Monday, 28 May 2012

Hi everyone
I hope a few more of you are looking at my blog, now that Paul S has put a link straight into it from the school website home page.
Firstly, Mr Langton's recommended foodie tv programmes this week:
The Great British Menu on all week on BBC2 at 7.30.
Gok Cooks Chinese on Mondays Channel 4 at 8.30.
Jimmy and the giant supermarket  - anew series at 9pm on Tuesdays.
This Tuesday at 9.30 on BBC2 - Inside the Smithfield Market.
I listened to the Radio 4 Food Programme this week and it was all about breakfast,Some people never bother to have breakfast, for a number of reasons, but it is really the most important meal of the day, If you think about it, the very word tells you of its purpose in our daily 'menu' - it is to break the fast, because most of us have not eaten anything for at least 7 or 8 hours, since our last meal/snack/supper from the evening before. Our bodies need re-fuelling and a sensible breakfast will kick start our energy levels and get us going both physically and mentally.
Government statistics apparantly show that people who skip breakfast are 4,000% less productive during the day than people who do have something to eat!!
When I was a teenager, my favourite meal of the week was the 'Full English' that my Dad would cook after we all got back with him from our Saturday morning swim at the local pool. He was a Scout Leader so there were always quite a few boys who came along to swim too. My sister and I really looked forward to Saturdays!!
Dad, my sister and I were always hungry after all that exercise, and the breakfast was just great! A couple of cups of tea to follow and we were 'charged up' and ready for whatever the rest of the day would bring.
At our swimming baths, the lifeguards were older ladies, dressed in their ordinary clothes - a skirt and blouse,and shoes - , with an overall on top because they had to multi-task and serve in the upstairs cafe at the same time!
Whichever one of these ladies was on duty would sit at the edge of the pool on a chair, near to the diving boards at the deep end. I don't know if they could even swim!
Then, every so often they would disappear off to the cafe if they heard there was a customer waiting and there were no other staff on hand to serve them!!
It would be our Mr Parker's worst nightmare!!
I used to imagine a scenario where some bather would be in difficulty in the water, and someone else would send for the lifeguardlady, who, if she was up in the cafe might say, 'tell them to hang on a minute, will you, 'cos I'm just frying an egg!'
My Dad, who was a trained life-saving instructor had to help someone once who was struggling in the deep end. There was no lifeguard to be seen. Dad had finished his swim and was drying himself off at the side of the pool; he reached out to them with the long pole that is for scooping out test water, then pulled them into the side as they grabbed hold of it.
I hope you all find time for a good breakfast during the week and at the weekend.
I still go swimming several times a week, and on a Sunday I meet my Dad at the same pool - although it's a new pool these days in a bigger leisure centre - and go back to my parents' house for breakfast.
Unfortunately, in these healthy eating days, it's usually a healthy cereal, followed by brown toast and Mom's home-made marmalade!! Gone are the days of a Full English after swimming, although Mom did offer me a banana as an extra last Sunday!!
I often go away for weekends where we stay in good old fashioned 'Bed and Breakfast' accomodation.
You can always have a breakfast of your choice, and we always go for a 'Full English'. It's healthier these days usually, with grilled bacon and sausage, scrambled or poached egg, grilled tomatoes etc. Still scrummy!
When my kids were younger we took them to Disneyland Paris during a half term break. The older I get, the more queasy I feel on the scary rides. Not wanting to let the side down I decided on the first day that I wouldn't chicken out on any of them. We were staying in a local Novotel and I had had one huge breakfast that morning; these hotels offer a great big help yourself breakfast with so much food it is almost obscene! Cereals, fruit, juice, yoghurts, bread rolls, Full English, toast or Danish pastries to follow and plenty of good quality coffee.  Our plan, master minded by my money-conscious husband was that we should all have as much food as we could fill our stomachs with, and then we probably wouldn't need to buy any food in the Theme Park at their grossly elevated prices!
We got to Disneyland for opening time, got hold of some fast track tickets so that we could jump queues when things got busy, and set off for the kids' first choice of ride. It was called 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom -Backwards'.  You had to sit in liitle coal trucks and be sent hurtling round the track, in and out of the 'mines' at breakneck speed, with the added excitement and terror of the trucks being propelled  backwards rather than straight ahead. My husband, the crafty thing, announced that he wasn't going to go on any rides until his breakfast had 'gone down a bit', so of course muggins me had to go with the kids who were raring to start and pleading with me to accompany them. Well, needless to say, I was green by the time I staggered out of my coal truck some 5 minutes later! I dutifully went on every ride that day and was so relieved when the final one we chose before the Park closed was in the Warner Brothers Film Section, and it was called Aerosmith, after the pop group.  It sounded harmless enough, but as we were progressing slowly in the queue to where we would get into our 'vehicle' for the ride there started to appear some warning notices on the walls.
DO NOT GO ON THIS RIDE IF YOU ARE PREGNANT OR HAVE EVER SUFFERED WITH BACK OR NECK PROBLEMS.  AAaaaaaargh!  Panic set in. Too late to turn back.  We were helped into the travelling 'car' for 4 persons, and huge, thick, solid safety frames were locked over us by the staff. Not your run of the mill safety belt for this one, no way! Then we were off. To the blaring cacophany of Aerosmith heavy rock music, we were whizzed round and round and upside down and through dark tunnels decorated with guitars and musical notation.
I have never experienced terror like it - I decided I could hear someone screaming, and then realized it was me!  As we finally slowed down and emerged out of the tunnels into the bright evening sunshine, I realized that I was totally exhilarated  by the experience and, if the Park hadn't been due to shut in the following 5 minutes I might just have been persuaded to queue up for a second go (but don't tell my kids!) The adrenaline was coursing round my body, the endorphins had kicked in and I was, I suppose, high!
Back again the next day for 9 oclock, but this time, although I had still indulged in a huge breakfast I insisted that my husband's turn to take the children on the first ride of the day; I sat on a bench in the sun and read the newspaper!
Signing off now, as it's 11.30pm.  More recipes and interesting facts about spuds and chips in my next blog.
Mrs P

