The kitchen garden at Barnes Primary

The school kitchen garden at Barnes Primary has been going from strength to strength in recent months, largely due to the link they now have with a member of their local community-an avid allotment grower- who works ‘in partnership’ with the school.  Each week the community gardener visits the school to attend to the school allotment with six children, where they rake over the raised beds, dig up weeds and plant new fruits, vegetables and herbs. This year they are hoping to grow broad beans, potatoes, spring onions, garlic, spinach, lettuce, courgettes, raspberries, strawberries and gooseberries to name but a few! They are also hoping for some of the produce to be used in the school lunches which is wonderful!

The children at Barnes Primary are also lucky enough to have their own bee hive in the corner of the school playground. A local specialist, Camilla, comes in once a week to work with the children and to teach them about bees and the honey making process. Last summer they had a few pots of honey but this year they are hoping for a lot more so that all children involved in the project can enjoy the taste of their own honey!

As one of our Learn Your Fruits and Vegetables pilot schools, Barnes Primary pupils have also been following several of the programme’s recipes this year linking them to current topics that the children have been learning about. For example, when the children studied the Great Fire of London the children made fresh bread in recognition of the bakery where the fire started. A lot of the cooking classes here are planned to coincide with topics on the curriculum and we think this is a wonderful way of integrating food education into schools! Keep up the great work Barnes!

Banana Bread for Food Revolution Day 2014!

Our simple yet delicious banana bread recipe has been incredibly popular with many of our Learn Your Fruits and Vegetables pilot schools so far this term. The recipe allows for children to develop several important cooking techniques such as carefully weighing ingredients, folding in flour and beating butter. Fruits, such as bananas, make a great way of sweetening cakes, rather than adding more refined sugar. Furthermore, bananas are also packed full of Vitamin B, Vitamin C and potassium which helps to keep our muscles working properly. And if that’s not enough to tempt you into making our banana bread, here’s what a few of our pilot schools had to say:

“The children found the recipe very easy to make.” –Honeywell Junior and Infant School

“The children really enjoyed the banana bread, saying that it was ‘moist’ and ‘amazing.’ Ten children have even made it at home since they followed the recipe in class!” –Lubenham All Saints CE Primary School

They asked if they could do cooking every day of the week!” –Dr. Radcliffe’s Primary School

As one of our five special recipes picked out for kids this Food Revolution Day 2014, why not make this tasty tea time treat with your children this week! You can download the full recipe here. And when you’ve made the banana bread, take a photo and share it with us on social media using #FRD2014-we can’t wait to see them!

Green Smoothie Success!

Our Green Smoothie recipe has been a great success recently. We have been receiving brilliant pictures from many schools making this delicious treat, we love hearing all of the great feedback! This smoothie is perfect for this time of year because spinach is in season and fresh to use. Don’t just take our word for it, the schools who have tried it have a lot to say:

“The green smoothies are tangy and absolutely delicicous!” –Lubenham All Saints Primary School

“Pupils are trying fruit and vegetables they've never tried before and there have been some lively discussions about fruit and vegetables, the nutrients they contain and how they benefit the body.” -St.Mary's the Mount Preparatory School 

If you haven’t had a chance to try out this yummy snack, you can visit www.foodrevolutionday/super-smoothies/ for the recipe. The site not only has great smoothies like the one that everyone enjoyed, but it also has many other recipes and resources to get your food revolution day activities in plan if you haven’t yet.

Food Revolution Day 2014: Let's Get Kids Excited About Food!

Our third annual day of action, Food Revolution Day, is coming up on Friday 16 May and we are so excited! With events happening around the world, it’s a day to celebrate and shout about how important food education is for everyone. Cooking tasty, nutritious food from scratch is a skill we should all have, and that’s why we want kids more involved this year – it starts with them, after all!

Our website, goes live today, and you can find all of the information on Food Revolution Day 2014 on the site. We have posted advice to make your planning easier, posters to help you spread the word, recipes, and even more!

We’ve put together recipes children can pretty much nail on their own (with adult supervision, of course!), as well as dishes that are great for cooking as a family. Plus, as the event is for everyone, we also have recipes for grown-ups who simply want to cook for themselves. And don’t forget, we want to hear all about how you’re getting involved, so make sure you tell us by posting pics and tweeting with the hashtag #FRD2014.

Come and join us on the big day and get cooking! 

Staying Fresh at Maytree!

At Maytree Nursery and Infant School, the gardening club have been working hard filling the raised beds. On Tuesday, they started planting some herbs which they had great weather for! It is the perfect time to get your small kitchen gardens started with the beautiful spring weather happening. Making raised beds are a fun and easy project that the entire class can help with and it makes a great alternative if you do not have room for a garden!

The pupils also made a rocket, basil and radish salad on Friday. This fresh springtime salad is easy and tasty! The in season radishes and herbs are a perfect way to snack and get some much needed daily veggies. The girls at Maytree enjoyed the salad, the boys weren't so keen!

Seasonal Shout Out-Radishes!

Brilliant radishes are in season and ready to be eaten up. Radishes are the most brightly coloured vegetable and they can grow in purple, red, pink, yellow, white, and black - the brighter they are, the better they will taste. 

Radishes are in the same family as broccoli, cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts. They are best eaten raw, but you can also cook them up into a nice stir-fry. Radishes are also a great source of vitamin C to help your immune system healthy to fight off sickness!

A Tasty Spring Salad at Hythe!

Pupils from Hythe Primary enjoyed making one of our Spring recipes this week when they followed our Spinach resource to make super spinach and feta salad! This is such a simple dish to make, but the dressing made using olive oil and lemon juice really transforms the whole salad.

The pupils loved using jam jars to make the dressing which is a technique that we have found works really well in schools. Simply get children to add the dressing ingredients into a jam jar, tightly secure the lid and then shake!  

The children at Hythe are now keen to take their food home with them after each cooking lesson to share with their parents which are thrilled to hear! However, on many occasions families barely get to see the finished product as the children devour the dishes so quickly! One young pupil, when describing the salad, said that at first she thought she "didn't like feta cheese but with the spinach it's really nice." Her salad didn't leave the classroom!

Spring has Sprung!

With spring finally here and young buds starting to blossom in the garden, why not grab this opportunity to spend some time outdoors with your pupils and teach them how to sow their own crops!

Now is a great time to plant vegetables such as radishes, spinach and broad beans and they all grow fairly quickly meaning that you will be enjoying the fruits of your labour in no time at all! It is also a great time to enjoy the flourishing wildlife with your pupils-be sure to discuss the changes taking place in the garden due to the recent change in the weather. Have you managed to spot a bumblebee yet?

Many of our pilot schools have been making great progress in their kitchen gardens recently after the long, cold winter. In particular, the pupils at Crown Primary have been planning what they would like to grow this year in their school garden as well as sowing their first batch of salad seeds. Take a look at their wonderful blog that describes what they have been getting up to in recent weeks. It may even give you some inspiration for your own kitchen garden this month!

Stewed Rhubarb at St. Ethelwold's!

This week, the children at our pilot school, St.Ethelwold’s, had the opportunity to further develop their cooking skills by following our stewed rhubarb recipe. Forced rhubarb is in season at the moment so use it while you can to make some delicious desserts this month!

During their cooking lesson, the children firstly tried a tiny slither of raw rhubarb. They were surprised by how sour it tasted and there were some very funny faces pulled! They then practised their knife skills by carefully chopping the rhubarb stalks into chunks before grating the orange zest, whilst being carefully not to grate the bitter pith. They then had fun squeezing as much juice out of the orange as possible! Everything was added to a big saucepan alongside some sugar for sweetness before the rhubarb was gently stewed for about 15 minutes.

To serve this tasty dessert, the children added a spoonful of yoghurt and some crushed ginger biscuits to the soft rhubarb for a bit of a crunch, which we hear went down a storm-well done St.Ethelwold’s!

Let's Get Gardening!

The sun has finally emerged after such a long, cold winter and what better way to enjoy the beautiful weather than to get out into the garden with your pupils! We have been receiving some great feedback from school kitchen gardens across the country this month and what could be better than planting, nurturing and harvesting your own school produce.

Prestwood Infants School in Buckinghamshire have been planting peas, pumpkins and sunflowers this week. In the raised vegetable beds in the school allotment, the children have been learning how to plant seeds whilst putting their maths skills into practise by measuring out sections of the beds and counting out intervals for when to sow the seeds.

The pupils in Barnes Primary also have a thriving kitchen garden, and this year they are growing the widest range of crops they have ever had, including garlic, spinach, radishes, potatoes, courgettes and some fragrant herbs such as mint, rosemary and thyme. They have also recently linked up with a member of the local community, who helps them to grow their allotment ‘in partnership’-what a wonderful idea! It is also fantastic to hear that a lot of the produce will be used by the children in their cooking lessons as well as in the school lunches!

And lastly , the pupils at Poplar Primary have been enjoying the four types of herbs-coriander, basil, chive and parsley that they planted in January in the greenhouse at school-well done!

With so much to do in the school garden, let’s get children excited about growing (and eating) their own food!

'How to Use a Knife' at Manorside!

Pupils from Manorside Primary learnt how to safely and correctly use a knife by testing two of our seasonal recipes in their cooking lesson last week. Learning how to properly hold and use a knife is one of the most basic yet important cooking techniques to master and the children all loved the responsibility they were given in the classroom!

First up, the children made our simple yet delicious avocado, tomato and emmental on toast with fresh basil. The children were shown how to scoop out the flesh from the avocado and how to carefully chop the tomato into cubes. They also loved tearing up the basil leaves which made the classroom smell lovely! Despite one or two children finding the consistency of the avocado a little too soft, most of the children adored the overall taste of the dish.

After all the pupils had made their avocado on toast, they then moved on to making our stewed rhubarb. Again the children learnt how to carefully slice the rhubarb into chunks by securing the stems firmly on the table and taking extra care with the slightly tough ends. The children also had great fun grating and squeezing the juice out of oranges to add to the rhubarb alongside some sugar to counteract the sourness. The rhubarb was put on the hob in the staffroom to stew for 15 minutes after which all the children go to taste the results-which we hear were delicious!

Avocados and Mushrooms at Lubenham!

Two cooking classes took place this week at our pilot school Lubenham All Saints, with Year 1 and 2 focusing on Avocados and Year 5 and 6 looking at Mushrooms!

First off, the children in Year 1 and 2 learnt how to make our avocado with crispy pancetta on toast. This is a super simple yet delicious dish where children can put many cooking skills into practise including spreading with a knife, slicing and frying. The recipe also uses fresh lime, basil and chili to add a bit of kick. The children thoroughly enjoyed the final tasting with one pupil describing the dish as ‘ fabulous, because it was crispy and smooth at the same time. It had lots of taste and colour because loads of things were made together.’

Year 5 and 6 then got really stuck in learning all about mushrooms and even designed a poster of fantastic facts about fungi for their classroom. They then followed our recipe to make creamy mushroom tagliatelle. Again the pupils learnt several important cooking skills including how to cook pasta to perfection! The children all really enjoyed the final taste with many coming up for seconds. Well done Lubenham-another great week of cooking!

The Snack Shack!

Young pupils from our pilot school Washingborough Academy in Lincolnshire have recently been cooking homemade treats at school to sell in their tuck shop-The Snack Shack! Teams of children make a selection of home baked goods each week which they then sell in in the playground to the rest of the school-what a great idea!

During yesterday’s cooking class, the children made two types of fruit muffins-banana and ginger & pear which both looked delicious! In the past they have also made banana & blueberry muffins, delicious gingerbread and zesty orange cakes.

Their healthy snack business is a wonderful scheme where children learn how to bake tasty treats whilst improving their cooking and teamwork skills. However, it is also a fantastic way of getting the whole school involved in a project as well as giving pupils independence in running their own school business. We look forward to seeing what will on the Snack Shack menu next!

100 Days with No Food Waste!

On the 26th February, the pupils at one of our pilot schools, The Treehouse in Cholsey, achieved one hundred days with no food waste eating highly nutritious and healthy school meals! The children have been weighing any leftovers at the end of each lunch time, keeping data and charts to fulfill this unique achievement!

Braised lentils, spaghetti bolognaise and fish pie are some of the children’s favourite meals at school, all served with vegetables or a salad. Over time, the children aged 5-10 years, have taken it upon themselves to reduce the amount of waste, by having more choice over their portion size and a positive attitude towards trying new foods.   All pupils at the Treehouse School have a cooked school dinner every day which they sit down and eat together alongside staff. They are involved in menu design and budgeting, growing their own vegetables and cooking from scratch.  The school uses organic, local, seasonal food sourced from the local producers’ market or the school’s own garden whenever possible.   The school is also well supported by the local community who donate fresh fruit and vegetables when they have an excess or a glut in their gardens.

To celebrate the hundredth consecutive day without waste (from September 2013), the children celebrated with a special ‘restaurant-style’ lunch; a three course meal selected by the children and served by The Trustees dressed as waiters! Fantastic!

What a wonderful achievement-and such a source of inspiration to others!

Spicy Squash Wedges at Manorside!

This month at Manorside Primary, pupils in Year 4 learnt how to make our spicy squash wedges, where chunks of squash are transformed by a mixture of spices, garlic and a little olive oil!  After carefully trimming and de-seeding the squash, the children enjoyed bashing together coriander seeds, fennel seeds, dried oregano and a dried red chilli in a pestle and mortar. The children loved using the pestle and mortar to grind the spices as for most of them it was their first time using this piece of kitchen equipment. The aromatic spices also made the classroom smell delicious. After marinating the pieces of squash, they were then cooked in the staffroom kitchen-although it was very difficult to stop the teachers eating them while they were cooling!

After all the children had got a chance to try the squash and to discuss the texture, smells and tastes, all the pupils had the opportunity to take some home with them to enjoy with their families. No wonder Year 4 pupils have got the cooking bug!

Seasonal Shout Out-Forced Rhubarb!

Deliciously pink forced rhubarb is in season at the moment so look out for firm, reddish stems at your local greengrocers, farmer’s markets or supermarket now. As well as tasting delicious, rhubarb is also a great source of potassium which helps to keep our muscles working properly!

When cooking with rhubarb, remember that it is naturally acidic so you will need to add sugar to balance out the flavour. You can stew, roast or bake rhubarb or turn it into compotes, jams and pies. Or what about a delicious rhubarb and ginger crumble to spice things up this February. With so many ways of using this sensational ingredient this month there is really no excuse for not cooking with forced rhubarb over the next month or so!

