Food - the stuff of life
Sourdough, banana bread and pancakes are just three of the most popular foods made during lockdown throughout the UK. With restaurants shut and supermarket shelves laid bare, many people rolled up their sleeves, washed their hands (of course!) and dusted off their aprons to get creative in the kitchen. Deer Park pupils were no exception.
Now at the end of the Summer 2020 term, Miss Dearing, Food Teacher, writes:
Learning as we know it has changed dramatically over the last 4 months and cooking provides an opportunity to get away from the computer screens and build on key life skills and hopefully have fun in the process!
I have been eager every morning to open my emails and see the wonderful food that has been produced by the pupils in all year groups. The only negative being the food is virtual and not tangible! Recipes with strawberries and chocolate seem to be the order of the day and I can’t blame them - what a winning combination! I applaud their selection by considering fruit that is in season and chocolate that releases positive endorphins. That makes me one proud food teacher, plus getting the balance of a sweet treat and your 5-a-day. They have clearly all listened very well in class.
This term I started teaching new Year 10 pupils who have chosen GCSE Food, Preparation and Nutrition as an option subject. I have been hugely impressed with these pupils and the commitment they have shown to the course already. I have had wonderful photos of meals they have been making, following suggestions from me, or cooking some of their own family favourites.
With the summer holidays just around the corner, I want to hopefully keep the enthusiasm for baking and helping at mealtimes going over the 6 week break. In the words of one of my favourite TV chefs, Jamie Oliver “Keep Cooking and Carry On”. I have noted down a few ideas for what you could make during lockdown and how to stay healthy for both the mind and body.
- Chicken Fajitas
Fajitas are fun to make with lots of preparation that can get multiple family members involved. They are fun to eat because you can fill your own wrap and personalise it to suit your taste preferences. Recipe.
- Homemade Pesto
Homemade pesto is easy to make and full of flavour. A packet of fresh basil, pine nuts, a clove of garlic and some cheese with a drop of oil creates a vibrant aromatic paste with an oily and nutty texture. You can substitute the ingredients very easily, which makes it even more versatile. Walnuts, almonds, pistachios, macadamia nuts will work well and manchego or pecorino and other hard cheeses mix in to add a saltiness. Stir this into any pasta or drizzle over as pizza topping. Recipe.
- Halloumi Salad
As part of the GCSE course our new Year 10s have been studying the Eatwell Guide and working out what constitutes a balanced meal. One of the challenges I have set them in lockdown is to make a healthy summer salad, taking into consideration what the Eatwell Guide has taught them about eating a balanced meal. There were some fabulous results! Recipe.
- Vegetarian Quiche
A quiche is a great way to use up any leftover veg in the fridge as virtually anything goes. It's a wholesome summery classic you can serve with new potatoes and salad. Another balanced meal. Food choice is another topic that GCSE Food pupils look at. We consider environmental and economic factors that influence consumer choice. With cows producing methane and meat being more expensive, it is great to think about trying plant based foods from time to time. Recipe.
Speaking of reducing food waste….
GCSE Food pupil Leon has also gone the extra mile during lockdown. Over the last few months he has been volunteering at The Long Table in Brimscombe, Stroud. This community kitchen (and restaurant) serves locally sourced food that would otherwise have been binned or wasted and makes it available to everyone, regardless of their social or financial background. During lockdown they very quickly realised that many people were unable to access food and they switched to providing healthy ready meals with a focus on those in most need in the local community. Every meal bought helps fund free meals that are given to those in most need across Gloucestershire.
A big well done to Leon for volunteering in these challenging times, for supporting your local community and taking your love of the subject beyond the classroom!
Being a food teacher, I wholeheartedly agree with everything The Long Table stands for. I too am a person who won’t allow food to go to waste in my house. If you ask any of my GCSE pupils, they will know that I talk about food waste, supporting local businesses and reducing food miles... A LOT!
Final Tips for the Summer:
- Don’t necessarily take an adult’s word for it - you could watch Jamie Oliver's son Buddy making wholesome food from scratch (follow Jamie Oliver on Instagram or see Cooking with Kids)
- If a British staycation is on the cards this year, purchase a bag of large marshmallows and get toasting them on a firepit whilst camping in your back garden.
- Create a picnic. Make some homemade lemonade and scotch eggs, pack your favourite sandwiches, and head off to the park (or your garden) for a picnic in the sun.