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Hi everyone
Our vigilent 'what's coming up on TV' scrutineer, Mr Langton foretells some good foodie programmes coming this week..
Gok Cooks Chinese over several Mondays Channel 4  8.30pm.
Great British Menu every Wednesday BBC2 7.30pm
Thursday 24th BBC2 9pm.  this week The fish market - inside Billingsgate - new 3 part series featuring the 3 main London fishmarkets.
On More4 at the weekends there is quite a lot of food stuff - looks like it's all day long.
There are some more of my recipes at the bottom of the page. Do have a look and maybe try one or two out on your family.
I had an ingenious answer to one of the questions put to my Year 7,s this week.
Q  Why are gas hobs better than electric when frying pancakes?
I had told them before that it is because the heat is instantly controllable.
This particular response was, 'if you splill pancake mixture on the hob it burns off faster!' ?????
He got a mark for trying!
I have managed to save some budget money this year, so with luck will be ordering some new aprons, and for my one big item I plan to buy a new Kenwood Mixer - we use my old one a lot and it really has seen better days.

See if you can answer these quiz questions with your knowledge of nutrition..

Read the following statements and circle the correct answer in each case….

1.      The nutrients that are needed for growth and tissue repair are called    MINERALS/ PROTEINS

2.      Carbohydrates include sugars, starch and

3.      It is recommended that we drink at least
4 – 6 / 6 – 8 ‘cups’ of fluid each day.

4.      The recommended daily intake of FIBRE is  15g / 18g

5.      The Eatwell Plate is divided into   5 /  7 segments

6.      Guidelines for healthy eating state that we should try to cut down on our intake of sugar, fats and CARBOHYDRATES/ SALT

7.      A shortage of Vitamin C / Vitamin D in the diet can result in the illness known as Scurvy.

8.      The mineral Iron is needed in our diet. It is one of the

9.      The function of Calcium in our bodies is to help form
          healthy  BLOOD / BONES AND TEETH

10.    The role of fats in the body includes keeping us warm, protection of vital organs and fats are a concentrated  source of ENERGY / VITAMINS