Chinese New Year at Colleton!

During recent Chinese New Year celebrations, all the pupils at our Kitchen Garden Project pilot school, Colleton Primary, took part in an amazing whole school cooking event! The children worked in groups of mixed ages from Foundation to Year 6 to make delicious stir fried vegetables, crunchy spring rolls, wontons and fruit and vegetable  kebabs.

Many of the children tried foods that were previously unfamiliar to them and they discovered new tastes and delights through cooking these tasty dishes. They even finished the day with Chinese fortune cookiesWell done Colleton-we are so impressed to see not just one class but the whole school cooking and celebrating together!

2nd prize for Broadhempston at public speaking competition!

The public speaking team at our Kitchen Garden Project pilot school, BroadhempstonPrimary  in Devon, recently did a wonderful presentation about their involvement in our programme! Verify, Katie, Flora and Charlie, all from their Year 5 and Year 6 class, gave a fantastic five minute talk and demonstration about their involvement in the pilot phase of Jamie's Kitchen Garden Project at the Totnes Rotary Club's "Speak Out" public speaking competition.

The children created a PowerPoint to go alongside their talk, including videos of how to use kitchen equipment correctly that they had filmed themselves. The children showed the audience how to make a simple cous cous salad with different toppings- all of which looked delicious! Overall the team came second which is a fantastic achievement, with the judges commenting on the confidence that the children showed in the practical demonstration.

We were also incredibly impressed and thrilled that the pupils at Broadhempston are enjoying the programme as well as learning many important cooking techniques alongside. What an amazing effort Broadhempston-inspiring stuff! Watch their fantastic presentation here

Rainbow salad at Hythe!

Pupils at Hythe Primary followed our Cabbage resource last week to make our ‘build your own rainbow salad.’ This is a wonderfully vibrant dish that introduces children to the fun of eating vegetables raw as well as how to safely use a food processor to coarsely grate all the ingredients!

This crunchy salad uses beetroot, carrots, cabbage, pears, walnuts and fresh herbs all tossed together with a fresh yoghurt dressing. Cabbages are well and truly in season in the moment and this dish is a great way of transforming this humble ingredient into a spectacular dish!

At the beginning of the cooking lesson, the teacher at Hythe asked her pupils if they wanted to eat the cabbage and the answer was largely no. But once they had prepared the cabbage and mixed it together with the other ingredients and the tasty dressing it suddenly became delicious! 

Healthy snacks at Greenfield's!

In researching foods that help you to see in the dark, the pupils at our Learn Your Fruits and Vegetables pilot school, Greenfields Primary, decided to make a healthy snack using carrots! They therefore decided to make our crunchy carrot pitta breads, packed with coriander, toasted sesame and poppy seeds and a refreshing lemon dressing!

This recipe teaches children how to carefully and correctly use a box grater and a Y-shaped peeler to transform the humble carrot into a delicious snack packed with energy. The pupils learnt many new cooking techniques and kitchen skills including juicing, peeling, grating, slicing, toasting and seasoning and they all got to taste the final product.

The pupils also made banana and strawberry smoothies for a healthy and energising drink to go alongside the pitta breads. What a great cooking class Greenfields-two delicious and nutritious snacks enjoyed by all.

Heart-shaped Banana Breads for Valentine's Day!

To celebrate Valentine's Day, eight young pupils from Dr.Radcliffe's CE Primary used our banana card to make mini heart-shaped banana breads-what a fantastic idea! Baking banana bread is a great way to introduce children to cooking with fruit and being so soft and easy to cut, they are also a great food for practising knife skills.

Our simple banana bread is a healthy treat that uses ripe bananas, cinnamon, runny honey and pecans as well as apple juice in the place of sugar! The recipe gives children the opportunity to develop many important cooking skills including creaming the butter and sugar together, cracking eggs, folding in flour and chopping pecans. The children also learn the importance of measuring ingredients exactly when baking and how to check with a cake is done by inserting a skewer into the middle and seeing if it comes out clean.

After baking the delicious banana bread, the pupils gave out these heart shaped treats for the rest of the class to try and enjoy. Furthermore, since their cooking lesson, the pupils asked their teacher if they could do cooking 'every day of the week!' If only there was the time!

"The best lesson we've ever had!"

This week, pupils from our Learn Your Fruits and Vegetables pilot school, St.Ann’s CE Primary in Rainhill, made three of our tasty recipes using both our Banana and Leek resources. Reception children learnt how to use a knife safely when making their own nice and simple fresh fruit platters, whilst Year 3 worked together in groups to make our banana bread recipe. The pupils clearly enjoyed themselves, with one saying that "It was the best lesson we’ve ever had, like ever!” Altogether they had 120 children cooking in one afternoon! Their teacher said that despite the lesson presenting a few challenges, such as a huge lack of chopping boards, with a little teacher imagination and improvisation, the children were able to learn how to use knives safely, carefully weigh out ingredients and use a little elbow grease to blend the mixtures together!

The Year 5 children were then put to work in the school kitchen making our leek and potato soup that was served up with the school lunches the following day-this went down a storm! We hear that the whole school was buzzing with children wishing to try the soup that had been made by their friends. Furthermore, their teacher put out copies of the soup recipe for children to take and make with their family at home. Even the teachers got in on the act!

It is great to hear of one of our pilot schools getting so many of their pupils involved in one lesson-I think 120 children might be a record! We look forward to see what St.Ann’s Rainhill will get up to during their next cooking extravaganza!

Three recipes a week at St.Mary Magdalene Academy!

Students from The Courtyard, St.Mary Magdalene Academy, have had a wonderful term so far cooking three of our Learn Your Fruits and Vegetables recipes every week! Following our Apple, Banana, Cabbage and Mushroom resources, the winning dishes have included our button mushroom, spinach & lemon salad, mushroom tagliatelle, sweet red cabbage with apple, nice and simple fruit platter and our delicious banana bread!

The pupils here either have Autistic Spectrum Disorder or Speech Language and Communication Needs and their teacher has said that educationally the lessons have been wonderful! We are so glad to hear that all the students love cooking and that they have been enjoying our resources as well as the taste of the final dishes! As their teacher said:

“The students have enjoyed and learnt a lot! They all love cooking so much that it’s been amazing watching them in the lessons!

We hear that next term the pupils will be focusing on Avocados, Celery, Leeks, Potatoes and Kale and we can’t wait to see what recipes they will be making!

Parent Questionnaires!

Along with our newsletters, we now send out a Parent Questionnaire to all our pilot schools each month. This is so that we can see the impacts that the programme is having upon the home life of any pupil who experiences one of our lessons at school. We love hearing from parents about whether their child has been inspired to learn more about food and cooking at home or if our lessons have had an impact on their diet. Here are some of the wonderful comments that we received this month:

She enjoys it very much as it is one of the few things she does at school that she shares with us.”

“He looks forward to going to school because of his keen interest in the programme. His favourite part is in the presentation of his food.

“My son is trying to eat more fruit and veg since the programme started. 

We probably talk more, between our own family, about the veg and fruit and how we could prep them differently-we also look more about where they come from and how we grow them.

“It has made her more open to trying different foods. A brilliant programme!

It's a fantastic idea. My daughter has tried new foods she didn't want to try at home.

I think the programme has had a fantastic impact on my son's learning. He has thoroughly enjoyed the experience and has been inspired to become a chef when he is older. Jamie Oliver is now his idol.

We are so pleased to have received these comments and it is really wonderful for us to see the impacts of our programme outside the classroom and the knock-on effects it is having upon families across the country.

Raw Beetroot & Pear Salad at Greenfields!

Pupils from our Learn Your Fruits and Vegetables pilot school, Greenfields Primary, recently enjoyed making our raw beetroot and pear salad! This dish is a great way of introducing children to tasting vegetables raw and we hear that the children thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon lesson.

After scrubbing clean the beetroot and talking the stalks off the pears, the pupils used a box grater to coarsely grate everything onto a board. They then tossed the grated pear and beetroot together with lemon juice, olive oil, fresh parsley and feta cheese to make this special salad. It looked delicious Greenfields-well done!

We have been so impressed this year with how many of our pilot schools have been following our raw vegetable recipes! Both our crunchy winter coleslaw and raw kale salad have both been going down a treat with pupils and we can’t wait to see how both our raw cauliflower with a herby yoghurt dressing and our button mushroom, spinach and lemon salad go down this month!

What a Feast at Orford!

Orford Primary is Suffolk, one of our Kitchen Garden Project pilot schools, have had a wonderful start to the year with the pupils cooking up a feast this January! Here is just a selection of dishes made recently by the children at Orford:

Year 6-Squash & ricotta pasta bake, the best winter vegetable coleslaw, walnut & banana loaf with chocolate butter

Class 2-Butternut squash soup, pizza, salad & dressing, sticky toffee cupcakes

Class 3-prawn linguine, Sicilian shaved fennel salad, focaccia, surprise pudding

Wow! To see some of the fantastic photos from Orford this term, have a look at our facebook album here. I’m sure you will be impressed with the cooking skills on display as well as how delicious the final dishes look. What a fantastic month at Orford-so many new kitchen skills learnt and tasty recipes followed!

Going Bananas at Hythe!

Last week, the pupils at Hythe Primary used our Banana resource to make not one but two of our Learn Your Fruits and Vegetables recipes!

First off was our Nice and simple fresh fruit platter. This a great way to celebrate seasonal produce using fruit when it is beautifully ripe and the young pupils used a selection of tasty bananas, clementines and grapes. During the class, the teacher even allowed some pupils to work as an independent group, where they were given the recipe to follow but had to make it all by themselves. Their teacher said that they all did amazingly well and that it was great to see them holding a knife correctly and putting important kitchen skills into practice with no adult assistance! The children then discussed the importance of food presentation and they had fun decorating their creative platters.

The pupils then learnt how to make our white smoothie packed with bananas, milk, ground almonds and honey. The children were shown how a smoothie maker works and then they all sat down to enjoy the smoothies and fresh fruit platters together as a class. We are thrilled to see that these recipes went down a treat but also that many of the pupils at Hythe are gaining independence in the kitchen and learning to follow recipes by themselves-what a great effort!

Raw Brussels Sprouts at Takeley!

Pupils at Takeley Primary, one of our Learn Your Fruits and Vegetables pilot school, recently had fun learning how to make our raw Asian-style brussel sprouts salad. Who’d have thought that the good-old brussel sprout could taste so good chopped up and eaten raw in a salad!

After thinly slicing the sprouts, the children made a dressing by mixing together honey, ginger and soy before tossing everything together with fresh mint and coriander. This refreshing dish is a wonderful way of introducing children to eating vegetables raw and the zingy dressing makes this one tasty salad! 

The pupils made such a large batch that they were able to add it to their salad bar at lunch time for the whole school to try. The dish received a lot of positive feedback-including some great responses from other teachers!  Furthermore, their Headteacher was so impressed with the cooking class that it was even mentioned in their school newsletter so that all parents would know about it-well done Takeley!

A busy January at Colleton!

KS2 pupils at our Kitchen Garden Project pilot school, Colleton Primary, have had a wonderful start to the year making at least one of our recipes each week! During their first cooking club lesson, fifteen pupils learnt how to make our Orchard’s Eve pudding. This tasty dessert consists of stewed apples, plums and pears with cinnamon and nutmeg, covered with a light, spongy topping. The feedback from the class was great with all the children saying that they loved this hearty pudding.

The following week, the group of children then followed our Potato resource to make smokey mixed potato wedges with paprika as well as a refreshing mint and yoghurt dip to go alongside. Furthermore they even managed to make jacket potatoes to enjoy-and all within one hour!

We are so glad that the children have been enjoying our recipes so far and here’s what their teacher had to say: “The children are very enthusiastic and are thoroughly enjoying it. I now have a waiting list of others who want to sign up for the next course which is great.We look forward to seeing what Colleton pupils will be making in their next class!

Rainbow Salad at Churchtown!

This week, pupils from pilot school Churchtown Primary, followed our Cabbage resource to make a vibrant ‘build your own rainbow salad.’ Packed with cabbage, carrots, beetroot and pear, this delicious salad introduces children to the joys of eating fruits and vegetables raw as well as how to make interesting salads that look beautiful!

To make this simple salad, the children firstly made a tasty dressing with yoghurt, mustard, cider vinegar and olive oil. They then scrubbed clean all the vegetables before pushing everything through a food processor with a coarse grater attachment. There was a lot of discussion about the different textures and smells in the classroom which we were glad to hear as it is very important for children to understand how to use all their senses when cooking. It was also the first time for all the pupils (as well as their teacher) in trying a golden beetroot!  After finely chopping some fresh mint and parsley, which the children scattered over the top, the rainbow salad was ready to be tasted.

We hear that the results of the taste test were really positive and we are so glad that the children enjoyed learning new cooking skills as well as the final dish-well done Churchtown!

Avocados at Maytree!

The pupils at Maytree Nursery and Infant School had their first Learn Your Fruits and Vegetables lesson last week where they looked at Avocados. Following our resource card, the children learnt how to make our beautiful avocado and coriander salad with flaked almonds and a tasty French dressing!

After toasting the almonds in a pan for a few minutes, the children added a pinch of dried red chili flakes and salt to season. They then learnt how to de-stone an avocado and how to scoop out bite-sized pieces with a teaspoon. They then finely sliced a spring onion and chopped up the coriander before mixing together olive oil, white wine vinegar, mustard and garlic to make a zingy French dressing. They then tossed everything together before tucking in to this delicious salad.

Their teacher said that it was great to see so many children trying and enjoying new things and the pupils loved it so much that they even added it to their school dinner plates at lunchtime-well done! We can't wait to see what they will be making next week.

A Fantastic Few Weeks at Broadhempston!

We are thrilled to hear that the pupils at Broadhempston Primary School, who recently joined us as a pilot school this year, are already having a wonderful time in the kitchen and have made several of our recipes so far!

For their very first lesson, the children made a wonderful breakfast for themselves (and their families!) of fresh smoothies and pukkola. Their teacher said that it was wonderful to see so many children trying a new breakfast and we hear that the green smoothies with spinach were the pupils’ favourite!

In their next lesson, the children in Year 5 and 6 made two fresh salads-a simple chopped salad with cucumber and spring onions and our seasonal root vegetable salad, packed with vibrant, crunchy vegetables such as carrots, beetroot and fennel. The children also learnt how to make our four jam jar dressings as part of our lesson plan on ‘How to taste.’ The four jam jar dressings are aimed at letting children explore the different tastes of salty, sour, sweet and bitter with the children using yoghurt, lemon, balsamic vinegar, mustard and olive oil. The children learnt many new cooking skills over the course of the lesson, including how to correctly and safely use a knife, a Y-shaped peeler and a box grater-well done!

The following week, Year 5 and 6 then learnt how to make our perfect pizzas, mixing the dough from scratch and preparing some delicious toppings that included ham, cheese, mushrooms, sweetcorn and olives-they looked delicious.

Well done to Broadhempston for such as great start to the year-we can’t wait to see what your pupils will be making next! 

Balsamic-dressed Cucumber at Hythe!

The young children at our pilot school, Hythe Primary, are off to a great start this year have already completed their second Learn Your Fruits and Vegetables lesson of the term! Following our Cucumber resource, the pupils learnt how to make our tasty balsamic-dressed cucumber with olives and chili.

To start with, the children scooped out the seeds of a cucumber and put their knife skills into practise by chopping the cucumber into small chunks. They then made a  tasty dressing by mixing together chopped olives, sliced spring onions, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice and torn mint. The children then tossed everything together to make this beautifully vibrant and zingy salad.

After tasting a bit of the balsamic-dressed cucumber, the children then added half a finely chopped chili. Their teacher said that it was a great way of introducing the children to chili and by tasting the recipe before and after adding the fresh chili, the children were able to see what a difference chili can make to the overall taste of a dish. One girl loved it so much that they she asked if she can make it again next week so that she can take some home for her family try! Well done Hythe-another successful cooking class! 

Fresh Fruit Platter at Washingborough!

Yesterday, the young pupils at Washingborough Academy, one of our Learn Your Fruits and Vegetables pilot schools, made our simple yet delicious fresh fruit platter. Following our ‘How to use a knife’ lesson plan, the children firstly learnt all about different kinds of knives and their uses in the kitchen before being shown how to correctly and safely use a knife to chop the fruit.

The children then followed our Banana resource to make this refreshing, seasonal dish. After peeling satsumas and clementines, the children carefully sliced apples and bananas into even sized chunks and arranged the freshly chopped fruit onto a platter. The children then scattered over grapes and blueberries to make this beautifully vibrant dish before tucking in. We hear that it didn’t take long for the pupils to clear the whole plate! Well done!

Fruit platters are a great way to celebrate seasonal fruit, so why not try making a fruit platter at home using fruits from your local greengrocers or market that are beautifully ripe at this time of the year. Citrus fruits are very much in season at the moment, so add some freshness and colour to your fruit platter with some zingy clementines, satsumas or tangerines!  

ODI Report: Future Diets!

A recent report from the Overseas Development Report (ODI) has highlighted drastic changes to global diets and the impacts this is having upon obesity levels and health. Diets are increasingly important in a world of economic growth and rising incomes and two concerns, in particular, are emerging: the effect of diet on health; and the demands made by changing diets on agriculture.

Some of the key findings from the report:

·         over one third of all adults across the world-over 1.46 billion people- are obese or overweight

·         the number of overweight and obese adults in developing countries is more than 900 million

·         in the last 30 years, the number of obese and overweight people in the developing world has trebled

·         there are now almost twice as many obese people in developing countries than developed countries

·         the over-consumption of food, coupled with lives that are increasingly sedentary, is producing large numbers of people who are overweight and obese

·         globally, the percentage of adults who were overweight or obese grew from 23% in 1980 to 34% in 2008, with alarming increases seen in the developing world. 

Furthermore, the report highlighted the fact that currently there is little will amongst the public and political leaders to take the determined action that is needed to influence future diets, but that may change in the face of serious health implications. However, with such a complex problems, solutions will require multiple leavers and a combination of measures in education, prices and regulation to achieve the best results. 

Parent Questionnaire!

Alongside our monthly newsletters, we now send out a parent questionnaire to all our Learn Your Fruit and Veg pilot schools. The aim is to gain feedback from parents whose child has participated in one of our lessons, to see whether children have been inspired to learn more about food and cooking at home.  We have heard from several schools that pupils take home recipes to make with their families and it has been wonderful to hear about the impacts of our programme outside the classroom and the knock-on effects it is having upon families across the country. We have received some fantastic comments so far as seen below:

"My child thoroughly enjoys the programme and in particular the aspects of preparing all the ingredients."

"I think my daughter enjoys the responsibility she feels by taking charge in the kitchen."

"My daughter is particularly keen to cook the recipes she has learnt when we have friends/family over."

"She has really enjoyed the lessons, especially the eating afterwards!"

"We think it is a great initiative and can only have a positive impact on our children's relationship with and knowledge of food."

We are thrilled by these comments and very much look forward to hearing from more parents in the coming few months.  We will keep you updated!

Implementing the Free School Meals Policy!

From September, the government is to fund free schools meals for every infant across the country. However, despite headteachers welcoming the changes, many are apprehensive about implementing the policy due to logistical problems in transforming their school food service. However, Henry Dimbleby argues today in his article for the Guardian that it can be done!

Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent co-wrote the School Food Plan last year which recommended the policy after they visited more than 60 schools across the country and saw what a huge difference extending free school meals can make. Academically, pupils who swapped packed lunches for hot meals moved ahead of their peers and did better in exams. Furthermore, most headteachers understand that well-fed, happy children make better pupils.  However, there are several logistical challenges that certain schools will face, such as increasing kitchen size, extending lunch hours and finding greater food storage space.

However, Henry Dimbleby says that it can be done, but more to the point it has been done, citing the example of a pilot project for Durham County Council. To overcome certain problems there is much being done to aid schools. The government has announced a £150m capital fund to pay for improving school kitchens or even building new ones from scratch. Furthermore, the government is tendering for experts to go into schools and assist them with implementing the changes. The School Food Plan will also help to by preparing a section on their website where schools can go to compare notes and suggest solutions. Furthermore, key advice, such as keeping menus simple that are easier to prepare and that children will choose more quickly will be invaluable to teachers and cooks.

As Henry Dimbleby says: “This policy has the potential to transform the culture of our primary schools and the lives of our children in a way that only those who have seen it in action can truly appreciate."

Hythe makes our Crunchy Carrot Pitas!

The New Year at Hythe Primary set off to a great start with pupils making our crunchy carrot pittas during their first Learn Your Fruits and Veg cooking class. Following our Carrot resource, pupils mixed together grated carrots with a zingy dressing made from orange juice, lemon juice, olive oil and toasted sesame and poppy seeds before filling warm ciabattas with this delicious filling. We hear that they went down a treat!

Furthermore, during a recent food workshop held at Hythe, their teacher was pleased to see that the children who had taken part in our programme had an excellent knowledge of the fruits that they were given to try and were even mentioning how to make them into tasty recipes. We were thrilled to hear this-keep up the great work Hythe!

Crunchy Winter Coleslaw at Poplar!

During their first Learn Your Fruits and Vegetables lesson, pupils at Poplar Primary School had a wonderful time learning how to make our Winter coleslaw, packed full of crunchy, seasonal vegetables. Their teacher talked through the benefits of eating cabbage and other raw ingredients, and then they used their chopping, peeling, squeezing and mixing skills to make this delicious dish. After grating and thinly slicing red cabbage, onion, carrots and parsnips the pupils mixed together yoghurt with mustard and herbs to make a zingy dressing before combining everything together.

We hear that the pupils were confident using sharp kitchen knives to slice the vegetables and tried hard to use the 'bridge' method that they have learned. All the children really enjoyed their first lesson and their teachers highly recommended the recipe as there is no heating involved. All the pupils had a good taste of the coleslaw at the end of the lesson with the dressing being a particular hit! We are so glad that the programme is off to such a positive start at Poplar and we can't wait to see what they will get up to next!

 “The good thing about a cookery session is that you get a chance to chat about eating habits generally, and it also encourages the children to try a food they are unfamiliar with because they gain an interest for it through the preparation process.”

 Teacher at Poplar Primary School

Leek and potato soup at St. Ethelwold's!

Pupils at pilot school, St.Ethelwold’s Primary, recently enjoyed making our hearty leek and potato soup during their latest Learn Your Fruits and Vegetables lesson. Leek and potato is one of those classic soup combinations that is great to tuck in to during these cold winter months-and it is so simple to make! Furthermore, leeks are very much in season at the moment so look out for some firm leeks with a bright white bottom at your local greengrocers or market this January and remember that the smaller leeks are milder and sweeter in flavour than the larger ones.

Following our Leek resource, the pupils at St.Ethelwold’s learnt how to correctly use a knife to slice up the leeks as well as how to carefully use a Y-shaped peeler to peel the potatoes before chopping into chunks. The children then gently cooked the leeks and potato together before adding vegetable stock, milk and chopped chives and then blitzing everything together to make this comforting soup. The children throughly enjoying the learning process as well tasting the final result-well done!

Jamie visits the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley!

This week, Jamie took a trip to sunny California to visit the wonderful Edible Schoolyard Project in Berkeley alongside the ever inspiring Alice Waters and students from Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School. Alice Waters started the Edible School Yard Project over 25 years ago and it now operates in over 3000 schools around the world. Furthermore, the programme largely inspired Jamie's own Kitchen Garden Project with the aim of teaching students about how their food choices affect their health, the environment and local communities.

The Edible Schoolyard Berkeley is a one acre organic garden and kitchen classroom for students at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School. Jamie was given a fantastic tour by some of the students around their beautiful schoolyard where they participate in all aspects of growing, harvesting and preparing seasonal produce both during the academic day and after school. Not only does this teach students essential life skills but it supports academic learning through hands-on classes in both the garden and kitchen classroom.

Since visiting the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley, Jamie has said that "My dream would be for every school to be able to grow, cook, laugh and eat like they did today and understand where food comes from and how it affects their body." What an inspirational visit!

Seasonal Shout Out-Citrus!

January can often feel like a bit of a let-down after the festivities of Christmas. You have had your share of Brussels sprouts and root vegetables, and your palette is getting a bit tired of all the sweets. With the darkest days behind you this winter, you are looking for something light and refreshing to brighten your days. While the garden is still a bit barren, save for the heartiest veg, don't despair! It is still an incredibly exciting time to eat seasonally.  Just when you are in need of something zingy, the wonderfully vibrant and refreshing citrus fruits are in season! Although they are not largely cultivated in the UK, citrus fruits are at their sweetest and juiciest in the winter months and are coming into their prime at just the right time. Take your pick from lemons, oranges, grapefruits, clementines, satsumas and tangerines or try some more unusual varieties such as the deep red blood orange or tiny kumquats. These exotic fruits bring a burst of fresh flavour to many a sweet or savoury dish. 


Citrus fruits are incredibly versatile to cook with. Jamie loves a squeeze of lemon in just about anything to brighten up the flavours. From salad dressings to lovely drinks and delicious puddings, many wonderful dishes can be created using all parts of the citrus fruit. Have a go at adding the lovely zest of unwaxed lemons to your pasta or squeeze the juice over a nice piece of fish.  Or try making our box grater fruit salad using fresh orange juice to bring out the flavours of the other fruit. Simply grate one pear, one apple, one banana and one nectarine into a bowl. Slice an orange in half and squeeze the juice over the fruit. Drizzle with honey and serve with yoghurt and some torn mint leaves for a delicious breakfast or dessert.  And a healthy start to the year!

Citrus fruits really can liven up a cold winter day-not only in colour but also in taste. So add some brightness to your kitchen and celebrate citrus fruits this January!

Apples and Pears at Manorside!

Year 4 pupils at our Learn Your Fruits and Vegetables pilot school, Manorside Primary, recently followed our Apple and Pears resources to make two tasty dishes this term. They started off making apple and blackberry crumble making a tasty crumble topping with crushed hazelnuts, rolled oats and Demerara sugar. Crumble is great for a quick pud and for using up any really ripe fruit. What about making a pear crumble this weekend, as they are currently in season!

In their next lesson the young pupils learnt how to make poached pears in apple juice with cloves, a cinnamon stick and star anise. The children were shown how to use a Y-shaped peeler to peel the pears before poaching in the juice and festive spices. These poached pears are delicious served with natural yoghurt and perhaps some fresh berries if available!

We are so glad to see that the children at Manorside are thriving in the kitchen and we hear that the whole school smelt amazing-keep up the great work!

A great end to the term at Hythe!

Last Friday, the pupils at Hythe Primary, one of our Learn Your Fruits and Veg pilot schools were given a range of fruit and veg and a couple of other ingredients that they have been using this term and set the task of making either a Christmas starter or Christmas dessert! They had the choice of pears, plums, apple juice, spinach, tomatoes, watercress, ciabatta, feta cheese, crème fraiche, sponge fingers, cocoa powder and any of the herbs, spices, oils and seasoning in the cupboard!

Most children chose to make something sweet and used the plums and pears. Their teacher said that the children’s understanding of what might go well with the fruit and vegetables was good overall and they had clearly used their knowledge from our Learn Your Fruit and Veg lessons which we were thrilled to hear! A little guidance was needed from the teachers as some children tried to use all the ingredients just because they were available. But they soon learnt from their peers that the best recipes were the ones that were well thought out and used well-chosen ingredients that complemented each other. It has made them keen to try some new recipe cards next term as they are picking up knowledge (like feta goes well with green salad veg, honey goes well with sweet ingredients like plums) and they are ready to learn more!

What a wonderful way to end the busy Autumn term at Hythe. Even the Headteacher got involved and made his own tomato and feta sandwich! We look forward to seeing what they will get up to in the New Year!

Seasonal Shout Out-Brussels Sprouts!

The humble brussel sprout is currently in season so take advantage of them this Christmas!

There are a lot of deliciously inventive dishes to cook up with sprouts and they go wonderfully with chestnuts, chili and pancetta. You can steam, boil or roast sprouts but why not try something different this December and eat them raw, shredded into a fresh Asian-style salad with soy sauce, ginger and honey! But remember not to overcook sprouts as they will turn mushy and take on a strong smell.

So check out your local farmers market or greengrocer this festive season for plump, bright green sprouts with tightly packed leaves and remember that the smaller the sprout, the sweeter the taste. But don’t forget that sprouts aren’t just for Christmas-they’re in season right up until next spring!

Autumn term at Sherbrook Primary!

It has been a very busy term at Sherbrook Primary School with four out of nine classes participating in one of our Learn Your Fruits and Vegetables lessons! Following our Apple and Plum resource, the pupils learnt how to make apple and blackberry crumble followed by spiced plums with yoghurt-two delicious puddings using seasonal fruits.

Following on from this, the children then made our smokey mixed-potato wedges by carefully chopping the potatoes and adding a sprinkling of paprika before being roasted in the oven. Many of the pupils at Sherbrook Primary are on the autistic spectrum and have problems eating a wide range of foods but their teacher has said that actually touching and tolerating different foods was a major achievement for many of them which we were thrilled to hear! A high proportion of pupils were also willing to try the recipes even if they didn’t like the final taste which was a wonderful result for the class.

What a great effort Sherbrook-we very much look forward to seeing what tasty dishes your pupils will be making as part of our programme in the New Year!

Obesity falls in English schools!

A recent report has shown that the number of overweight or obese children in their last year at primary school has fallen in England for the first time since 2006.  Statistics show that 33.3% of pupils in Year 6 were overweight or obese in 2012-13, compared with 33.9% during the previous year. It is understood to be the result of a general improvement of school food and children gaining a better understand of which foods are good for them and which foods are unhealthy.

After Jamie Oliver’s School Dinners and the Feed Me Better campaign in 2005, school food standards were put into place for the first time. These nutrition based and food based standards forced the replacement of junk food and processed dinners with nutritious and balanced lunches. Improving the quality of school food & educating pupils about how to eat well is a gradual process. Levels of childhood obesity were never going to shrink overnight, as it takes time to embed a new food culture. We are thrilled to see that these changes, and the hard work of many, are beginning to pay off!

The children measured for the report, now in their final year at primary school, are the beginning of this new school food culture. These children entered primary school just as of all the changes advocated by Jamie all those years ago came into effect, and have only ever known the environment created by new standards. Looking ahead, with compulsory cooking coming onto the curriculum in September, and the new attention brought by the School Food Plan, we are hopeful that these numbers will continue to fall.

A busy term at Place Farm Academy!

The pupils at Place Farm Academy, one of our Learn Your Fruits and Vegetables pilot schools, have had a very busy Autumn term in the kitchen!

To start with, Year 2 pupils carried out a comparison taste test of different apple varieties – Pink Lady won the vote over Braeburn, Cox, Granny Smith and Bramley! The pupils then followed this up with a further activity of making an oaty, wholemeal apple and blackberry crumble to be enjoyed by all. The school has also been lucky in an application for 4 fruit trees from the River Cottage programme which the children are very excited about!

This term, Year 4 pupils have been studying World War II and so they decided to cook as closely as they could to the era. A local, independent flour miller generously donated white and wholemeal organic flour as similar as possible to flours used at the time of war and the pupils investigated how this affected the textures of the items cooked. Pupils also found out about how carrots were used extensively in war time cooking, due to the successful ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign, and made recipes such as carrot cake and carrot cookies.

Furthermore, Year 5 pupils consolidated their lessons of ‘following a list of instructions’ this term in conjunction with their Healthy Eating Topic by making a ‘healthy wrap’ using fillings including spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, cheese , ham and egg.

Year 6 have also had a busy few months, harvesting in December their popping corn planted earlier in the year and they are now waiting for this to dry for them to enjoy freshly made popcorn. In December, they also made individual seasonal cakes which they iced with marzipan and decorated in time for Christmas.

What a wonderful term of cooking at Place Farm Academy-we look forward to seeing what will be on the menu in January!

Grilled Halloumi and Tabbouleh Salad!

The pupils at Rotherfield Primary School, one of our Kitchen Garden Project pilot schools, recently learnt how to make grilled halloumi and tabbouleh salad whilst exploring ways in which to make salads interesting! Using our extension resources, pupils explored the importance of texture in food as well as developing their kitchen skills to chop the herbs, vegetables and the halloumi into slices.

The children made the tasty tabbouleh by cooking bulghar wheat and adding in chopped tomatoes, spring onions, mint and parsley with a little lemon juice, olive oil and seasoning. They then griddled the halloumi until lightly charred and served it with freshly chopped lettuce and toasted pine nuts.

All the children at Rotherfield thought the salad was delicious and we were thrilled to hear of the pupils enjoying this zingy Middle Eastern dish whilst learning key cooking skills, such as chopping, roasting, frying and assembling a dish, at the same time. We look forward to seeing what tasty dishes the pupils at Rotherfield will be cooking up in the New Year! 

Festive Poached Pears!

Throughout December, pupils at Hythe Primary School followed our Pear resource to make poached pears in apple juice and festive spices. Pears are very much in season at the moment so enjoy them when they are at their best; soft, ripe and juicy!

As part of our Learn Your Fruits and Veg programme, the children were shown how to use a Y-shaped peeler to correctly peel the pears and then how to poach them gently on a low heat with apple juice, a star anise, cloves and cinnamon. When the pears were cooked through, the children served them with yoghurt and some leftover juices spooned over the top.

It was such a popular dish with the pupils that they made it again the following week but this time they were given the extra option of adding sweet ingredients such as honey or cocoa to their final dishes. The children thought that the pears were truly delicious and two of the girls, in not wanting to waste any of the ingredients, made a tasty apple and chocolate drink with the some of the leftover juices-what a good idea!

Seasonal Shout Out-Cauliflower!

The humble cauliflower is currently in season, so look out for freshly cut heads with perky, firm leaves at your local greengrocers or farmer’s market this December.  The cauliflower is related to broccoli, cabbage and brussel sprouts and can be found in shades of white, purple and green!

A great source of Vitamin C, cauliflowers are incredibly versatile as a vegetable and can be eaten raw as well as cooked. Try separating the head into smaller florets to eat with home-made dips or mix with a herby yoghurt dressing for a wonderful raw salad. Cauliflower is also great when boiled, sautéed, steamed or fried and goes really well with spices such as cumin and coriander seeds. Or why not try making a warming cauliflower cheese as the nights start to get chilly!

And don’t forget the stalk! This can also be eaten so simply slice thinly and add to your dish along with the plump cauliflower florets!

Roasted Squash and Feta Salad!

For their latest Learn Your Fruits and Veg lesson, pupils at Bentley West Primary School, learnt how to make our warm roasted squash and feta salad. The children carefully chopped up the squash into small cubes and then roasted the chunks with some wonderful spices including coriander and cumin. Pupils were also shown how to make a zingy lemon dressing to toss with the salad before serving. After adding scoops of avocado and rocket to the squash, the children crumbled feta over the salad and then as a final touch, they sprinkled toasted pumpkin seeds over the top!

The dish was incredibly popular with all the children and we hear that it got the whole school talking as they came past the tasting table in the corridor during their lunch break and tried the dish. The teacher who took the lesson said that it was a joy to watch as some children who were adamant that they would hate the dish tried each part and found that they really liked it after all! We were thrilled to hear that many of the children also took the recipe home with them at the end of the day!

The staff and head teacher were also really complimentary about the dish and we have been told that there was a real buzz at school that day with lots of pupils enjoying the salad! Many of the children were asking what they will be cooking next time-and we can’t wait to see ourselves!

Hythe Primary are November's School of the Month!

A massive well done to all the pupils at Hythe Primary School who take our School of the Month Award! Not only have they excelled throughout November but we have received feedback and some wonderful photos every month since our Learn Your Fruits and Vegetables programme 2013-2014 launched in September.

This month, they used our Mushroom resource to make button mushroom, spinach and lemon salad- a vibrant dish with a zingy dressing. Mushrooms are fantastic raw as well as cooked and when thinly sliced they soak up any dressing like a sponge making them a great carrier of flavour! The children learnt how to slice mushrooms and finely chop the spinach and how to use a microplane to finely grate lemon zest for the dressing. Their teacher has said that with each lesson her pupils are getting braver with their food choices and many of the children now wish to try fruits and vegetables that they had never eaten before!

 One pupil who loves the lessons said 'Can you bring in a whole bunch of ingredients and we can design our own recipes, like Jamie makes his up?' We were thrilled to hear this and we are so glad that the children at Hythe Primary are thoroughly enjoying the programme -we can’t wait to hear more! 

The Kitchen Garden at Orford!

What a great term it has been so far at Orford Primary School in Suffolk, one of our 12 Kitchen Garden Project pilot schools. We have been receiving some wonderful feedback from both their kitchen garden and classroom and we are thrilled to share with you a report from Orford this term!

In the kitchen garden, pupils have been learning new gardening skills and helped to grow a wonderful harvest of parsnips, leeks, chard, cabbages and kale to use throughout the winter. Lots of the children have also been sweeping up the leaves to make leaf mould that they then used to mulch the new hedge plants they’ve put in.

One of the major tasks taking place in the garden at Orford this term was moving their strawberry bed. The children helped to dig up and split the strawberry plants into pots to be replanted in their new bed come Spring! The teachers at Orford have also been linking the children’s gardening lessons to different maths and science topics and we hear that the children love getting outside-whatever the weather!

To see some more pictures of Orford pupils in their kitchen garden see our facebook page by clicking here.

Cooking at Orford!

There has also been some amazing work going on in the kitchen classroom at Orford this term, from the 4 year olds right up to the more experienced and skilled Year 6 pupils. The children have enjoyed making apple & blackberry crumble, homemade apple pie, poached pears, baked plums with vanilla and beetroot and chocolate cake-it’s  amazing how many of the pupils will now eat beetroot! We hear that one of the biggest hits this term was roasted squash (from the garden) & feta salad –it was made in all three lessons and each time the whole plate of salad was demolished!

Reception and Class 1 have been following our lesson plans this term to learn about the five senses by describing, touching and tasting different types of foods. The children also learnt about the fives tastes of sweet, sour, salty, bitter and savoury by making some our simple recipes including box grater fruit salad, Orchard Eve's pudding and potato salad with yoghurt dressing.

The Year 6 pupils also did an amazing job making a special Christmas lunch for their friends from Lane Farm Pork using wonderful produce from their garden. The children made chicken & sweet leek pie, perfect potato gratin, roast vegetable megamix (beetroot, swede, parsnip, carrots all from their garden) and to end perfect mince pies. What a feast! We hear their guests were very impressed.

Orford also continues to sell their YUM! pasta sauce in the local shops and their Strawberry Jam has just sold out for the second time-well done!

We are so thrilled to hear of all the amazing work happening at Orford this term and we look forward to hearing how things go in the New Year and what tasty dishes the pupils will be making using their own home grown produce!

To see some more pictures of Orford pupils in their kitchen garden and classroom see our facebook page by clicking here.

A busy week at Lubenham!

It has been a fantastic few days at our pilot school Lubenham All Saints CE Primary with pupils following not just one but three of our fruit and veg resources cards to make some tasty seasonal dishes.

Firstly, Class 4 (Years 5 and 6) followed our Cabbage resource to make vibrant 'build your own rainbow salad' with grated beetroot, cabbage and carrots. The pupils loved the seasonal salad and the zingy dressing made using yoghurt, mustard and olive oil. We hear many children came up for seconds!

The following day, Class 2 (Years 1 and 2) made our hearty leek and potato soup. One Year 2 pupil said that it was ‘The best soup I’ve ever tasted!’ which we were thrilled to hear. They also linked their cooking class to another aspect of the curriculum, art, with pupils drawing leeks in oil pastels. Their class teacher also used our Leek resource during their guided reading session which was a great idea!

And finally, Class 3 (Years 3 and 4) made our Bombay Roasties in their study of different foods from India. Following our Potato resource, the children added chili, spices and a whole bulb of garlic to make this delicious dish that got their tastebuds tingling! The children loved the potatoes and thought they went incredibly well with the chicken korma and naan bread they enjoyed for lunch!

What a fantastic week at Lubenham! We are thrilled to hear about all the lessons that took place and the food all looked fantastic!

Raw Kale Salad at Washingborough!

The pupils at Washingborough Academy learnt how to make raw kale salad with grated apples, sunflower seeds and a honey dressing during their most recent Learn Your Fruits and Veg lesson. Following our Kale resource the pupils learnt that by rubbing the kale with salt it will soften the leaves! The children were also taught how to use a box grater and the super quick way of making a tasty dressing by shaking all the ingredients together in a jam jar. At the end of the lesson the children sat together to enjoy the tasty salad which they all loved-delicious!

Kale is in season right now but did you know that this wonderful green can be eaten raw or cooked! Try making a raw winter salad like the pupils at Washingborough but remember that the coarser, larger leaves will need boiling, steaming or sautéing or simply add into stir-fries, soups or curries!

After having made the salad, the teachers at Washingborough then incorporated kale into the pupil’s art studies, with the children creating kale pop art-what a great idea! We love hearing how teachers have thought of exciting ways of linking their pupil’s study of fruits and veg to other aspects of learning. We look forward to hearing more from Washingborough Academy soon!

Mushroom, Spinach and Lemon Salad with Hythe!

During their most recent Learn Your Fruit and Vegetables lesson, Hythe Primary pupils followed our Mushroom resource to make button mushroom, spinach and lemon salad-a vibrant and refreshing dish. Mushrooms are fantastic raw as well as cooked and when thinly sliced they will soak up dressing like a sponge!

Following our recipe card, the children started off by chopping the mushrooms, spinach and parsley and tossing them together in a bowl. The pupils then mixed together lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil and seasoning in jam jars to make the zingy lemon dressing. The children particularly loved shaking the jars and then drizzling the dressing over the salad.

Their teacher has said that with each lesson, her pupils are getting braver with their food choices with many of the children wishing to try fruits and vegetables that they had never eaten before! One of her pupils, who loves every lesson said 'Can you bring in a whole bunch of ingredients and we can design our own recipes, like Jamie makes his up?' We were thrilled to hear this and we are so glad that the children at Hythe Primary are thoroughly enjoying the programme so far-we can’t wait to hear more! 

Beetroot with Rhyl!

This week, as part of our Learn Your Fruit and Vegetables programme, the pupils at Rhyl Primary School in Camden followed our Beetroot resource to make not one, but two seasonal dishes! First off was raw beetroot and pear salad. The pupils had great fun making this vibrant and colourful salad, coarsely grating the beetroot and pear, before adding lemon juice, olive oil, parsley and feta cheese-the children especially loved the feta!

Then the children continued with the extension recipes to make delicious chocolate and beetroot cake. It was a great success! The pupils learnt the importance of measuring ingredients exactly when baking a cake as well as how to whisk egg whites to stiff peaks!

Well done to all the pupils at Rhyl Primary- a successful lesson learning how to make two tasty dishes with beetroot!

Seasonal Shout Out-Kale!

