Autumn Classes

Two new courses coming up this Autumn

Saturday 14th October – Middle Eastern Feast
Join me to talk about, cook and eat dishes such as a Broad Bean stew with pomegranate, steamed rice cooked with crispy potatoes, a mildly spiced, fragrant muhammara dip. To finish we’ll be making a middle eastern inspired raspberry samosa served with rosewater infused cream.

Saturday 11th November – Flavours Of India
Together we’ll be making and eating Indian dishes such as a spinach and paneer curry, potatoes fried with garlic and sesame, a simple tarka dal and deep fried vegetable pakoras. For dessert we’ll make mango fool, served with some home made cardamom shortbread.

Classes run from my kitchen in Chalfont St Peter, just 20 minutes from London, starting at 10am and finishing up with lunch. We aim to finish around 1pm.

£45 per person. Price includes all ingredients, recipe cards and aprons. You also get to take home any leftovers.
For more details or to reserve your place contact me at foodfrom4@gmail.com or at facebook.com/foodfrom4

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Blackberry Tart with Mascarpone and Vanilla

It’s getting a little late now for foraging for blackberries, but if you are lucky enough to find some, or planned ahead and have a tub in the freezer, this is a simple and delicious dessert. it works just as well with raspberries, blueberries or plums.

I’m not one for desserts. You can probably guess that from the lack of sweet treats here, but this is irresistible. You may want to adjust the amount of caster sugar based on the sweetness and ripeness of your fruit.

1 x 375g pack of puff pastry
1 x 250 tub of mascarpone
4 tablespoons of caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g or thereabouts of berries of your choice
2 tablespoons demerara sugar

Pop the oven onto 220C

Roll out the pastry to about 5mm thickness (or use ready rolled). Line a tin with parchment and lay the rolled pastry on top. You want the pastry to be rectangular and fit the size of your tin. Now take a sharp knife and score around the perimeter, about 2cm in from the outer edge. Now pp it into the oven for around 8-10 minutes until puffed up but not browned.

Take out the oven and gently press down the middle area. Allow to cool.

Mix the mascarpone with the caster sugar and vanilla extract, then blod or gently smear over the middle of your part-cooked pastry. Top with the berries, then scatter the demerara sugar over. Pop back in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the edges are browned and the berries are starting to release their juices.

Food On The Cheap

Summer holidays have just started but in just a few months, your little darlings may be heading off to University and having to fend for themselves. How do you manage your finances when ridden with debt? How do you ensure you can eat healthily when the local pizza joint offers you a meal deal for under a fiver? How can you eat interesting food for one, or share with your flatmates?

Well, stop fretting and send them along to my cookery class on 31st August. If you are leaving home, need some ideas for tasty, simple, but delicious meals, or just want to spend a morning cooking, chatting and eating, then this could be the course for you.

We start at 10am and will be making a brunch of baked eggs in a spiced tomato sauce (pictured). We’ll then be cooking a vegetable biryani, all in one pot to cut down on the washing up. We’ll also learn how to create a ragout that can be served with spaghetti, put into a shepherd’s pie or spiced up into chili so one batch can last you for a several days. Finally we’ll be making a dessert, then sit around my kitchen table to eat together before finishing up at 1pm.

Classes are £45 per person and take place in my kitchen in Chalfont St Peter. The price includes all ingredients, aprons, recipe cards and you don’t even have to do the washing up. Coffee and home-made treats are served for those arriving early.

To book your place contact me at foodfrom4@gmail.com

 

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Beetroot, Chick Pea and Quinoa Burgers

I now realise you can make burgers from pretty much anything provided you follow a few basic principles. You need something dry, something sticky to bind it together and lots of flavours. The dry part tends to be oats, or breadcrumbs, or nuts. The sticky comes from eggs, cheese or mashed pulses.

This came about as a somewhat random recipe. made from the sort of things I have lying about the kitchen. A few vegetables, a pulse I can mash to get the stickiness and some quinoa – yeh I know quinoa is becoming all a little bit too 2015, but it adds a wonderful nutty flavour to the dish and, when the burgers are fried, it’s the quinoa that gives it it’s crispy exterior, without the need to roll the burgers in breadcrumbs or the like. Apart from the quinoa, everything else is used raw until you cook the burgers themselves.

This made four large burgers – though I think dividing it into six would be more elegant perhaps

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 medium beetroot – peeled and grated
1 medium carrot – peeled and grated
2 clove garlic – roughly chopped
1x400g tin chick peas – drained
a handful of fresh parsley leaves and stalks
1 teaspoon paprika powder
1 teaspoon oregano
salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons tahini
a splash of tabasco
juice of half a lime
a handful or so of rolled oats
olive oil for frying

Put the quinoa and water in a pan, bring to the boil, cover then simmer for 10 minutes. Leave the lid on and allow to cool.

