Wednesday, 8 November 2006

Oliver Twist And The Twizzlers Of Doom

Please Sir, can I not have any more?

"Oliver's Kids Don't Want More" bellowed "The Sun" earlier this week, offering a Dickensian twist to the story of healthy school meals. Apparently two-thirds of British children don't like the new school menus and want a return to turkey twizzlers, chicken nuggets and chips.

"OK", I thought to myself, "why not?" "I'm not going to cook anything that looks or sounds like a twizzler, but what's wrong with chicken nuggets and chips?"

The answer to this question is, of course, that the version our schoolkids are used to is made from totally crap ingredients and usually badly cooked as well. Last night I quite fancied a well-balance plate of protein, carboydrate, fat, vitamins and minerals in the form of this old school favourite. I had a vacuum-pack of chicken mince in the fridge, so I thought I'd see if I could improve on the British schoolkid's favourite lunch, using the skills I've learnt since I started to train as a professional chef.

I cheated, of course. Nuggets are thickly battered, and this raises the fat and carb content without adding anything of quality. You get an idea of just how much fat is normally present from this piece in the "Norfolk Eastern Daily Press". A teacher in Thetford has become a shining ambassador for healthy school dinners after shedding eight stones - almost half of his body weight - in the space of ten months after participating in the new school meals programme.

So I changed the nuggets to mini-burgers made with turmeric and coconut, using a modernised recipe. I rolled the patties in a little polenta as a way of making the surface texture crunchy without using batter. I even managed to find a way to introduce a much-loved Japanese ingredient into my British dish. The result was chicken burgers and chunky chips with wakame and spring onion mayonnaise. I'll publish the recipe with photos in my recipe section shortly. This is how it turned out.

Chicken burgers and chunky chips with wakame and spring onion mayonnaise
My dad paid me the compliment of saying he thought they were the most tasty burgers he had ever eaten in his life.

As I was finishing this posting I heard on the radio that a young girl died tragically today in Castleford, West Yorkshire, apparently after choking while eating a school lunch. All my thoughts go out to her family and friends.


Richard Henderson said...

How times change. Schoolkids used to starve, now they become obese. What a strange world we inhabit!

The burgers look great and the mayonnaise looks fantastic. Please post a recipe.

Trig said...

Thanks. Recipe coming soon.

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