Lots to learn from the kids

CHRIS FORTUNE
Last updated 15:08 15/11/2012

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What a great way to begin the Marlborough festive season with Hunter's Garden Marlborough and the A&P Show displaying the very best of the Marlborough region to visitors and locals.

Mother nature worked her magic and the sun shone brightly over the weekend, allowing thousands of people to enjoy what each event had to offer. It has taken 12 months of hard work and planning for just one big day, and all of the work behind the scenes paid dividends.

It was encouraging to see so many families with small children at the very well organised A&P Show, and there were more than enough activities to keep all happy. Master 10-year-old had saved his pennies and made sure that all the rides were thoroughly tested, while little Miss Five was enthralled by the horse jumping and pet lambs.

Credit is due to Marlborough 4Fun and the A&P committee for giving the show the energy it needs to pass the seal of approval from our 10-year-old. The key to the future is making the event appealing enough for youngsters to want to come back, as well as meeting the needs of all of the trade and animal exhibitors.

While some were lucky enough to have the weekend off, I spent my time making kids giggle and laugh on the Kids Can Cook Kitchen at both the A&P Show and the Hunters Garden Marlborough Fete. There is a real art to communicating, teaching, trying not to burn eight-year-olds, smiling and gigging all at the same time, and I have a huge amount of respect for our teachers who do it fulltime. While it is fun and interactive, it is also life-changing for both them and for me. I have learned more from these kids about how the world works in the last five weeks than what I have learned in the past five years. It really is a case of us listening as well as educating, and I would not swap what I am now doing for anything else. It is truly a honour to be involved in shaping the minds of our kids for the future and a very humbling experience indeed. If the children that are now at Ward and Wairau Valley Schools are the future people of our Marlborough communities, then we are truly in good hands.

The Hunter's garden fete once again proved that Marlborough is the epicentre of all good things that come out of the ground, and it was nice to catch up with Ruth Pretty, who has nothing but admiration for the hospitality and events of our region. If you could bottle her energy and enthusiasm you could make a million dollars . . . now there's a good idea.

In all of the schools I have been visiting we find lots of silverbeet in their gardens and 99 per cent of kids will eat it if we cook and serve it correctly, that is, not boiling it up into green, snotty vegetables.

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This tart is sweet and savoury and kids love pastries . . . nice.

SILVERBEET AND ONION TARTLET

Short crust pastry

50ml Marlborough extra virgin olive oil

3 Marlborough onions, sliced thinly

2 sprigs thyme

300g silverbeet

2 Tbsp grated cheddar cheese

2 Tbsp sour cream

The key to avoiding green snotty vegetables is to blanch and then refresh, squeezing out any excess moisture (retaining all the goodness). Do all of the work before dinnertime, so that all you have to do is reheat the tarts in the oven. Roll the pastry out thinly and cut into any rough shape, place on a baking tray and prick with a fork. Bake in a oven for 10-15 mins until golden brown. In a frying pan seat the onions and thyme and cook gently until soft but not coloured.

Separate the white silverbeet stalks from the green, slice thinly and then simmer the whites for two minutes, then add the green and simmer for 30 seconds only. Drain and refresh in cold water, squeezing out any moisture. Mix through the onions and cheese and spread on the crispy pastry. Blob with sour cream and bake 12-15 minutes in a hot oven. Serve warm.

- The Marlborough Express

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