Les Petits Chefs Food Revolution Week 4

Jamie Oliver Spaghetti and meatballs post picture

This was a special request from Henry and Charles this week: Spaghetti and Meatballs!

Check out the wonderful technique in the middle row – that’s Liam working out how to divide the meat into four equal parts!  As you can see from the bottom row, some of the meatballs were larger than others and they didn’t cook so evenly.  I have no problem posting these pictures because we all learned a good lesson about food cooking more evenly when it is the same size.  We ended up cutting the larger meatballs in two which helped… Some more excellent knife skills being displayed here: garlic, basil, onion and peppers (don’t worry – noone rubbed their eyes with peppery fingers this week!).  I love that each week, the boys are actually requesting jobs to do as they learn what they do and don’t like doing and what they need more practice with.  Look at Oliver’s fine onion cutting technique in the lower left hand corner!

Below is one of my favourite photos of the week:

An excellent tomato squashing technique…

The boys helped me with the plating of the final dish:

Jamie’s recipe is below – we followed it to a “T” except I forgot the oregano…



Jamie Oliver’s Spaghetti and Meatballs

main courses | serves 4 – 6
• 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
• 12 Jacob’s cream crackers
• 2 heaped teaspoons Dijon mustard
• 500g good-quality minced beef, pork, or a mixture of the two (we actually used lean ground turkey though it could have done with a fattier meat to keep the meatballs a bit moister)
• 1 heaped tablespoon dried oregano
• 1 large egg, preferably free-range or organic
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• olive oil
• a bunch of fresh basil
• 1 medium onion
• 2 cloves of garlic
• ½ a fresh or dried red chilli
• 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
• 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 400g dried spaghetti or penne
• Parmesan cheese, for grating

To make your meatballs
• Pick the rosemary leaves off the woody stalks and finely chop them
• Wrap the crackers in a tea towel and smash up until fine, breaking up any big bits up with your hands
• Add to the bowl with the mustard, minced meat, chopped rosemary and oregano
• Crack in the egg and add a good pinch of salt and pepper
• With clean hands scrunch and mix up well
• Divide into 4 large balls
• With wet hands, divide each ball into 6 and roll into little meatballs – you should end up with 24 (errr… this is where we went wrong!)
• Drizzle them with olive oil and jiggle them about so they all get coated
• Put them on a plate, cover and place in the fridge until needed

To cook your pasta, meatballs and sauce
• Pick the basil leaves, keeping any smaller ones to one side for later
• Peel and finely chop the onion and the garlic
• Finely slice the chilli
• Put a large pan of salted water on to boil
• Next, heat a large frying pan on a medium heat and add 2 lugs of olive oil
• Add your onion to the frying pan and stir for around 7 minutes or until softened and lightly golden
• Then add your garlic and chilli, and as soon as they start to get some colour add the large basil leaves
• Add the tomatoes and the balsamic vinegar
• Bring to the boil and season to taste
• Meanwhile, heat another large frying pan and add a lug of olive oil and your meatballs
• Stir them around and cook for 8–10 minutes until golden (check they’re cooked by opening one up – there should be no sign of pink)
• Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer until the pasta is ready, then remove from the heat
• Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the packet instructions

To serve your meatballs
• Saving some of the cooking water, drain the pasta in a colander
• Return the pasta to the pan
• Spoon half the tomato sauce into the pasta, adding a little splash of your reserved water to loosen
• Serve on a large platter, or in separate bowls, with the rest of the sauce and meatballs on top
• Sprinkle over the small basil leaves and some grated Parmesan


Did the boys like it?  Well just seconds after I took the photo of the completed dish, they were digging in…

And literally minutes after I took that photo, I turned around to find this:

Success? You betcha!

Have you signed Jamie’s petition to support the Food Revolution?  Click here to join those of us who have!


33 Responses to Les Petits Chefs Food Revolution Week 4

  1. penny aka jeroxie April 21, 2010 at 06:41 #

    That looks really good. Love the tomato squashing action too.

  2. Conor @ HoldtheBeef April 21, 2010 at 06:54 #

    That squashing is just so beautiful. Truly it is.

    I also like imagining their faces after demolishing the plate of food. I hope some sauce ended up on someone’s nose.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite April 23, 2010 at 06:51 #

      See I KNEW you and Penny would love the squishing action!! And yes, there was sauce on noses and cheeks!

