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Jamie Oliver's "Cheat's" pizza!
6/6/2014

We finished the term of Cooking Basics making a favourite - pizza, but from scratch! In cooking club, I love to show the boys how easy some of their favourite foods are to make from scratch (and obviously, knowing what's in a dish makes it far healthier than many store-bought varieties).

This particular iteration of this favourite dish is  Jamie Oliver's "cheat's pizza.  The dough is easier than regular pizza dough because it's not made with yeast - just flour, water and olive oil in a food processor, then you roll it out and fry the pizza base in a frying pan, and finish it off in the oven.  Perfect for a quick weeknight pizza!

I definitely recommend trying this for yourselves at home - with your sons - it's so tasty (and easy!) You can find the recipe here.

If you're interested in checking out what Les Petits Chefs (Grades 5-7) have been up to, you can read all about their adventures here.

Have a wonderful summer and cook on!

 
Nutrition in the aisles and some scones!
6/3/2014

It's been a while since I posted here, hasn't it?  Well since I last wrote, we've been involved with Food Revolution Day (some of us twice that week!) - making smoothies, banana bread and wraps - and we've taken a neat field trip to Loblaws – to take part in the “Nutrition in our Aisles“.  Nutrition is also a part of food education – teaching kids to cook is one thing, but teaching then how to shop is entirely something else – and no less important, in fact, I’d say nearly more so.

The tour was led by Nema McGlynn, RD, and was an interactive hands-on learning experience where the boys learned all about making informed healthy food choices using Canada’s Food Guide and the Guiding Stars® nutrition labeling system.   Guiding Stars is “a food rating system that rates food based on nutrient density using a scientific algorithm to assign a 0, 1, 2 or 3 star rating. The program rates foods based on vitamins, minerals, fibre, whole grains, Omega-3s, saturated fat, trans fat, added sodium and added sugar. “No stars” means, although the food was rated, it didn’t meet the nutrition criteria to earn a star.”  It’s actually a great way to quickly scan products to see which ones are the better choices.

We all learned something about portion sizes and how to read and understand nutrition labels - a very worthwhile endeavour!

The following week, with only a small group of boys we headed into baked goods territory with some scones...

A great lesson was learned in how to treat our dough gently - we saw what happened to the gently treated dough as opposed to the dough which was a little overworked. All the scones "fluffy" and flat were eaten though so apparently overworking the dough doesn't affect the taste too much!

Check out the recipe for Jamie Oliver's crumbliest scones here.

You can see the complete set of pictures from the past couple of weeks' session on the RSGC Gallery.

If you're interested in seeing what Les Petits Chefs (Grades 5-7) have been up to, you can read all about their adventures here.

It's our last class of the year tomorrow!

Mardi

 
Jamie Oliver's chicken and bacon pasta with herby 6-veg ragu
5/8/2014

THe boys were busy last night chopping lots of vegetables to make one of my favourite Jamie Oliver pasta dishes - a tomato sauce loaded with lots of veggies "blitzed" in a food processor until they are very fine. There's bacon and chicken in there too (for those who eat them - we had a mix and match pasta bar going on!).  It's  a great way to get some extra veggies into a pasta sauce as well as use up any veggies that are on their last legs in your fridge!

We had a great chat about how this sauce would keep you fuller for longer than, say a regular tomato sauce (like the one we had at lunch yesterday!) and I got to debunk the myth of "more food makes you fuller" - we chatted about it's not just HOW MUCH you are eating but WHAT you eat that helps keep you full and gives you energy! Never a dull moment and so many teachable moments (I also told the boys how I make my own bacon curing pork belly  and they were fascinated by the process!)

You can see the complete set of pictures from this week's session on the RSGC Gallery.

If you're interested in seeing what Les Petits Chefs (Grades 5-7) have been up to, you can read all about their adventures here.

Have a great weekend and I look forward to working with the boys next Wednesday!

Mardi

Jamie Oliver's spring vegetable and bean soup
5/1/2014

The boys hadn't made a soup this term so in the hopes of making spring actually appear, I chose Jamie Oliver's spring vegetable and bean soup.  This is a recipe that involves a LOT of chopping (great to keep little hands busy!) so we learned and practised a lot of kniofe skills. The boys did a great job chopping the vegetables into similar sizes so they would cook evenly and, even though it was ambitious to make a soup in an hour, the boys chopped everything small enough that most of the veggies cooked (although some of them were a little al dente!). I love this soup because it's so versatile - you can really use any vegetables you like in this - the boys were excited because the soup was "so pretty" :) (It is very colourful!).

I heard reports this morning that the soup was "lovely" which totally made my day! Although I know most of the boys probably didn't eat this, I was just happy that they were keen to do all the prep - getting them interested in cooking and food prep is a key step in getting them to try new things!

If you'd like to try this soup at home with a variety of different vegetables you can get the recipe here.

 

If you're interested in seeing what Les Petits Chefs (Grades 5-7) have been up to, you can read all about their adventures here.

Have a great weekend and I look forward to working with the boys next Wednesday!

