouillon (or stock) and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes.
  • Rinse and drain the chickpeas and add to the pot, cooking for 2 minutes or until heated through. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Wash and pat the coriander dry and finely snip with scissors into tiny pieces.
  • Ladle the soup among serving bowls. Sprinkle with coriander and serve immediately.

Notes: What does cumin smell like? Where does the bouillon live? What is a hotpot?

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