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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PNBHS Pop-Up Restaurant Night

Well done boys, a dining room full of happy customers! After seven weeks of cooking and learning together the Rec Cooking Students from PNBHS put on a pop-up restaurant for the night at Wholegrain Organics’ Cafe on The Square. Firstly we prepared 37 identical dessert glasses (chia see pudding – see recipe) and stored them in the chiller. We then refuelled with 12 large vegan pizzas, and a couple more (hungry teenagers!) before the evening got really busy. Next step was to make 80 bean burgers, pan-fry them and set them on oven trays ready for grilling just before service. Meanwhile salad prep was done, fresh herbs prepared and 8 litres of creamy almond milk prepared for the vegan polenta!

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At 6PM the cafe was closed to customers, and a team of boys flew into action transforming the dining room. After ironing the table runners they positioned candles nestled in lima beans and had a lesson on table setting etiquette from our resident expert (thanks Mum!) The last hour whizzed by as boys were briefed on how to meet, greet and seat guests, correct serving technique and order, and the plating plan for each course. Kitchen was setup, food was giving the final cooking, intro welcome given and dinner began.

Appetiser: Seared organic butternut fillet on a bed of red quinoa and lentils with mushroom broth.

Main: Creamy vegan polenta with bean burgers, garlic mushrooms and slow-roast tomatoes.

Dessert: Chia seed “cheesecake in a glass”

4 boys worked on the production line preparing plates, the other 4 boys served finished plates to the tables. Great teamwork, and many happy customers. A really fun evening enjoyed by all, we hope to see you again boys!

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Practising for Pop-Up Restaurant Night

PNBHS boys practised black bean burgers and creamy vegan polenta with garlic mushrooms, slow-roasted tomatoes and salad for the pop-up restaurant night coming up next week (still a few seats available, email contact@wholegrainorganics.nz to reserve a seat, Tuesday 16th May 7PM – 3 course dinner).

They tweaked the bean burger recipe, adding more capsicum to make it more moist, and give extra flavour. We also made almond-milk from scratch, to use in the polenta which is very creamy and delicious.

Each boy had a go at plating up – tried a few variations. Happy with the results!

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Portobello Mushroom Night

The Hands-On Team kicked off term 2 with the fairly ambitious meal of “Portobello Mushroom Tempeh Burger” served with lemon rosemary “chips”. While many of the students had one of their best cooking nights with us, flat-out on the pans and all hands on deck in the prep, we felt the final meal did prove to be a bit too ambitious, so we will have another crack at it – capturing just as much flavour, but we’ll come up with a more realistic assembly procedure! We think it’s really important for the students to experience success on the plate every time. And while being busy is great, we also want it to be achievable for them!

A bit of knife practice was needed for successfully scoring the portobellos (without cutting right through) before rubbing them in vegan garlic “butter” prior to roasting. A delicious rub was made for the tempeh with smoked paprika, garlic and various seasonings. Organic red onions and capsicums were very finely diced – great knife skills team, then briefly pan fried before serving over the smashed avocado. Fresh locally grown spray-free spinach was wilted in the pan just prior to serving.

Preparing the plates was a lot of fun, quite a production-line of students involved! Pan fry the capsicum/red onion mixture, wilt the spinach, plate the roasted portobellos, fill one with smashed avo, top with capsicum/red onion mix, top that with lettuce then the roasted tempeh slice and drizzle with parsley oil, in the other portobello add the wilted spinach and fresh slices of tomato, lightly dusted with salt. Now add some hot lemon rosemary “chips” and voila, a tasty meal!

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Vegan ice-cream with 3 toppings was enjoyed for dessert – the students have become quite proficient at making and dispensing the ice-creams.

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Creamy Vegan Polenta with Black Bean Burgers

For the last day of term 1 the Hands On Food Team made a delicious new meal of vegan polenta topped with garlic roast mushrooms, slow-roast tomatoes and black/red bean burgers. To make the polenta creamy we made seventeen batches of almond milk – rich and creamy (see recipe here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9H3RCqHmSE&t=78s ). Firstly we sauteed onion in the pan, then added the polenta, and after stirring it briefly over the heat, we gradually added all seventeen litres of almond milk! It was really creamy and delicious, topped with garlic roast mushrooms, slow-roast cherry tomatoes and burgers made from black and red beans. All students were engaged and focussed, and enjoyed not only cooking the meal, but also serving the customers. For dessert we had soft-serve coconut ice-cream (yes, vegan) topped with passionfruit or carob sauce – of course the kids really enjoyed dispensing and serving the ice-cream!

Great end of term everyone, ka pai. For Stuff article from the night see http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/91573109/children-cook-vegan-meals-at-free-classes-in-palmerston-north.

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PNBHS Chia “Cheesecake” in a Glass

PNBHS students prepare for their restaurant night in May, working on the dessert. After learning some finer knife skills they make a simple but delicious chia pudding in a glass. See recipe here: https://live2give.nz/2016/06/04/chia-cheesecake-in-a-glass-pudding/

Quite some creative flair unleashed – each glass looking different from the previous, with varying combinations of colours and patterns.

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