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Simon Holst's school lunch recipes - 9 February


Individual quiches

Sushi rolls

Individual Quiches

These simple little tartlets are something between individual bacon and egg pies and quiches. They look great (like you've gone to more trouble than you really have to) and, as they're individual servings, have the additional bonus of being easy to tailor to suit different tastes.

For 8 tartlets
1 medium potato, scrubbed
2 sheets pre-rolled flaky pastry, thawed
100g ham pieces, roughly chopped
3 large eggs
1/2 cup (125g) sour cream
1 tsp pesto (optional)
1-2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
1/2 -3/4 cup grated cheese

Place the scrubbed potato in the microwave and cook for 2-3 minutes until tender, leave until cool enough to handle, then cut into (roughly) 1cm cubes.

Cut pastry into quarters (this should give you eight 11-12cm squares). Non-stick spray 8 muffin cups and gently press a pastry square into each approximately, gathering the edges of each a little as required.

Divide the cubes of potato between the pastry shells, then sprinkle some chopped ham into each (this is where you can do a little customisation, adding a little chopped sun-dried tomato, chopped olive etc to each as desired).

Break the eggs into a medium sized bowl, add the sour cream (and pesto and parsley, if using) then the salt and pepper and whisk until evenly mixed. Careful fill each case with the egg mixture (take care be not to overfill or spill the egg 'behind' the pastry, as this will make them hard to remove from the pans).

Finish each pie by sprinkling the top with a little grated cheese, then place in the oven and bake at  180degC for approximately 15 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

Leave to cool in the pans for a few minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool as required. Freeze or refrigerate until required, packing in an insulated lunch box or with something that will keep everything cool until required.

Yield: 8 mini quiches; Preparation and cooking, 25-30 minutes; Cost $8.30


Sushi Rolls

Sushi is remarkably popular with children (especially if you let them help make it!). In its most basic form it is simple to make, and makes an interesting alternative to sandwiches for lunch.

For 3-4 servings:
1 cups short-grain rice
2 cups boiling water
4 teaspoons white wine or rice vinegar
4 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons sherry
1 teaspoon salt

Place the rice in a large microwave-proof bowl and cover with cold water. Drain the rice, then cover with water and drain again.

To microwave: Pour the boiling water over the rice, then cover the bowl and microwave at Medium (50%) power for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is completely tender. Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir in the vinegar, sugar, sherry and salt. Leave rice to cool to room temperature.

To cook conventionally: Place the rice in a large heavy pot (with a close-fitting lid). Measure in the boiling water, bring rice to the boil, then cover pot and reduce the heat to very low and leave to steam for 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stand for a further 10 minutes before stirring in the vinegar, sugar, sherry and salt. Leave rice to cool to room temperature.

The fillings you choose will depend on the type of sushi you are making and your own preferences, but here are a few suggestions:

yaki nori (roasted seaweed sheets)
shredded surimi
fresh (or canned) tuna
smoked (or raw) salmon
strips of cucumber
strips of carrot
sliced avocado
strips of red/green/yellow capsicum
strips of omelette
pickled ginger
pickled vegetables
wasabi paste**

**If you're not familiar with wasabi paste, it is pale green toothpaste consistency mixture. It is like a very, very, very hot mustard and a tiny bit goes a long way. It's more than some adults can handle and I would suggest keeping it away from children, unless you want to put them off sushi for life!

Rolled Sushi (Maki-sushi)

Probably the best-known form of sushi, sliced sushi rolls are actually very easy to make. Lay a sheet of nori on a clean dry bench or sushi mat (the mat isn't essential but it makes getting the roll started a little easier). Spread a layer of rice about 1cm thick over the nori, leaving a 2-3cm strip down one long edge clear.

Arrange your selected filling/s in a band along the middle of the rice. Brush the exposed nori strip with a little water, then roll up, starting from the rice-covered edge. Sit the roll seam side down for 2-3 minutes before cutting into 2-3cm thick slices.

To serve: Arrange your sushi on plates or a platter and serve with pickled ginger, wasabi paste (for the adults) and a bowl of Kikkoman soy sauce for dipping.

Yield: 3-4 servings: Preparation and cooking 20-25 minutes: Cost $7.00-$10.00 depending on filling


Gingernuts

These are easy enough (and fun) for even young cooks to make because you stir everything together in a pot. It's sometimes fun for children to make lots of mini gingernuts instead of big ones!

For 40-60 biscuits
100g butter
1 rounded household tbsp golden syrup
1 cup sugar
1-2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 large egg
1 3/4 cups standard (plain) flour
1 tsp baking soda

Heat oven to 180degC (170degC fanbake), with the rack just below the middle. Line a baking tray with baking paper or a Teflon liner.

Melt the butter in a medium-sized pot or microwave dish. Remove from heat when melted. Dip an ordinary tablespoon into hot water, then measure the syrup with it. Add the syrup, sugar, ginger (use more for a stronger flavour) and vanilla. Add the egg, then mix well with a stirrer or wooden spoon. Sift in the flour and baking soda, then mix everything together again.

Stand pot or bowl in cold water to cool the biscuit mixture so it is firmer. With wet hands, roll teaspoonfuls of biscuit mixture into small balls. Put these on the prepared baking trays, leaving room to spread. Bake 1 tray at a time, for about 10 minutes, until golden brown. While biscuits are warm, lift them onto a cooling rack. When cold, store in an airtight container.

First Aid: If your biscuits don't spread, you have used too much flour. If they spread too far, you have not used enough flour.

Yield: 40-60 biscuits; Preparation and cooking 20-25 minutes: Cost $2.70 per batch


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