05 January 2009

School lunch snack #1

Scho-ol dinners, Scho-ol dinners,
Concrete chips, concrete chips,
Soggy semolina, soggy semolina,
Quick, quick, quick,
I feel sick.
This is what we sang when I was at school (to the tune of Frère Jacques). Ungrateful little brats, we must have been, as this was in the days when the women working in the school kitchens made proper food from scratch. It was pretty good, too - I have particular soft spots in my memory of egg-and-bacon pie and some sort of deep-fried cheesey thing (cheese aigrettes, perhaps?). The mashed potato was awful, though, and I've never been able to face liver-and-onions since.

Anyway, this nostalgic ramble into my childhood is bringing me to the point. It was back-to-school today for my kids and so, back into the packed-lunch routine. School dinners aren't an option here. I don't know if that is true for the whole of Canada, or even the rest of Ontario, but they certainly aren't on offer in this school. I know they got a bad rap in the UK after Jamie Oliver exposed the miserly methods of modern school kitchens (turkey twizzlers were something that my kids ate, I have to admit (covers her face in shame)). But for a full-time working parent, school dinners are wonderful things, particularly now that Jamie Oliver's campaign has started to improve the quality of the food.

Now, I absolutely hate making packed lunches, even though I'm not a full-time working-out-of-the-home mother any more. I also detest the pre-packaged school lunch items that the supermarkets sell. So one of my resolutions this year is to avoid buying the drink cartons and snacks that are on offer there and to make more cookies and cakes at home. Today snuck up on me a bit and I wasn't adequately prepared to face the challenge. Luckily, this classic snack is quick to make and I was able to whip some up before the children had to leave for the bus (though it doesn't come until 8.55am, so I do have more time than many...).

  • 70g chocolate (whatever type your kids (or you) prefer)
  • 70g butter
  • 1 tbsp syrup
  • Cornflakes (didn't weigh them, but quite a few!)

Melt butter, chocolate and syrup in a bowl over simmering water (or in the microwave). Stir in the cornflakes so that they are all coated with the chocolate mixture. Spoon the cornflakes into paper cake cases and put in the fridge to harden. By some fluke this made exactly 20 cakes - precisely enough for two each for each child for a week. So that's one lunch element sorted for this week, at least!


Anonymous said...

A lifelong love of custard was the legacy from my school dinners. Very retro and admitting to it usually results in shudders from other people!

VP said...

I love semolina - another school dinner legacy. We used to sing the same song though.

I bet you've just won the most popular mum in the school award looking at those cakes!

themanicgardener said...

My only association with semolina is that that's what good pasta is made from, no? So what is "soggy semoliina?" Sounds like a pudding--

School lunches have started improving across the States, I believe. I know what you mean about making lunches, though. I'd go through brief bursts of dedication, but they were--well, brief. Your treats look very tasty. I hope the kids appreciated them!

There was no school lunch served at my Toronto elementary school/jr. high--and I cannot remember about highschool. How odd.

Amanda said...

Easygardener - I loved the steamed chocolate puddings with chocolate sauce. Still do, in fact! The main thing I remember about the school custard is the curvaceous but somewhat battered metal jugs that they served it in.

Semolina - yes, it's the ground inside parts of wheat, which (when it comes from soft wheat) makes semolina pudding when boiled in milk. Don't see how it could fail to be 'soggy', really! It's usually served with a big dollop of jam in the centre of the bowl. Does taste nicer than it sounds... The durum semolina from hard wheats is yellow, rather than white, and that's the stuff of pasta.