A broad range of ingredients, equipment, food skills and techniques, and cooking methods are used to achieve successful results.
Cooking activities are a great way for pupils to apply their knowledge and skills in a practical, visible way. Pupils should become competent in a range of increasingly complex preparation techniques and cooking methods, using a broad range of ingredients and equipment. Ingredients should be handled, prepared and cooked following safe and hygienic practices and pupils should be provided with opportunities to make choices and demonstrate creativity.
Dishes made should be predominately savoury and reflect current healthy eating advice.
Pupils should be able to demonstrate and apply their knowledge and practical skills in an increasingly complex way, safely and with precision.
This area covers:
- use of a variety of utensils and electrical equipment;
- demonstration of an array of techniques and cooking methods;
- use of leftovers.
Information and resources to support teaching and learning about using a broad range of ingredients, following safe hygienic practices and making a range of predominately savoury dishes can be found in the Ingredients, Food hygiene and safety, and Recipe areas.
There is also further information about the production and processing of key commodities in the Food commodities area.
- Many pupils will have weighed and measured ingredients at home or at primary school. However, some may not have. Using measuring spoons, measuring jugs, digital scales and balance scales (if you have them), task the pupils to weigh and measure ingredients, such as water and flour. To ensure accuracy in measuring, impress upon the pupils the importance of accurate measurements as too much or too little of an ingredient may impact the quality of the final dish. There are three short video clips to support this activity: Weighing ingredients, Measuring liquids and Measuring with spoons.
- Demonstrate the safe way to use sharp knives using the Safe cutting techniques information sheet to support. Challenge the pupils to make a simple recipe, such as fruit kebabs, dips and crudités, coleslaw or an interesting sandwich, to consolidate this learning. For recipe ideas, go to the Recipe area.
- To highlight the importance of the safe use of equipment, discuss the hazards and risks associated with utensils and equipment and task the pupils to complete the Using equipment safely activity.
- Challenge the pupils to make a simple recipe using the grill and complete the Cooker safety practical knowledge triangle. The activity sheet is based on a grilled sandwich but can be edited. There is also a Blank Cooker safety knowledge triangle.
- Use the Cooker quick challenge game to check knowledge.
- Use the Cooker safety certificate task and/or alternatively use the Cooker safety challenge and record sheet. Award successful pupils with a Certificate.
- Show the three short videos which demonstrate how to safely and correctly use the hob, grill and oven. The videos showcase recipes using beef, lamb or pork, each using a different part of the cooker. Alternatively there is a range of peer to peer short videos demonstrating how to use a range of equipment.
- Using a recipe that the pupils will be making in school, ask them to identify the equipment needed and practical skills that will be used. The Identify the equipment needed activity uses a pizza swirl recipe as an example.
- Using the Using electrical equipment to modify textures activity, challenge the pupils to make a simple tomato sauce recipe and then modify the texture using a stick blender, liquidiser or food processor. They should then conduct a sensory evaluation.
- Using the Kitchen equipment cards, test the pupil’s knowledge of kitchen equipment and how it is used. Ask one pupil to the front of the class and show them an equipment card, the pupil should then describe the piece of equipment without saying what it does or its name.
- Over a series of lessons, ask the pupils to keep a kitchen equipment diary. They can record what they have used, what is was used for and aspects of safety.
- Pupils should be able to demonstrate an increasingly complex range of practical techniques and cooking methods. Practical tasks and recipes used will be dependent on space, equipment and time available as well as the level of manual dexterity of each pupil. Use the practical skills videos during the lesson as part of a demonstration or for flipped learning/homework.
- Using the Skills quiz presentation test the pupil’s knowledge of practical food skills. Challenge the pupils to name a dish that is prepared using each of the skills.
- Demonstrate the safe use of knives and then challenge the pupils to prepare ingredients accurately and with precision. Use the Knife skills activity mat to showcase the pupil’s cutting skills. If time is short, choose one or two cuts that the pupils should demonstrate. Alternatively, ask the pupils to work in pairs with one as the instructor and one as the demonstrator. The instructor should give clear instructions to the demonstrator as to how to produce each vegetable cut.
- To track practical skills and enable pupils to self-assess, use the Food skills audit.
- Food is cooked using three main methods of heat transfer: convection, conduction and radiation. Use the Heat exchange presentation to explain these methods.
- Use the What happens when meat is cooked? activity sheet and What happens when meat is cooked? teacher's notes to explain the three methods of heat transfer. Use the What happens when meat is cooked? information sheet to extend knowledge further.
- Use a simple food commodity, such as a potato, to explain the science behind various cooking methods using the Cooking potatoes fact sheets.
- Writing a recipe for a dish enables pupils to think carefully about the order in which tasks need to be done, especially simultaneous tasks, to ensure that all elements of the dish, meal or menu are ready at the right time. Use the What is a recipe?, Order it!, and Sort out the recipe activities as a starting point. To stretch and challenge the pupils, the Time plan plan activity can be used to plan the making of a dish in detail. If more than one dish is being made, pupils can practice the activity of dovetailing by producing a plan for each dish (perhaps in a different colour). They should then cut out each step and then stick them in the order they are required to be done to ensure everything comes together at the right time. For example, when making cottage pie the potatoes should be prepared and put onto boil before the meat layer is made so that the cooked potatoes can be mashed and ready for the time the meat is cooked.
- Another way to help pupils manage their time in a practical lesson is to task them to produce a flow map of the recipe they will be making. The Recipe flow map worksheet includes a simple example of a flow map for a mixed salad.
- Pupils should be encouraged to be creative with their cooking activities and not just follow a recipe. Allowing pupils to choose ingredients to add to a basic recipe is one way of developing creativity but with the reassurance that the dish will be successful. The Burger challenge, Kofta challenge (and supporting Dip selection) and the Sausage challenge can all be used to stimulate creativity and provide pupils with choice.
For more information about practical techniques, skills and cooking methods, go to the Cooking for health area. There are also twelve 50 Minute lesson packs in the Activity pack area which you might find useful. The packs contain a beef, lamb or pork recipes which can be made within an hour along with teacher’s notes and two pupil activities.
- Partly used ingredients and left over food can be used to make fantastic, creative dishes. Why not highlight on recipes used in school how any partly used ingredients could be used to make other dishes? For example, left over yogurt or crème fraiche could be used for homemade dips or spare mashed potato used to make fish or bean cakes, and pasta or vegetables could be made into a frittata.
- To encourage creativity when using leftovers, challenge the pupils to identify a dish they could make using random foods. A list of foods could be written on the board, e.g. tomatoes, herbs, roast chicken, carrots, parsnips, pasta and baked beans. Alternatively, cut out the Leftovers food cards, place them in a bag and ask pupils to choose four at random. What would they make?
- Food waste is a global public policy issue and the UK Government has acknowledged that food waste requires urgent action throughout the world. Encourage pupils to consider the impact of food waste and how using leftovers can helps towards reducing the amount of food wasted by households each year. Show the Using leftovers presentation and challenge the pupils to research the impact of food waste and the different ways this can be reduced.
- Challenge the pupils to create a dish at home which uses left over ingredients. It is important to bear in mind that cooked foods should only be reheated once so it is not advisable to carry out this type of activity at school if the dish would require reheating to eat again in the evening.
For further ideas and recipes for using leftovers, go to Recipe area.
Use the Food route Cooking journal for pupils up to 14 years as an extended piece of homework or cover work. There is a Certificate which can be awarded once pupils have completed all four Food route journals.
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