Article 12: “Food for the Table” from the Swan’s Kitchen

In modern day school the skills that are required to run a home and make delicious meals for all the family are no longer taught.  Designing the packaging for biscuits becomes more important than the making of the biscuits themselves. But……. Home schooling can be a way of redressing the balance whilst having fun with all the family at home.

Measuring and weighing accurately, doubling and halving recipes is great for Maths as well as costing ingredients.  Planning menus and timeplans for producing a meal on time – with the pudding not ready before the main course!! – are great for Design and Logistics. Researching from where a product comes and following its carbon footprint as well as recipes from other countries for that product – Geography and looking into what is happening during the cookery process is Science. I could go on with Computer skills and Art.  More importantly manual skills will be increased with accurate peeling and chopping, piping etc. But apart from this, self esteem and confidence will grow when the results are admired and tasted by everyone in the family.  A gift to a neighbour or for grandparents demonstrates caring for others and it all makes being at home fun whilst still learning and developing.  With this in mind here are some recipes that will encourage children to enjoy cooking.


1 - Majorcan potato salad

There are no particular quantities for this and I often make it with leftover cooked potatoes.


New potatoes thinly sliced
Cucumber peeled and thinly sliced
Equal quantities of mayo and natural Greek yogurt
Salt and pepper


  • Lightly cook the potatoes until tender but not falling apart.
  • Combine all ingredients carefully and serve.
To make this special cooked salmon flakes, smoked salmon or prawns can be added and then this becomes an elegant starter or a light dish to compliment a BBQ or part of a buffet supper.

2 - Caponata

This is a Sicilian dish. And can be made classically as below or with other odd vegetables such as celery or courgettes added.  Don’t count the calories but try to remember that olive oil is healthy!!!

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large aubergine cut into 2cm cubes
1 red onion finely chopped
4 tomatoes chopped or most of a tin of chopped tomatoes
50ml red wine vinegar
Handful toasted pine nuts and basil leaves

For the bruschetta

8 slices ciabatta and olive oil for drizzling and a clove of garlic

  • Pour the olive oil into a large non stick based saucepan, place over a medium heat and add the aubergines. Cook for a good 15-20 mins until they are soft. Scoop the aubergines out of the pan – you should be left with some olive oil.
  • Add the onion and cook for about 5 mins until they are soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes and cook slowly, so they break down and turn to a soft mush, then add the aubergines back to the pan.
  • Now put in the red wine vinegar, season well and cover with a lid. Cook over a low heat for 40 mins, until all the vegetables are soft. Stir gently so it doesn’t break up too much.
This can then be left to go cold for a delicious juicy salad accompaniment for cold meats or turned into a bruschetta to make an elegant starter.
  • When the Caponata is cooked, leave to cool slightly while you make the bruschetta.
  • Heat a griddle/fry pan, drizzle the bread with olive oil and griddle until toasted and lightly charred on both sides, then rub with a garlic clove and season.
  • Serve the warm Caponata scattered with the basil leaves and pine nuts, with bruschetta on the side or top with the Caponata if serving immediately.
3 - Orange and Watercress

This next salad is really colourful and the combination means that the Vitamin C in the orange helps us benefit from the iron in the cress. I often wonder how the most efficient combinations of food are devised initially, as they are usually the most effective nutritionally.  Vitamin C makes a co-enzyme that helps in the absorption of iron.  My favourite though is chocolate and orange. God is amazing how He has taught us inadvertently over hundreds of years.  Long before we had the understanding of the benefits.
Rocket is a suitable substitute mixed with Little Gem lettuce sliced into wedges.

2 oranges peeled and sliced
1 packet watercress
2 teaspoons olive oil and 1 of vinegar
  • Cut the orange in half in the direction of the segments and then slice
  • Put in bowl with the watercress and dressing ingredients.
  • Mix well with your fingers.
4 - Greek Salad

½ cucumber
1 little gem lettuce
2 tomatoes
Feta cheese or Greek salad cheese
Olive oil
Mixed dried herbs
Black olives
A splash of vinegar

  • Peel and thinly slice the cucumber – as in potato salad above
  • Roughly chop lettuce
  • Halve the tomatoes from stalk to base and cut into wedges
  • Cube up the cheese and put into a small bowl with the olive oil and a little of the herbs. Stir well to coat
  • Combine the ingredients carefully with the addition of the vinegar and put into serving bowl and top with olives.  This allows those who don’t want olives to easily remove them.
I add lettuce to bulk up this salad but the classic version would not have this addition.


Genesis ch9 v8 – 17

How amazing for God to make a covenant with us and all living creatures. That includes our dogs and cats, the birds and all the insects!!! The rainbow is the sign of that promise. Whenever we see a rainbow we can think about God’s awesomeness, remembering,  He’s always near, and trust and have faith in our Lord. One translation puts it like this.

“Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: ..."

We are part of the future generations and it seems fitting to have the sign of the rainbow for the carers both in the NHS and outside it.  I feel we are saying thank you for the covenant you have made to care for our communities and we extend over you our blessing.

How great to do a bible study on Rainbows in Genesis as above, Ezekiel Ch 1 v26 – 28 and Revelation ch 4 1-4.

Nutritionally to eat a wide range of colour means we are getting a wide range of nutrients and those with the strongest colours have the most benefits.  Here are a couple of ideas I have tried this week both savoury and sweet.  Lots more ingredients qualify and it will be fun to find them and see where they come from.
Rainbow salad ideas


Grated carrot
Beetroot jelly
Red onion

And this below is still a rainbow but plated up with pizza slice
Beetroot jelly

This is a really low calorie dish that is great as part of a salad, buffet or an accompaniment to cold roast meat.


1 Packet of vac packed cooked beetroot or
1 lb (450g) of freshly cooked
1 raspberry  sugar free jelly
1 tablespoon vinegar
¾ pt water
  • Chop up the beetroot into 1 cm cubes
  • Make up jelly with ¼ pint boiling water and stir well to completely dissolve
  • Add vinegar and top up to ¾ pint with cold water.
  • Put beetroot into a mould and pour over the jelly.
  • Leave to set. This can be turned out to serve or left in a bowl.
Note the jelly instructions will say 1 pint but this needs to be a little stiffer.

Kiwi fruit

Funny how there is no natural blue food, but with food colouring anything is possible!!

CLICK HERE for a downloadable and printable version of this recipe   
by Marna Swan Blog #2, 15/05/2020