Each year group has the opportunity, throughout the school year, to learn about food and develop their cooking skills. Cookery helps to improve motor and self-help skills, builds confidence, promotes healthy living and compliments class learning.
By making such dishes as bread and butter pudding, apple and pear triangles, cheese scones, tear and share flavoured bread and parsnip and carrot soup the younger children have developed skills such as spreading, whisking, kneading, peeling and chopping.
Older children have further improved their skills with dishes such as lemon meringue pie, Bakewell tart, samosas, Brazillian picadillo and chicken and potato bake.
Pizza is everyone’s favourite. The school dinner pizza recipe has been used to make Pirate face pizzas which complimented the ‘Pirate’ topic in Class 1S. Year 2 and 3 practiced a range of maths skills when making pizza including weight and capacity, shape, doubling, dividing and time. In Year 3 and 4 after their cooking they used maps and scale to calculate how far the ingredients of their pizza had travelled. A discussion about why our food comes from all around the world and the environmental pros and cons followed.
With justice as one of our Christian values we like to use Fairtrade products wherever possible. Our children can name many products and easily identify them as Fairtrade by spotting the logo. They know that these products have given the farmers a fair deal and helped poorer communities. We have made Fairtrade banana tiramisu and Fairtrade honey and banana muffins. Whilst making the honey muffins we also looked at honey making, tasting honey made by bees who had visited eucalyptus, lavender, orange trees and Acacia.
Complimenting Class 3’s learning about World War 2 we have looked at rationing and the “Dig for Victory” campaign. The children made Lord Woolton pie, a vegetable pie named after the wartime Minister of Food. They also bake egg free and sugar free items which were then used in a specially themed school dinner. During these sessions they discussed food wastage and how to use up leftovers and compost waste.
As well as the pirate face pizza, Class 1S have made a very healthy “pirate chest salad” of quinoa, vegetables, herbs and pomegranate. The quinoa looked like gold whilst the vegetable and fruits represented various jewels. They have also made a sweet treat of chocolate and dried fruits in the shape of a pirate coin bag.
Other dishes cooked to compliment class learning have included a range of Chinese cookery: Vegetable spring rolls, vegetable Chow Mein and pork Szechuan. Class 3 enjoyed the Pork Szechuan so much they requested that it be put on the school dinner menu!
History has also been incorporated into our cookery lessons. Whilst studying the Great Fire of London we looked at foods from the Stuart era. The children made jumble or knotted biscuits flavoured with caraway along with Hippocras (a warm, spiced apple drink).
Class 2M have made recipes to focus on healthy living, maths and literacy. Having made tomato pasta bake they calculate the cost of it and then did a comparison with similar shop bought, ready-made items (one fresh, one frozen). They compared cost, sugar and salt content as well as appearance and taste. During book week they made fruity mocktails then using the language of Roald Dahl created an advert for their fizz-popping, yum-dilliumptious drinks.
Foods connected to special events have also been produced. Reception children make Christmas cakes which they then decorate and gift wrap with a handwritten label. They have also made chocolate apples and pinwheels as traditional and themed foods served on bonfire night.
Celebrating our link with Mmazami school in Tanzania Class 3 cooked a fish curry from the Mara region. This used similar methods and ingredients as a curry served for dinner as part of our Tanzania day.
The children in Class 3 have developed a fantastic knowledge of foods and fabulous culinary skills. They are encouraged to use this knowledge to develop their own dishes rather than be bound by recipes. The Year 5 children created their own stuffed chicken meals, stuffing with a wide range of ingredients, each of them very individual. The Year 6’s held a “Ready, Steady, Cook” competition and totally wowed the judge from the Children’s Food Trust. They had to use chicken, leek, apricots and cheddar along with standard store cupboard ingredient. The result was amazing- chicken pasta bake, stuffed chicken, griddled chicken on couscous and roasted veg, chicken pie followed by rice puddings, apricot biscuits and cakes, and crumbles.
During our health week every child gets the opportunity to cook a healthy recipe. This year children made either Tabulleh salad or cheesy pasta bake. Year 6 children also made fruit kebabs for all the children of the school to share at a breaktime. This was following a suggestion from our junior catering manager.
Many of the recipes we use are from the Lets get cooking website. Why not give them a try at home and share sometime cooking with your very able children? http://www.childrensfoodtrust.org.uk/lets-get-cooking-at -home/