Barley Risotto

Last Thursday the Hands-On team made a risotto with pearl barley – a great grain for slow-release energy. We made a very green blend of wilted spinach, shallots, garlic and vegetable stock to let down the barley – and finished the risotto with pan-fried portobello mushrooms and leeks. A hearty winter’s meal, with good nutritional profile.


We have structured our Thursday sessions into sub-groups of 4-6 students, each group on a specific task, 2-3 groups making the dinner, and the other group(s) working on a saleable product – we have already begun with Sauerkraut (see last week’s post), and this week we experimented with vegan carob chocolate using very tasty freeze-dried strawberries we had just got in – the samples were very popular! In fact a vegan store in Wellington is keen to stock vegan carob chocolate if we can produce it for them – watch this space.

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Our New Production has started!

Two weeks ago on Thursday afternoon we started our new production of sauerkraut with the Hands-On team. We mixed green and red cabbage, with beetroot. After we sorted through our organic cabbages and removed the outer leaves, it was time to shred the veges in the food processor. Then we added salt and smooshed the cabbage and beetroot with our hands until the cabbage juice developed. We packed the mixture into our pickling pot and then went home to await the sauerkraut process. It was interesting to see the cabbage bubbling as the fermentation process started. We learnt that eating fermented foods introduces beneficial bacteria into your digestive system which helps the immune system.
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Chickpea Curry

Awatapu seniors made chickpea curry at Wholegrain Organics’ cafe yesterday – here is the recipe:

They served it on a mix of brown jasmine and red rice, and garnished it with coconut cream, cherry tomatoes and coriander leaves.

The curry base is made from all fresh ingredients – plenty of garlic, ginger and onion which is cooked slowly until it turns sticky, then the spice blend is added – freshly ground cumin, turmeric powder and cardamom with the secret ingredient – lots of freshly grated lime zest. The pan is then deglazed with canned tomatoes and coconut cream, and the cooked chickpeas are added.

So nice to see how the team’s knife skills are developing already, and confidence with the kitchen equipment. Great teamworking too. Continue reading

Parsnip Pasta

The last two Thursdays the Hands-On team has been busy spiralizing parsnip into fettucine! Lightly pre-baked in the oven, it is topped with creamy cashew and mushroom sauce and served with salad. Heaps of positive feedback from customers – amazingly the parsnip has a look, feel and texture and taste like fettucine, and the cashew cream sauce mixed with mushroom broth and topped with shitake mushrooms creates a delicious meal.


Meanwhile another group of students were busy producing their first batch of sauerkraut! We used a mix of green and red organic cabbage, and organic beetroot to make a tasty sauerkraut, which the students will pack into jars this week. We tasted it earlier today, it’s coming on really well. Our sauerkraut is made just from cabbage and salt, and it ferments naturally to make a probiotic product which is great tasting and great for our digestion.

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Roast Pumpkin Soup!

Today seniors from Awatapu had their first of seven cooking workshops at Wholegrain Organics’ kitchen – their first meal: roast butternut pumpkin soup with spiced Moroccan butternut hummus.

Super sweet and flavourful organic butternut pumpkins are a great vegetable to work with. We practised our knife skills cubing the pumpkin, slicing the celery and carrots and learning the correct way to dice an onion.

The spiced Moroccan butternut hummus also involved chopping up pumpkins, rubbing with finely chopped garlic and ginger and sprinkling with spices before roasting in the oven. Once cooked the pumpkin was blended with the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and olive oil.

We all thoroughly enjoyed a bowl of soup with some chunky spelt toast topped with the tasty hummus. Looking forward to next week guys! Continue reading

Dinner Rolls, Broccoli & Spinach Soup, Eggplant Lasagna

Last week the Hands-On Team had a go at baking mini dinner rolls which were served with some vegan “butter” and a delicious soup made from broccoli, spinach and parsley. Everyone really enjoyed baking the rolls – dividing the dough, learning to “close” the dough so the rolls rises into a nice shape without splitting, letting them rise and baking them in the deck ovens.

The rest of the team prepared broccoli and a vegetable stock base for the soup, along with broccoli florets for garnish and toasted dukkah to sprinkle over the top.


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