Our spotlight is on kale this month! Did you know that kale can’t be eaten until the weather is cold, because it needs to be exposed to the first winter’s frost? This allows some of the kale plant’s starch to be changed into sugar and stops the leaves from tasting bitter. Packed with Vitamin A, this leafy green can be steamed, boiled or sautéed and the younger, smaller leaves can even be eaten raw. Kale is delicious in soups, stews and pasta dishes or why not try wilting kale down with fried chili and garlic for a hearty dish with a bit of a kick!

Explore the different varieties of kale on offer at your local greengrocers or farmer’s market this month, looking for fresh, springy leaves. Kale comes in a range of colours, from dark green to deep red and the leaves can be smooth, serrated or curly!

Kale is such a versatile vegetable that we can’t wait to hear what tasty dishes you have been making with your children using kale recently! Why not make a simple pasta dish with kale, grating some Parmesan over the top, or be daring and make a delicious raw kale salad?

As the winter draws in, and the weather starts to turn chilly, be sure to try some super seasonal kale this month!

Leek and Potato Soup!

Year 2 pupils at Dr.Radcliffes CofE Primary School in Oxford were shown how to make seasonal leek and potato soup during their first Learn Your Fruit and Veg lesson this week. Following our Leek card, all the children thoroughly enjoyed learning new cooking skills and the whole class sat together at the end of the lesson to taste the hearty, warming soup. They even made enough for the children to take in a big flask to their cross country competition the next day!

In linking their lesson to other parts of the curriculum, the pupils did a quiz on leeks as well as using their maths skills to work out how to double the recipe to make enough for the whole class to enjoy-well done!

The Muddy Spud with Churchtown!

A group of Year 5 and 6 children at Churchtown Primary School in Southport, one of our Learn Your Fruit and Veg pilot schools, have set up an enterprise project called the Muddy Spud. The project is designed to create links within the community, and encourage healthy eating using locally sourced fresh fruit and veg that are sold at prices that are considerably cheaper than the supermarkets, whilst giving the children the experience of running a business.

The veg packs are made up by the children and were originally sold from their market stall in the playground but the group have now also introduced an ordering system that is gradually being rolled out across the school. So far the group have sold over 700kg of potatoes, 100kg of carrots and approximately 800 onions.

The success of the project so far has been due to the support that the school have had not only from parents but from Natalie Kershaw at Bill Rimmer’s Farm Shop who as well as providing the vegetables has also been willing to share her knowledge.

The venture is just one of many recent changes that have seen the school strive to enhance its reputation as healthy school, such as the in house catering for school meals and the planning of a cafe that will be run by children to provide their school friends and parents with a healthy start to the day.

What a fantastic enterprise Churchtown-we can’t wait to hear more from the Muddy Spud!

School of the Month!

Congratulations to the pupils of Maldon Primary School in Essex for being our Learn Your Fruit & Veg November school of the month! In the past few weeks Maldon has gone above and beyond and taught not one, but FOUR fruit and vegetable lessons. They used the apple, pear, plum and celery card to make blackberry and apple crumble, poached pears, baked plums with vanilla and the biggest hit of all- celery and apple soup! For their Learn Your Fruit & Veg lesson, Year 5 pupils were divided into four groups to enable everyone to take a turn with the peeling, chopping, slicing and grating. When each dish was ready to eat, all the children sat down together and enjoyed the fruits of their labour. Despite feeling dubious about the celery and apple soup before tasting, but it turned out to be the most successful recipe with every child absolutely loving it! All of the groups asked to take the recipes home at the end of the day so they could share their skills with their families.

The kitchen garden at Maldon Primary is also going from strength to strength since the school put energy into developing an unloved front garden into something special last year.  The pupils have enjoyed a bumper harvest from many of the class's crops, which included some wonderful peas, mange tout, potatoes, radishes, broad beans, spinach, beetroot and kohl rabi. Each class has their own raised bed, which they originally helped to build, and recently harvested their own crops to make radish taziki, potato salad, parsnip crisps and pea risotto! Maldon Primary is doing such a great job that they recently won the Maldon in Bloom Gold award for the best school garden-what a great effort!

Stuffed Peppers with Salsa!

This week, pupils at Lubenham All Saints CE Primary learned all about PEPPERS as part of our Learn Your Fruit & Vegetables programme . They learnt how to make roasted red peppers stuffed with cherry tomatoes, garlic, baby capers, olives and basil. The children were also shown how to make a zingy salsa using peppers, tomatoes, coriander and lime. Peppers have a very sweet flavour which the children loved and they adored how colourful and crunchy the salsa looked and tasted. The pupils also tried capers, an unfamiliar ingredient which most of them enjoyed!


A few of the children explained how they usually don’t like peppers, as they had only ever eaten them raw, but they loved the very different taste and flavour of peppers when cooked.


Furthermore, Lubenham All Saints linked their study on peppers to another aspect of the curriculum, Art, with Key Stage 1 pupils making observational drawings of peppers during their latest art club lesson. Well done Lubenham, keep up the great work! 

St. Paul's pupils visit Jamie's Italian!

As part of the IPC Food Unit, Year 2 pupils from our KGP pilot school, St.Paul’s in Whitechapel recently took a trip to their local Jamie’s Italian! Here the children were treated to a masterclass in how to prepare fresh pasta from scratch. The pupils were shown how to make and roll fresh pasta dough before being taught how to stuff and twist the squares of pasta into tasty tortellini! The children were also delighted by a display of fresh, seasonal vegetables that included bright red peppers, stripy squash and a huge cabbage! The children were amazed by how vegetables can come is such a variety of colours, shapes and sizes and filled in worksheets using their new knowledge.

Such hands-on activities are a vital aspect of the IPC learning process for children. By touching and smelling the vegetables and rolling the pasta into shapes, the pupils at St.Paul’s were stimulated in an environment other than the classroom-and all whilst learning how to make a tasty meal from scratch!


After such a busy morning the children enjoyed a rewarding bowl of delicious fresh pasta for lunch-what a great trip St.Paul’s!

National Roast Dinner Day!

Next Wednesday 20th November, the Food For Life Partnership invites all their schools and caterers to participate in National Roast Dinner Day and to enjoy a delicious lunch that celebrates fresh, local and seasonal produce. Pupils, teachers, parents and the local community are all invited to come together and enjoy a locally sourced or organic roast dinner followed by a seasonal dessert. National Roast Dinner Day allows schools to showcase the quality of their catering and to demonstrate how a healthy and nutritious lunch can sustain a child’s learning throughout the day. By highlighting the wonderful produce provided and encouraging whole schools to enjoy a meal together, the Food For Life Partnership aims to increase the number of pupils eating a freshly prepared, healthy and filling school meal each day.

The Food For Life Partnership is hoping to get as many schools as possible to blog about their Roast Dinner Day and to reveal how it has encouraged them to engage with the local community. Prizes will be awarded to the best blogs and we can’t wait to see how all of the schools celebrate Roast Dinner Day this year! #roastdinnerday 

Cookery news from Colleton!

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Colleton Primary,  one of our KGP pilot schools, pupils recently helped to prepare a range of tasty treats for both children and staff to enjoy. As part of the whole school celebration day, the main hall was set up as a large cookery preparation area with the children working in groups of 4 to 5 to make homemade snacks  such as cheese and parsley straws and scones. Following one of our lesson plans, Foundation Stage pupils aged 4-5learnt how to make their own sandwiches to enjoy at the lunch and afternoon tea party. They could choose their own fillings from cheese, ham or jam and were shown how to use spreading knives and table knives correctly.  

We are thrilled to hear of so many children getting involved in the school celebrations, whilst learning new cooking skills and preparing some delicious food at the same time!


Keep up the great work Colleton!

Tomato and Basil Bruschetta!

October was a great month for the pupils at Hythe Primary, who recently learnt how to make tomato and basil bruschetta using red, orange and yellow tomatoes! After chopping up and seasoning the tomatoes, the children toasted ciabatta and rubbed each slice with a clove of garlic and a little olive oil. After spooning over the tomatoes, the pupils drizzled the bruschetta with olive oil and basil leaves and then tucked in! One pupil said “That was definitely the best recipe so far!” and the teachers said it made the classroom smell delicious!

The pupils are participating in our Learn Your Fruit and Veg programme as part of their 'Golden Time' each month and we are thrilled to hear that many of the children have been making the recipes at home.  The pupils are thoroughly enjoying the lessons so far and at the same time learning how to make simple yet delicious recipes using fruit and veg- keep up the great work! 

Simple Green Salad with Jam Jar Dressings!

The new term is off to a great start at St. Paul's Whitechapel CE Primary School as they begin their journey as one of the newest pilot schools for Jamie Oliver's Kitchen Garden Project. The Tower Hamlets school will be following our hands-on food education curriculum, inspiring children across year groups with kitchen and garden based learning. 

 Yesterday, the Year 5 pupils had their first cooking lesson ‘How to Taste’.  The pupils prepared a delicious simple green salad with fresh lettuce and chicory.  The children were encouraged to use all their senses to think of words to describe the salad leaves before washing, spinning and drying the leaves. The children then made fresh and super quick jam jar dressings to toss with the salad before eating.  The four jam jar dressings are aimed at letting the children explore the different tastes of salty, sour, sweet and bitter with the children using yoghurt, lemon, balsamic vinegar, mustard and olive oil. The children were also shown the importance of how to season food properly and they loved shaking the jars to mix the dressings!

We heard that the children loved the lesson, and were eager to show their parents at the end of the day. Word on the street is that a number of children were caught munching on leftover salad from zip lock bags as they waited to be picked up! That definitely beats a take away on the way home!

The dressings were such a hit that St Paul's is planning to serve them on their salad bar in the canteen today. Well done, St. Paul's!

Stay tuned for more stories from Tower Hamlets.

Purple Smoothies with St. Ann's!

As part of their Learn Your Fruit and Veg lessons, the pupils of St Ann's CE Primary School in Rainhill recently made vibrant purple smoothies using frozen blueberries, ripe pears and fresh apple juice.  As they are learning about Roald Dahl this term, they incorporated the lesson into their literacy study of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with the children experimenting to see if they would turn purple like Violet! Before tasting the smoothies, the pupils created character profiles and role-played the scene in the book where Violet turns violet. What a fantastic way of incorporating fruits and vegetables into the curriculum-and the delicious smoothies were the perfect reward for the children’s hard work!

Baked Plums with Vanilla!

A big well done to the pupils of St.Andrews Church of England Primary School in Cheltenham, who recently tried their hand at baking juicy ripe plums using a recipe from our ‘Learn Your Fruit and Vegetables programme.’ After removing the stones, the children cooked the plums with orange, vanilla and golden caster sugar to create a deliciously autumnal dish. Served with yoghurt the children enjoyed it as a simple dessert-but it would also make a great breakfast!

Seasonal Shout Out-Squash!

If you’re looking to cook up something special for Halloween with the kids, the vibrantly coloured squash (and its cousin the pumpkin) are great bets. The family of winter squashes is enormous with hundreds of varieties, ranging from small striped squashes the size of your hand, to green, orange and even big blue ones that can sometimes weigh hundreds of kilos! Also, did you know that although we call squash a vegetable, it’s technically a fruit because we eat the part that contains the seeds!

Make sure you check your local farmer's market or green grocers this month and you are bound to see squashes of all shapes and colours. Choose squash that feels heavy for its size and is free from blemishes or squishy patches. When you cook with squash there’s no need to peel it as you can eat the skin. Simply halve it, scoop out the seeds and chop it into chunks, then roast it and add it to a warm winter salad or throw it into curries, stews or soups. Or why not simply roast the seeds and eat them as a snack!

Learn Your Fruit and Veg Programme!

It has been one month since the launch of our Learn Your Fruit and Vegetable Programme for the 2013-2014 school year and we are thrilled with the feedback we have received so far! This year the programme has been extended to 100 schools across the country, with the continued aim to introduce school children to fresh, seasonal produce from an early age and to teach pupils how to make simple and nutritious meals using fruit and veg.

Having fine-tuned our resources from last year's feedback, we now provide our schools with 32 different fresh fruit and vegetable cards that not only contain seasonal recipes, but provide fun facts and engaging activities that link the lesson to other curriculum objectives such as science and literacy. The children have loved getting stuck in to each class; smelling, touching and tasting fresh produce, whilst learning how to prepare a simple recipe from scratch. Some of the most popular dishes so far have been baked plums with yoghurt and apple and watercress salad. Keep up the good work!

School of the Month!

Congratulations to the pupils of Takely Primary in Essex, one of our Learn Your Fruit and Veg pilot schools, who are September’s School of the Month! We received a whopping 74 surveys filled with excellent responses and wonderful questions for Jamie. This month the children learned all about plums and sweet corn, preparing baked plums with vanilla and corn salsa. We were also sent many fantastic photos of the pupils cooking the recipes as well as enjoying the final results! Well done, Takely!

Learn to Grow and Cook with Us!

Not sure how to introduce cooking into your school day?  Really want to start a school veg garden but just don’t know where to begin?  Well we’re excited to announce that the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation has teamed up with the RHS Campaign for School Gardening to bring primary school teachers a very special cooking and growing course.  And with cooking and growing going on the school curriculum in England from September 2014, there couldn’t really be a more perfect time to get involved!

The Learn to Grow and Cook course will teach you how to bring food education to life at your school, by integrating hands-on growing and cooking lessons into the school day, helping you to complete the journey ‘from seed to plate’ with the children.  By the end of the course, you’ll have the confidence and knowledge needed to give your children the invaluable experience of tasting and preparing produce they have grown, equipping them with essential  skills that will last a lifetime.

The two-day course covers everything you need to know to get the kids cooking and growing. An autumn planting, tasting and cooking day in October will be followed by a second day in March, which will enable you to get your garden into production for the spring and summer months. Garden sessions will be complemented by practical sessions in the school kitchen, giving you the knowledge, confidence and skills to get the best from your school produce, whilst creating a memorable, skills-based learning experience for your pupils. In addition to this, you’ll leave us with your very own pack of carefully-developed Kitchen Garden Project recipes and teaching resources, to help you get stuck into cooking simple, seasonal recipes at school.

The courses will be held on 8th October 2013 and 12th March 2014, in Greenwich (London). We can’t wait to get started!  Sign up now to guarantee your place on the course; spaces are limited, and we’d love to see some of our Kitchen Garden Project supporters there. It’s set to be a brilliant couple of days!

Seasonal Shout Out-Sugar Snaps!

Sugar snap peas are really, heavily in season at the moment. And there really are few vegetables which could be deemed more delicious!


Sweet, delightfully crunchy, vibrant green and so versatile.


