Hunting out healthy and hearty recipes to add to the family meal planner is a never-ending feat for most parents, so we jumped at the chance to nab some inspiration from The Garden House Preschool’s kitchen. The Upper Bukit Timah preschool for children between 18 months and 5 years old is well-known for its homegrown organic grub, with little gardeners’ chipping in to help harvest herbs and veggies for lunch from their own plots during daily gardening sessions.
Together with a nutritionist, The Garden House Preschool’s organic, low GI menu is carefully planned to not only meet the children’s dietary needs, but also to avoid any sugar highs (and, even more importantly, lows!). Add super-dedicated teachers and a unique Reggio-inspired curriculum, plus plenty of outdoor play to stimulate mental and physical development, and you can see why places on their preschool programmes, parent-accompanied programmes and holiday programmes are snapped up.
So, what’s on the menu? Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea are prepared on-site daily by an in-house cook using freshly picked herbs and vegetables from the garden, wherever possible. Think frozen yoghurt popsicles with fruit and dates, muesli muffins and creamy pumpkin, sweet potato and carrot soup served with quinoa and grilled fish. Plus, read on for the low-down on recreating two of the The Garden House Preschool’s much-loved recipes at home, Rendang Marinated Grilled Chicken Fillets and Fudgy Raw Cacao Zucchini Brownies. Tuck in, folks!
Rendang Marinated Grilled Chicken Fillets
2 stalks lemongrass, smashed
A thumb-sized fresh ginger
2 large onions
5 cloves garlic
1.5 inch turmeric root
2 turmeric leaves
4 kaffir lime leaves
1tsp coriander powder
1tsp of Agave syrup
Salt to taste
1 can of coconut cream
1kg chicken breast fillets
2 tbsp coconut oil
1. Blend the ginger, onions, garlic and turmeric root with half a cup of water.
2. Heat oil in a pot.
3. Sauté the blended spice paste until fragrant. Stir in the coriander powder, lemongrass stalks and coconut milk. Add in the lime leaves and turmeric leaves. Season with salt. Leave to simmer, stirring occasionally over medium heat.
4. Once oil has surfaced, take it off the heat and leave aside to cool.
5. When paste has cooled, add in chicken fillets, and coat well. Leave to marinate for at least half an hour.
6. Preheat oven at 200 degrees Celsius.
7. Grill chicken for 10 minutes on each side, or until juices run clear when pierced with a skewer.
8. Serve with warm steamed rice and cucumber sticks.
Fudgy Raw Cacao Zucchini Brownies
1/4 cup good quality raw cacao powder
1 cup flour
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup maple syrup or any low GI sugar substitute
1 cup grated zucchini (not necessary to peel)
3/4 tsp baking soda
A scraping of a pod of vanilla or 1tbsp of vanilla extract
A handful of raw cacao nibs
1. Mix the flour, raw cacao, baking soda and cacao nibs.
2. In a separate bowl, mix the oil, zucchini, maple syrup and vanilla.
3. Combine both mixtures, pour out the batter into a lined standard loaf tin.
4. Bake in a 180 degrees Celsius preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
5. Serve warm.
Want to find out more about The Garden House Preschool’s unique Reggio-inspired curriculum?