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

BBC Wiltshire – Rachel Houghton, 27/11/2018

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06qgwjp

BBC Wiltshire – James Thomas, 27/11/2018https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06qgwjp

Hi Foodies, I am feeling very lucky today, the lovely Emma Coleman from BBC Radio Wiltshire visited my little Stable kitchen, last week, to interview me.  That was luck in itself, but just imagine my feeling of elation when my recorded interview appeared not just on one, but both of the above mentioned radio programmes today. If you click the links above, you will be able to hear them.

Now. If you heard the programmes & read my previous blog – link in red below – you may wish to make your own Fondant Icing (Ready rolled). The recipe follows:

FONDANT ICING. Covers 1 x 10cm cake.

1, level dessertspoon powdered gelatine, mixed with 3 dessertspoons of cold water.

100gm Granulated Sugar

6.Tbspns hot water

1.Tbspn Fresh Lemon Juice

2.tspns vanilla essence

25ml Vegetable oil

1/2 – 3/4 kg Sifted Icing Sugar.

METHOD

Place granulated sugar, hot water & lemon juice in a small saucepan & bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve.

Cover & boil for 2mins, uncover & boil for a futher 5mins until a little of the syrup forms a soft ball when dropped into very cold water.

Add the gelatine mix, essence & oil & stir to dissolve. Cool until luke warm.

Put half the icing sugar in a large boil & add the syrup mixture,stir well to combine. Gradually work in the remaining icing sugar, with the fingers, kneading until the mix becomes, smooth & pliable.

Place in a plastic bag & leave at room temperature overnight.

Roll out on a board dusted with sifted icing sugar & use to cover your cake. At this stage you can knead any colourings into the icing. This icing is also suitable for moulding. See the little snow men in the photo above.

You will also find my original blog, regarding the nasties in store bought icing, by clicking the link below:

If you have any questions on your Christmas cookery please feel free to ask.

Just leave your question in the comment box below.

If you have been. Thank you for reading & possibly listenening.

How do you like your Icing?

Ready to Roll Icing 

It’s that time of the year again. You’re rushing around like a headless turkey, trying to get everything done, buying presents for his parents, trying to calm down the over excited kids and all of a sudden, your remember. “Ahhhh I haven’t iced the cake”. Presuming you made one in the first place! Well, of course you did. You like to feed your family, wholesome, natural foods, not products loaded with chemicals, preservatives & goodness knows what else.

You are a domestic goddess, you know what’s good nutrition wise, for your brood, you substitute butter for low fat spreads, to keep their hearts healthy, buy low sugar products to help their teeth & weight & try to get them to eat their 8 a day – no chance – . But. During all this healthy eating campaign, are you aware of what is actually in those substitutes? & their  food mile foot prints?  Do you read the ingredients list, in small print, on the back of products?

We need to be a couple of generations older, to know what some of these additivies will do to us – think smoking – Are you mindful of the ecco damage we are doing to our planet? – think Orangutan –  What is wrong with cooking & making fresh healthy food from scratch. Yes, I can hear you all crying “TIME”.  Well it is time. Time to get yourself organised, spend less time on FB & that glass of Chardonay every night & prioritise your week, as you CAN do it, you owe it to yourself & your family. 

Time, verses ready made products. The food industry is well aware of this, by persuding us to buy these tempting, ready made, calorie & chemical laden products.

This brings me back to the title of this blog How do you like your Icing? Please read in conjunction with my previous blog Marzipan

ready to roll icing,royal icing,icing additives,icing sugar,homemadeicing
Always read the label
Icing, Icing sugar, ready made icing, royal icing, home made icing,
Thanks white stuff

Ready to roll, (cake covering or fondant) is the most common, store bought icing. While it takes a little while to make, but you can soon whip it up in that lovely food mixer that stands, unused on your work surface. One thing you can be sure of, you know exactly what it contains. Just take a look at the ingredients list in the store bought products above.

Royal icing (piping, decoration). Is much easier to make, again in the mixer. Both icings are also much cheaper to make than their store bought counterparts. 

What I really don’t understand, is that so many of us seem to be aware of & indeed want gluten free, dairy free, Lowfodmap, lactose free, vegan, vegetarian etc, but we don’t seem to care about the additives, artificial chemicals & goodness knows what that is added to our foods. 

Its also not just about the Supemarkets. Don’t forget those ready made cakes you purchase, whether from a Farm Shop, Bakery or a social media advertiser of home made cakes!  Do you check their ingredients?  Can you be sure that they home make their own cakes & icings & don’t resort to packet cake mixes, store bought icings & decorations? Always beware of the words “hand made”. 

