Kai with soul

23:37, Apr 14 2014
Kelsey Lovegrove
Kelsey Lovegrove, left, and Cullen Paton-Courtney prepare breakfast potato stacks.

In Spotswood College's Food and Nutrition classes, Katy Power teaches her students that the key to cooking great-tasting, nutritious meals day after day is to keep it simple. In Kai with Soul, Katy and her students let you in on how easy cooking for a family can be.

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T he challenge for the senior students in the Food and Nutrition practical classes last week was to create and present a breakfast meal within 30 minutes using a mystery bag of ingredients.

Each bag contained nine ingredients. The students had five minutes to discuss and plan their dish before the clock started the countdown. The ingredients were two slices of wholemeal bread, two eggs, one large potato, a tomato, rasher of bacon, banana, a small piece of spring onion, two mushrooms and, just to confuse them, two marshmallows.

Extras such as milk and seasoning were left on the supplies bench and cheese was purposely omitted from their mystery bag, as some students think all meal preparation involves the addition of cheese. While it offers a valuable source of protein and minerals, it is also a concentrated source of energy and saturated fats, so a little reprogramming in this respect is a healthy lesson.

They rose to the mystery-bag challenge and, after the initial excitement of their lesson brief, there was a muffled silence as they put their thinking caps on and the brainstorming of ideas began.

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I was most impressed by the efforts of all the students - their skill level, creativity, mise en place (management throughout) and presentation exceeded my expectations. The breakfast meals today are two of the dishes created in the challenge. Both make a delicious, well-balanced breakfast or brunch which teens are happy to prepare in the weekends when they wake up late and claim to be really hungry.

They are energy-high and packed with a range of essential nutrients, which the body needs for growth, maintenance and repair on a daily basis. Protein, complex carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins and fibre are a nutritious start to any day.

The breakfast stack was an impressive arrangement of potato fritters, stacked with pan-fried bacon, grilled herb-flavoured tomato, arranged on wholemeal toast. The addition of eggs, mushrooms, onions and herbs in the grated potato fritters gave it lots of flavour and texture. It was served with a refreshing banana yoghurt smoothie.

The second breakfast was French toast with banana, bacon and eggs. It was superbly cooked and attractively presented and had that "I want to eat this now" factor.

French toast is a simple favourite and a clever way of incorporating egg into a meal, without making it obvious.

Panfry the soaked eggy-bread in a little oil or oil/butter mixture. Cook it in a preheated pan so it browns quickly with a slightly crisp texture. Plate it up with panfried bananas and bacon and a little maple syrup or icing sugar for a slightly sweet contrast and visual appeal.

The feijoa and apple shortcake is an Easter treat, using deliciously fragrant, tasty and seasonal feijoas, apples and lemons. Make use of the plentiful feijoas as the season will be finished soon. The students really enjoyed the taste of the feijoa shortcake and, for most, it was a new taste sensation. While they sampled the Kai with Soul version, they will be making it next week, along with a little bit of cleaning, before the school holidays begin. It is definitely a versatile recipe because you can use many different types of fruit. It can be served as a cake or a dessert, is quick and simple to make, and tastes delicious.

It has been another highly productive week in the Food and Nutrition Department.

Encouraging young people to prepare and consume breakfast is an important eating habit which has so many benefits. It is good to know that the students can independently do the basics well, when they have to think and plan for themselves. They won't starve when they leave home! In fact, they will be able to impress flatmates and family with their cooking and food presentation skills.

Breakfast stack

Makes 4-5 fritters

2 medium-sized potatoes, grated

1 small piece spring onion

onion

2 mushrooms

2 eggs

1 Tbsp flour

1 rasher bacon

1 tomato

1 pinch Italian herbs

tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 slices wholemeal bread

canola oil

Preheat the oven grill to 200C.

Wash the potatoes and grate them on a chopping board and place into a medium-size bowl.

Break the eggs into a small bowl and whisk.

Dice the mushrooms, spring onion and onion on a chopping board.

