After a fairly quiet summer of working, apart from holding some children’s pop-up bake clubs, the Autumn term brings with it some new teaching work. Apart from my regular sessions teaching cookery within the community, I have a couple of new projects lined up.
I will be running cookery workshops at The Art of Living cook shop, the first of which took place during the summer, teaching pizza making. My second workshop will be teaching pasta making, followed by one on pastry before we head into the season of festive cookery classes. The classes are small but friendly and informative and the cook shop is packed full of far too many temptations for my liking. If you love cooking and learning about food then this is the shop for you.
My other cookery workshops will now be taking place in The Medicine Garden (pictured above), at The Larder. This is a wonderful food shop run by Ruth Lambert who prides herself in stocking good quality local produce, some of which I will be using in my demonstrations. I will be writing a full post soon on Ruth, The Larder & The Medicine Garden next month in a new category “Surrey Food Finds”.
Adult classes will be taking place in the farm shop itself with everyone gathered around tables surrounded by delicious jams, tempting cakes and a range of fresh produce sourced from local suppliers.
I will be teaching mince-pie making as well as Christmas pudding making on Stir-up Sunday and throughout December I will be holding children’s Christmas gift making sessions in The “Make Me” workshop, thanks Melissa! (events listings HERE & HERE ) This is something that both Ruth and I are working on together so we will aim to put on a series of courses throughout the year for both children and adults. A new joint venture for both of us and one which I hope will be a success as The Medicine Garden is a bit of a hidden gem in Surrey. It really reminds me of Petersham Nurseries close by to where I used to live, so it has become my replacement favourite haunt.
I am also holding some Halloween children’s pop-up bake clubs which you can read about HERE. They will feature some of the cakes I made last year with my children for our annual Halloween bake sale which raises money for charity and teaches the children about work.
The Hungry Student Cook Books
The Hungry Student cook books have recently been published and launched just in time for all of those students who will be loading up their parents cars for the first time and launching onto independent living for three years. Charlotte Pike, that author, has written these three books with the aim of teaching students that cooking can be economical,tasty and not that complicated.
The books are as follows;
The Hungry Student Cook book, The Hungry Student Easy Baking book and The Hungry Student Vegetarian cook book. They are priced at £7.99 each , a real bargain for a series of books that I believe could see you through your uni years and make you a few friends with your newly found cooking skills. Who could resist a home-made chocolate marshmallow cookie or some tasty chicken fajitas with a bottle of tequila to go with it, or pints snakebite & black which I used to love!
I was one of Charlotte’s recipe testers for the books so I did get to try a fair few of the recipes while the books were being put together, but I have also continued to use the books since I was kindly given them at Charlotte’s book launch.
Here are my thoughts on the books;
-Perfectly pitched for those new to cooking
-Engaging and informative introduction about how to use the books
-Well written, clear concise instructions.
-Plenty of well styled photographs providing a picture of what the end results should look like. Essential for those new to cooking.
-Good recipe layout with ingredients listed on the left hand side and bullet point instructions on the right which makes it easy to flit between the two. Featured Tips are also included on some of the recipes.
-Well thought out chapters with perfectly suitable student themes such as “In bread & on toast, “The Morning After”, “Soups, Stews & Curries” and “Feeding Friends”. In fact, I do think these recipes would make ideal meals for everyone living on a budget in a far more approachable style than those featured on “Save with Jamie” and the bacon and lentil soup is not only cheap but totally delicious, as are all the dishes I have tried so far.
-My standout dish from all three of the books has to be the Italian sausage pappardelle. The revelation was that my children ate their first curry from one of Charlotte’s recipes and I taught a hen party how to make Charlotte’s tortillas. I will be encouraging my children to choose recipes from the baking book to make themselves and I have a feeling the brownies will be made on a regular basis for cake sales, so will the cupcakes and cookies, loaf cakes….just about all of it.
Writing one cook book must be quite a challenge in itself. Writing THREE seems inconceivable. This is testament to Charlotte’s amazing natural ability to write, cook, manage a BUSINESS, teach and be accomplished enough to pull it all off. I know she has a huge support network which i do feel has been a key to her success. Plus she makes very good food.
Belazu Spice Pastes
I have been sent a coupe of little gems by Belazu whose products I love and use regularly. These spice blends pastes are simply delicious as well as versatile. I have used both types in a number of ways, all of which have been successful.
Tomato & smoked paprika paste makes a perfect addition to soups and stews. I love the gentle smokiness it brings to a dish and the little kick of heat without being overpowering. I added it to a roast butternut squash soup and also put a spoon into my hummus to pep it up. THIS recipe from the Belazu website is something I want to try out using the red pepper and rose Harissa sauce I have been sent (featured in my next round-up) and the paste also makes a great dressing for roasted veggies served with cous cous, just lightly mix a spoonful through the vegetables once they are cooked.
Coriander & cumin paste is beautifully subtle, working well as a meat and fish marinade. Again this is something I will be adding into dips with yoghurt, smoky roast aubergine and tahini. I made THIS recipe using the paste and it was one of the tastiest chicken & rice dishes I have made in a long time. The recipe calls for a whole jar, but in fact I only used half a jar as well as the rind of a whole lemon and squeezed in the juice of half a lemon before serving. Heaven. Citrussy, warm delicate spices, a pure comfort dish.
*With thanks to Charlotte Pike for my copies of The Hungry Student cook books and to Belazu for the spice pastes. I was not compensated for writing this post/review and all opinions expressed here are my own and have not been influenced in any way.