Mardi

 
Jamie Oliver's banana tartes tatins
4/25/2014

The boys were excited that we got to make a dessert this week. But not just any dessert -  mini tarte tatins. A tarte tatin is usually sliced apples coated in caramel and topped with a circle of puff pastry then baked, cooled, then flipped over to make a fancy upside-down dessert that looks like you've spent way longer in the kitchen than you have (do't you love those types of recipes?). We used bananas as per the recipe in the Food Revolution Cookbook and I almost like it better than with apples - it's something different! The boys got to practice even slicing with the bananas and then they worked with (store bought) puff pastry which apparently is "more fun than PlayDoh!" (who knew)

I highly recommend you try this at home - so easy so very tasty!  Get the recipe here.

 

You can see the complete set of pictures from this week's session on the RSGC Gallery.

If you're interested in seeing what Les Petits Chefs (Grades 5-7) have been up to, you can read all about their adventures here.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and I look forward to working with the boys next Wednesday!

Mardi

 
Jamie Oliver's macaroni and cheese with cauliflower and broccoli
4/20/2014

 

With just a small group of boys this week due to swimming practice, I chose a tried and true recipe that I thought the boys would enjoy - Jamie Oliver's macaroni and cheese with cauliflower - and for an extra twist, I added some broccoli too.

The boys worked hard to make sure all their veggies were cut the same size to ensure even cooking with the pasta (I used a mix of fibre-enriched white macaroni and some whole wheat as well) and I have to say I was very happy with their knifework this week.

Because there were only a few boys, they did all the work themselves and even tidied up their stations - the lab was spick and span when we left!  Great work from the boys this week.

You can find the recipe for Jamie Oliver's macaroni and cheese (just add broccoli!) from the Food Revolution Cookbook here.

You can see the complete set of pictures from this week's session on the RSGC Gallery.

If you're interested in seeing what Les Petits Chefs (Grades 5-8) have been up to, you can read all about their adventures here.

Looking forward to working with the boys next Wednesday!

Mardi

 
Jamie Oliver's rice salad
4/10/2014

It was a "slicing and dicing" session this week at Cooking Basics (as the boys like to call it, sounds so much more dramatic, no?!).  I chose a simple rice salad to make - based on the fact that it called for a LOT of ingredients to be precisely chopped into even-sized pieces which is excellent for practising knife skills ("slicing and dicing").

I demonstated how each ingredient should be prepared and as I chopped, sliced and diced, we passed around many of the ingredients to smell and taste them. It's so interesting for me to see the boys' reactions to different raw ingredients. They loved basil and mint (well, most of them) - parsley, not so much..

The dreaded jalapeños appeared on the menu but the three boys who dealt with that did a wonderful job of chopping it finely and NOT touching eyes, mouths or other people with their "spicy fingers" ;)

Check out the mise en place - so professional!

We also learned to make a simple salad dressing with lemon juice, salt, pepper and olive oil. SO much better than the bottled stuff. And so much fun to make!

I was really impressed with the boys' work this week. Lovely chopping, slicing and dicing and some great listening. The lab was spotless when they left as well - because cleanup is also a prt of cooking club!

You can find the recipe for Jamie Oliver's rice salad from the Food Revolution Cookbook here.

You can see the complete set of pictures from this week's session on the RSGC Gallery.

If you're interested in seeing what Les Petits Chefs (Grades 5-8) have been up to, you can read all about their adventures here.

Have a great weekend and I look forward to working with the boys next Wednesday!

Mardi

 
Jamie Oliver's "cheat's" fresh pasta with cherry tomato sauce
4/3/2014

 

We're back! I'm thrilled to be working with the Grade3 and 4 boys this term for another session of Cooking Basics.  We started the term with a wonderfully easy, fresh dish that can be made in under an hour from start to finish and practices lots of basic techniques - chopping, cutting, slicing, dicing, mincing and grating. It's a good recipe to have "in your back pocket" because it has so few ingredients (that you probably have already in your pantry/ fridge) but it tastes really great. The technique we used for chopping fresh lasagne sheets into linguine is one I will remember for myself!

Not sure how much of the pasta made its way home but if you didn't get a taste, you should ask your son to make it for dinner some night!

You can find the recipe for Jamie Oliver's cheat's fresh pasta with cherry tomato sauce here.

You can see the complete set of pictures from this week's session on the RSGC Gallery.

If you're interested in seeing what Les Petits Chefs (Grades 5-8) have been up to, you can read all about their adventures here.

Have a great weekend and I look forward to working with the boys next Wednesday!

Mardi

 
Jamie Oliver’s toasted granola with chewy fruit
12/12/2013

 

Well here we are folks - 12 weeks of cooking classes (and some delicious dishes!) under our belts! And hopefully we've learned some skills along the way too!

I decided to go the "edible gift" route this week and show the boys how to make their own granola from scratch. Add in a cute label and a jar decorated in curly ribbons and you have just about the easiest homemade edible gift you can possibly make - also, so easy to customise for different tastes :)

We weighed our ingredients and stirred them...

Then we made sure to spread the granola on the baking trays evenly...

We worked hard on tying the perfect bows on our jars...

Then it was time to add our toasted oats to our add-ins...

Et voilà:

The perfect homemade Christmas gift :)

You can find the recipe for Jamie Oliver's toasted granola with chewy fruit here.

You can see the complete set of pictures from this week's session on the RSGC Gallery.

If you're interested in seeing what Les Petits Chefs (Grades 5-7) have been up to, you can read all about their adventures here.

