This week we continue our Eat A Rainbow Munch Crunch Master Chef classes at school with an Enticing and Enlightening Soup lesson. Year 5 are about to become expert soup makers and to caste a fresh eye on summer soup making – we look forward to sampling some gorgeous soups on Friday – no pressure on you then Year 5!
Meantime, I have been making Rainbow Coleslaw at home. Use a crisp Spitskool or a Chinese kool. Wash it and chop it very, very finely. Make sure you have a good sweet head of cabbage by smelling it in the market. Old cabbage is not good in coleslaw! Add in some diced apple with its skin on (use lemon or lime juice to keep it from going brown), peel and dice some cucumber, sprinkle with some black and white sesame seeds, grated carrot, chives etc. Add anything you fancy really but just make it colourful.
Now make a simple dressing using rice vinegar, some of the lime or lemon juice, a little palm sugar and your favourite oil. I like sesame but you can use peanut, olive, rice bran as well. Season to taste, shake and pour over the coleslaw. Last but not least grate over some pretty red raw beetroot for a real rainbow vibe. Serve with burgers, falafel, spinach fritters, udon noodles or whatever you current favourite food is.
Love your Lunchbox – oh, yes you can!
We had lots of fun at a recent “Love Your Lunchbox Workshop” where in a mad two hour stint we made all my favourite lunch box standbys. One group made wholemeal cranberry scones, while another did the Tex-Mex refried beans, others made the slow roasted (use up your worse for wear tomatoes) pasta soup or soup base, while yet another rolled sushi with sesame oil carrot, omlette and cucumber fillings and the lucky last group – they made a quick strawberry sauce plus a sweet sour cucumber salad. Phew, it was fun and a little mad in the best possible way but the challenge was to get our kids to try it, especially those who were less than keen on eating Green Things! Enter the Green Force, a sort of Luke Skywalker invention of mine where I extoll the wondrous virtues of eating the all powerful Greeen life giving, strength enhancing super force within GREEN Food. I find it really helps if tell them how fast it will make them run and how all those extra veggie vitamins will give them extraordinary powers. The great news is that most all of the kids there tried a bit of everything. There was very little left over!
I did rather harp on about making the lunch box a “treasure” – something to be prized and delighted in. And about the virtues of keeping a good store cupboard so you are not faced with “lunch box panic” at 6.30 in the morning. As I told the parents there I have been known to make scones at that time of the morning and even quiches. Usually though I defrost some slow roasted tomato sauce, cook a pot of wholewheat pasta (I like the Rumo brand) and add fresh herbs, parmesan etc and shove it into a good thermos (purchased over the internet from Amazon). Some of the participants wanted more ideas for sandwich fillings and these are my kids current favourites:
Omlette, fresh herbs, lettuce on a whole wheat bagel
Smoked salmon, garlic cream cheese, lettuce and dill
Chopped boiled eggs mashed with chives, milk and a little butter
Crispy pancetta, rocket (from my garden), tomato and boiled eggs
Tapenade made from mild black olives, cream cheese, sun-dried tomato, fresh herbs on rice crackers – I have tapenade in a separate container and pop a spoon in for them to spread it.
Hope that helps with the sandwiches. Mostly I toast my bagels or bread, allow to cool and then put the toppings on.
Lastly I found myself making spinach and coriander pancakes early one morning this week for Green Day at school. I took inspiration from Mr Yotam Ottolenghi yet again although I took out the chillie peppers and used defrosted spinach instead. I did make a lesser form of his lime butter to serve with them. They were delicious (according to my 8 year old critic). I continue to work on tasty recipes with Tofu which reputedly helps kids get a good nights sleep. I have made a version of the Black pepper tofu from the Plenty Cookbook which uses loads of ginger, garlic and a combination of sweet soy sauce and dark soy sauce. Take out the 6 tablespoons of black pepper and 8 chillies and it’s still a wonderful dish served with Udon noodles sprinkled with sesame seeds and splashed with lime juice and a little oil. I absolutely can recommend the Plenty Cookbook as well as the New Heidi Swanson cookbook – Super Natural Every Day – brill!