By guest blogger HELEN ROADHOUSE
When you end a school cooking session with the mushroom 'haters' saying that they love them after trying them in our savoury pancakes, you know you are doing something right.
We were at Wentworth School in Eccles running a cookery session for kids who were involved in growing their own food, so this was a great opportunity for them to taste foods that they could then go on to grow for themselves.
We started with a no-bake cheesecake plus raspberries (sourced from Fareshare) cooked with some sugar and lemon as this needed to be left to cool in the fridges while the class got on with chopping up the fillings for the pancakes. Some had beans to purée and some had mushrooms to fry with garlic. We also sieved gram flour to make pancakes, just adding some water to make a fairly loose mixture. In some of this, we added chopped fresh herbs, which Miranda had brought from her garden to show the class what they could grow in the allotments at the school, and chopped chillies. The class was really attentive and keen to get the pancakes cooked. Seeing them all trying the pancakes and discussing what other ingredients they could add was great - chicken was a popular choice. The beans were delicious but it was the mushroom filling with spinach and cheese that got used up.
A frantic washing-up session was needed before we could serve up the anticipated cheesecakes. The fruit was a surprise hit and all of the children absolutely loved the reduced raspberry topping just by itself and had loads of ideas as to what else they could use it for, like on ice cream, cakes and porridge, and even on meat! Of course, we made enough for all our volunteers and the teachers, but there wouldn't have been any waste.
It really was a fun and enthusiastic session and all the children seemed to thoroughly enjoy learning, cooking and eating the food. I asked if they could describe in one word what they thought of the session and we got 'extravaganza' from Kyle, 'fandabidozy' from Alex, 'perfect' from Abdul and 'extraordinary' from our other excellent pancake chef Jayden. Erin loved the cheesecake and said 'sweet' while Morgan absolutely loved what we cooked and said it was 'mind changing'. Kate said it was 'lush', Daisy said it was 'superb', Robyn said it was 'OMG LOL!' and Hannah just said 'mushrooms'! We had a definite all-round positive response and there were lots of comments about not being able to wait to try it at home. We all loved this session and all the kids were brilliant and so well behaved, and I have it down as one of my all time CGF faves!