Monday, 21 January 2013

Hi everyone!
I am taking advantage of the day off (because of the snow), to write the next blog. This week will be the last Wednesday for another cohort of 12 Year 7's to come for their first ever session of Food Tech. Then, from next week I have the pleasure of the Year 8's. The year 7's have given me much entertainment over the last few weeks; they make a lot of mistakes, but learn from them. They come out with some hilarious statements and questions, but their excitement and enthusiasm is infectious, and I thoroughly enjoy teaching them. Their motivation and enthusiasm ought to be 'bottled' and sold! They had the pleasure of making a Spicy Pasta, Chocolate Brownies and Chicken Stir Fry with Noodles. Mr Collins, as Head of Year 7, often pops in to see how they are doing, and looking for food! So, now, in order that he doesn't have to judge which boy's creation is best, they all put a spoonful of their pasta or stir fry into the same foil container so that he gets a mixture of 6 different attempts (they work in pairs, you see). That way he can only say that they are all good!

I enjoy cooking and creating recipes, so even today I have been baking and inventing! I either make a recipe up entirely, or use a  recipe or idea from a book/magazine/the internet etc. and adapt it to suit - often in order to use up some foods and ingredients that I have left over in the fridge or freezer, or in the cupboard.
I love having a good sort out of my kitchen cupboards when I have time, and last night I sorted out lots of bits and pieces from my baking cupboard and today made a few cakes and some cherry and coconut scones. My husband rem,ains slim despite trying all the goodies, as he plays squash regularly!

I am upping my game this term because Mr Clements is becoming something of an expert at baking breads and cakes and give me samples to try. I shall have to be careful as he might be after my job!!
I also keep making an easy but impressive dessert from the new Nigella cookbook of Italian recipes - Nigelissima. I learn several languages as a hobby and my Italian Tutor (although he is actually Polish!) has lived and worked in many regions of Italy, often as a chef, to fund his studies as he progressed through Masters/PhD's, writing a book etc. As a consequence, he is a brilliant cook, and prepares really authentic Italian dishes. He has never heard of Nigella Lawson, but accepts that it was a good idea for her to do a book about Italian Food as she has worked over there as a chambermaid during her gap year, and she is a very popular celebrity chef.
The recipe is ....Meringue Gelato Cake with Chocolate Sauce. All it is really is a mixture of crushed meringues, whipped cream and chopped chocolate that you freeze in a loaf tin lined with cling film. Nigella adds some coffee liqueur. It does't freeze solid, so you can bring it out of the freezer at the last minute, turn it out and slice it up, serving it with chocolate sauce (bought or home made), and some raspberries. It is great! Come and get the recipe from me if you want; the first 4 boys to come for the recipe can try some out of my freezer at school!  I keep adapting the recipe already, eg. using half fat creme fraiche with the cream (healthier), chopped Ferero Rocher chocolates, or After Eight mints, or any leftover chocs of your choice!

I am having problems recruiting boys from Years 9, 10 and 11 to enter the heats of the Walsall Young Chef of the Year Competition - I don't know why? All contestants have to do is cook a healthy main course for 2 people for under £8. The heats will take place in the Food Tech Room after school over the next few weeks.
So, I have decided to open it up to Year 8's next. So, if anyone is interested, pop in and see me this week.
If there are too many entries, I will chose the best ideas and the other boys can take part in the School Competition later this year.

Some of you possibly listen to Steve Wright on Radio 2. He is a wacky DJ, who, in my day was a Radio 1 DJ! He has a slot on his show called 'Factoids' where he tells us amazing and weird facts about all kinds of things. I picked up a book of his at a book sale - here are one or two about food....
The record for eating 38 hard boiled eggs is 1 minute 15 seconds!
In 2007, Peter Andre was rushed to hospital in Jamaica suffering from banana poisoning. He had eaten 50 bananas the previous day and was suffering from an extreme potassium overdose!
Saffron is known as the king of spices and it's actually the world's most expensive food by weight.  It takes 120,000 crocus flowers, each picked by hand to produce 1 kg of saffron from the stamens!
Following his 300 mph car crash, Top Gear's Richard Hammond developed a craving for celery. He previously wouldn't eat it.
Ready Steady Cook's Ainsley Harriott was once a ball boy at Wimbledon.
Our food is so full of preservatives these days, that it now takes 3 weeks to start rotting rather than 3 days!
Hens lay more eggs when Radio 2 is played to them!
and finally ....
A seaweed used to flavour Japanese food, called UNDARIA PINNATIFIDIA, has been shown to cause weight loss in animals, particularly around the abdomen, and might be developed into a slimming supplement.  So, if you're a hippo, look out for the Undaria Pinnatifidia Weight Loss Programme, coming soon to a TV channel near you!

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