Have a wonderful holiday season and I look forward to working with your boys later in the year!

Mardi

 
Jamie Oliver's spaghetti and meatballs
12/5/2013

The boys were very excited to hear we were making spaghetti and meatballs this week. This Jamie Oliver pork and beef meatball recipe has a lovely fresh tomato sauce and is so easy to make. The boys practised chopping herbs, onions, crushing crackers and grating parmesan and a couple of lucky guys got to "mash up" the meatball mixture.

The boys on the meatball station made very sure to make the meatballs all the same size so they would cook evenly.

And they did a great job :)

You can see the complete set of pictures from this week's session on the RSGC Gallery.

If you're interested in seeing what Les Petits Chefs (Grades 5-7) have been up to, you can read all about their adventures here.

Have a wonderful weekend and I look forward to working with your boys for our last session of the term next Wednesday!

Mardi

 
Jamie Oliver's Chinese beef with tofu from "Save with Jamie"
11/29/2013

The boys worked hard to make another winning dish from "Save With Jamie" this week. Essentially, it's a pretty simple dish - ground beef, some spices, garlic, ginver and some green vegetables cooked down with a black bean sauce.  Tofu is added at the last minute - we pan fried ours for a little colour and texture and the result was a tasty "tastes just like takeout" meal from scratch in under an hour.

The boys did a great job of mincing garlic, ginger and hot peppers and a couple of them worked on the cilantro and green onion garnish.  Tofu cubes were cut into same-sized pieces to ensure even cooking.  The boys enjoyed smelling the various spices and the black bean sauce too. 

All in all a great dish to show the boys how easy it is to prepare meals that "taste just like a restaurant" easily at home! I hope you enjoyed!

You can see the complete set of pictures from this week's session on the RSGC Gallery.

If you're interested in seeing what Les Petits Chefs (Grades 5-7) have been up to, you can read all about their adventures here.

Have a wonderful weekend and I look forward to working with your boys next Wednesday!

Mardi

 
Jamie Oliver's happy frumpy minestrone
11/21/2013

We hadn't made a soup so far this term and Ms Toguri and I thought that it was about time. The weather is getting colder, the days longer and darker and who doesn't love a pot of soup on a cold day?  We made jamie Oliver's "Happy Frumpy Minestrone" from "Save with Jamie" but you can find a version online here that is similar.

All the boys were busy chopping - butternut squash, carrots, onions, bread (for the cheesy croutons!) and everyone did a great job of making sure their vegetables were chopped evenly.  The result was a hearty, colourful soup ("if it's colourful it must be healthy" said one boy. Apparently a few of them are listening to Ms Kirkland in the lunchroom!) that I hope the boys tried at least a little bit of. They all seemed to be quite excited by the cheesy croutons and extra grated parmesan - hey, if that makes them eat their veggies, I'm all for adding a little cheese ;)

You can see the complete set of pictures from this week's session on the RSGC Gallery.

If you're interested in seeing what Les Petits Chefs (Grades 5-7) have been up to, you can read all about their adventures here.

Have a wonderful weekend and I look forward to working with your boys next Wednesday!

Mardi

 
Jamie Oliver's fish and chips from scratch!
11/14/2013

The boys did a great job this week making a firm favourite - fish and chips :)  I am always excited to teach the boys how easy some of their favourite "fast food" is to make at home and this was actually a request from one of the boys.

I used Jamie Oliver's home fries recipe and this recipe for fish "goujons" (a fancy name for fingers) both of which are very easy but which require the boys to follow steps in a methodical order.

We oven baked the potatoes rather than par-boil them since we were working with new potatoes. The boys learned to chop the potatoes the same size so as to ensure even baking.  We worked with raw fish ("Ew!") and the boys did a pretty good job of making even-sized pieces for their fingers. Probably the most fun was working with the egg and flour to make the crispy coating on the fish - let's just say that a LOT of sopa was used in the cleanup process!  We pan-fried the fish (hence the "chip shop" smell I am sure you noticed on your sons!) to crispy perfection.  All in all pretty easy and awonderful dish for you to try at home with your sons.

You can see the complete set of pictures from this week's session on the RSGC Gallery.

If you're interested in seeing what Les Petits Chefs (Grades 5-7) have been up to, you can read all about their adventures here.

Have a wonderful weekend and I look forward to working with your boys next Wednesday!

Mardi

 
Jamie Oliver's gooey chocolate brownies (with a Hallowe'en touch!)
10/31/2013

Happy Hallowe'en!

The boys worked efficiently last night to make individual gooey chocolate brownies from Jamie's Home Cooking Skills.  It's an easy recipe but the boys learned to measure with an electronic scale (my favourite way to bake!) and they learned to "tare" the scale (set it back to zero) as they added the different dry ingredients.  The recipe calls for nuts but since we can't use those at school, and because it's Hallowe'en week, we added "Scaries" (Hallowe'en Smarties) to the tops of our brownies. I loved the effect when the brownies baked and the Smarties sank into the gooey-ness!  I know many of the boys ate their brownies still warm but I can vouch for the fact that once cooled, the "gooey-ness" factor was pretty amazing!  These are very easy to make - I'd highly recommend you try the recipe at home!

You can see the complete set of pictures from this week's session on the RSGC Gallery.

