School pupils cook up a great idea for fundraising
Have you ever wondered what dish you would serve up if Michel Roux popped in for tea? And how about if the top TV chef had The Very Hungry Caterpillar and David Cameron in tow?
Well, should such an unlikely situation arise, there's now only one cookery book to turn to.
Pupils, parents, teachers and even the caretaker at a Devon primary school have published a collection of 99 recipes, with many gleaned from TV presenters, politicians, authors and even a few children's book characters.
Colourfully illustrated and produced in a clever flip-over, wipe-clean format, the book is being sold to raise funds for outdoor play equipment at St Andrew's Church of England Primary School in Buckland Monachorum.
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Cliff Richard, Fern Britton, Jeffrey Archer, Maureen Lipman, Elaine Paige, Rick Stein, Cherie Blair, Alistair Darling, Horrid Henry and The Gruffalo are just a few of the well-known names to have contributed.
Organised by the school's PTA, the project began as a simple idea to encourage children to get involved in cooking while raising a few pounds for school funds – but grew into a major undertaking.
PTA member Jo Guilor, who has two children at St Andrew's, explained that fellow parent Hoorieh Coish took it upon herself to write to dozens of famous figures.
"We have been amazed by the response," said Jo. "Hoorieh wrote to a lot of people and we have been really overwhelmed by how many responded. The great thing is that all the recipes in the book – whether from pupils or from celebrities – are tried and tested family favourites, so we know they are well-loved and they work. The result is a wonderful collection of recipes which are loved by everyone who contributed them.
"It has been a lot of work but we've all enjoyed putting together the recipes and we're thrilled with how well it turned out."
A number of local businesses, including Drake Manor Inn in Buckland Monachorum, The Royal Oak at Meavy, household goods retailer Lawsons and The Moorland Garden Hotel in Yelverton, have all played a part in the book's success.
It is not the first time St Andrew's has produced a volume of recipes. Back in 1976, when the community was raising funds to build the present school, parents and pupils published Rhymes, Remedies & Recipes. And one of those involved in the original project was keen to get involved again. Barbara Bettles, who was school cook for 21 years and still lives in the village, contributed three recipes this time round – including Sheep's Head Pie, which also appeared in the 1970s version.
Other culinary highlights include Angela Rippon's gazpacho, Michael Morpurgo's kidneys in mustard, Gordon Brown's Chequers Steak Pie, Ranulph Fiennes' chocolate sauce, Stephen Fry's honey buns, Eden CEO Gaynor Coley's "six minutes of scrumptiousness", and Horrid Henry's worms in dirt.
Jo Guilor's daughter Rosy, who cooked up Apricot, Chocolate & Cherry Chewy Crunch, said: "I'm really pleased to see my recipe in the book and I'm looking forward to having a go at cooking all the other recipes, especially the one from The Gruffalo."
Oh, and if Messrs Roux, Cameron and Caterpillar do call in for a bite at your place over the festive period, make sure you have the ingredients to hand for cherry cake, Italian sausage meat pasta and fruit salad.
To obtain a copy of The St Andrew's School Cookbook: A Cookbook For All, which is priced £7, call the school on 01822 853153 or email firstname.lastname@example.org