Kai with soul

20:16, May 28 2012
tdn chef stand
Hannah Andrews, 17, and Trent Joyce, 17, cook Kumara and Cauliflower Curry,

Time is flying by, and we are already into week six on the school calendar.

The senior students are fully engaged in NCEA internal assessments in our department. The knowledge content, safe food procedures and practical cooking skills of students are being fully tested.

Students must plan, prepare and present a nutritious, well-balanced meal to meet a brief in their practical assessment.

In between exams they have managed to sneak in a few more relaxing and enjoyable food practicals which we will share with you this week. Each was given the total thumbs up by the students.

First on the list is kumara and cauliflower curry served in pita pockets. This is a tasty way to serve vegetables as an alternative carbohydrate source to the usual rice or potatoes. The mix of spices taught the students that it is a combination of individual spices when cooked together that produces a curry flavour. The mix of cauliflower, pumpkin and kumara in the recipe makes good use of the seasonal selection presently available.

The recipe is vegetarian but packed with flavour, energy and nutrition. The pita pockets are a fun way to serve the curry and easy to handle, but it could easily be served with rice as part of a main meal.


The apple and cranberry dumpling pudding makes a healthy, high-energy dessert or snack. The pudding comprises apple and cranberry pinwheels made from a scone dough, with a butterscotch sauce poured on top in the last 10 minutes of baking. There is enough sweetness for it to be called a dessert but the dumplings are lower in sugar and fat than most desserts. Serve the dumplings with custard or icecream, or eat them by themselves. Any leftovers will be great the next day. Perfect for the lunchbox or an afternoon tea snack as well.

Our final recipe is a Belgium slice. This is a traditional favourite handed down by our grandparents and probably British in origin.

It combines cinnamon and raspberry flavours and is perfect to eat as a sweet treat. The good thing about homemade baking is that you can control the portion sizes. In this case, cut the slice into small pieces so it is not eaten as a main food item. This is important, especially with young children, to avoid them overeating foods high in sugar, fat and energy, and to teach them appropriate serving sizes of baked products.

Some commercial biscuits are oversized and would be much better, health wise, for children if they were reduced in size. This would enable them to be consumed as treat foods and there would still be room to include lots of healthy choices in their daily diet.

Enjoy cooking in the home this week and keep the welcome aromas flowing from the kitchen as the family arrive home from school, sports or work with empty stomachs and hollow legs. The whole family are more than capable of helping out in the kitchen, so give directions and delegate tasks to share the food preparation load. What your children and teenagers learn in childhood often becomes a lifelong habit.

Kumara and cauliflower curry

Serves 4-5

2 tsp canola oil

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp yellow mustard seeds

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp garam masala

1/2 onion - thinly sliced

4 cups cauliflower florets

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 medium kumara - diced into 1 1/2cm pieces

300g-400g wedge of pumpkin - diced into small pieces

1 cup water

1/2 tsp vegetable stock

1/2 cup milk

pinch of salt

fresh coriander to garnish

Heat the oil in a medium-size frying pan with a lid. Add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds and cover until the seeds have popped, approximately 1/2-1 minute.

Add the onion to the pan and cook for 2 minutes, using a wooden spoon, until softened.

Stir in the spices and prepared cauliflower florets, kumara and pumpkin. Dissolve the vegetable stock in the water and add to the frying pan, then stir again.

Place the lid on the pan, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until the vegetables soften and the stock has evaporated.

Add the milk, stir, cover again and continue cooking until the vegetables are tender.

Mix in the peas and continue cooking until they are just tender and still retain their bright green colour. Add a little more milk if the mixture becomes dry.

Season with a pinch of salt and garnish with fresh coriander (rinsed and ripped into small pieces).

Serve the vegetable curry on a bed of cooked rice or place a few spoonfuls into a pita bread pocket.

Belgium slice

Makes 20 small pieces

120g butter

2/3 cup sugar

1 tbsp golden syrup

1 large egg (size 7)

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup raspberry jam


1 1/4 cups icing sugar

boiling water

red jelly crystals or 100s and 1000s

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Cut the butter into small pieces and place in a large bowl. Soften the butter by placing in the microwave and cooking on medium heat for about 20-30 seconds. Add the sugar and golden syrup and beat together with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy.

Add the egg and mix together.

Measure the sifted dry ingredients into the bowl and mix until a firm ball of dough is formed. If the dough feels dry, add a sprinkle of water ( 1/4- 1/2 tsp) to make a firm and pliable dough.

Divide the dough in half and roll out the first ball on to a lightly floured bench until it is the size of the cake tin. Use a 22cm by 22cm cake or slice tin.

Transfer the dough into the bottom of the greased tin.

Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Roll out the other half of the dough and place over the layer of jam.

Place the tin into the middle of the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until it is baked through and slightly browned. The slice will still feel a little soft but will firm up on cooling.

Remove from the oven, cool then ice with a thin layer of white icing and a light sprinkle of red jelly crystals or 100s and 1000s. Cut into small squares, rectangles or triangles when the icing is set.

Apple and cranberry dumplings

Serves 4-6 people

1 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

25g butter

1/2- 3/4 cup milk

1 large or 2 small apples - washed, quartered, cored and grated

1/4 cup cranberries


10g butter

1 Tbsp golden syrup

1 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp water

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius bake function.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium-sized bowl.

Cut the butter into small pieces and rub it into the flour mixture until it resembles a coarse breadcrumb texture. Use your fingertips or a pastry cutter.

Add the milk and mix with a bread and butter knife to form a firm dough.

Roll out the dough on to a lightly floured board or clean bench into a rectangle shape, about 30cm by 20cm.

Spread the grated apple and cranberries over the dough and then roll up into a long sausage shape.

Cut the roll into 2cm slices.

Place the cut slices on their side in a greased baking dish. A circular dish is the best choice as the apple dumplings can be attractively arranged in a circle and join together in the baking process.

Bake for 25 minutes until just cooked and remove from the oven.

Mix the sauce ingredients together in a small saucepan or microwave bowl until the butter has melted.

Pour the sauce over the apple and cranberry dumplings and return to the oven to bake for another 8-10 minutes until they are golden brown.

Serve hot with a small serve of ice cream or eat as is for a delicious snack.

Taranaki Daily News