Answers are at the bottom of the page:

150 ml strong black coffee  
2 tbsp rum/brandy/cream liqueur (stirred into the coffee)        
2 tbsp caster sugar – dissolved in the coffee

8 trifle sponges, cut into thick fingers  or  18 sponge fingers
½ pint double cream, whipped       
1 small tub mascarpone cheese        1 can/carton custard
2 oz grated chocolate

Arrange half the sponges in a shallow serving dish.  Pour over half the liquid.   
Mix together the custard, whipped cream and cheese.
Spread half this mixture over the sponges.  Top with the remaining sponges and drizzle over the rest of the coffee mixture.  Spread over the rest of the custard mixture.  Sprinkle with grated chocolate and chill.


Recipe as above but also  

200g raspberries + 2 nectarines, stoned and chopped.
Put half the fruit on top of the first sponge layer, and the other half on to the second layer of sponges.
Can use cocoa powder dredged on top instead of grated chocolate or a mixture of both.

Can do a veggie verswion by omitting the meat

Some chicken breast (or turkey breast/thigh meat)
A selection of vegetables eg. onion, carrot, leek, courgette, celery,
oil for frying
can of chopped tomatoes      1 spoonful of red/green pesto
seasoning eg. Salt/pepper/soy or Worcester sauce/curry powder
dried herbs/stock/chilli sauce/garlic etc.
topping: breadcrumbs,
grated cheese or slices of mozzarella , dried herbs, 
optional – fresh coriander, chopped

Prepare all the veg – cut into slices or small dice
Slice the chicken/ turkey
Fry off all the veg. in hot oil until glossy.
Remove from the pan and fry the chicken/turkey.
Return the veg to the pan, add the chopped tomatoes, some stock  and your choice of seasoning.
Cook for about 10-15 mins to thoroughly cook the meat and reduce the sauce until it thickens.
Spoon the mixture into an ovenproof dish.
Sprinkle over the coriander.
Mix the cheese, breadcrumbs and dried herbs and spread over the meat and veg. mixture.
Bake for about 20 mins in a hot oven until the topping is golden and crisp.

Tortellini bake   A ‘Jane Phillips’ invention!

1 pack fresh tortellini -there are always a choice of fillings
1 can chopped tomatoes
Optional – garlic, chilli flakes
A variety of vegetables eg. Red/brown onion, spring onion,
Peppers, celery, mushrooms, all chopped
Oil for frying – can use olive oil here
If the tortellini is veg and cheese, can add other leftover meat to the veg mix.  Eg ham, chorizo, chicken
Grated cheese of choice - even Parmesan!
Choice of seasonings eg. Soy, Worcester sauce, dried herbs,

Boil the tortellini according to instructions.
Rinse off starch and set aside.
Fry off all the chopped veg for 5-10 mins, then add other meat if using.   Stir in the chopped tomatoes and add seasonings to taste.   Add the pasta to the created sauce, and spoon into one or more ovenproof containers.
Top with grated cheese.   Can chill or freeze at this stage.
When required, bake for 15-20 mins at gas 5, 190 C.
Nice with salads, garlic bread.

 Answers to quiz:
1. Proteins
2. Fibre
3, 6-8
4. 18g
5.  5
6.  salt
7.  Vit C
8.  micro nutrients
9.  bones and teeth
10. energy

Friday, 18 May 2012

Hello Everyone
Again a delay in publishing this blog - too busy!!
Firstly, Mr Langton recommends that we watch the Great British Menu programmes every week, and also to look at the Hungry Italians.
I enjoyed one of the 2 Hungry Fishermen episodes where they went to a shop that was making traditional Cornish Pasties,
An authentic Pasty is made with all raw ingredients, wrapped in lovely shortcrust pastry and cooked for about 40 minutes.
The history of the Pasties is that they were made for the Corish tin miners by their mothers or wives; they took them down the mines for their 'packed lunch'. The idea was that the pastry protected the delicious filling inside from the miners' dirty hands as they ate their meal.
Also, the pasty was often divided in two by a strip of pastry inside and on one side of the strip was the savoury filling and the other side held the 'pudding'!
I wonder what types of filling were used for the pudding course?
Probably not rhubarb and custard which is one of my favourite puds!
A chocolate bar to anyone who can research this and come with an answer.
Also, write down what your ideal savoury filling would be and the pudding you would like to be in the other half!  A prize for the best answer.
The hungry fishermen then took over the pasty kitchen and created some delicious pasties using smoked haddock, leeks and potato. They tried them out on some Cornish fishermen who gave them the thumbs up even though they had never considered using fish in a pasty!
The latest quote from one of the Year 7's last week was ...'Miss, my sink is DEAD' !
After going over to look I discovered that his sink was 'blocked', the water wouldn't drain away. Blocked with masses of bits of food that he hadn't scraped into the bin before washing the utensils.
I had to show him that all it took was to put your hand into the plughole, grab hold of all the bits and remove them to the bin.  He looked disgusted!  'It's the cleanest food waste you ever have to handle', I reassured him, but he didn't look too impressed!  Needless to say, his team did not win the cleaning up competition!
I am launching the House Masterchef competition next week. Your House Tutors will need to find would be chefs from each Year to take part in the Challenge, and there will also be one for Staff!
Below the blog are 4 recipes for you. 3 variations on a traditional trifle, and a quick sticky toffee pudding that is very rich but yummy in small amounts.


1 Chocolate cake or chocolate roll, cut into slices
Can of black cherries           Optional – kirsch or sherry
1 pint of custard/chocolate custard              ½ pint fresh cream           1 blackcurrant or black cherry jelly        grated chocolate

Place the slices of cake in a large bowl and soak in a little alcohol or blackcurrant juice.      Drain the fruit and spread the fruit over the cake.  Make up the jelly and allow to set.  Chop up with a fork
Top the fruit with the custard and leave to set.       Pipe rows of cream across the top of the custard, and put spoonfuls of jelly in between.  Sprinkle with grated chocolate.


1 Jamaican ginger cake, sliced      Opt - few drops of rum/sherry
1 can mango slices or 1 fresh mango             
1 can pineapple pieces or some fresh pineapple
1 pint custard           ½ pint fresh cream
Fruit for decoration – slices of kiwi/pineapple/mango
Chopped nuts/chocolate

Place the slices of cake in a large bowl and drizzle with alcohol or a little orange juice or juice from the tinned fruit.
Drain the fruit and spread over the sponge.
Top with the custard and allow to set.  Spread whipped cream over the top and decorate with mixed fruit and some chopped nuts.

Lemon Trifle -                serves 6 portions
1 packet trifle sponges      some lemon curd (or jam of your choice)      
2 lemons - juice and zest    
some tinned fruit eg. mandarins/apricots/peaches
approx. 50g (2oz) icing sugar      
5oz. double cream - lightly whipped
Split the trifle sponges and spread each half with lemon curd or jam, then place them in a serving dish.  Remove the zest from each lemon and keep. Squeeze the juice from 1 ½ of the lemons and pour over the trifle sponges, mash lightly with a fork. Using the juice from the remaining half lemon and icing sugar, make up a runny icing and pour this over the sponge mixture. Top with the fruit.    Cover with cling film and leave for 1-24hrs. To serve, top with whipped cream and scatter with the lemon zest.  If you like, you could add a layer of custard between the fruit and the cream.


 1-2 cakes  eg. Jamaica Ginger cake/Madeira cake
Sauce –           2 oz butter,   2 oz Soft brown sugar
          Some sultanas/raisins/ chopped ready to eat dates
                                      Vanilla extract        5 fl oz double cream
Oven 190 C, gas 6.

Cut the cake into slices and lay on the base of an ovenproof serving dish.
For the sauce – put all the ingredients (except the vanilla and cream) into a saucepan.
Heat up until the sugar dissolves.  Bubble for 5 minutes.
Now add the vanilla and cream. 
When frothing, stir well.  Allow to cool a little.
Pour over the cake and bake for 10-15 minutes.
Serve with eg. custard or good quality ice cream, or pouring cream.