Put the chick peas, garlic and tahini in a food processor and blitz to a rough mixture, a little bit like crunchy peanut butter. Add the grated carrot and beetroot, the parsley, paprika and oregano. Whiz for few seconds, then add the lime juice, tabasco, salt, pepper. Whiz again briefly then slowly add the oats and cooked quinoa with a quick pulse in between, until you have a firm, but still a little moist mix.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Divide the mixture into six (or 4, or even 8!). Roll each into a ball, squash into a flattish disc and fry gently in the oil for 7-9 minutes on each side. The top and bottom should be browned and crispy and the middle nice and hot.

I served mine with a red cabbage, carrot and chili slaw and a jacket potato. How are you having yours?

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Courgette and Halloumi Cheese Fritters

A tasty and simple meal that tastes of summer. This will make about eight rissoles – enough for four people.

3-4 medium courgettes
1 onion
1 pack halloumi cheese
3 tablespoons plain flour
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon chopped dill (optional)
Olive oil for frying

Grate the courgettes, place in a clean tea towel or muslin and squeeze as much liquid out as possible. Transfer to a large bowl. Grate the onion and cheese and add these to the courgettes. Add all the other ingredients except the oil. Mix well adding more flour if the mixture is a little on the wet side.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Grab a golf ball sized blob of the mixture and flatten it in your hands. Fry in the hot oil until brown on each side – about 5 minutes per side.

Serve with new potatoes, a watercress salad and a generous helping of natural yogurt with chives.

 

August cookery classes

I’ll be running two classes in August

 

First off an Italian themed class where we will be preparing, cooking and eating an aubergine parmigiana, nutty “meatballs” with spaghetti and a panzanella, a salad made with fresh tomatoes, capers, olives and bread. For dessert we will make a mascarpone cheesecake with an amaretto base and a fruit coulis. The Italian class takes place on the morning of Saturday 26th August from my kitchen in Chalfont St Peter, Bucks. Plenty of parking outside and just a short walk from Gerrards Cross train station which runs between London Marylebone and Birmingham.

Then on Thursday 31st August I will be running a morning class for students and those leaving home for the first time, looking for simple, tasty but cheap meals. We will be making a versatile and satisfying sauce that can be used as a basis for a meat free shepherd’s pie, spaghetti bolognese or veggie chili. In addition we will make a one pot vegetable biryani to show how you can make delicious meals without mountains of washing up whilst still getting your five-a-day. We’ll also make some desserts for those with a sweet tooth.

Classes start at 10am with coffee and homemade treats for early birds. We aim to wrap up the cooking around 12:30 then gather round the kitchen table for lunch. The price is £45 per head and includes everything you need – ingredients, aprons, recipe cards and equipment.

Contact me at foodfrom4@gmail.com to answer any of your questions or to book your place

Broad Bean Falafel

Every street food market up and down the country surely has a stall selling hot falafel. These mildly spiced deep fried vegan treats are so delicious. A former colleague of mine used to travel far and wide, always insisting on trying falafel wherever he went. When I worked in West London I would sometime treat myself to a falafel wrap from Portobello Road Market – the most fully loaded, heavy sandwich I have ever come across. Later, I started working out east and stumbled upon Pilpel. Wow.

The relative healthiness of pulses, herbs and spices is offset by the deep frying, making them the perfect balanced dish.

Every year I grow broad beans on the allotment. They are relatively easy and can be sown from November through to spring so you get a lot of beans if you plan your planting a little. The debate around skinning continues. For me it’s a case of what dish you are making, salads and other delicate dishes need the somewhat tough husks removed. Slow cooked stews are just fine using them whole. For this dish, I removed the skins. It takes a little time but is well worth it.

So on to the recipe

1x400g tin chickpeas – drained and rinsed
about the same of broad beans – use fresh if you can and pod them, boil for 5 minutes, cool and skin. Else use frozen and boil them and skin them
1 clove garlic
juice of half a lemon
parsley – roughly chopped
dill – roughly chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
sunflower oil for deep or shallow frying
pitta bread
natural yogurt or mayonnaise
gherkins
shredded lettuce
tomatoes
chili sauce

Put all ingredients down to and including the cumin in a food processor and pulse a few times until you have a grainy, lumpy paste of sorts. Divide into around 20 or so small balls and flatten each a little.

Heat the oil. When hot, if shallow frying, fry on one side for around 4 minutes then turn and do the same on the other side. If deep frying pop them carefully into hot oil and fry for around 5-6 minutes until golden.

Toast your pittas until they puff then serve the hot pitta, falafel and sundries so your guests can assemble how the like. Choose from the ingredients above but you can also include pickled turnips, fresh chilis, a few coriander leaves, cucumber, ketchup. Experiment. It’s fun…..