If you're interested in seeing what Les Petits Chefs (Grades 5-7) have been up to, you can read all about their adventures here.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and I look forward to working with your boys next Wednesday!

Mardi

 

Jamie Oliver's shepherd's pie
10/25/2013

000shepherds pie

Shepherd's Pie in an hour? Yes you can with this fabulous Jamie's Home Cooking Skills recipe (with a couple of shortcuts!)

The boys had to get a lot of chopping done in a short amount of time this week - namely the potatoes and the carrots needed to be chopped and cooked in about 40 minues and, considering the circumstances, I think they did a great job!  I just ate the one leftover pie today at lunch and it tasted so good!  Some of the carrots were cut up a little on the "chunky" side as was some of the rosemary but the falvour was defnitely there. For the meat we used a mixture of pork and beef as I am not sure how well lamb would have gone down! We also substituted the celery for Savoy cabbage which provided some of the boys great practice in chopping and cutting.  Even though the mince is supposed to simmer for an hour before it's baked in the oven and we obviously did not have the time for that, I think these turned out pretty well - I hope you enjoyed!

You can see the complete set of pictures from this week's session on the RSGC Gallery.

If you're interested in seeing what Les Petits Chefs (Grades 5-7) have been up to, you can read all about their adventures here.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and I look forward to working with your boys next Wednesday!

Mardi

 
Jamie Oliver's winter squash penne
10/10/2013

The boys made a comforting fall pasta dish this week - winter squash penne from Jamie Oliver's 15 Minute Meals book.

A super easy (and healthy!) dish, whilst it didn't take quite 15 minutes (more like 45!) it's still a great dish for the fall - we added celery to the butternut squash and onions which we then blitzed in the food processor with some chili pepper flakes and fennel seeds and then gently sautéed.  Meanwhile, we rinsed chick peas, grated parmesan and chopped parsley all to add at the last minute.

The result was a tasty, hearty (and pretty veggie-heavy) pasta dish that tasted even better the day after!

You can see the complete set of pictures from this week's session on the RSGC Gallery.

If you're interested in seeing what Les Petits Chefs (Grades 5-7) have been up to, you can read all about their adventures here.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving long weekend - enjoy the family time -  and I look forward to working with the boys next Wednesday!

Mardi

 

Jamie Oliver's mini banana and apple tarte tatins
10/3/2013

With just a small group of boys this week due to U10 soccer and Cross Country, we attempted something a little more ambitious than we can undertake with a larger group - mini tarte tatins.  Basically very thinly sliced apples and bananas coated in caramel and topped with a circle of puff pastry then baked until the pastry is puffed, cooled slightly then flipped over to make a fancy upside-down dessert that looks like you've spent way longer in the kitchen than you have (my kinda recipe!).

If your son was not in the club, I highly recommend you try this at home - so easy and, according to the boys, pretty tasty!  Get the recipe here.

 

You can see the complete set of pictures from this week's session on the RSGC Gallery.

If you're interested in seeing what Les Petits Chefs (Grades 5-7) have been up to, you can read all about their adventures here.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and I look forward to working with the boys next Wednesday!

Mardi

Jamie Oliver's macaroni and cheese with cauliflower
9/26/2013

Mmmm - there's nothing better than macaroni and cheese when the weather starts to get chilly at night - except maybe Jamie Oliver's cauliflower mac n' cheese. Yup, that's right - macaroni mixed with FOUR different types of cheese, cauliflower, parsley and Greek yoghurt. SO, SO good. And the hidden cauliflower (you can barely see it) means extra veggies when you don't even realise you are eating them!

The boys worked hard on their knife skills this week - making sure to chop the cauliflower into the tiniest, even-sized pieces and then they worked with parsley in a similar fashion. I was pretty impressed and yes, we did use "real knives" as I heard one boy telling his mum at dismissal!

Get the recipe here.

 

You can see the complete set of pictures from this week's session on the RSGC Gallery.

 

If you're interested in seeing what Les Petits Chefs (Grades 5-7) have been up to, you can read all about their adventures here.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and I look forward to working with the boys next Wednesday!

Mardi

 
Jamie Oliver's "cheat's pizza"
9/19/2013

Welcome to Cooking Basics club!  Ms Toguri and I are thrilled to see so many young Georgians interested in learning how to cook.


We started out with big aspirations this first week - with Jamie Oliver's "cheat's pizza" on the menu. Quite the task in under an hour!  The dough is unlike regular pizza dough because it's not made with yeast - you blend flour, water and olive oil in a food processor, roll it out and fry the pizza in a frying pan, finishing it off in the oven.  It's a brilliant technique for a quick weeknight pizza!

A word of caution: you'll want to use a heavy-bottomed pan (cast iron is perfect here) as we had issues with our (thin, non-stick) pans getting too hot and a few of the boys' pizzas were burned on the bottom (some of the insisted on taking them home anyway - I apologise for this!). Luckily we made enough for every boy to take some properly cooked pizza home !

If you got to taste this, you'll have seen we didn't end up using a few of the ingredients - we simply ran out of time!  I'd definitely recommend trying this recipe for yourselves at home - with your sons - you'll be surprised how tasty it is! You can find the recipe here.

You can see the complete set of pictures from this week's session on the RSGC Gallery.

