Those of you who read here regularly will know I teach a once a week cooking club called Les Petits Chefs. But did you know that two terms a year, I also host a cooking club for younger students (Grades 3 and 4)? This term, the Cooking Basics boys cooked their way through versions of Jamie Oliver’s 10 “Must Know” recipes – the focus of this year’s Food Revolution Day in May. My goal for this club was to teach them some easy, tasty dishes that they can make from scratch in under an hour that will set them up with a solid repertoire of meals to cook for themselves and their parents. Here’s a look at what we made!
Week 1: Veggie noodle stir fry
The boys practised precise knife skills this week as they chopped and diced their way through carrots, broccoli, garlic, ginger, cilantro, peppers, onions and tofu! We talked about the importance of making sure everything would cook at the same rate and how the size of the vegetables would affect this. They did a GREAT job and made a colourful veggie-laden dish that in many cases didn’t even make it home (I saw boys devouring this as they waited to be picked up)! A wonderful way to show them how easy “homemade takeout” is (and so much healthier!). Check out the recipe here.
Week 2: Simple hummus, crudité and flatbreads.
The boys were busy this week as they completed three recipes in an hour! We made Jamie’s simple hummus, Jamie’s flatbreads and chopped a lot of fresh vegetables to make a beautiful, tasty and healthy plate of food. Even those boys with “vegetable allergies” gobbled this up! So much better than the store bought version and – those flatbreads? “Just like the ones you buy” according to one boy!
The boys couldn’t WAIT to get their hands on the Minestrone Soup this week. I was utterly thrilled with their fabulous knife skills (beautifully evenly diced veggies) and enthusiasm for everything – “THIS SMELLS SO GOOD” “You can give me extra if you like” Out of the mouths of babes, as they say. If they cook it they will eat it. Get the recipe here.
Week 4: Jamie’s tomato soup, green salad and a “jam jar” dressing.
At the request of one of the boys, we made tomato soup “from scratch” this week. The boys were surprised to see that it is not just made of tomatoes (carrots, onions, celery and garlic go in there as well as some basil) and were also pleasantly surprised to see how easy it is to make at home! We also enjoyed composing a green salad from various leaves and herbs and made our own salad dressing. Dinner for 12 in under an hour? No problem for these guys!
We interrupted our regularly scheduled programming this week as The Cooking Basics Boys made chocolates! The boys joined forces with the “Tinkering Club” who spent the term designing and producing their own chocolate molds and we were lucky enough to have The Chocolate Doctor come and work with us to show us how to properly temper chocolate (and she brought some pretty cool molds for the boys to use as well!). Cacao Barry sent a whole load of chocolates for the boys to taste and work with – they were in absolute heaven! Thank you so much Lianne Hubbard for teeing up our awesome instructor and the chocolate! What a delicious lesson!
An omelette is my “go to” dish for dinner when there *really* is nothing to eat in the house. It’s a great thing to know how to make and a wonderful way to use up small amounts of produce, cheese or meats. The boys chopped away, preparing lettuce, tomatoes, red peppers, bacon and cheese and we made variations on omelettes – rolled “wrap” type omelettes (you can get the recipe for that here) and traditional folded ones. A tasty (and pretty!) lesson!
Week 7: Roast chicken (wings), pan-fried potatoes and beans with pumpkin seed pesto.
Think you can’t make dinner in an hour? The Cooking Basics boys proved you can this week when they made a roast chicken dinner. We used Emeril’s recipe for oven roasted chicken wings, and Jamie Oliver’s pesto (subbbing in pumpkin seeds for pine nuts and arugula for basil). SUCH a tasty class! And dinner in an hour is totally do-able!
Both the Cooking Basics and Petits Chefs members made quiche to celebrate Food Revolution Day on May 20th. I chose quiche as a “must know” French recipe and both groups of boys had a wonderful time making pastry and choosing their own fillings. We even got to taste all our combinations before we added them to make sure they would work! For more details, read my complete writeup here.
Week 9: Chicken and vegetable curry!
This week the boys cooked a version of Jamie Oliver’s curry – with chicken instead of lamb and a fava bean/ chickpea mix instead of just chick peas. The boys did a wonderful job chopping onions and garlic and two of the boys took on the raw chicken like champions! The lab smelled SO good with the curry spices!
Week 10: Pizza with homemade tomato sauce!
We had one recipe left to make in the final week of school (we’d made the DIY oaty cereal on New Boy’s Day) – Jamie’s Simple Tomato Spaghetti. I totally planned on making this until the Petits Chefs made homemade tomato sauce two days earlier and had tons of leftovers. What to do with leftover tomato sauce? Pizza! What a great way to end the year. Personalised pizzas are always a hit and the boys even made the dough from scratch too (Jamie’s “cheat’s pizza recipe!).