the cliché “wow where has summer gone?” can be used here as the 5 weeks of the coupar angus cooking classes have just flown by. i am currently at home in n.ireland having a wee break back with the family but i couldn’t resist filling you in on the success and fun of what happened in those 5 weeks. you can check out the first blog on the classes here but for now i just want to fill you in a little on what we got up to.
the main aim of the project was simply to get kids cooking using local fresh ingredients and that was exactly what they did. each week had a theme based on ingredients available in the local area. every week we either had a trip to or visitor from a local producer which helped the kids find out where their food comes , how it grows, the work involved in producing food etc. each child had their own workstation andf set of equipment that enabled them to make a meal of their own from scratch. they got to take home their makings to share it with their family and so had a chance to show their parents & friends what they had made and gave them a chance to try it.
the 5 week course was super successful with kids queuing at the door to get in every morning. we had a limit of 10 kids each day but ended up having a reserve list which i think was a sign of success. they all tried foods they had never tasted/didn’t know existed before and were all very keen to have another session of classes in the future. i think the main sign of success was hearing the kids saying “ewww i dont like…” at the start of the morning and then munching away on what they had made in the afternoon!
here is a run-down on what w got up to each week
[week 1 - soup]
we visited a local vegetable gardener so the kids could find out exactly where their food came from, what the vegetables look like when they are in the ground etc. we then made two different kinds of soup, both something a little different – courgette, potato and cheddar and a sweet potato and chilli.
[week 2 - roast chicken dinner]
well…everyone loves a roast chicken dinner but how many 10 year olds can say they have made one? (20 kids in coupar angus now can!) we had a lady from the local chicken factory (vion) come to talk to the kids about the chicken farms, chicken production, packaging and selling on to the supermarkets etc. she brought some samples of all the different cuts of chicken so they could see how much came from one chicken. we then whipped up a yummy roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings. the chicken was taken off the bone and frozen for the next week.
[week 3 - chicken pie]
the aim of the chicken pie was to help the kids to understand how you can use the leftover chicken to make something different. we went on a wee adventure to a local chicken keeper. the guy was 17 and has around 24 chickens in his garden. this was great for the kids to get the chance to hold a chicken, see the chicks and see chickens in free range. they then made their own pastry from scratch and made a delicious chicken, ham and leek pie. (this went down very well with all the mums, especially as it was dinner sorted for the night!)
[week 4 - pasta and salads]
what kid doesn’t love pasta? this week we wanted to show the kids that pasta sauce doesn’t have to come from a jar and can be made SO easily and adapted to suit your tastes. after visiting a local vegetable farmer we bought some veg from him and got busy making our own pasta sauces. each kid was given a list of ingredients so they could chose what they wanted to put in their pasta sauce (they also had to use something they had never tried before.) they also put together a salad fresh from the garden to accompany the pasta.
[week 5 - jam]
this week was a bit of an eye opener for me as i had never made jam before so i was learning as much as the kids. thankfully, coupar angus has an abundance of berries and is also the home of the jampionships -(check it out and enter if you are a jam maker! through lovetoeat we were able to get some jam making pro’s to come and share their hints and tips on making jam. each kid made raspberry and strawberry jam and then entered a jar of each into the jampionships – keep your fingers crossed for a winner! jam is so simple (and a little sticky) to make but so yummy! we then made a batch of scones each and with a dollop of jam and some cream these went down a treat!
all in all, it was great to get the local kids involved in something they might not have tried before, gave them something fun to do during their school holidays and helped them to meet new people, try new skills and learn more about their local area. a huge thanks needs to go to the youth workers in the Y hall (rory and richard), to Wendy for asking me to be part of the project and for her help along the way and to all the helpers who popped in to help wash sticky jam pans etc and also to the kids for coming along. keep your eyes out for the next event.