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This year’s Castlebrae High School spring fling rolled around at a time of year that felt distinctly less springy than usual. But the bad weather wasn’t going to dampen our spirits. 

With a group of seniors from the high school making the short journey down to the EFS kitchen three times over a two week period we made great progress in designing, planning and prepping a canapé menu that would be sure to wow the crowds. We looked to build a menu that would introduce as much seasonality as possible while also using up some of the more curious ingredients that had found their way to the EFS kitchen.

During the preparation phase we definitely saw several of the kids spark into creative mode. Alex took charge of the red onion chutney which had a brilliant depth of flavour whilst remaining sweet and Oshana exhibited supreme knife work as she prepared a pico de gallo that would sit comfortably in the finest taquerias in Oaxaca. At the same time Liam and Jamie worked tirelessly to ensure the cured trout was perfectly sliced. This is just to name a few of the fantastic things we achieved as a group during the process, thanks to their tremendous efforts.

March was of course the first month in which we had unfettered access to gorgeous pink rhubarb. This was a new ingredient for a lot of those attending the sessions so we had to make sure everyone tried it in many different forms; poached, stewed, or even pickled. The favourite was the lip-smacking super-savoury pickled variety. This would go on to be paired with a rich cured trout canape which gets the taste buds going even thinking of it. 

After two fruitful prep and idea sessions, the group returned to the kitchen for a final time prior to the event, with several members either performing on the concert or exhibiting work as part of the art and photography project. It was fair to say we had some incredibly talented individuals in the room. But it was the group effort that paid off in the end; the menu looked amazing and definitely had everyone very excited to see the reaction of the concert audience. 

Are you feeling hungry yet? Well, here are the final dishes prepared for the evening.The menu read as follows;


Mini Carne asada tacos with herby aioli and super fine dice pico de gallo 

Cured Trout croissantini, horseradish creme fraiche and pickled rhubarb 

Goats cheese and feta tarts with Alex’s special red onion chutney

Coronation Jackfruit lettuce wraps with pickled cucumber 

Sticky Soy Tofu sticks 

The mini steak tacos certainly took centre stage in the kitchen as the hard searing meant things got a little smoky before we began the final stages of packing up the canapés and starting the short walk up the road to begin plating up. We got ourselves organised by the front door and eagerly awaited the arrival of the parents, siblings, friends and guardians of those involved. At this point we inspected and were wowed by the incredible still life paintings and beautifully captured photographs that made up part of the evening’s arts on display.  

Not long after 6 the doors opened a steady stream people entered the now sun drenched foyer of the Castlebrae high school. The canapes were handed out and quickly the mountain of food disappeared and was duly greeted with high praise. 

With tummies full of delicious snacks it was time to take in the fantastic music that was being performed. This part of the evening didn’t disappoint. The talent at Castlebrae is amazing and the pupils and staff pulled off a truly fantastic evening. It was a pleasure to be part of a brilliant showcase for these gifted teenagers. I for one cannot wait to go do it all again in the summer.