Whether you decide to steam them lightly (maintaining a slight crunch), or to eat them raw with some sumptuous dips, be sure to take advantage of them whilst they’re in season. Why not get the kids de-stringing them for you?! Do this by ripping off the tip and dragging down the green string until it comes off in your hand; this makes the sugar snap more tender and rewarding to eat. Or you could get them making a deliciously easy, yoghurty dip to accompany a handful of raw sugar snaps - a much healthier alternative to crisps.


Whatever you choose to do with them, enjoy them whilst they're around. Sugar Snaps or Sugar Cane? The Snaps win for us!

End of Term Thank-You's!

Schools have now broken up for the summer holidays, and our first year of testing our Learn Your Fruit and Veg Programme has officially come to an end.

It’s been a really amazing year, and we want to thank our pilot schools for all their invaluable feedback. We’ve got another pilot year ahead of us, where we’ll be testing out our new and improved resources on 100 new primary schools, which should help us to fine-tune our resources all ready for national rollout when cooking comes back onto the curriculum in September 2014.

But – on a bit of a nostalgic note – here’s some of the feedback we’ve received over the last 12 months:

“There have been so many 'wow' moments during this project! It really has been so exciting - the children love it and even though they claim they don't like many of the ingredients, once they have made and tasted the food they love them! Thank you so very much”.

Lisa Shaw, Fossdene Primary School, London


“The children have thoroughly enjoyed the programme. Most of our children do not have the opportunity to cook at home and this has given them that opportunity. They have learned about lots of different fruits and vegetables and have tasted foods which they might not have had the chance to taste if not for this project.”

Hallford Primary School, London


“Jamie has inspired me to explore with my cooking and I have learnt lots of new things like how many types of apples grow all over the world.”

Rosie, Lubenham All Saints C of E Primary School, Leicestershire


“The impact on our children has been a greater interest in food, healthy living and cooking. A wonderful experience!”

Hallford Primary School, London


A big thank you to all our pilot schools on both the Kitchen Garden Project and Learn your Fruit and Veg Programme, and we can’t wait to get stuck into next term’s resources with you all!

The School Food Plan!

We’re excited to announce that the government-backed School Food Plan has now been revealed, taking us one step  further in our battle to improve the futures of our children, through healthy eating.

Subjects covered in the report include the problems with packed lunches, free school meals, upping school meal take-up, breakfast clubs and the importance of cooking lessons.  All raise some really important points, which we all need to take on board and work with.

The report is definitely worth a read. Even if you only have the time to read the summarised version, or to watch the short summary video, getting up to speed with what the plan proposes really will help fill in the gaps.

Jamie says, "School food has come a long way since my original campaign, but more needs to be done to improve standards and teach kids about food. We can't underestimate the importance of investing in our children's health and productivity at school.

Getting cooking on the curriculum until the age of 14 and encouraging kids to eat school food are big steps, and we really need to get behind school cooks and head teachers to improve school food. I know how much energy and passion has gone into this plan. Now it has to deliver on its promises and make sure no schools are left behind - and that responsibility sits with this government."

So here’s to the future of our children!  Let’s work together to really make this School Food Plan happen.

Sign up for our Fruit and Veg Programme Now!

We are incredibly excited to announce that we are expanding our Fruit and Veg Programme in September 2013! We have taken in all the brilliant feedback from our pilot schools, developing and expanding to create an even more amazing programme for next year.

This year our programme consisted of 10 fresh fruit and vegetable classes, delivered once a month in 25 primary schools. Schools used our resources and a box of produce from Abel & Cole to expose children to seasonal produce, assembling simple recipes in classrooms and linking cooking activities with curriculum learning. The programme introduces children to fresh produce in an exciting and interactive way, enabling them to start cooking from an early age, helping them to understand where fruit and veg come from, and why they’re so good for us.  All the veg cards contain fun facts and engaging activities, many of which link strongly to curriculum objectives. And next year we are thrilled to announce that our resource will be even bigger, even more versatile and even better!

We have extended our resource to now cover 32 different fresh fruits and vegetables, allowing teachers to choose from a range of seasonal ingredients and recipes for their class! Our resources have been tweaked and refined, making sure that we are providing as much valuable information on the page as possible! We also are encouraging schools to use produce from their gardens or their local communities to get involved.

We want to grow the programme and get 100 new schools involved beginning in September! If this sounds like something your school would be interested in, email us today at!

Seasonal Shout Out-Strawberries!

We’re into the final month of the school year: it’s July, so the Fruit and Veg Programme is focussing on beautifully seasonal strawberries and raspberries!

And the good news is that this year we’ve been blessed with a bumper crop of strawberries. Do you remember earlier in the year, when everyone was moaning about the rain and chilly weather? Well it turns out that that’s exactly why we’ve got such plump, sweet, juicy strawberries growing in the UK right now. The cooler weather meant that the fruits developed later, so the plants put all their energy into growing strong and resilient. Then, when they finally got round to producing their strawberries, they created SuperStrawbs! Let’s hope all the children at our pilot schools enjoy cooking with them: this month, they’re going to be making Berries with Yoghurt, Honey and Mint. The perfect recipe to take home and cook again for their families over the summer holidays!

Fun Fact: did you know that each strawberry has a whopping average of 200 seeds; each is a unique piece of artwork, really! And around 28,000 kilograms of strawberries are eaten at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships each year. Lucky we’ve had such an abundant crop to help feed the Murray-Mania!

Claiming More Green Space at Rotherfield!

Rotherfield Primary School, our second KGP pilot school, has just won a two year campaign for use of park land across the street from their school. Their new green space is really exciting for the children, giving them a much bigger play space, helping them to get more fresh air and to really stretch their legs at break-time! 

The big ‘ribbon cutting day’ was celebrated in style.  Parents, governors and even the Mayor of Islington attended the event, and the children gave each and every one of them a guided tour of the school, including both their kitchen and their garden. After the ribbon cutting ceremony, honoured guests filed into the dining room for a concert by the school choir and a very spoiling lunch prepared by the children in the Kitchen Garden Project.

The food was spectacular! The menu included  Pea and Mint Soup, Smashed Broad Bean and Pea Crostini, a gorgeous Evolution Tomato Salad, and a scrumptious Smoked Mackerel Pate,  all prepared by children from scratch!  There was also a warming homemade Apple and Blackberry Crumble to top off the whole meal.  The guests were all bowled over, and the teachers and children all said how much fun they’d had cooking it. All of the peas were individually podded by the children in shifts, for the soup and the crostini and all that love and care really made a difference to the flavour!

Everyone was really impressed by the knowledge and skills of the children – and the fact that they really did love the Smoked Mackerel, which lots of adults assume is a bit too strong a flavour for kids to enjoy!

Learning to cook, and really getting to understand the ingredients they’re growing and cooking has changed the way that the children at Rotherfield think about food and we are so proud to see how the project has developed over the year.  

Big love to Rotherfield Primary, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for the future!

Celebrating Food Revolution Day 2013!

Food Revolution Day is a single day created by Jamie and his foundations to celebrate and campaign for better food.  It’s a day where we ask people from all around the world to share their passion for food, really bringing food to life and proving the power of essential cooking skills and the ability they have to transform lives.

The funds raised on Food Revolution Day 2012 helped us develop and launch our brilliant Fruit and Veg Programme, enabling us to pilot in 25 primary schools, introducing over 1000 children to fresh fruit and veg every month! Food Revolution Day is a huge day for us, and the community campaigning really does make a massive difference.

This year’s second annual Food Revolution Day was even bigger and better than the last, with over 1,260 activities going on in homes, schools, workplaces and communities, across 660 cities and 74 countries

Jamie’s Kitchen Garden Project was deeply involved in the action. All of our pilot schools got involved, sharing their food knowledge and cooking skills with others and championing the day!

Orford Primary School, our first ever Kitchen Garden Project school, hosted their second annual Orford Food Revolution Day Market. The community of Orford all came together to create a foodie haven in the centre of town, celebrating the local food culture while raising money for food education. The primary school children even developed a new food product to sell for the occasion: their very own Strawberry Jam! The jam now accompanies their Tomato Sauce on the shelves of local shops and markets.  All proceeds from the sale of both products benefit their Kitchen Garden Project. If you find yourself in Suffolk, be sure to pick up a few jars! Great job, Orford!

In London, 60 children from Rotherfield Primary School and St. Paul’s Whitechapel, both involved in Jamie’s Kitchen Garden Project, joined Jamie at the big Food Rev Day street party on Westland Place. The children made their very own pizzas from scratch, topping them with beautiful, seasonal ingredients. They then took their new cheffy skills back to school to encourage their friends and families to get excited about cooking.

It was a really great day, and we’re already excited about next year’s celebrations.  Word on the street, it’s going to be even bigger and better than before!

If your school did something to celebrate be sure to let us know, sharing your pictures and stories with us on facebook or by emailing . Big love to everyone who got involved by joining the Revolution!

Greek Kebabs at Rotherfield!

This week at Rotherfield Primary School the children assembled and grilled Greek Vegetable Kebabs in the Kitchen Classroom. Many of the children had never tried Haloumi cheese before and were interested to see that it could be grilled without melting. 

The recipe was especially popular with the year 4s, many of which said it was the best recipe they have learned yet!

Jake said, "This is my favourite recipe because the pepper bursts juice into your mouth, the haloumi cheese melts as it goes down your throat, and the tomatoes add that extra burst of flavour". Sounds like a winner!

TV Chefs in the Making at Washingborough!

Washingborough Academy in Lincolnshire, one of our 25 brilliant Fruit & Veg Programme pilot schools, has mastered the art of cooking for television. They have been recording their Fruit & Veg lessons for YouTube, sharing their learning with anyone who wants to tune in!  We’ve had great fun watching how much the children enjoy their fruit & veg classes, seeing how the magic of food really captivates them, and how amazingly the teachers are able to explain all the different produce they’re using to create each of the recipes.

The videos show how much teamwork is needed in cooking – especially when the kids make the Winter Coleslaw, and everyone is needed to scrub in with a bit of the muscle-building veggie grating!  And each clip proves that you don’t need a fully-equipped kitchen to be able to cook; you can whip up some really delicious recipes whilst just sitting in the classroom!

The children have tasted all sorts of foods which they’d never tasted before, including beetroot, watercress, blue cheese and all different spices.  Teacher Julia Newton told us that, “The boxes have inspired the children to be more adventurous with the food they eat and have encouraged them to prepare and cook food themselves”.  Inspiring kids to cook fresh, healthy meals both at school and at home with their families is definitely one of our key aims, so that’s brilliant to hear!

And the children have become really good at tasting and fine-tuning flavours in their recipes, just like real chefs.  We think Jamie’s Food Tube has got some competition! Tune in to Washingborough’s YouTube channel to stay up to date with their latest cooking adventures! 

Spinach: Popeye Returns!

Spinach is often completely overlooked, known for being healthy and a chore for children to eat.  This month, though, it was the star of our food education boxes, and all 25 schools had a chance to get excited about spinach. You’d be surprised by how many of the children had never even tried spinach before and how many assumed they’d completely hate it because it’s all green and leafy! The good news is that most of the children were proved wrong and our Baby Spinach, Mint and Feta Salad was a winner!

At Dr Radcliffe’s C of E Primary School in Oxfordshire only 1 child out of the class of 15 had ever tried spinach before, and all but 1 of the class decided to taste the salad they made together in the classroom.  The verdict was a big fat thumbs up!    But, that’s not even the best bit! Now, following popular demand, Dr Radcliffe’s has introduced our Baby Spinach, Mint and Feta Salad to their lunchtime school salad bar, and have begun to grow spinach in their polytunnel.  An exciting result all-round for this month’s veg card!

The class at Hallford Primary School in London also gave us some brilliant spinach feedback.   Their teacher decided to play a clip from Popeye before teaching about spinach, and the kids were completely enraptured (understandably)!  They then linked the spinach lesson with their science learning, planning a science experiment to understand which conditions spinach would grow best under.  The children were then encouraged to get a bit creative with their salad-making, and were asked to present their salads in the most artistic & delicious way possible!  Spinach has now zoomed to the top of their ‘favourite veg lesson’ chart!  Good choice, chefs!

Superb Salmon with Rotherfield!

This week the children at Rotherfield Primary School learned how to prepare spectacular Salmon Parcels with Basil Pesto and Green Beans. The children worked together to make their own pesto from scratch, bashing basil and other ingredients in a pestle and mortar. They then assembled parcels with green beans, salmon fillets and a dollop of pesto and popped them in the oven to bake.

While they waited for the meal to cook the children pepared simple new potatoes and set the table  to all sit down together. The lesson was a winner and all the children reported back that they loved the salmon!

Awesome Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni!

February was off to a delayed start in Orford's kitchen due to snow in Suffolk, so we were a bit behind with each group. The menu for the older children was Awesome Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni, served with homemade onion bread and little gem salad. The pupils finished the meal with handmade bakewell tarts. Lots of skills to use in this lesson, including making bread AND pastry, sweating onions, piping filling for the cannelloni and making frangipane. It's a good thing the pupils are kitchen pros!

When the children were asked what they learned from the lesson here is what they said:

Cannelloni tubes are delicate!

Homemade food tastes nicer than bought!

Put the pan on the right hob or you will be there all day!

Have a firm but light touch whilst spreading frangipane. 

An excellent learning experience in the kitchen! 


All about Carrots at Rotherfield!

Did you know that when carrots were first grown,they weren't orange at all, they were purple! You can also get yellow, pink, white, red and even black carrots too!

In the UK, the average person eats 100 carrots a year!

This week the junior chefs at Rotherfield Primary School learned all about carrots while preparing Crunchy Carrot Pittas and Baked Carrots in a bag in the kitchen classroom. They tried different coloured carrots and compared the difference in texture and taste of raw crunchy carrots and soft baked carrots. 

We know that it's just an old wives tale  that carrots help you see in the dark, but the pupils ate them up anyway to test if the theory was true.

Cabbage Patch Kids!

This month’s seasonal veg card is all about RED CABBAGE.  Cabbage has a bit of a bad rep these days. Children tend to think of that overcooked gloop you can sometimes be served, but when cabbage is done right, it completely rocks.  There are so many different varieties you can try, so even if you don’t like one type, you might love another!

