School's recipe book gets seal of approval from Her Majesty

NOT many chefs can say that their dishes have been given the royal seal of approval.

But children at a Musselburgh primary school can, as Her Majesty has given a personal endorsement to the old family recipes they have collated for their new recipe book.

The What's For Tea? collection has been compiled by the children at The Burgh primary to raise funds for the creation of fruit and vegetable patches for each class in the school and to teach youngsters about healthy eating.

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As well as being endorsed by the Queen – who sent a letter the children congratulating them on the recipe book after they wrote to her – it has also been given the thumbs up by Michelin star chefs Gordon Ramsay and Martin Wishart, while even Prime Minister Gordon Brown has contributed a recipe for his favourite tomato soup.

Both Leith-based Mr Wishart and TV chef Mr Ramsay have signed copies of the book – which boasts dishes from around the world – to go up for auction, whilst Mr Wishart has also donated 200 to the children's fundraising target of 2,000.

Around 300 copies have been printed in the first run, with more than 200 having been snapped up already.

Every chapter has been lovingly created by each class in the school, with children choosing the recipes from the selection sent in by parents and grandparents, writing a few words about why they were chosen, and drawing pictures to illustrate them.

They also researched how to make healthy versions of their favourite meals, tested them and wrote them up for the book.

Headteacher Karen Fleming said the project has brought the whole school together.

She said: "Families from all over the school have been involved in sending in their own family recipes, from everywhere from South Africa to Poland.

"Families have given us their wee stories about why they have sent in their recipes.

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"It's more than just a book to raise money - it's about a school pulling together to work on a project and everyone has been involved.

"The children know that they have got recipes in the book and they're engaged, there's been quite a buzz about it.

"They received a really nice letter from Her Majesty and they were so chuffed."

The letter from the Queen, penned by a lady-in-waiting, said: "Her Majesty was most interested to hear about the cook book which you and your friends at school have produced and thought it kind of you to invite her to the launch of the book at your Christmas Fair. Although the Queen is unable to accept, Her Majesty greatly appreciated your thoughtfulness."

Parent council member and one of the book's instigators Fleur Hoole, whose sons Adam and Michael attend The Burgh, said: "Each class took charge of a chapter and became editors, helping to choose the recipes that were included. They often chose things that they wanted to try.

"We had everything from traditional Scottish family recipes to food from Poland and Thailand and all round the world.

"It's been really great for the children to learn about different food like this, given that we have a reputation in Scotland for not cooking and preparing home-made dishes."

Chef Wishart, who lives in Musselburgh, added: "It's a really good book which has been well put together and it's nice to have the children's comments and sketches within it.

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"For the school to go to so much effort and detail is fantastic."

The book, which boasts around 200 recipes and costs 7, can be ordered from the Musselburgh Burgh Primary or Musselburgh Library.