Carrot Kumara Soup

MANUKURA juniors had an awesome first day yesterday making carrot kumara soup at Wholegrain Organics’ kitchen. They also tried their hand at cutting homemade bread into straight slices – harder than it looks! We all had a go at plating up, decorating the soup with coconut cream swirls, roast capsicum slices, spring onion we (tried) to slice thinly on the diagonal and toasted savoury almond slivers.

After eating the soup with garlic “buttered” (vegan) toast we sat down for a discussion about nutrition and the digestion – very interesting stuff…

Ka pai everyone, great first day. Continue reading

Jardinère, Macédoine, Brunoise, Julienne, Paysanne, Chiffonade…??

Yes, these are actually French words – classic French cookery terms for specific vegetable cuts. Freyberg TPU students have been working towards their Hospitality level 2 unit standard “Fruit & Vegetable Cuts” requiring them to master each of these techniques. It’s been a lot of fun – when the care is taken with the cutting, the salads, for example, look so appealing – that attention to detail comes through, even in the flavour. This week we’ve featured a beetroot salad made of brunoise of beetroot – all hand diced, it is a pleasure to eat!

Brunoise – very small diced cube, 1-3mm (parsnip in this picture – makes delicious parsnip “riosotto”)

Macédoine – diced cube 5mm (great for carrot)

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Spinach, shallots, portobello mushrooms, leeks and…barley

Awatapu seniors chopped shallots, leeks, garlic, portobello muhrooms and learned how to wash and wilt fresh spinach to make a delicious green barley risotto – nutrient dense.

Great knife skills coming along team – great to see everyone’s enthusiasm for learning the best cutting techniques, and making a product good enough to serve to cafe customers.

Dotted with slow-roast tomatoes on top (cherry tomatoes baked at 150 C for around an hour sprinkled with garlic, fresh thyme, olive oil, sea salt and coconut sugar). Then garnished with lime-cured red onion. Great meal!

barley risotto.JPG

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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