A Cook in the Baking

Here at TRUFFLEicious/Wiltshire Artisans we know all about the small food business, not because we have done a couple of baking courses & think we know it all, but because over the years, (about 40), to be precise, we have done it. Several times. I am definitely a cook in the baking.

cake, chocolate, homemade, small business, cookery
A chocolate treat

We have never been, or wanted to be a large food business, small & exclusive, I think are the words that describes us best. Circumstances prevailed, when it was not always possible to continue those businesses, but never the less our passion for food & creativity has led us down different paths, over the years.

Learning the basics of cookery, like most girls in my youth (this was 40 yrs ago), from my mother, I had various jobs in kitchens during the school holidays where I learnt even more about food & my passion was born.

Leaving school, my teachers thought I was bound for Art College, but it was not to be “out to work & earn some money” my father told me and so off I went. The Lady Magazine, a publication which still exists today, was the key to my short term future.

“Cook required for small family of 5. Large Rectory in the rural Cotswold’s. Simple daily cooking & some entertaining at weekends”. Putting pen to paper, (no e-mails in those days,) I applied & two weeks later I was installed in my first proper cooking job. I thoroughly enjoyed the 5 years I spent here, the family were lovely, I had a cosy little cottage in the grounds & learnt a lot – about people & food.

During my time at the Rectory I was introduced to many interesting people, made even more fascinating because my cookery skills were in demand. I made steak & kidney pies for local pubs, cakes for cafe’s & cooked dinner parties for friends of my employer. One particular lady, the grand-daughter of a famous composer, lived in a beautiful Elizabethan Manor House. Finding times difficult, she started a bed a breakfast business for visiting Americans. Dinner in the evening was becoming a necessity, my services were needed on an ad hoc basis, a cottage became available on her estate, & the rest, as they say, is history.

cooking, history, small business, food, changing world
A Cook in the baking

Farm Cottage was started from my kitchen in rural Gloucestershire. Having obtained a list of names from my landlady I set about creating a mail shot. This was hard work in the pre-internet years. I hand wrote menus on vellum paper, stapled them into booklets and popped them into 25 large envelopes. I then sat back & waited for the phone to ring & ring it did.

Read more of my journey, in a later post on this site.

menu, mail shot, advertising, small business
A menu from the past

Spiced Potato & Carrot Bahji

Spiced Potato & Carrot Bahji’s

I love a nice spicy, crispy Bahji, served with a nice fresh crunchy salad & a big bowl of chilli & cucumber ratia, for dipping. The only thing I don’t like is the fat content. Traditionally, Bahji’s are deep fried, which gives them that gorgeous, crunchy texture, it also gives them a high fat content. Well foodies after playing around a bit with my ingredients & cooking methods, I have come up with these little low fat, gluten free, dairy free vegan & vegetarian Bahji balls.

Carrots, Potatoes, Bahji's, Oven baked, low fat
Hot from the oven

INGREDIENTS: SERVES 4. GLUTEN FREE, DAIRY FREE, VEGETARIAN, VEGAN, Oven temp 200c 400f Gas MK 6.

500g Potatoes, grated. Put in a tea towel & squeeze to remove excess water.

2 medium red onions, grated ( I find red onions more digestible for lowfodmap diets)

200g Carrots, grated

5cm, Fresh Ginger, peeled & grated

2. Fresh red chillies, finely chopped

1tspn Turmeric powder

3 tspns Cumin Seeds

1 tspn Salt

5 Tbspns Gram Flour

Juice of 1 Fresh Lime

2 tbspns Rapeseed Oil

Fresh chillis & Corriander to serve.

es, bahji's, vegetables, low fat, oven baked
Assembling the spicy Veg mix

METHOD:

Place the drained potatoes, carrots, onions, chillis, ginger, spices and salt in a large bowl, & mix together well. (get you hands in).

Add the gram flour & mix well again.

Add the lime juice & oil & mix well again, adding a little more oil if necessary to produce a sticky mix.

Line a baking tray with non stick parchment, roll the mix into small ball, & place a little apart on the tray.

Bake for 25-30mins, checking half way through & turning if necessary.

Remove from the oven & sprinkle with fresh corriander & finely chopped chilli’s

Serve with a grated carrot, spring onion & red pepper salad, a bowl of corriander & chilli yoghurt & mango chutney.

Enjoy.

Another little tip, for low fat nibbles. 15mins before the Bahji’s are ready, Sprinkle some pumpkin seeds in a single layer on baking parchement. Sprinkle with a little salt & some spice of your liking & bake.  Beats peanuts anytime.

pumkin seeds, low fat, nibbles with drinks, vegetarian, gluten free
Spicy, low fat nibbles

TRUFFLEicious Totally Homemade Food. light lunches, salads, bread, cakes — TRUFFLEicious.org

TRUFFLEicious Stable Kitchen, Great Chalfield, Atworth, Melksham, Wiltshire. SN12 8NJ 07778 15737 https://goo.gl/maps/4FccXTZaXuo

via TRUFFLEicious Totally Homemade Food. light lunches, salads, bread, cakes — TRUFFLEicious.org

Home made bread, Artisan Breads, Organic Bread, Cheese Breads, Sweet potato & walnut bread
The Staff of life

Pop in and see us, we are open until 31st October Tues, Wed, Thurs, 12.30 – 3.30 & Sundays 1-4pm.

We cater for all dietary requirements . You can also pre-order our range of homemade organic, Artisan bread, throughout the year. Fresh local free rage eggs also available.

If you have visited us, please leave a comment or leave a review on Trip Advisor.

Summer Food

We tend to think of Christmas as a time of food & feasting, but for me, Summer will always be the time, when feasting on fresh healthy food comes to the fore.

I can think of nothing nicer than whiling away a hot summer’s day with friends, whilst enjoying a delicious light lunch. Maybe you grow your own herbs & veg to make your own salads & dressings. Serve them with this light summery dish, made the night before. Toss a salad on the day & serve with my Small batch, Artisan, Fennel & Sesame Bread.   Add some fresh strawberries & raspberries for dessert & Voila a tasty, healthy, summer meal.

SMOKED SALMON & CUCUMBER MOUSSE

Gluten Free. Vegetarian.        No Cooking time. Prep time: 20mins. Chill Overnight.

Equipment  1.2Ltr Ring Mould.

Serves 6 as a main Course, 12 as a starter.

INGREDIENTS.

Tspn Olive Oil for greasing

200g Smoked Salmon Slices.

1 Medium Cucumber, finely diced.

225g Cottage Cheese, Sieved,

7g Sachet of Gelatine

150ml Water

150ml Homemade Anchovy Mayonnaise

150ml Greek Yoghurt

METHOD.

Lightly grease the mould with olive oil.

Line the sides of the mould with the smoked salmon slices.

Finely dice the Cucumber.

Put the water into a small saucepan, sprinkle the Gelatine over & allow to soak for 5mins. Place over a very low heat, until dissolved. DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL.  Allow to cool.

Place the cottage cheese, mayonnaise into a bowl & mix well.

Working quickly, add the cooled gelatine mix to the cheese & mayo. Mix well.

Add the diced cucumber & fold in the Greek Yoghurt.

Season with white pepper. Pour into the mould, shake to level to top.

Cover with cling film & allow to set overnight.

Bread, Baking, Small batch, Artisan, Bakery
Bread. The Staff of Life

TO SERVE

Loosen the edges carefully with a palette knife & turn out onto a serving dish.

Decorate the edges with lemon slices & fresh herbs.

Serve with Crunchy Cos Lettuce & herb salad and a lemon Viniagarette dressing and slices of my fresh Fennel & sesame Bread.

Don’t forget the Chardonnay.

Chardonnay, wine, summer eating, summer drinking, food
Half empty. Half full ?

 

 

 

Taste have we lost it?

Taste, how do you like your food

Are we becoming a society that has lost its taste?

By taste. I do not mean in the way we dress, or the amount of dubious celebrity gossip we devour on a daily basis. I mean, in this instance, our taste buds.

We all appear to be concerned with perfection in every thing, which in itself is commendable, but when it comes to food, what may be perfection on the outside, is not necessarily so on the inside.

We seemed to be overly obsessed with gluten free, dairy free, going vegetarian or vegan & eating raw or natural foods, food miles etc, however, when it comes to what were are really putting into our bodies, we appear to ignore, what additives or preservatives are in a product & just munch away, as long as it looks perfect & suits our skewed values.

Last week, meat was discovered in two major supermarkets vegetarian ready meals. Wether this was an error on the production line, or an additive – such as gelatine – that had been overlooked in the recipe, it is yet to be known. The point is if we really cared about what goes into our mouths, we would be cooking our own meals from fresh natural ingredients, to ensure our meals are healthy, natural & fresh, not leave it celebrities & mass food producers, too persuade us that their products are the “best thing since sliced bread”.

Food,bread, baking, bakery,homemade
Homemade. The best thing since sliced bread

It is strange, that as we have become so obsessed with food & diet, we seem to have a total disregard for the health & nutritional values of the very stuff that keeps our bodies both healthy & alive.

From my small converted Stable Kitchen in Wiltshire, I endeavour to provide my customers with, fresh totally homemade food, in which I also take the nutritional value into account.

Not for me bowls of the ubiquitous Coleslaw – limp white cabbage & soggy old carrots – smothered in artificial high calorie mayo.

Food,salad, healthy eating,fresh food
Healthy salads with homemade herb dressing
Super homemade salads
Food,homemade,bread,bluecheese,salad
Homemade blue cheese Bread & salad

All my breads are homemade, I offer five different varieties, all made with spelt & rye flours. Soups, in the winter, are all made with fresh local veg & my cakes are all made from my own recipes, being low in fat & sugar, some gluten free. I do not use butter cream or mirror glazes on my cakes, the cake itself needs to be full of taste & you really do not need the extra fat & sugar to mask the flavour. Ok, I know it may be ascetically pleasing, but your body won’t thank you for it, in more ways than one.

On a final point, a yummy, glutenfree Mummy, asked yesterday “What cake do you have” I pointed to the Strawberry & Lemon Mousse cake, pictured in the header of this blog & she replied “That’s not really a child’s cake” When I inquired as to why she said it hasn’t got any chocolate sweets & artificial gold stars on. Ahgggggggg.

Princess Camilla

Another Princess celebrates her special day. 19.5.2018

Food, Birthday Party, Children, chocolate, animals
Animal Magic

The rest of the world was glued to their screens, while another Princess was celebrating her special day in the beautiful grounds of Great Chalfield Manor, Wiltshire.

Surrounded by a gathering of happy children, a little Armadillo was snuffling around in the sunshine. He was preceded by a selection of other creatures. Some more unusual than others. Three brave – or mad, to my way of thinking – little girls had a large snake, draped across their arms, they were giggling with delight as the slithery creature wound its way across their bodies.

No. Great Chalfield Manor, is not a Zoo or an animal sanctuary, but the setting for Princess Camilla’s Fifth Birthday party.

food, children's birthday party, cake, truffleicious
Food for thought

food, cake, unicorn biscuits, cup cakes, truffleicious
Perfect Table Manners

food, children's party, birthday cake, homemade, Truffleicious
The perfect hostess

After a fantastic time on the lawn with the animals, the children let off steam, playing on  the grass. It was then time to head to the Coach House for the birthday girls sumptuous lunch.  What self-respecting little Princess would not want a Unicorn themed party.  Camilla’s wish came true. There were Unicorns everywhere.

 

The menu consisted of totally homemade food by Truffleicious from The Stables Kitchen, Great Chalfield, Wiltshire.

Pride of place was a gluten-free Chocolate Unicorn Cake. complete with Chocolate Unicorn biscuits. Of course there were also unicorn Cup cakes & lots of unicorn decorations.  Mini homemade bread rolls were filled with ham & cheese, with sides of carrot & cucumber sticks. While a cheese & Tomato Pizza Bread also went down well. As a touch of elegance, mini fresh Strawberry tartlets were a well received.

After lunch the children said hello to another animal.  I think a good day was had by all.

food, cake, truffleicious, birthday, party,
Good bye Gypsy

All that’s left for me to say is Happy Birthday Millie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food, as you like it

You are paying for the food & service, but how do you like it?

We Brits are known for a lot of things, but not for complaining. Especially about the food. In particular, food served in our restaurants, sulky serving staff or waiting a long time for our bill.

BBC, Radio Wiltshire, Food, Survey, Programme,
A Good Morning Listen

Yesterday, listening to Marie Lennon’s morning show, Marie spoke of a report she had discovered, regarding our dissatisfaction with restaurants and asked listeners to let her know about their experiences. Apparently a skewed survey, published by a card payment company! suggests, only 7% of us are happy with the food & service we get in eating establishments. The biggest complaint being the time it takes to pay our bill [Well it would have to be that wouldn’t it].

Listening to the Phone In comments, it got me thinking. What do we mean by good food? How terrible does the Waiter/Waitress have to be to be described as bad & how long is a protracted wait for your bill? All of these things, mean different things to different people.

Now, I run a food establishment myself. Stables Kitchen, Great Chalfield & I can quite honestly say 75% of my customers are satisfied & the remaining 25% have various gripes. But are they justified?

Most of my visitors know my food is take away, totally home made, cooked in small batches daily & is vegetarian, with a huge slant towards healthy eating. These customers choose to frequent my establishment because this is the kind of food they enjoy. It is their choice of food & they are happy little foodies.

Other people, who stumble upon me by chance, are not so happy, neither are they foodies. These are my most common complaints, if you can call them complaints.

“What no chips ? what sort of place do you call this ”

“Can I have sliced white bread instead of salad with my Ploughmans” ?

“I only like Mr Whippy Ice Cream”?

“I don’t like vegetarian food”

As I type this blog, a lady has just come up to me & said: “You have too many things written on your black board, I haven’t got the time to read it, so I won’t buy anything”

To be fair, the gentleman who said he didn’t like veggie food, did order my Chickpea, Tomato & Rye Pastry Pie. When finished, he informed me it was the nicest thing he had eaten in a long time & in future he would try different foods, which made me feel extatic. I like people who are willing to try something new.

Are the above comments, complaints or just statements of fact? or do some people just like to have a whinge about anything!

Bad service, as it is only me, who cooks, serves takes payment & washes up, I am usually a cheerful little bunny. In busy periods, maybe the wait for service is too long. Most people understand this & are happy to wait, when I have acknowledged them & explained. However, there are the odd few, who feel they are special & need to be served at once. I just smile & carry on.

As to waiting for the bill, my business is “Take away”, – which conjures up to some, a Burger & Chips joint -. I “Take away” the money, when the order is placed – everybody happy -. As for card payments, the signal in my area is so bad, it’s rather a hit & miss affair.

To sum it all up. Food, as you like it, means different strokes, to different folks. What are your thoughts on complaints and the catering trade?

Why not tune into Marie Lennon’s Morning Show, BBC Wiltshire, weekdays 10-12noon, You can find snippets of current affairs, news worthy items & learn something about the Wiltshire way of life. Who knows, it may inspire you to write a blog.