Follow me on twitter & Instagram for ideas & ingredient lists

In the long term, all these additives could be doing us untold harm. Who knows, only time will tell. So. Make the time, to home make your food from scratch, or you my find YOUR time is shortenened, in the long run.

Next year, my blog will include a weekly update of seasonal foods, with recipes & ideas on how to priorotise your time & feed your family with healthy home made foods.

So. Whats in your icing this Christmas?

Halloween Butternut Squash

Autumn is finally upon us. Apart from the cold mornings the weather continues to be glorious. Walking my furry friend across the fields, the early morning mist creates an eerie atmosphere & evokes memories of smoky bonfires, leaves rustling underfoot and of course Halloween.

Here at TRUFFLEicious, we are preparing for the closure of Great Chalfield Manor for this year & concentrating on our winter activities.  Writing my recipe book  TRUFFLEicious, Nutritious, Nutrition is one of my projects for the winter months & continuing to retail my homemade Gluten free Cakes, Spelt & Rye Breads & of course, Chocolate Truffles (Full details on my website www.truffleicious.org) is another.

Right enough waffling back to Halloween with its Pumpkins & Gourds.  This month’s recipe is vegetarian, for the carnivores amongst you, some spicy sausages or chicken, would make a great addition. You can also make double the amount & serve one half hot & save the rest to have as a salad for the next day.

Oriental Butternut Squash, Black Kale & Spelt with Sesame & Pomegranate Dressing

Serves 6.  Low Fodmap. DF, V, Vegan.  Oven heat 180c, 350f, Gas 4

INGREDIENTS:

2 Medium Butternut Squash, Halved, seeds removed & chopped into large cubes.

1 Large Bag of fresh Black Kale. Shredded.

2 Red Onions, Peeled & quarted.

2 Red Peppers. Deseeded & cut into chunks.

Seasoning

4 Tbspns. Rape Seed Oil.

Sesame Oil to taste.

For the dressing:  Put all ingredients in a screw top jar. Shake to emulsify.  Adjust to taste.

100ml. Cider Vinegar.

tspns Lemon Grass Paste

2 Crushed Cloves Garlic

2 tspns Clear Honey.

50ml. Low Salt. Vegan Soy Sauce

Ground Black Pepper

200ml. Rape Seed Oil.

150g Brown Spelt. Cooked to packet instructions.

METHOD:

Preheat the oven.

Place the oil in a large roasting tray.  Add the Squash, onion, peppers, season well with salt & pepper.

Toss everything together to coat veg with the oil. Roast for 15 – 20 mins, until cooked but not mushy.

While the veg are roasting make the dressing & quickly stir fry the black kale in a large Wok.

Using a slotted spoon, place cooked veg in a large serving dish; add the drained spelt & kale.

Toss together, drizzle with Sesame Oil, to taste & serve either on its own with crusty bread or with grilled halloumi.

If you are having a Halloween or Bonfire party, this dish looks brilliant served in a pumpkin shell or individual halved, different coloured gourd shells.

Enjoy.

Whats it all about

The Low Fodmap Diet.

So, what is it all about?  FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides Disaccharides Monosaccarides & Polyols.

Fermentable: Carbohydrates. are the sugars which are easily fermented in your digestive system. They include all of the short chains of sugar molecules mentioned below:

Oligosaccharides:  Carbohydrates. Are a saccharide polymer containing a small number of monosaccharides [simple sugars] which can have many different functions. Being Non digestible food ingredients, they selectively stimulate the growth of prebiotic bacteria in the colon. We cannot digest and absorb these.

Disaccharides: Carbohydrates. Double sugars Formed when two monosaccharides are joined together & a molecule of water is removed from the structure. [hydrolysis].   Three common examples being sucrose, lactose [discomfort causing sugar] & maltrose.

Monosaccarides:  The most basic form of Carbohydrates. Any of the class of sugars, that cannot be hydrolysed to give a simpler sugar. Some have a sweet taste examples include glucose [dextrose], fructose & galactose.

Polyols:  Sugar free sweeteners. Carbohydrates, but not sugars. Used volume for volume in the same amount as sugar is used. Unlike aspartame , saccharin & sucralose which are used in very small amounts.  They are included in a variety of foods we consume each day.

The low Fodmap diet was developed in Australia at Monach University by gastroenterology professor Peter Gibson and Dietician Sue Shepherd & has been adapted for the UK by reserchers at Kings College London.

Now you all understand the meanings of the catchy acronym. Tomorrow we will be investigating some of the low Fodmap foods & the care you should take when embarking on this diet.

ipp
Bloating Brocolli

If you have been. Thank you for reading. Until Tomorrow.

References:

Dr Sarah Brewer.

shepherdworks.com

Kings College. London