Back to Basics

Back to Basics

September saw the start of the new academic year in the catering department and the welcome addition of Year 7 and an introduction into cookery and nutrition. Students have been busy brushing the cobwebs off their culinary skills and getting back to basics with core ingredients, stocks and sauces which are the main components to simple but nutritional dishes using seasonal fruit and vegetables.

As we approach autumn it opens up amazing choices of dishes that can incorporate the autumnal fare and the wide variety of fruit and vegetables that are available to us.

This time of year is a popular season for stews and slow cooking stockpots which can be easily prepared and left to simmer all day ready for the family returning from school and work. Our Year 9 students have put a twist on this basic method of cooking and enjoyed preparing and cooking a vegetable curry.

Being one of Britain’s favourite dishes, the curry can incorporate lots of different types of vegetables, meat, rice and side accompaniments that can please most palettes. The basic curry is also quite simple to prepare and cook and can easily be made in advance to save time for busy families.

We have included our Year 9 vegetable jalfrezi recipe, for you to try at home. Why not give it a try and serve it with some aromatic basmati rice and a Naan bread or two!

Vegetable Jalfrezi

Serves 2 – 4

1/2 butternut Squash
6 x mushrooms
1 x carrot
3 x tomatoes
1 x courgette
50g or 2 x decent handfuls of fresh spinach
1 x chilli (2 if you like it spicy)
1 x clove of Garlic
1 x teaspoon of cumin
1 x teaspoon of garam masala
1 x teaspoon of turmeric
125 ml of natural yogurt (or cream if you prefer)
3 x tablespoons sunflower oil
500 ml of water or enough to cover the vegetables
Salt to season


1. Prepare all of your vegetables (Peel & dice).
2. De-skin your tomatoes. Very carefully cut a cross in the bottom of each tomato. Place the tomatoes in a bowl of boiling water and leave on the side for 2 – 3 minutes. Once the skins come away remove the tomatoes and place them in a bowl of cold water. Then slice and dice keeping the seeds.
3. Get all other ingredients ready (finely chopping the garlic and chilli).
4. Heat the sunflower oil in a pan and sweat off the onions. Add the garlic, chopped chilli, chopped tomatoes and spice mixture. Cook for two minutes ensuring it does not catch on the bottom. (Add a little water if this happens).
5. Add the diced butternut squash and carrot to the pan and cook for another two minutes.
6. Add the water until it just covers the vegetables and bring to a simmer.
7. Cook until the vegetables soften.

Mrs Laity
(CL for Health and Social Studies)