If you're interested in seeing what Les Petits Chefs (Grades 5-7) have been up to, you can read all about their adventures here.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and I look forward to working with the boys next Wednesday!

Mardi

Food Revolution Day at RSGC!
5/21/2013

Last Thursday, May 16th 2013, the boys from both the Petits Chefs and Cooking Basics cooking clubs celebrated Food Revolution Day here at Royal St George's College.

19 boys and their family members gathered to cook a meal together from scratch (Jamie Oliver's crunchy garlicky chicken fingers and oven baked potato wedges accompanied by a fresh salad) - with the boys showing their parents each step of the way.  The premise of Food Revolution Day is getting families back in the kitchen together and I think we certainly accomplished that - there's no better way to consolidate new skills than to teach other people and I was so proud watching the boys carefully chopping, slicing and dicing and instructing their parents how to make those two dishes confidently and, most importantly, having fun :)

At the end of the evening, we all got to enjoy the madeleines that the Petits Chefs had made earlier that day (you can read about them here)

I wrote my Food Revolution Day experiences (I did the same class again the following day wiht a group of children aged 5-10) up here.

You can view the pictures from the evening on the RSGC Gallery here.

Thank you Steve, Catherine, Chef Corey, Karen, Michelle, Emilie, Janet, Adell and Jacquie for all your support and assistance and for standing up for REAL FOOD!

Jamie Oliver's spaghetti and meatballs
3/8/2013

The boys had a fun time making Jamie Oliver's spaghetti and (chicken) meatballs this week - such a great meal to know how to make!  It's paired with an easy, chunky tomato sauce which would be great on its own too!

Ms Stephenson and I have had a lot of fun this term cooking and baking with the boys and we hope they have learned some basic skills that will set them up for success in the kitchen.

Head over to look at the Cooking Basics club pictures on the RSGC Gallery and to see what's been happening in the Grades 5-7 cooking club, Les Petits Chefs. check out my own blog eat. live. travel. write.

Have a wonderful March Break!

Jamie Oliver's chicken chow mein
2/28/2013

I'm pretty proud of the boys this week - making chicken chow mein from scratch in under an hour!  Lots of chopping - cilantro, ginger, garlic, mushrooms, chicken, bok choy and banana peppers - kept little hands busy this week as I quickly boiled the noodles.  Once we had our mise en place done, we got to cooking.  Instead of soy sauce, we used hoisin which made for a thicker and sweeter sauce on the noodles and I think it worked really well.  The dish looked pretty and I know it tasted good because I saw boys heading out to the layby with noodles hanging out of their mouths.... ;) Ahem. Taste testing at its most enthusiastic!

I am a huge fan of this dish as it shows how easy it is to make takeout/ delivery favourites from scratch - I mean, if we can make this in under an hour, anyone can!

You can find the recipe for the Jamie Oliver's chicken chow mein here.

It's a fabulous recipe - do try it with your sons at home!

Head over to look at the Cooking Basics club pictures on the RSGC Gallery and to see what's been happening in the Grades 5-7 cooking club, Les Petits Chefs. check out my own blog eat. live. travel. write.

 

Jamie Oliver's garlicky chicken fingers/ nuggets and oven baked fries
2/22/2013

The boys made what I am sure was a popular choice this week - homemade chicken nuggest/ fingers (we had all sorts of shapes!) and oven-baked fries. I love teaching them how easy some of their favourite foods are to make at home and how they contain just a few common ingredients (and all recognizable and able to be pronounced!).

While our potato wedges were baking (how good were those, by the way???), the boys set to organising the coating for the chicken - saltine (soda) crackers, chives (instead of the parsley), garlic and some butter. The butter in the coating means you don't have to use oil to fry them in which is way healthier and definitely less smelly ;)

Once we had blitzed that in a food processor, we cut our chicken into even(ish) sized pieces and dipped it in a little egg to help the coating stick. Then we pan fried them, checking along the way to see if they were cooked (I showed the boys how to choose the largest piece and cut into it to make sure it was not still pink) as the boys waited impatiently for them to be cooked ;)

Result? An easy version of one of the boys' favourite dishes. You definitely need to try this one at home!

You can find the fecipe for the Jamie Oliver's Crunchy Garlic Chicken here and the recipe for Jamie's potato wedges is here.

Head over to look at the Cooking Basics club pictures on the RSGC Gallery and to see what's been happening in the Grades 5-7 cooking club, Les Petits Chefs. check out my own blog eat. live. travel. write.

Jamie Oliver's fruit scones (Happy St Valentine's Day!)
2/14/2013

The boys had a blast making Jamie Oliver's fruit scones (with cranberries and shaped like hearts - and stars - for St Valentine's Day!) this week.

We don't often bake as we only have the hour but scones are a great basic thing for the boys to learn and the recipe is so easy to change up with different dried fruits and nuts according to likes and dislikes.

You might have noticed that some of the scones were a little on the flat side - the boys (especially in my group!) got a little heavy handed with the rolling pin but at least they know the correct rolling pin technique now!

This might be a fun project to tackle on the long weekend with your son - have him make you breakfast on Family Day!

Head over to look at the Cooking Basics club pictures on the RSGC Gallery and to see what's been happening in the Grades 5-7 cooking club, Les Petits Chefs. check out my own blog eat. live. travel. write.