  3. Mr. Neil April 21, 2010 at 08:23 #

    Maybe you can do an extra portion on Tuesdays and bring me home a sampling of the boys’ cooking?

    Just for an objective assessment, of course…

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite April 23, 2010 at 06:50 #

      Neil I have enough trouble asking them to save it until they get home – some of them are eating it in the car on the way!!! I am not sure how they would feel about a tasting portion for you…

  4. Maria April 21, 2010 at 10:22 #

    Food always tastes better when it is made with love:) I am glad they enjoyed it!

  5. 5 Star Foodie April 21, 2010 at 10:52 #

    Mmm… yummy spaghetti and meatballs!

  6. Rochelle (Acquired Taste) April 21, 2010 at 12:23 #

    Forgot the oregano?!?! That’s one of the things I always have around my spice rack 😛

    Glad to see the boys are learning more than just what good food is, but the reasons why things are done a certain way like being the same size 😀

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite April 21, 2010 at 21:19 #

      Well since we’re working in a science lab, we don’t have a spice rack!!! 😉

      Yes, we are learning lots of useful life lessons in this club!

  7. K a b l o o e y April 21, 2010 at 12:48 #

    Great post about the little chefs, as usual. Who knows, you guys may form a catering company, so long as you follow child labor laws. The mustard and balsamic were interesting surprise ingredients. Looked yummy. I’ve got to start doing these with Moochie.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite April 23, 2010 at 06:49 #

      Oh I think the boys would LOVE to work at a catering company – as long as they could eat what they make!!! Yes, Jamie uses a lot of balsamic vinegar in his dishes – it adds a nice sweet tartness..

  8. Bibi April 21, 2010 at 16:25 #

    That looks and sounds delicious. I love Jamie and most of his recipes.

  9. Andrea@High/Low April 22, 2010 at 00:14 #

    Love the last photo! The meal looks great…btw, I have the same striped kitchen towels!

  10. Indigo April 22, 2010 at 05:26 #

    I LOVE what you’re doing here, and especially that you can really see the kids picking up skills and learning about what they’re doing. Plus, yum, that looks amazing. I’d be right behind you with a fork at the ready!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite April 23, 2010 at 06:47 #

      It’s so rewarding, you’re right, and I hope they will remember some of this when they are older. I know that when I was younger and took “Home Ec” in Grade 9, we made Welsh Rarebit and I can still remember how to make it. If you ask me what we did in Math in Grade 9, well, I couldn’t tell you!

  11. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction April 22, 2010 at 15:31 #

    Yum… What a tasty dish. As always your chefs did an amazing job! LOVE it!

  12. The Duo Dishes April 22, 2010 at 19:23 #

    Love the little hands in each photo. It’s so cute.

  13. Fuji Mama April 22, 2010 at 20:23 #

    I love it! That last picture is so telling! 🙂

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite April 23, 2010 at 06:46 #

      Little monkeys!! I turned my back and the plate was nearly clean enough to not have to go in the dishwasher!

  14. Kenzie (Healthy Purpose) April 23, 2010 at 14:32 #

    Their skills never cease to amaze me! You must be so proud of the boys 🙂

  15. Kate at Serendipity April 24, 2010 at 02:38 #

    Oh, Mardi, I love this. What a good thing you’re doing with the little chefs! Your photos capture the moment very well, I think–especially the last one!

    You could start a cooking school for kids–they could come after school and learn how to cook ‘real’ food. Hmmm….

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite April 29, 2010 at 08:12 #

      I would LOVE to start a cooking school for kids… Maybe when I retire from teaching French? 😉

  16. Tracey@Tangled Noodle April 25, 2010 at 10:08 #

    Have I told you how wonderful your Petits Chefs are? Kudos, Mardi, for instilling in these boys an ever-growing love and appreciation for good food and cooking. If I were a guest in your class that day, I would have eagerly dueled forks to get a portion of this plate of spaghetti!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite April 29, 2010 at 08:13 #

      Tracey you would have had quite the fight on your hands! And thank you – I am so loving cooking club and am glad the boys are too!


  1. What’s Cooking Blog » Blog Archive » What’s Cooking with YOUR Kids – Cooking Club for Boys - June 28, 2010

    […] worked our way through a number of basic recipes – spaghetti bolognese, meatballs, and burgers for example.  We also branched out into some different dishes – chicken […]

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