Kai with Soul: The breakfast battle
Each fortnight Spotswood College and New Plymouth Boys' High School showcase the talents and tasty treats of their students, with a focus on lifelong skills that can be used every day to enhance the benefits of a healthy diet and lifestyle. This fortnight it's the turn of Spotswood College's food and nutrition teacher, Katy Roach.
Encouraging students to eat breakfast before they come to school is a constant battle and one which there is no relenting on, from a teaching point of view in our Food and Nutrition Department.
I tell my students that when I was their age and attending high school that I would eat a three course breakfast before biking to the bus stop at 8am each morning.
I had four other siblings and the breakfast routine ran like clockwork in our household. My sister and I would have weekly turns to set the breakfast table and help Mum make the school lunches while my three brothers just had to get themselves ready for school.
Life was simple and boys weren't expected to help out with the cooking and cleaning. Oh how times have changed!
We collected eggs from the hens, milk from the vat (a large milk-holding tank) and bacon from the pigs so our food supply, from many sources, was plentiful.
Today's youth are amazed by my breakfast story. Yes I would have Weetbix and milk, followed by eggs and toast and then extra toast and homemade jam.
This meal was my main meal of the day and by the time I got home from school at 4.20pm I would be starving again. That is after consuming morning tea and lunch.
Once we have discussed why it is so important to eat breakfast, more students will make the effort to eat this meal and agree with the rewards of practicing this eating habit.
They agree that they are able to concentrate and learn better in class, yes, they do have enhanced social skills and don't feel so grumpy or lethargic later on during the day. Also, they don't overeat highly processed low nutrient/high fat, sugar and salt foods, later on in the day.
Two of our recipes this week are highly nutritious breakfast foods. A bowl of hot porridge is also economical to make. Serve it with milk and sprinkle a little brown sugar on top or jazz it up with a spoonful or two of your favourite stewed fruit and a spoon of yoghurt.
A bowl of hot porridge is a winning cereal. The sugar and salt content is minimal and it is high in complex carbohydrates and soluble fibre. It is also the most economical cereal to make. Serve it in the traditional way with milk and a little brown sugar or with stewed or dried fruit and nuts.
Scrambled eggs on toast is another quick, nutritious and economical meal to make and one that has been a popular option at our school Breakfast Club. High in protein, vitamins and minerals and flavour, it will sustain the energy needs of teenagers in any given day.
Eggs for breakfast are a suitable meal for teenagers who play sport and have practices during the school day. The protein will assist with muscle and cell growth and maintenance.
Both the porridge and scrambled eggs can be made within a few minutes on the stove top or in the microwave. Remember to make sure the glass bowl or jug that contains the egg mixture is big enough to allow for the rising of the eggs in the cooking process.
Our third recipe is Hawaiian pizza rolls. It makes a tasty lunchbox or snack food. It consists of a scone dough, rolled out and filled with a mix of grated cheese, pineapple, salami and spaghetti or tomato salsa, which is rolled up into a long sausage roll shape and then cut into smaller individual pinwheel shapes. These can be eaten warm or cold.
I always ask my classes to rate the foods that they cook in terms of flavour and ask if they would make it again.
One of the senior Year 12 boys gave the Hawaiian pizza rolls a 10 out of 10 and then went on to say that it was the best practical we have made this year!
I was happy with his reply and, even though I know they have made lots of delicious foods, his reply reminded me that nothing tastes better than something freshly baked – using wholesome ingredients and steaming hot and tasty - when you are hungry on a winter's school day.
Fruity Porridge (Serves 4)
2 cups rolled oats (200 grams)
4 cups of milk, soya milk, water or a combination of milk and water
¼ tsp salt
1 banana – finely sliced
2-3 Tbsp maple syrup, honey or brown sugar
flaked almonds or chopped dried fruit (sultanas, apricots, cranberries, dates) – optional
- Measure the oats, milk or water and salt into a medium sized saucepan.
- Put on medium heat and bring to a steady simmer. Stir often to produce a creamy porridge. This will take 5-10 minutes.
- If the porridge is too thick, stir in a little more milk or water to get the consistency you prefer.
- Serve hot in a bowl with extra milk, sliced banana or any stewed fruit of your choice and a squeeze of maple syrup or sprinkle of brown sugar.
Replace the stewed fruit with chopped dried fruit and flaked almonds.
Scrambled eggs (serves 2)
2 Tbsp milk
½ cup grated cheese
Pinch of salt and pepper
1 tsp butter
1 tsp oil
- Break the eggs into a bowl and mix in the milk and salt and pepper with a fork.
- Melt the butter and oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Take care not to brown the butter.
- Pour in the beaten eggs and reduce the heat to low. Stir them gently with a wooden spoon.
- The eggs will start to form large soft masses (to scramble). Continue stirring until the eggs reach your desired consistency. At this stage, gently stir in the grated cheese. Take care, because if you stir too fast or too long, the eggs will overcook.
- Remove from the heat and serve with wholemeal toast or ciabatta bread.
- Season with chopped parsley or spring onion.
Hawaiian Pizza Rolls (Makes 10-12)
2 C flour
1 T baking powder
¼ t salt
¾-1 C milk
¾ cup grated cheese
4-5 slices salami – cut into small pieces
½ cup crushed pineapple - drained
¾ cup spaghetti or tomato salsa
- Preheat the oven to 200 fanbake.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium sized bowl.
- Cut the butter into small pieces and rub with your fingertips into the flour mixture until the mixture looks like large breadcrumbs.
- Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in most of the milk. Mix with a bread knife until the mixture binds together. Add more milk if necessary and use your hands at the end to help combine the dough into a ball shape.
- Place the dough onto a lightly floured board or clean bench and roll out to a rectangle-type shape about 35cm x 22cm. It is hard to roll the perfect rectangle shape, so don't panic if you don't!
- Grate the cheese and chop the salami.
- Spread the spaghetti or tomato salsa over the rolled dough and arrange the salami and crushed pineapple over the top.
- Sprinkle the grated cheese on top.
- Roll up the rectangle dough with the filling inside. It will look like a long sausage shape.
- Cut it into even sized circles, about 2-3 cm in width and place face down on a greased oven tray.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes until they look golden and smell cooked.
- Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes.