PUPILS from a small village school have been swapping recipes with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

Three youngsters from Helme School, near Meltham, were treated to a private tour of Jamie’s Italian in York, which is due to open on Monday.

His chefs showed Hattie Barker, Zach Bissolati and Lauren Burrow around the kitchens and then taught them how to make hand-made spaghetti using their pasta machine.

The highlight of the afternoon was meeting Jamie Oliver who tasted the children’s prizewinning dish of chickpea delight accompanied with inerja bread.

The youngsters from the 138-pupil village school also met TV chef Gennaro Contaldo who stars with Antonio Carluccio in the BBC series Two Greedy Italians.

Heather Clifford, one of the three teachers who accompanied the pupils to York, said: “We were given a sneak preview of Jamie’s Italian and we took our meal over with us. Jamie tasted it and said it was very good.

“It was a brilliant day, he and his chefs were absolutely fantastic and they really looked after us. Everybody had so much time for the children. Jamie talked to them and was really interested in what they had done.”

The visit to Jamie’s new restaurant resulted from the national schools’ competition which began a year ago to create a dish for an Olympic athlete.

Over 6,000 recipes were entered and just 13 finalists were invited to London, the Helme pupils being the youngest of four primary school finalists.

To tie in with their work on Africa, Class 2 designed a meal for Ethiopian distance runner Haile Gebrselassie. They discovered that he liked to eat vegetable curry and injera, an Ethiopian flat bread made with teff flour produced from a grass native to the Ethiopian Highlands.

The pupils set about their task with determination, sourcing teff flour on the internet and contacting chefs at an Ethiopian restaurant in London for advice on exactly how to use the ingredient.

Their resulting recipe of chickpea delight with inerja bread was gluten, dairy and meat free and had great nutritional value for a long distance runner.

After much discussion, the judging panel of former British Olympic triple jumper Michelle Robinson, three-times Paralympian Clare Strange and Michelin star chef Angela Hartnett chose Helme as the primary school winner.

This summer, their winning dish will be served in the Olympic village to elite athletes from around the globe.

Headteacher Julie Dempster said: “We are really pleased that our small school is able to achieve in the big, wide world.”

Helme took up the schools recipe challenge last year as part if its healthy eating and Olympics projects. The school has since bought kitchen equipment and now every class has cookery sessions.

Heather added: “The pay-off has been that there is a lot more interest from the children in what they eat and in cooking.

“We have also incorporated the Olympic values of friendship, respect and determination into our school vision.”

Take a look at the recipe on page 3 and have a go yourself.

Chickpea Delight for Haile Gebrselassie


1 large onion

1 can of chickpeas (15oz)

2 cloves of garlic (crushed)

1 cauliflower

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

½ inch root ginger – grated

1 fresh medium red chilli or pinch of chilli powder

1oz ground almonds

1 tin of coconut milk

¼ pint vegetable stock

Fresh coriander, salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp oil

1. Peel and chop onion, garlic and ginger. Finely chop chilli.

2. Heat oil in pan and gently fry onion, garlic, ginger and chilli until soft and

caramelised (about 20 – 30 minutes). Top tip – sprinkle in a little soft brown sugar at this stage, but keep on a low heat and stir regularly.

2. Cut cauliflower into small similar sized florets removing tough stalks.

3. Drain chickpeas (reserving juice) and set aside.

4. When onions etc are well cooked add the rest of the spices and cook for a further minute, keep stirring.

5. Add the juice from the chickpeas plus vegetable stock and coconut milk.

6. Stir in the ground almonds and add the cauliflower. Cover and cook gently for 15 minutes.

7. Remove lid and stir in chickpeas and cook for a further five minutes until the liquid has reduced and thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

8. Add a handful of chopped coriander

9.Serve with injera (Ethiopian flatbread ) or chapatti, naan or pitta bread.

Inerja (Ethiopian flatbread)

1kg teff flour – available from Tobiah Teff online

1 to 1.5 pints of water

1. Mix water and teff flour until it has the consistency of a traditional pancake mixture, cover and leave for three days in a warm place to ferment. (fermentation times vary according to the weather)

2.On Day 4, boil a pint of water then mix in ½ pint of the fermented mixture, simmer for six-seven minutes stirring constantly, that is making your own yeast. While the yeast is still hot, pour it back into the original mixture, stir well then cover and leave overnight in a warm place after which the fermented dough will be ready to bake.

3. Traditionally to bake the teff you need a metad (an earthenware flat pan) but any large flat bottomed non-stick pan will do. Heat the pan then pour in the fermented dough around the pan evenly and in circular motions to the thickness of a thin pancake, cover and cook for 60-90 seconds approx. The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness. Cook until holes form in the injera and the edges lift from the pan. Do not let it brown and do not flip it over, it is only supposed to be cooked on one side.

4.Remove and let cool. Place plastic wrap or foil between successive pieces so they don’t stick together.

5.To serve, lay one injera on a plate and ladle the chickpea curry on top. Serve additional injera on the side (and additional bowls of chickpea delight). Guests may be instructed to eat their meal without utensils, instead using the injera to scoop up the food.

NOTE: It is traditional to leave the batter to ferment for three days thus producing quite a tangy pancake, but the batter can be left for a shorter time and still make a lovely flatbread.