Heat a medium-size frying pan with 1 Tbsp of canola oil and add the mushrooms, spring onion and onion. Add the Italian herbs and gently stirfry for 2-3 minutes until soft.

Add the eggs, flour and mushroom/onion mixture to the grated potatoes, season to taste and mix together with a wooden spoon.

Cut the tomato in half and season the flat cut side with salt, pepper and Italian herbs and place on a small oven tray or dish.

Put into the oven to grill until soft and cooked. This should only take a few minutes.

Heat a little extra canola oil in the preheated frying pan and place large tablespoons of the fritter mix in the pan.

Cook on medium-high heat until the fritters are golden brown on each side.

When all the fritters are cooked, set aside on a plate and keep warm while you panfry the bacon until crispy.

Toast your wholemeal bread in a toaster.

Assemble your breakfast fritters on slices of toast topped with the bacon and grilled tomatoes.

Season with salt and freshly- ground black pepper.

Feijoa and apple shortcake

(Serves 8-10)

1 cups feijoa pulp

1 apple - grated

2 Tbsp brown sugar

juice of 1 lemon

shortcake pastry

180g butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

tsp vanilla essence

1 cups white flour

cup wholemeal flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 Tbsp icing sugar - to sprinkle over

Preheat the oven to 190C.

Cut the feijoas in half and scoop the pulp out into a medium-size bowl. Cut the large pieces into smaller pieces. Wash the apple and grate. Include the skin if you wish. Add to the bowl, with the brown sugar and lemon juice. Set aside while you make the shortcake pastry.

Soften the butter in a medium- size bowl, add the sugar, vanilla essence and egg and beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture is light and creamy.

Sift the flour and baking powder into the creamed mixture. Tip in the bran flakes which remain in the sieve and stir until all ingredients are combined. The mixture will be reasonably soft.

Grease a 23cm round dish or 22 x 22cm square dish. Use a loose- bottom tin if you have one and line with baking paper.

Spread two-thirds of the shortcake mixture into the dish. Press the mixture over the base of the dish with clean, floured fingertips.

Spoon the feijoa/apple on top of the shortcake

Take teaspoons of the remaining shortcake mixture and roll each spoonful into a ball with your floured hands. Slightly flatten each circle of dough in your hand then place the circles of dough over the top of the fruit. The shortcake circles will spread a little so leave small spaces between them.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. The shortcake should be lightly browned. Check after 20 minutes and if there is a lot of colour, turn the heat down to 180C for the last few minutes.

Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with plain yoghurt, custard or milk.

You could add grated lemon zest into either the fruit or shortcake pastry for extra lemon flavour.

You could also sprinkle slivered almonds on top before baking.

French toast

Serves 4-5

4 eggs

1/3 cup milk

6 slices thick wholemeal bread

1 Tbsp canola oil (for frying)

4-5 slices lean bacon

Topping

2 bananas - sliced

Maple syrup for topping

Whisk the eggs and milk together in a large bowl or flat dish in which the bread can be dipped into in Step 3.

Measure the oil into a medium- size non-stick frypan and preheat for 2-3 minutes on medium heat.

Dip the bread, one slice at a time, into the egg/milk mixture and place into the frypan to cook until lightly browned on the underside. Flip the bread over and cook on the other side until browned.

Remove from the frypan and transfer on to a plate. Place in a warm oven while you cook the remaining slices. Aim to cook 1-2 slices at a time and they will take approximately 3-5 minutes to cook each pair.

Peel the bananas and cut into finger slices. Add an extra 1 tsp of oil to the frypan and panfry the bananas for one minute per side until they are slightly browned and cooked through.

Transfer the banana to the plate in the oven to keep warm while you panfry the bacon in the frypan.

Once the bacon is cooked, cut the French toast in half or into triangular pieces and attractively arrange with the banana and bacon on individual serving plates, lightly drizzled with maple syrup.

 A sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon over the French toast could replace the maple syrup (2 Tbsp sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon mixed together).

 Free range, free to roam and organic eggs boost the flavour of the French toast.

 Any leftover egg mixture can be scrambled in the frypan.

 A fried egg can also be added to this meal.

Taranaki Daily News