Thursday, 5 March 2015

Fun Food with The Olive Branch Cookery School

You may have gathered from previous posts that I am always on the look out for fun and interesting ways to present food to encourage Noodle and Squish to eat a healthy and varied diet. 

I was in luck. At the recent Mom Blog Meet, we were privileged to witness a demonstration by Margy Vally on how to make quick, easy and fun kiddies foods. As an added bonus, most of these are simple enough for me to get Noodle involved in helping me to make them.

Margy Vally of The Olive Branch Cookery School
Margy is the executive director and chef of the Olive Branch  Cookery School in Fourways, which hosts a variety of exciting cooking classes in their spacious and well equipped kitchen.Her lessons, which were done together with her son, were humorous and spontaneous. These fun dishes were created using some of Nuk's new range of toddler feeding utensils (they no longer just do baby stuff).

Some of the lovely recipes which she shared with us are set out below. 

She did some fruit skewers on sticks (something we have been doing at home for a while). This is not quite a recipe, it just requires cutting or balling fruit and placing on a skewer.
She also did some frozen yoghurt lollies. Her recipe is below, but I often do the same, taking a short cut by substituting the fresh fruit with a pouch of baby food fruit (like the Ella's Kitchen pouches we were gifted with on the day).

Frozen Mango and Yoghurt on a Stick


300g full cream yoghurt plain
2 medium mangos, peeled, pitted and cut into chunks.

Place into a processor and blitz until smooth. Pour into ice cream moulds, put a lolly stick into each mould and then freeze until required.
N.B. You could also use strawberries or plums.

I grew up with the spicy Indian version of egg bread, beda vari- which is similar to the Western version but more savoury and typically includes salt and various spices such as chillies, cumin and coriander in the egg dip (try it, it is yummy!). As a teenager, I thought it was bizarre when I saw people in restaurants drizzling syrup over their French toast and it is only in my adult life that I discovered that not all egg bread is spicy and salty. The one below certainly is not.
Eggy Toast with Syrup and Banana


2 slices bread white or brown
1 egg, beaten, seasoned with sea salt
20g butter
cinnamon and sugar
Drizzle of Syrup
1 banana, peeled and sliced


Cut out shapes you desire. Dip into the beaten egg. Melt butter in a frying pan and gently fry
until golden. Place onto dish sprinkle with cinnamon sugar , drizzle with syrup and topped
with sliced banana.

Frozen mango and yoghurt lolly and Eggy Toast with Banana (divided bowl by Nuk)
My children are not too fond of lettuce, but perhaps Margy's recipe below could sway them otherwise.

Chicken and Corn Lettuce Boats


60g chicken, cooked and diced
30ml mayonnaise
Squeeze of lemon juice
10g frozen sweet corn
½ tomato, diced
½ red pepper, diced
1 spring onion, diced
sea salt and black pepper
6 iceburg lettuce leaves


Mix all filling ingredients together and place into the lettuce leaves. Make a little sail for your boat with a napkin and cocktail stick. You could use Tuna or salmon instead of chicken

Chicken and corn lettuce boat
I cannot wait to try the below recipe, which I am sure will be a hit in our household. I did not catch a picture of this one, but a fish shaped cutter is used to shape into a cute little fishy.

Fishy Cakes

200g cooked hake (free from skin and bone)
200g mashed potatoes
1 yolk
1 egg
25g flour
50g fresh white bread crumbs


Combine the fish, potatoes and egg yolk. Add salt and pepper. Make into fish shapes. Coat with flour, egg and breadcrumbs. Deep fry for 2-3 minutes. Add a frozen pea for an eye. Could also be crab, salmon, or other white fish.

Every child loves crumbed chicken. I do a similar version to the below, but oven baked and with more spices.

Chicken Goujons

200g chicken breast cut into 10cm thick long strips
50g cake flour
2 eggs, beaten
100g fresh breadcrumbs
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
A squeeze of lemon juice to taste
salad leaves to serve


1. Season the chicken.
2. Coat chicken with flour, then the beaten egg and finally the breadcrumbs.
3. Heat up a frying pan of oil and gently fry the Goujons until golden brown
4. Mix the lemon juice and mayonnaise and seasoning.
5. Serve with the Goujons and a few salad leaves.

The below is great for lunchboxes (I vary the ingredients though and use cherry tomatoes from my garden as Noodle does not really like regular tomatoes).

Rainbow Salad

2 tomatoes, large diced
1 cucumber, large diced
lettuce leaf, shredded
1 yellow pepper, de-seed, cut into large dice
2 carrots, peeled and cut into batons
½ cup full cream yoghurt
2 tablespoons chopped basil
2 tablespoons chopped parsley


Place yoghurt in a bowl and mix in the basil and parsley
Layer your vegetables one at a time in a see through container. Put a container at the side to dip the vegetables.

The Might Mice below is a clever variation on the usual baked potato recipe. Margy says the secret is to bake rather than microwave the potatoes (which I must confess that I am sometimes guilty of).

Mighty Mice

4 large potatoes, washed and pricked
200ml cooked savoury mince or 200g can tuna drained
25ml butter
10ml milk
salt and pepper
100ml cheddar or mozzarella cheese grated


1. Preheat the oven to 190°C Place the potatoes onto a baking tray. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
2. Cool the potatoes, cut in half horizontally.
3. Scoop out flesh and place into a bowl add the butter, milk, salt and pepper and mash well together.
4. Stir in the mince or tuna. Place mixture back into the potato skins and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for a further 15 minutes.
5. Make your mice faces on top of the potato while it cools down enough to be eaten. Use raisins for the eyes, salami for ears, red pepper for mouth, spring onions for whiskers, parsley for hair and anything else you may have.

Mighty Mice Potato Boats

Bon appetit!