Thursday, 7 February 2013

Our first week back at school

It was exciting to return to school and find out how our veggies had grown during the holidays. We found some huge zucchinis, our giant pumpkins and edible pumpkins are coming along nicely, we have lots of herbs growing well and we will soon have crops of tomatoes and corn to harvest.
Cameron harvested some herbs

Liam harvested some carrots

Ellen used scissors to harvest some chives for the curried eggs

Checking out the giant pumpkin

It was very warm this week so there was watering to be done - very popular on warm sunny days!

William watered the corn
Jacob watered the tomatoes
Jobe unravelled the hose

As well as harvesting each garden group completes a task such as watering, maintenance, composting, weather recording and inspecting our new garden. Josie did a good job completing the weather board on Thursday and Jacob was a great help measuring the soil temperature.
Each group gets a list of jobs to do and visuals showing what they need to harvest
Josie took charge of the weather board
Jacob measured the soil temperature

When it rains and we can't get out to the garden we complete various activities inside such as paper shredding, journal writing and working on a mosaic table. Whilst there was no rain about this week, Sam spent time inspecting the table - it will be good to get it completed this year!

Our new garden is progressing and students enjoyed exploring it this week. Our giant pumpkins are growing in the new garden. Fruit trees are doing well, with one or two fruits on some and we also have some zucchinis, tomatoes and potatoes growing.

The chicken house is nearly finished!

We are running the program five days a week this year and are including eleven classes. Some students started on our program on their first day at our school on Tuesday - what a lovely start to find yourself in a beautiful garden and then have the chance to do some cooking and to eat a delicious lunch!

Our menu this week was:

Pizza Margherita
Pasta with Zucchini and Garlic
Stir-fried greens with honey, soy and sesame seeds
Salad of the Imagination
Curried Eggs

The pizza was really delicious!
And the curried eggs continued to be a great favorite!

We purchased three mandolin slicers in the holidays. Last term we trialled two models, one that had a safety handle which had to be pulled back in order for the sharp slicing blade to be exposed and one that had a guard which held the food to be sliced on the slicing track. Both of these properties were considered to be of value for our students. A big search took place in the holidays to find a mandolin that had both properties. Eventually a model was found, but it was only available in the UK or USA!! After much internet searching the cheapest mandolin was found in a shop in Scotland!! We have trialled the mandolins this week and they appear to be providing us with a solution to the issue of finding safe ways for our students to chop and slice. We produced some matchstick thin carrot chips this week and sliced our tomatoes and onions incredibly thinly. The machines were great fun too!

Liam made zucchini chips for the stir fry
Same made carrot chips for the salad

The machine was very interesting!

We will be starting new menus each Tuesday.

Next weeks new menu is:
Zucchini and Caramelised Onion Pizza
Pasta with a Creamed Spinach Sauce
Thai Carrot Salad
Mandarin and Almond Salad
Mini Frittatas

How did we come up with this menu? Well, zucchinis are readily available at present as is spinach; we were given a lot of carrots and mandarins and we are including an egg dish each week in our first five week block.

There were lots of photos that I could not include in this blog this week as I am still waiting to check permission for publicity documents for many of our new students. Hopefully I will be able to publish more next week.

And here are a selection of photos taken in the kitchen:

Jacob dry roasted the sesame seeds that would be a garnish for the stir-fry

Patrick made pasta

Regan used the mandolin slicer to slice tomatoes for the pizza

Jack grated the zucchini (a very big one!) for the pasta sauce

Rochelle grated cheese for the pizza

And what a great final photo - a new student enjoying his first Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program Meal!

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