Jamie Oliver's Mini shell pasta with a creamy smoked bacon & pea sauce
2/8/2013

Since we all enjoyed the cauliflower mac and cheese bake so mucha  few weeks ago, I though we would venture into the pasta zone again this week with one of my favourite jamie Oliver recipes from the Food Revolution Cookbook - Mini shell pasta with a creamy smoked bacon & pea sauce.

It's a really easy recipe, hardly any chopping (though I added some celery and garlic to the mix so everyone would be kept busy!) - just bacon, mint, some grated cheese and some crème fraîche added to shell paste. So easy and tasty.

Well, except when Mlle Michels decides to lighten up the dish by mixing sour cream and Greek yoghurt into the crème fraîche. But she uses vanilla greek yoghurt instead of plain. Ahem. Tasty? Maybe. Odd? Definitely.

Such is the "real life" aspect of this club. I think we do amazing things in an hour (thanks Ms Stephenson, we couldn't do it without you!) and we're pretty good at going with the flow and improvising but this is the first time in 3 years I've used a wrong ingredient.  The boys *said* they didn't mind... But since they are Georgians they might have just been being polite ;) Clearly, though the message is "leave well enough alone and don't try to lighten things up!" ;)

In any case, I hope you try this recipe (with crème fraîche or regular Greek yoghurt) at home. It's so easy and delicious!

Head over to look at the Cooking Basics club pictures on the RSGC Gallery and to see what's been happening in the Grades 5-7 cooking club, Les Petits Chefs. check out my own blog eat. live. travel. write.

Jamie Oliver's Chicken and Leek Stroganoff
2/1/2013

Well despite many of the boys (and parents!) claiming that we couldn't top last week's cauliflower mac n' cheese, this weeks' recipe (Chicken and Leek Stroganoff from Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Cookbook) got some pretty positive reviews too!

A lot of the boys told me they loved this "just not the mushrooms" (not sure what it is about mushrooms but many of the younger boys do not seem to like them) but I was pretty proud to see them working with ingredients they either claim to not like (mushrooms) or that were "icky" (raw chicken).  Cooking is all about sometimes handling ingredients that can be a litte "icky" but the boys handled this week with flair.  Ms Stephenson and I were happy to see so many of them cutting their leeks, mushrooms, chicken and parsley into same-sized pieces so they would cook evenly.

We omitted the glass of white wine (!) but if you are making it at home for yourself, I highly recommend it!  You can find the recipe online here (yes, that's my website - I worked my way through many of the Food Revolution recipes with a group of Petits Chefs back in 2010) in case your son misplaced it!

Head over to look at the Cooking Basics club pictures on the RSGC Gallery and to see what's been happening in the Grades 5-7 cooking club, Les Petits Chefs. check out my own blog eat. live. travel. write.

Jamie Oliver's cauliflower mac and cheese
1/25/2013

Jamie Oliver's macaroni and cauliflower cheese bake

Welcome to Cooking Basics club for Term 2 2012-2013!  We have a whole host of new boys joining us in the science lab and some familiar faces too.  Ms Stephenson and I are so excited to work with the boys, teaching them some basic skills and techniques in the kitchen and some delicious recipes we hope they will try making at home with their families too!

We started out with a "favourite with a twist" - Jamie Oliver's mac n' cheese with the (ssssh!) secret ingredient - cauliflower ;) (you can find the recipe here) Yes, it's an easy vegetable to incorporate into something like mac and cheese because it's the same colour :)

We set the boys to work in groups of 2-3, working on one or two ingredients per "team". Once we had finished our "mise en place" (Ms Stephenson and I cooked the pasta because that's not the most interesting job!) we assembled the dish - adding three cheeses, crème fraîche, Greek Yoghurt and parsley to the pasta and stirring!  Easy peasy! And, well, we added bacon. Because bacom makes everything better, right? 

Check in next week to see what we cook up!

Head over to look at the Cooking Basics club pictures on the RSGC Gallery and to see what's been happening in the Grades 5-7 cooking club, Les Petits Chefs. check out my own blog eat. live. travel. write.

Jamie Oliver's vegetarian chili
12/6/2012

Mmmm - chili! Vegetarian chili from Jamie Oliver's Home Cooking Skills site.  Definitely a winner in the cold weather that we've been having this week!

I roasted the sweet potato and butternut squash (with cumin, chili flakes, cinnamon and some black pepper) in advance as I wasn't sure it would be ready otherwise and so when the boys arrived they got straight to work chopping cilantro, onions, peppers (sweet and HOT!), and garlic.  To this mix, we added chopped tomatoes, red kidney beans and chick peas for a filling, healthy meal in well under an hour.  Again, Ms Toguri, Jamie and I were very impressed with the boys' knife skills - they are getitng better and better each week.

Check out the Cooking Basics club pictures on the RSGC Gallery and head over to eat. live. travel. write. to see what's been happening in the Grades 5-7 cooking club, Les Petits Chefs.

Jamie Oliver's tomato soup and croutons
11/30/2012

What's better than a steaming bowl of soup on a cold day? A bowl of Jamie Oliver's tomato soup topped with homemade croutons made by the Cooking basics boys, that's what!