Lots of people are familiar with eating hot red cabbage dishes with apples or wine at Christmas time, but this month we’ve sent the primary schools piloting our Fruit and Veg Programme the recipe for a non-cook Winter Coleslaw. This recipe is an absolute cracker, filled with bright colours and lots of flavour. It’s a bang up way to get a head start on your 5 a day! It’s filled with grated red cabbage, red onion, and two deliciously seasonal, grated root vegetables: parsnips and carrots.  And a delicious dressing too, of course. 

The children in our pilot schools loved this salad and sent us loads of positive feedback, even though some concluded that all that grating was a bit too tiring…

At Corpus Christi RC Primary School in Oldham, every single one of the children tried the Coleslaw even though they were a bit sceptical to begin with because of all the strange ingredients they’d never tried raw.  The class put their heads together and decided to serve the coleslaw on crispy French bread, which proved really delicious and very popular.  Yum!

At Lubenham All Saints C of E Primary School in Leicestershire, a whopping 9 children had never  tried any type of coleslaw before, but by the end of the session, 17 of them wanted to eat it again (and again…and again!).  The kids at the Treehouse School in Oxfordshire ate their coleslaw with scrumptious, hot jacket potatoes and braised lentils as part of their school lunch!  Great idea!

It’s brilliant to see how schools are incorporating the recipes from their lessons into their school meals, and using their own creativity to pair different foods and make changes.  Hearing all this amazing feedback really is exciting, and we can’t wait for more schools to get involved in the programme!  If your school is interested in getting involved next year, email us at!

Beetroot for Christmas!

December is such an exciting month! Everything buzzes in the lead-up to Christmas holidays, and children can’t get enough. There’s a huge spotlight on food over the holidays. Food brings families, friends and communities together and we love the chance to celebrate that!

With Mince Pies, Christmas Pud, Yule Logs, Brandy Butter, the food at Christmas time can be a bit indulgent, (though everyone needs a treat now and then, especially if it’s homemade)! This month’s star vegetable showcased the red and green of the season in a whole new light. Instead of sweets and treats, this month was all about gorgeous, seasonal BEETROOT. Children prepared a beautiful red and green Raw Beetroot salad, made with beetroots, olive oil, lemon, parsley and feta.

Getting kids to try beetroot RAW (something that few adults have even tasted) and to taste salty, creamy feta (which has quite a sharp flavour) seems like a no mean feat.  But the flavours come together brilliantly in this dish, and we couldn’t wait to see what the young chefs at our pilot schools thought.

At Fossdene Primary School in London, only 4 children out of a class of 20 had even tried beetroot before.  Lots of the pupils felt a bit put off by its strange colour, but after trying the beetroot salad they all LOVED it.  One Fossdene teacher gave us the loveliest feedback; “There have been so many ‘wow’ moments during this project! It really has been so exciting – the children love it and even though they claim they don’t like many of the ingredients, once they have made and tasted the food, they love them!”

The kids at Hallford Primary School in London also enjoyed the recipe, and got a bit arty with their beetroot lesson.  They’ve been studying the paintings of Kandinsky in Art, so the children cut their beetroot in half and looked at the amazing ring-patterns they found, before painting their own, beetroot-meets-Kandinsky style paintings to cover the walls of the classroom!  None of the children had ever tried beetroot before, though 15 out of 15 of them now want to have it on their plates more often!

Beets come in a whole variety of colours- from white and yellow to a vivid candy striped variety. As Jamie says, “Just imagine putting a damn good roast on the table, or a fantastic steak with crispy potatoes, and then bringing out something unexpected like roast beetroot- that’s how you get your friends talking and how you can introduce them to new favourites! You can turn beets into soup, boil and dress them, roast, steam or stir-fry them, or use them in salads. So don’t read this and then do nothing about it- make beets a part of your life!”

It's Raining Apples!

APPLES were the stars of the Food Education Box this month, and though most children had tried apples before, NOW was their time to shine. The children made an Apple and Watercress Salad.  The recipe is made up of watercress, apples, pumpkin seeds and blue cheese with a delicious, yoghurt dressing.

The teachers at the Grange Primary School told us that the recipe lesson worked perfectly with their current literacy lessons, which have been based on instructional texts. The children were able to identify the key features of instructions during the lesson, consolidating their learning “perfectly”.

We also had some really useful feedback from some of our little chefs at Lubenham All Saints Primary School (Leicestershire):

 “I loved the apple and watercress salad! I loved the way that the flavours followed after each other. I learnt how to make a new dressing and the blue cheese flavour was really interesting. I will definitely make it again at home. Jamie has inspired me to explore with my cooking and I have learnt lots of new things like how many types of apples grow all over the world.” Rosie


 “I really enjoyed cooking and learnt that there are over 7,000 apple varieties in the world. It was delicious and the colours all went together. I liked the blue cheese a lot. The only bit I didn’t like was the texture of the pumpkin seeds as they were a bit too crunchy. I like cooking and trying out new things especially pasta dishes. I think that there should a bit less dressing.” Alice

The Treehouse School in Oxfordshire decided to make a proper week of their apple celebrations, with lots of apple related activities, including inviting in an expert apple juicer, apple picking, and making special toffee apples for bonfire night.  It helped the children to really understand quite how versatile an apple is.  Check out the lovely pics on our facebook page!

Apple and Blackberry Crumble!

Crumble is a delicious old-school dessert- evreryone loves it and it's a great way to celebrate the beautiful fruit we grow here in the UK. It's super-simple to make the topping, then you can go for it with pretty much any sort of thing you can think of! This week the pupils at Rotherfield Primary School made their first ever crumble using lovely apples and blackberries with a simple hazlenut topping.

The pupils loved weighing all of the different ingredients, and had some good knife skills practice as they cut down the apple for their crumble. They learned that apples are the most commonly eaten fruit in the UK and that there are over 1,200 different kinds growing in this country alone!

For more images of the cooking and growing at Rotherfield Primary School check out our facebook page !

Seasonal Shout Out-Apples!

Autumn is in full swing in our Kitchen Gardens, bringing with it an abundance of hearty produce. Winter squashes and colourful pumpkins, dark leafy greens like kale and winter spinach, root vegetables like parsnips and beetroot, and the transition from summer berries to apples and pears all are sure signs that it's time to jumper up and get harvesting!

One of our favourite ingredients for this time of year is the humble apple. In honour of National Apple Day last weekend we thought we would share with you some of our favourite facts about this old lunchbox staple.

Apples are one of the most commonly eaten fruits in the UK. There are over 1200 different kinds growing, but sadly it can be hard to find them all as growers tend to concentrate on a select few varieties for sale in supermarkets. Work is being done, however, to bring more of a variety into the shops, so the next time you’re at a supermarket make sure you try a new kind. Or, better still, support your local farmers’ market and see what kinds they have on offer.

Most British apples come from the south-east of England where apple trees are abundant. This time of year many farms will open up to allow families to come apple picking- use the internet to find a pick your own near you!

Apples are delicious with both sweet and savoury flavours: think about a delicious apple crumble or a side of apple sauce with your pork roast. Jamie loves using them in salads: sliced into matchsticks or cut paper thin and tossed with watercress, blue cheese and nuts.Some apples are best eaten raw and others are best for cooking, cider making, or even pickling.Cooking apples are usually larger than eating apples. You don’t eat them raw as they are too sour, and often when you cook with them they need to be sweetened with sugar or honey. They’re used for baking because they hold their shape better.

How do you like to use apples in the kitchen? Share your ideas with us on our Kitchen Garden Project Facebook Page.

Autumn in Orford's Kitchen!


We thought we would try something different and share updates from Orford's kitchen in their own words! So here's a bit about the Autumn term from Kate.

Over the last couple of weeks the little ones in reception and year 1 have been making Baked Apples and Stuffed Peppers.  We discussed where apples grow and all the different types and flavours.  We then chatted about all the different spices we needed to use and had a good sniff!  The children enjoyed stuffing the spicey mixture into the hole where the core once was in the apple. 

When we made the Stuffed Peppers there were lots of different flavours to talk about - Basil, olives, capers, garlic, tomatoes.  Most were sceptical of the capers but lots seemed to like olives. We wrapped both of these dishes up in tin foil and the children took them home to cook. Parents loved the lovely additions to their dinners! 

Class 2 have been making homemade fish fingers, tartare sauce, potato salad, minted peas and the baked apples!  The have really enjoyed the fish fingers and absolutely loved the process of flour, egg, breadcrumbs.  It was really fun and messy!  We used all kinds of fish like cod, plaice, and even smoked haddock.  We talked about protein in fish, and it being one element from the "balanced plate".   We discussed why protein is important and what other foods contain protein. Whilst making the tartare sauce I gave them all a try of the cornichons and capers and then we all had a taste to see if the sauce needed more lemon. We used potatoes and herbs from our garden for the potato salad, and the baked apples were popular as dessert.

Visit the Kitchen Garden Project Facebook Page to see more pictures from the Kitchen Classroom at Orford!


Back in the Garden at Orford!

Autumn has been busy and a bit wet in Orford! A team of parents, children and local residents helped to keep the garden and polytunnel watered during the summer holidays, so most of the crops were looking brilliant when they got back to school. The only real failure was the Brussels sprouts, which had been completely destroyed by Cabbage White caterpillars. The weeds had grown well too, but the expert gardeners from Year 1 to Year 6 very efficiently cleared the beds to they could see their crops.

The gardening group of pupils was particularly excited one Wednesday in September when they were able to supply most of Kate's shopping list of ingredeints for the cooking groups. They made up their very own 'Veg Box' containing potatoes, carrots, courgette, onions, garlic, plums and herbs. THis is what growing, cooking and eating are all about!

Into October the Orford pupils have been looking at all sorts of seeds and thinking about different ways they are dispersed. They are also saving seeds for next year. They washed the pulp off tomato seeds and dried them carefully, ready to plant for future crops of tomatoes!

PEARing up Flavours!

Pears are very much in the limelight right now!  Not only are they juicy and delicious, but they’re smack-bam in season in the UK, falling off the trees, providing inspiration for any keen cook.   So, I bet you can guess what this month’s ingredient of choice is for the pilot schools on our Fruit and Veg Programme:  PEARS!

Our recipe was the Pear Crunch Salad.  ‘Pears in a salad?’ we hear you ask!  Well, we knew that most of the children would have eaten pears before, and would know they’re usually eaten in a fruit salad or crumble, or just on their own, so we decided to get a bit creative this month, showcasing pears in a savoury environment.

Pairing sweet pears with strong cheese is one of Jamie’s favourite ways to use them, so we decided to go for it.  The Pear Crunch Salad is made up of a whole heap of delicious ingredients: pear, watercress, chicory, olive oil, lemon, and blue cheese (our schools used Stilton). It was a bit of a risk, using such powerful ingredients, but we knew that would give the kids lots to talk about. Even if they didn’t end up liking the blue cheese or chicory, we hoped they would get involved, try something new, and describe the complex flavours they tasted. 

The kids at Chase Side Primary School really loved the recipe.  One teacher fed back to us that, “The pear and cheese salad was delicious-- everyone was desperate to try it! This recipe encouraged the children to choose foods they haven’t tried before – a huge success, thank you.”  Getting young kids inspired and excited about tasting new, fresh and healthy foods was exactly what we were hoping to do through this Programme – good job Chase Side!

The kids at Grange Primary School were equally brave. We were told that the children were very wary of trying ‘mouldy cheese’, but after they had such a great time making the salad and eating it, ‘they returned to their class to tell everyone how fantastic blue cheese tastes!’  Being brave really does pay off sometimes!

The teachers at Lubenham All Saints C of E Primary School decided to spread the love and get more children involved in the programme. The kids in Reception had a tasting of all sorts of different pears, whilst the Year 3 / 4 teacher devised a fun Pear Quiz for the class to do.  We LOVE the idea of getting more of the kids involved and spreading the resources as far as possible – nice work.  Some of our other pilot schools set pear homework for the children, printed out recipes for each of the children to take home, and linked in some key health & safety and hygiene lessons. 

Positive Steps School in Shellingford is now going to be buying a pear tree for their Nursery garden, following such positive feedback from the children!  “We had a blast this month, we were a little sceptical... stinking cheese, watercress and chicory, would they eat it??? We were amazed, they all tucked into a bowl, after rolling up their sleeves washing the salad leaves, crumbling the cheese, squeezing the lemon, all with their hands. It was delicious.” -Positive Steps School

Sounds like the children agree with Jamie, pearing sweet pears with strong cheese is the way to go!

Orford Entrepreneurs!


The pupils from Orford got a taste of food service this month at The Froize, a local Orford restaurant, where they took part in a fringe event for the Aldeburgh Food Festival. The children helped to take drink orders along with starters and pudding orders. They also cleared tables. They absolutely loved it and somewhere saying they would like to work there when they are older. They all joined in and took real pride in serving.

They have also been busy selling the pasta sauce that they developed back in May for Food Revolution Day. So far they have sold over 156 jars in over 5 different local delis and shops! All of the profits from the sauce and £5 per head at The Froize have gone back into funding ingredients for the kitchen garden project at Orford.

Both are an example of real life skills coming to life through the kitchen garden project and we are incredibly proud of the pupils’ hard work!


Rotherfield Cooks!

Our second pilot program is up and cooking! Rotherfield Primary School has begin to deliver classes in their brand new kitchen classroom, and the pupils are loving it!

Pupils in years three, four and five now have 90 minute sessions in the kitchen every other week. The classes are delivered by a group of classroom teachers and teaching assistants, newly trained by the Jamie Team. They began the school year by introducing the Kitchen Garden Project while working together to make an Evolution Tomato Salad. The pupils sat down to eat the salad and sop up the juices with fresh focaccia made by the teachers. More than one of the pupils proudly announced that these were the first tomatoes they had ever eaten.

The second time the children were in the classroom they got down to basics, each making their own cheese and tomato sandwich and working together on a nice and simple fruit platter. They are now in the midst of their third cycle of classes, where they have moved on to baked potatoes with herby mackerel pate and a simple green salad to use the last of their garden's salad greens.

We will be sharing the progress of Rotherfield Primary School throughout the year, so check back soon for more stories from the kitchen or the garden!

Plums Galore!

The kids are back in school, and our Fruit and Veg Programme has officially LAUNCHED.  Each month, our 25 pilot primary schools will be teaching their kids about various seasonal fruit and veg using our resources, and we can’t wait to hear their feedback. 

This month’s card – filled with fun facts, nutritional info, activities and a recipe – is all about PLUMS.  We love a good plum, and seeing as they’re in season right this minute, now is the perfect time to try them! Plums are delicious stewed, baked into a pudding, reduced into sticky jam or cut into slices and eaten raw.  The children made Spiced Plums with Yoghurt in their classrooms, simply mixing plums with fragrant mixed spice and serving them with runny honey and yoghurt.

