Chefs in Schools is a food education charity that trains kitchen teams to serve better school lunches. Her mission is to inspire children to love real food and learn how to cook it. These are some favorite recipes.
In Turkish culture, kisir is made with cracked wheat and served as a meze or appetizer. Pre-Covid we made huge pyramids out of it and put them in the middle of the table so kids could serve them themselves, but it’s still an excellent dish to serve from the service counter. As for the stock, we use miso because it’s a great source of umami, the fifth flavor element (the other four are salty, sweet, bitter, and sour). There isn’t really an English word to describe it, so we consider it a delicious taste. We use it in combination with a vegetable stock cube to add depth and flavor.
Preparation 10 minutes
Cook 30 minutes
For the stock (for 500 ml)
1 vegetable stock cube
1 tbsp white miso paste
for the kisir
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onionpeeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlicpeeled and crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
1 red pepperhalved, pith and seeds removed, flesh finely diced
20 g tomato paste
250g couscous (natural or whole wheat)
500ml stockboiling hot (see above and method)
Salt and black pepper
juice of 1 lemon
4 plum tomatoesfinely sliced
First make the stock: place the stock cube and miso in a heatproof bowl or pitcher, pour 500ml boiling water over it and stir to dissolve – that’s it.
Now for the kisir. Heat the oil in a pan with a lid and sauté the onion to remove the raw edge. Add the garlic and cook, stirring gently, for a few seconds, then add the cumin and chili and cook for another minute. Stir in the tomato paste, add the couscous and hot stock and remove from heat.
Season to taste, stir with a fork, cover and let stand for about 15 minutes, by which time all the liquid should have been absorbed. Fork the kernels to separate them, add the lemon juice and chopped tomatoes and serve.
The sweet and sour flavors of the dressing transform this store cupboard staple and bring the corn to life.
Preparation 5 minutes
Cook 12 minutes
Rest 30 min+
50g unsalted butter
500g corn kernelscanned and drained (ie from 3 198g cans), or frozen and thawed
limesqueezed to get 1 tbsp juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 garlic clovepeeled and grated
tsp cayenne pepper
1 small bunch of corianderleaves picked, to serve
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When it foams, add the corn kernels and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes, until just starting to brown.
Meanwhile, place all other ingredients except the coriander in a large heatproof bowl and stir to blend. When the corn is cooked, pour it into the bowl and stir it into the dressing.
Let rest for at least 30 minutes and absorb the flavors with the coriander leaves before serving.
Sousou’s Moroccan chicken
We make this dish with Gayhurst School week after week, and the kids love it. Every time I make it in a different school, it reminds me of our sous chef Sousou and her amazing cooking.
Preparation 10 minutes
Cook 1 hour
Rest 20 minutes
3 tablespoon olive oil
2 red onionspeeled and sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
12 pieces skin-on, bone-in chicken (ie legs and thighs)
30g preserved lemonflesh and pulp discarded, skin finely chopped
2 star anise
500ml chicken bouillon
200g green olivespitted
1 handful fresh herbs (parsley, coriander; optional)
Preheat oven to 170C (150C hot three minutes, until spices smell fragrant. Add chicken pieces and cook, turning occasionally, until nice golden colour. Stir in candied lemon, star anise and stock, bring to a boil, cover and place in the oven for 45 minutes, after this time turn the oven off, stir in the green olives, cover again and return to the oven turned off to rest for 20 minutes.
Season with a little salt, sprinkle with fresh herbs if desired and serve with couscous.
Recipes from Feed your Family: Exciting Recipes from Chefs in Schools, by Nicole Pisani and Joanna Weinberg, published by Pavilion Books for £14.99. To order a copy for £13.04 go to Guardianbookshop.com