Author Archives for hands-on food team

Hands-On Dinner Nights start up next week!

Hands-On Dinner Nights start up next week! The Hands-On Food team will be preparing delicious and nourishing plant-based meals from 2 & 3 May again.

Every Wednesday and Thursday during the school term, young people from local schools in Palmerston North enthusiastically join us in making vegan meals in the registered kitchen @ Wholegrain Organics. Dinner service starts at 6pm. If you would like to pop in and check it out, just choose Wednesday or Thursday evening and enjoy a carefully prepared meal at a vegan family table. Come to Wholegrain Organics, 134 The Square, Palmerston North (next to Number 1 Shoes).


Hands-On Food Senior Group

The first term of the school year is over and what a great time we had. We have been reflecting on our Hands-On Food Senior (school year 12+) cooking workshops. We learnt some yummy plant-based dishes, like butternut pumpkin curry, eggplant & zucchini lasagne, potato gratin, snow peas & pumpkin dinner salad, and tomato & basil soup. The highlight of each evening was sitting down and sharing a family meal together.

We will continue with seniors’ classes this coming term too – an exciting opportunity for students to learn about plant-based cooking, wholesale production, running a restaurant night for the public, or catering for local business events. If you are interested in joining the Tuesday team, email us:, call 06-328 5917 or pop in and see us (134 The Square, Palmerston North next to Number 1 shoes).

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carob cookies with pink creme … :-p

Yesterday the MCHS students made cookies decorated with carob chocolate and accompanied with pink raspberry crème topped with more carob chocolate.

First, we prepared a batch of cookie dough. We ground the almonds and coconut chips, then mixed them together with water, coconut oil, rapadura sugar, vanilla powder, rice flour, buckwheat flour, and a pinch of salt. We learnt how much “a pinch” is! We also realized that the texture of our dough differed a little from one person to another, even though we’d used the same ingredients and presumably the same amounts. But some of us had ground the almonds and coconut chips for longer than others, which meant that more oil came out, making the dough more moist. An interesting observation!!

The next step was a bit trickier: The dough needed to be rolled out quite thinly, but not too thin. It took us a while to figure out how to hold the rolling pin in the right way and what amount of pressure to apply.Some had trouble with the dough sticking to the rolling pin. We learned how to sprinkle flour on the rolling pin to prevent it from sticking to the dough. We soon mastered it and used cookie cutters to make nice round cookies. We carefully transferred them onto a tray and then baked them in the oven for about 20 minutes at 160 degrees.

While the cookies were baking we prepared a batch of carob chocolate. And for the yummy raspberry crème we used frozen raspberries, coconut yoghurt and a squirt of agave syrup. The crème was a pretty pink colour, with a smooth texture. We each decorated our bowls of raspberry crème by drizzling liquid carob chocolate over the top in fancy patterns. We loved the look of them, and each bowl was unique.

After we tidied up our work station, we sat down together and sampled our cookies and crème. We all liked it very much. Great effort guys!

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Tomato & Basil Soup … Yum!

On Tuesday, we were just a small group of 3 students. Since it is summer, we have a lot of spray-free tomatoes from local farmers. We also have our own fresh basil. Using this opportunity, we decided to cook tomato soup and prepare some bruschette, made with our freshly milled wholegrain organic wheat flour and topped with a little garlic butter and a fresh tomato-basil mixture.
For the soup, we washed the tomatoes and blanched them briefly in hot water. As soon as the skin popped we transferred them into ice water, so the skin would come off easily. One student took care of transferring the tomatoes from hot to cold water. Another peeled them and the third chopped carrots, onions and garlic, which we cooked together with the peeled tomatoes. We added the freshly picked basil and, at the end, blended it all together.
While we cooked the soup, we cut up tomatoes and basil to put on our bruschette, which we baked in the pizza stone oven.
Everyone was spot-on. We managed to finish everything in time and could enjoy the results of our cooking. It was delicious! Ka pai guys!

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