Oh Uchiki

Oh Uchiki, ki, ki, ki, ki (to the tune of hokey cokey!) This week the children really enjoyed my upside down Uchiki cake. We all had a giggle trying to pronounce the word. I found if you wiggle your hips and say U-ch-i-ki its quite amusing. It was so popular the Den children are going to incorporate it into a song!

Uchiki Kuri is a squash, it is thought to have originated in Mesoamerica and cultivated as early as 7000bc.

Now you can grow it in your greenhouses. I've kept some seeds so we will try to do our own this year, just need our man force (Ed, Vince and Tim) to help put up the green house, pretty please.

Nutritionally it provides a good source of fibre as well as vitamins A, B, C, Calcium, Potassium, Iron, Riboflavin and Thiamine. Also due to the colour it contains beta-carotene, so if you eat enough of it you can do away with poisonous fake tans!


Another popular dish this week, and one so easy to make at home, was a lovely Sheppard's pie. I replaced 80% of the mash potato topping with parsnip.

Potato is very starchy and sometimes incredibly had to digest, especially with the young children whose digestion tunnels are only the width of your little fingers. As a nation we eat far too much potato and it can clog up our systems slowing our digestive mechanisms down.

More information can be found here. 

Introducing Valerie, our Chef and Catering Manager

Valerie, our Chef and Catering Manager, looks after the nutritional wellbeing of all the children and staff here at Free Rangers. It has taken a while for Valerie to be convinced to join in our blog, mainly because she’s very protective over her recipes and ingredients. Finally though, she’s willing to share the love and give you an insight, not only into the mouthwatering recipes she creates but also to share the reasons why she carefully selects the ingredients she does and to explain some of the processes she uses. Here’s Valerie’s blog for this week:

Eat your sprouts!

This week the children have been tucking into some wholesome snacks, including; a selection of sprouted breads. The children tasted two versions of this natural unleavened bread. One with raisins or dates, which was very well received and one, the rye version which wasn’t much of a hit, most probably due to the fact it didn’t contain any dried fruit and therefore lacked a natural sweetness.

Our ancestors made these sprouted breads before the introduction of yeast and ovens. The grains were sprouted then molded together and left to dry in the sun. Today sprouted breads are made much in the same way but cooked on a very low heat, preferably in an Aga. So watch out Charlotte we maybe over to use yours when we attempt to make it ourselves!


I’ve also been experimenting with coconut flour, it is quite a pasty texture and so the cakes have been quite compact. The cake I made was also gluten, dairy and egg free, and was enjoyed by all ages across the nursery.

Both of these snacks provide a much needed energy boost during mid mornings and mid afternoons and help to provide a slow and constant release of energy for the little Free Rangers.

To learn about the benefits of sprouted breads please click here:

To learn why we use coconut flour please click here:

Although Valerie makes most meals and snacks on site, we do also buy in specialist ingredients. In this case the sprouted bread came from:

Whilst the coconut flour came from:

If ever you’d like to sample one of Val’s tasty creations, please let us know and we’ll see what we can do; that’s if the children haven’t beaten you to it!