The boys worked methodically chopping the carrots, tomatoes, onions, celery, garlic and basil to produce veggies that all cooked through evenly - it's a skill many adults have trouble with getting the veggies evenly cut so hats off to our youngest Georgian chefs for a job well done.

Whilst the soup was cooking, Jamie and Ms Toguri helped the boys make their own homemade croutons - sour dough bread cut into cubes (and - ahem - tasted!) just fried in a little olive oil.

The result? A simple but filling meal that I know Ms Toguri and I enjoyed thoroughly on Wednesday night. A lot of the boys came to school the next day with rave reviews too!

Check out the Cooking Basics club pictures on the RSGC Gallery and head over to eat. live. travel. write. to see what's been happening in the Grades 5-7 cooking club, Les Petits Chefs.

Jamie Oliver's rice stir fry
11/22/2012

Fried rice is a great "go to meal" that can be prepared quickly even on a weeknight and, whilst I tend not to follow a recipe, I was thrilled to find an easy step-by-step recipe for rice stir fry on Jamie Oliver's Home Cooking Skills site.  Little chefs need a base recipe to go on and I hope that after Wednesday's session where we added ginger, garlic, coriander, peppers, green onions mushrooms and egg to the mix, that the boys will be able to think of different types of vegetables that the could add in.

I liked this recipe because there was a lot of chopping to keep little hands busy - always a good thing! - and the boys got to build on their already impressive knife skills.  Again we talked about the importance of chopping all the vegetables approximately the same size so that they cook evenly.  With the mise en place done, the boys watched the "magic" as the vegetables shrunk as they cooked and smelled the aromas of the garlic, ginger and coriander.  In just under 50 minutes, we were finished and the boys had a healthy, delicious main course. What could be better?

Check out the Cooking Basics club pictures on the RSGC Gallery and head over to eat. live. travel. write. to see what's been happening in the Grades 5-7 cooking club, Les Petits Chefs.

Jamie Oliver's leek and potato soup
11/15/2012

jamie oliver leek and potato soupWe made soup! And it's so easy! And so good!

Three statements I never thought I would hear in the same breath from 8 year old boys! But the Cooking Basics club proved me wrong this week. As I was shopping for Jamie Oliver's leek and potato soup, I was certain that the combination of carrots, potatoes, leeks, celery, onions and garlic was not going to elicit much excitement amongst the boys. I mean, come on - vegetables???

I could not have been more wrong, however and the boys seemed to really love the chopping part of the class. We made sure to cut all the vegetables in tiny pieces so they would cook faster (since normally I would simmer a soup for at least 45 minutes before I blend it) in our short time frame. Their knife skills are impressive and the pieces were very evenly chopped  - such concentration on their little faces (and a few tears over on the onion station but Jamie had that well under control!).

The cooking time allowed us to do some proper cleanup around the lab for once and I can say the boys are pretty good cleaner-uppers as well as cooks!  We all enjoyed blitzing the soup in the blender (well, the boys watched and I blitzed!) and they were on their way in under an hour with their tupperwares - and I hear that they all enjoyed it! Who would have known??  I know I enjoyed the little cup I tasted - so simple, so good!

Be sure to check out the pictures from this week's session on the Gallery and head on over to eat. live. travel. write. to see what Les Petits Chefs have been up to lately too!

Happy Hallowe'en!
11/1/2012

Boo! Well we survived Hallowe'en festivities and we managed to make it through cooking club as well!  For something a little different this week (and because after nearly 12 years in a country where Hallowee'n is such a big deal and I have realised that resistence is useless!), we decided to keep the theme of the day (sugar!) going!

I have to say the boys did exceptionally well keeping their focus right to 4pm, even with bellies full of sugar and the prospect of more looming ahead of them!  We were fortunate enough to have Michelle Carter (librarian by day, baker and cake decorator by night) come over and volunteer to show the boys how to use Royal Icing to ice sugar cookies (and I was fortunate to have had a "snow day" to bake up batches of ghost, pumpkin and witches' hat cookies the day before!).  Even though our icing was a little on the runny side, the boys did a great job working with piping bag to produce some pretty spectacular cookies.  Thanks to Jamie (Gr 7) and Ms Toguri for helping us out too!

Please check out the pictures from this week on the RSGC Gallery and don't forget to check out the Grades 5-7 cooking club exploits on eat. live. travel. write.

Please note that we won't have cooking club next week due to Parent Teacher Interviews (looking forward to chatting with most of you!) but we will be back on November 14th.

Mardi

 

 

Jamie Oliver's sausage rolls
10/26/2012

sausage rolls

This week the boys made Jamie Oliver's sausage rolls (raw meat - ewww!) and I have to say I was super impressed with the end result!

The recipe is pretty simple (and very versatile - you can change up the meat and the add-ins) but showcased a couple of important techniques - chopping herbs, dicing apples and rolling out pastry. The boys did a pretty good job at this and the end result was delicious!  Sam made a vegetarian version (with our new Grade 7 assistant, Jamie) that you can find here.

Both versions were very tasty and I hope the boys will try these out at home. We discussed other versions that they could make and I was particularly taken with the idea of a lamb sausage roll with mint - Mmmm!

Please check out the photos from this week's session on the RSGC Gallery and also see what the older boys have been up to in Les Petits Chefs club over on my blog eat. live. travel. write.