The teachers split the plums down the middle, and children enjoyed twisting them and popping out the stone to present them beautifully.  Most of the teachers also gave the kids the freedom to present their deliciously healthy desserts in whatever way they wished… Chefs always get creative licence, after all!

Year 3 at Charlbury Primary School in Oxfordshire loved their first lesson!  The lesson lasted about an hour and there was lots of fun, laughter and learning! Everyone got involved and there was a great atmosphere with all of the adults and children tasting the spiced plums! Fantastic discussions went on about fruit and plums in particular - some interesting thoughts about what fruit we were touching, smelling and tasting - some thought it was a peach or nectarine. We also had some damsons from a local orchard which were a completely new fruit to all of the class. We sent out the recipes and facts so are awaiting feedback from homes and looking for more plum based recipes to try! Thank-you so much all of us want to do it every week!”

The teachers at Corpus Christi RC Primary School in Oldham combined their cooking lesson with a history lesson on the Tudors and the Mary Rose, talking all about the foods sailors need to stay healthy.  We love that curriculum link!

We had lots of reports of the children drawing their dishes, and describing them using some very cheffy words!  Well-done!

Some of the children at our pilot schools thought they didn’t like plums, but after cooking up such a cracking recipe, most of them had changed their minds by the end of the lesson.  One of the teachers at Henry Cavendish Primary School reported that “Some children had not tasted plums before, but they really enjoyed the recipe. The children even licked their bowls!”

And some of the children have asked to take the recipe home (and where the best place is to buy mixed spice), so that they can cook it as a surprise for their families.  Great idea!

We’re really pleased that the first month of the Fruit and Veg Programme went so well – thank you so much to all our wonderful pilot schools for your amazing feedback.  It’s completely invaluable to us, so a humungous thank you to all of you.  We can’t wait for next month, already!

Introducing our Fruit and Veg Programme!

The first ever Food Revolution Day on May 19th was a huge success. There were 1000 events in 62 countries, across 664 cities and all of the funds raised globally went directly to food education programmes.   In the UK all of the funds raised went toward expanding the Kitchen Garden Project through our exciting new Fruit and Veg Programme: the Food Education Box! We’ve teamed up with Abel & Cole to provide schools with all they need to teach hands on food education to primary school children without needing a kitchen or fully productive garden.

The concept is simple: we have developed a resource full of fun facts, educational activities linked to curriculum objectives, and a quick no-cook recipe for teachers to use to introduce their class to seasonal produce. Each resource comes in a box filled with all the ingredients, provided by Able & Cole, and all teachers need to do is get stuck in!

Thanks to the funds raised on Food Revolution Day we are able to pilot the scheme completely free for 25 primary schools across the UK beginning in September. The schools will receive 10 boxes of fruit or vegetables- one per month across the school year, and all they need to teach a class of Key Stage 2 children a fun and engaging food–based lesson.

We can’t wait to get started, and to get kids tasting and learning about the excitement of seasonal food!  This is taking us just one step closer to making Kitchen Garden learning accessible for all children, equipping them with the food knowledge they need to make healthier, more informed food choices in the future.  This new school year should be a cracking one!

Summer Strawberries!

Summer came slightly early in Orford with a plentiful bumper crop of strawberries! Pupils harvested them, tasted them, and set about freezing them so that when they return to their kitchen classroom in September they can have a nice reminder of summer.

Did you know that strawberries are the only fruit with their seeds on the outside? And that just 8 deliciously ripe strawberries contain more vitamin C than an orange?

Happy last day of term, everyone! The kitchen garden team hopes that you have wonderful summer holidays full of fresh fruit and summer veg.

Our First Newsletter!

Our first ever newsletter is about to hit the inboxes of those that have registered their interest in the project. Check it out here to see what we have been upto and hit subscribe to add your name to our contact list!

Rotherfield Pupils Join Training!

On the final day of training the teachers from Rotherfield Primary invited a group of their students to join them at JO headquarters and get a taste of the project that is launching in their school in September. Pupils were chosen from year 2 to year 5, and the teachers worked in groups to test out their teaching skills and our brand new Kitchen Garden recipes. It was a fabulous day, and amazing to see how much the teachers have grown through the training process. By the end of the three hours the pupils had made their very own meal consisting of: Evolution Tomato Salad, homemade Focaccia, Lovely Veggies with Herby Yoghurt Dip, Chicken Goujons, a Fruit Platter and individual apple and blackberry crumbles to take home to their families. One of the best moments was when one of the year five students turned to the teacher and said “These chicken goujons are better than Macdonald’s and Burger King COMBINED”! For more images from the day check out our Facebook Page!

Kate's Torch Run!

Kate Kilburn has been delivering Jamie Oliver’s Kitchen Garden pilot at Orford Primary School for three years. Her constant energy has made a huge difference to children’s lives giving them a food education that will remain with them for a lifetime. Kate’s dedication means she has spent a lot of her own time selecting recipes, planning lessons, sourcing and buying all the ingredients she needs. Thanks to Kate, when children leave Orford at eleven they can prepare a three-course meal, fillet a fish, skin a chicken and tell you all about seasonality and sustainable food while they do it! As well as these crucial life skills Kate is also boosting the confidence of many children through their achievements in the kitchen and engaging many less academic children in learning. She really is making a difference to the health and well being of our future generation. As a celebration of all her hardwork, our friends, and Olympic sponsors, Samsung, honoured Kate with an opportunity to run the Olympic torch through Suffolk. Kate ran through Wickham Market on Thursday July 5th and described the experience as a one in a lifetime honour. Go Kate!

Training for the Kitchen Garden Project!

Our first ever Kitchen Garden Project training course began just after half term for six lucky teachers from Rotherfield Primary School. The goal of the Kitchen Garden Project has always been to make food education accessible for all children, and one of the key elements is creating an environment where existing teachers can be trained to deliver a kitchen and garden curriculum so that the school does not need to hire additional staff. Our Kitchen Garden team has been hard at work designing a training course to get these teachers cooking like Jamie in no time!

In ten days over the course of the summer term, the teachers spent time at Jamie O headquarters perfected their palates, while learning knife skills, nutrition, food safety, seasonality, as well as tips for teaching like Jamie, running a successful kitchen garden project, involving the community and inspiring others to pass it on.  When we left them last week they were bursting with energy and eager to get started on delivering the project. We can’t wait to watch them succeed!


Interview with Kate Kilburn!

Maddy, one of the year 6 pupils at Orford Primary, interviewed Kate Kilburn, the lead for the Kitchen Garden Project as part of one of her final projects in school. Here is what she learned.

What made you want to be a cook?

When I was 17 I did a diploma in Cordon Blue and catering. This took one and a half years. I never actually cooked as a career, apart from in my local pub. I used to have friends over for big dinners at home when I was about 15. I loved entertaining!!

What's it like teaching the Orford children to cook?

I enjoy teaching the Orford children to cook. It is lovely to see the children become super confident cooks. Some have good knowledge of food and cooking when they are young and I like teaching the children who don't have such good knowledge why it is important to eat well. We eat 3 x a day so there is no point filling yourself with unhealthy food.

Do you think they learn more than just cooking in their lessons with you?

The children learn so many things in the cooking class without realising it. Maths, number bonds, fractions, measuring, estimating, working as a team, getting on with and helping other people, nutrition of food, seasonal produce and where it is grown oh, and learning how to cook using all equipment available.

Did you enjoy cooking when you were a child?

I enjoyed cooking as a child. I liked my mother's cooking and always cooked with our lovely babysitter when she came around.

What's your  favourite thing to cook?

Ooh that's hard: curry, stews and cakes. I am quite an earthy kind of cook, simple dishes that taste great.

What's your favourite thing to eat?

I love Italian- a great homemade pasta full of flavour in a delicious tomato sauce.

Is there anything you can't stand to eat?

I don't like offal, rice pudding, and HATE overcooked veg (3 mins max!) and fresh salmon.

Do you try out the recipes from school on your children?

Yes I do try out the recipes on my children in the main. They usually like them all and they find it quite fun. Will quite often helps me cook them, he enjoys cooking.

Are you excited about carrying the Olympic Torch? What does is mean to you to be asked to carry the torch?

I can't believe I am carrying the Olympic torch!! I am very excited and hope I get asked a lot about where I work so that everyone will know about Orford school.

Orford's Very Own Pasta Sauce!

Food Revolution Day marked the launch of Orford Primary School’s very own food product! Creating a sellable food product has long been an idea as a way to keep the Kitchen Garden Project sustainable for schools around the country, and Orford realised this dream in time for the first ever Food Revolution Day. The pupils worked with the food development team at Tiptree in Essex to create their very own pasta sauce. Spicy Nicey sauce was created from a recipe designed by the pupils, named by the pupils, and jarred using a label designed by the pupils (with a bit of help from our friends at Superfantastic). The sauce was a huge hit! The first batch of 200 jars sold out in one day and left the people from Orford community begging for more. Orford plans to produce a second batch of the sauce over the summer holidays to stock in local restaurants, cafes and pubs, and they are currently thinking about expanding their line to a second product!

Spring Vegetable Frittata!

It has been a busy week in the teaching kitchen at Orford Primary School. Reception and Year 1 pupils tested Jamie's new Spring Vegetable Frittata recipe. The children snipped spring onions, grated courgette, measured out tablespoons of peas, snipped ham, crumbled feta cheese AND broke the eggs into a bowl on their own! All the ingredients were mixed together and put into a well-greased tin to bake. While waiting the children worked together to do the washing and drying up, for as you mum's know, cleaning the kitchen is half the battle. They also made labels to hang in their kitchens at home with the word protein on one side and drawings on the other of foods that contain protein, just like the eggs in their frittatas. After 30 minutes, the six frittatas were ready to come out of the oven, and the pupils used their maths skills to work out they each could take home ¼ of a Frittata to share with their family, while still having some left to taste in the classroom.

Slug patrol!

It was a rather frustrating week in the garden last week. It's been so wet that only Class 2 managed to get outside to get their hands dirty. The pupils mounted a slug and snail patrol, as the rain spurs them into life and sets them about the garden devouring seedlings. They are especially attracted to tender shoots, and can cause trouble in a young veg patch. Breaks in the rain are perfect moments for gardeners to set about on the hunt, and the pupils were avid guards, protecting their seedling vegetables. The broad beans are flowering quite well, and the children are hoping for a good crop in only a few weeks-time. Hopefully the weather will dry up, as it's time to really get things moving for the late spring/summer harvest!

Making pasta!

Making fresh pasta from scratch filled with ingredients from the garden is the absolute essence of the Kitchen Garden Project. The year six pupils at Orford showed great determination and patience and teamwork with their pasta dough, kneading and chilling and rolling and rerolling. They prepped their filling with fresh ricotta, lemon zest, mint, peas, a squeeze of lemon juice and freshly ground pepper, and set about pinching. The result was a batch of (almost) perfect ravioli that impressed even Mrs. Kilburn. As pasta is only one piece of a healthy plate, the children finished up by prepping a green salad with homemade dressing, and sat down to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Food Revolution Day 2012!

Jamie's Kitchen Garden Project is excited to show our support for Food Revolution Day, Jamie's first ever global day of action to inspire, educate, and empower people everywhere to stand up for real food. Thousands of people worldwide will participate on May 19th in events to raise awareness on preventing diet-related diseases, and to arm people with the knowledge and tools to make healthier food choices.

In Orford, members of the local community are turning the day into a true village affair to support the Kitchen Garden Project at Orford Primary School and to celebrate the abundant local food community. The community will hold a specially expanded Orford Market with some exciting fringe events throughout the afternoon. Some ideas being discussed are promotional lunches, smokehouse and bakery tours and cooking classes. For this special market day local food businesses and producers are being invited to join in and promote their food fayre with a market stall. If you are in Suffolk be sure to check it out!

If you would like to get involved check the website to host your own local food event or see what's going on in your community. Also be sure to join the movement online, sharing pictures of your homemade #realfood or home-grown #growrealfood on Twitter and instagram, or upload pictures of your edible garden to our gallery!

Spring at Orford!

The start of spring has been met with lots of action in Orford Primary School's garden. To get ready to plant this year's crop, the children have been busy weeding the herb bed near the kitchen, clearing out the over-wintering plants and pricking out their Brussels sprout, pepper, and tomato seedlings. Pricking out, or "thinning", is when you remove the seedlings from their original container and replant them individually in the ground or pots so that they have more room to stretch their roots and grow.

On top of all this, the children were busy harvesting loads of beautiful salad greens. The year 6 pupils used these greens to make a pretty little-gem salad with homemade dressing made from honey, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar and their delicious local rapeseed oil. Even after the salads were made, the children had an extra 150g of salad leaves to sell to members of the community at the local Froise Inn restaurant over the weekend!

Bawdsey Primary School visits Orford!

Every Thursday, year 2 pupils from Bawdsey Primary School visit the kitchen at Orford to participate as well in Jamie Oliver's Kitchen Garden Project. This week the students tested out Jamie's salmon fishcakes with a side of crispy cubed potatoes topped with rosemary fresh from the garden. They also fixed up a dish of roasted carrots and savoy cabbage, drizzled with leftover dressing made by the year 6 class earlier in the week. After coming back for thirds, a very sophisticated pupil, Harvey, said that he liked the combination of lemon zest and salmon. Good feedback for Jamie!

When it was time for pudding, the students were a bit apprehensive about Jamie's butternut squash muffins. They had never seen squash in a pudding before, and even the mum who helped thought it was really interesting that you didn't need to peel them before adding to the mix. Once out of the oven, though, the children couldn't resist them and all had two each. The overwhelming response was that they "didn't like them, they LOVED them".

Building Jamie's Kitchen Garden Project in Islington!

Rotherfield Primary School in Islington, north London, has become the second pilot school for Jamie's Kitchen Garden Project! The school had already built a brilliant "edible playground" together with our friends at Trees for Cities, and were keen to connect the garden with a kitchen. Our team was thrilled to join in, and the second Kitchen Garden pilot was born.

The project at Rotherfield is very different from the project in Orford, and our team has been hard at work adjusting the program so it works for different schools. Our first step: creating a space in which to cook. Throughout February, the school, with the help of Urban Myth and Samsung, transformed an old storage building into a lovely, bright kitchen classroom and dining space! Now that they are all kitted out, neither the teachers nor the pupils can wait to get cooking!