Jamie Oliver's bread and butter pudding
10/19/2012

bread and butter pudding

The boys had a great time making Jamie Oliver's "good old bread and butter pudding" this week. We made the puddings with croissants (whole wheat) instead of bread and butter and made individual sized ones instead of one big one.

After having a lot of fun buttering the tin pans with chunks of butter (I mean, really - what's NOT fun about that?) the boys discovered cinnamon and orange zest - they were particularly fascinated with the smell of cinnamon!  This week, the boys even got a little snack as they cooked since the entire half-croissant wouldn't fit in the pan - as you can imagine, that was a highlight!  A couple of dollops of apricot jam spread over the croissants later and we were ready to make the custard.  We cracked eggs and whisked milk and sugar and vanilla with a little bit of cream, only realising as we were pouring the custard into the pans that we had forgotten the sugar. Since there's only a tiny amount, we sprinkled it on top and it was perfect. I know Ms Toguri and I enjoyed our puddings (I had vanilla ice cream on top of mine!) - hope you and your families did too!

Please check out the photos from this week's session on the RSGC Gallery and also see what the older boys have been up to in Les Petits Chefs club over on my blog eat. live. travel. write.

Jamie Oliver's spaghetti bolognese
10/12/2012

With just a small group of boys in cooking club this week, we still managed to make a fabulous pot of Jamie Oliver's spaghetti bolognese sauce, chock full of carrots, celery, onions and garlic (kindly cut up by yours truly) and a little bit of bacon and basil.  Sam worked with "veggie crumbles" to make a vegetarian version of the sauce that looked every bit as delicious as the original.

It was a lesson in knife skills for sure as the boys carefully peeled and chopped carrots and celery into lovely even dice - I was so impressed at how evenly-sized everything was - and we discussed the importance of making sure of this so everything would cook at the same rate. Nope, it's not just about cooking in cooking club - it's a bit of science and math too (we had to multiply the recipe by 1.5) but don't tell the boys that!!

Please check out the photos from this week on the RSGC Gallery and also see what the older boys have been up to in Les Petits Chefs club over on my blog eat. live. travel. write.

Jamie Oliver's stewed apple crumble
10/4/2012


Since it's apple season, I couldn't think of a better dish to show the boys how to make than Jamie Oliver's stewed apple crumble.  Plus, it might even be a perfect dish for the boys to make over the Thanksgiving long weekend!

It's not a difficult recipe at all so we worked at a leisurely pace. Ms Toguri and I were so impressed watching as the boys methodically peeled apples and sliced them and it was fun to watch their faces as the sugar in the pans transformed into caramel coating the apples in sugary goodness!  Such an easy and tasty dessert both Ms Toguri and I enjoyed ours before our dinner last night - it was TOO good to wait for!

You absolutely have to check out the photos from this week on the RSGC Gallery and check out what the older boys have been up to in Les Petits Chefs club over on my blog eat. live. travel. write.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families!

Mardi

Jamie Oliver's rosemary grilled chicken and home fries
9/27/2012

 

Jamie Olivers rosemary chicken and home fries

 

The boys did a great job this week making their very own oven baked potato wedges ("home fries" sounds so much better, no?) and rosemary chicken. With not a grill pan in sight, we had to pan fry the chicken but it was still tasty!

This week we learned about the importance of chopping vegetables evenly so they cook at the same rate (the guys did a great job of their potatoes!) and we learned how to "tenderize" chicken. Yes, olled in a little salt, pepper and rosemary, the poor chicken breasts were covered in parchment paper and bashed away at with rolling pins. The boys enjoyed this very much and the chicken was lovely and thin. I think we were all pretty impressed with this - dinner from start to finish in an hour!

You'll definitely want to see the pictures of this session on the RSGC Gallery in the Cooking Basics club album.

And check out what the older boys have been up to in Les Petits Chefs club over on my blog eat. live. travel. write.

Have a wonderful end of the week!

Mardi

Jamie Oliver's frittata
9/21/2012

Welcome to "Cooking Basics" club where Grades 3 and 4 boys will work their way through some of the Jamie Oliver Home Cooking Skills recipes this term. It's the first time I've opened up the club to the youngest Georgians and I am thrilled to have had such an enthusiastic response to the club!

This week we made Summer Veg and Goat's Cheese Frittata (or as Jamie calls it "a posh omelette") - something easy with only limited chopping so that I could evaluate the boys' skills.  I am pleased to report they all did very well and we'll be on to much more challenging recipes in the near future!

I changed up the recipe a little, substituting red peppers for broad beans (which are not my personal favourite!) and basil for mint.  We also made individual frittata instead of one giant one so that the boys were able to customise what they put in theirs and also because we don't have frying pans that can go in the oven!

The boys were very open to trying the various ingredients (they loved the red peppers, most of them! - and I saw more than one of them snacking on the peas and goat cheese!) - we talked about tasting something so that we could safely say whether we like it or not. We also learned how to dice the red peppers. I was very impressed with the boys' knife skills!

You can see the complete set of pictures from this week's session on the RSGC Gallery.
If you're interested in seeing what Les Petits Chefs (Grades 5-7) have been up to, you can read all about their adventures here.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and I look forward to working with the boys next Wednesday!

Mardi

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