Real Breadmaking Class in Hertfordshire
From 11-17 May there will be Real Bread events held across Britain to celebrate Real Bread Maker Week.
Join baker and chef Haim Attias of MoreSouth Mediterranean Catering in Hertfordshire for two day Masterclasses.
You will learn how to make a variety of breads from scratch with your own hands.
Participants in the workshop will bake and take home baguette, ciabatta, rosemary focaccia, plaited challach and gluten-free loaves using 100% organic flours.
One of the secrets of excellent taste and texture lies not only in the finest ingredients but in the quality of kneading and prolonged fermentation time of the dough.
Join us from 10h – 16h on either 14 or 15 May. A delicious lunch and refreshments are included. As each class is limited to six participants early booking is essential.
MoreSouth is proud to be one of the very few companies in Hertfordshire to have reached ‘Gold Standard’ in the Real Bread Mark. Find out why here!
Each day workshop is £80 per person.
(Some concessions are available.)
Have fun being a Real Food Hero and learn some skills for life.
Let the sun shine in!
To book or to make enquiries about a Real Breadmaking Masterclass at MoreSouth email firstname.lastname@example.org leaving your telephone number and preferred date, or phone Lisa on 07825 760773.
We look forwards to your company. (Latin cum panis – ‘with bread’). Please share this post on Twitter or Facebook so as many as possible know it’s happening. Thank you so much.
Oranges and (Preserved) Lemons
What is the mediterranean for you? For me the essence is in the smell of warm sunshine on the leaves of a lemon tree, and the radiant orange yellows of the citrus fruit.
I love seeing pyramids of oranges and lemons in the market and I pile them high in bowls at home. The juice and zest, sparkling with Vitamin C, can be used for a 1001 mediterranean delights.
We buy lemons with thick, glossy and unblemished skins in abundance when they are in season.They are kept in glass jars all year round. (Click through for the MoreSouth Preserved Lemons recipé!)
We add them to our Merguez sausage in baguette – which can be tasted every Saturday at the Berkhamsted market in Hertfordshire.
This is how to use Preserved Lemons in as many mezze and salad dishes as you like:
- Pull away and discard the pulp, rinsing the peel quickly under cold water to reduce salt intake
- Cut very finely
- Use tiny amounts for a shot of intense, unforgettable flavour. Half a teaspoonful can be combined with the juice of half a lemon in a salad for 4
Seasonal salad of the moment: Tabbouleh
Originally from the mediterranean shores of Lebanon, Tabbouleh is made of parsley, mint leaves and cracked wheat. It’s a green dish – note the proportion of fresh parsley – and it is essential to cut with a large sharp knife to avoid soggy green bruising of leaves.
–200g flat leaved parsley leaves
–20g fresh mint leaves
- 50g cracked wheat (soaked for an hour)
- 1 very ripe tomato
- Olive oil, Preserved Lemon, lemon juice, salt & black pepper to taste
Combine ingredients, stirring in the finely cut parsley and mint, and diced tomato very gently. Serve within an hour as a mezze dish to awaken the senses.
What uses have you found for the distinctive taste and fragrances of Preserved Lemons?
Flatbread in 5
‘And the cupboard was bare?’
Why not make some flatbread, fast? The quickest method is to pour a runny dough of flour, water and a pinch of salt into a non-stick pan. Fry and flip.
For breakfast spread it with butter and honey, and fold into quarters or roll it up like a pancake with some jam. Fresh and sustaining, this is one of the simplest recipés ever. It will take five minutes.
Pitta bread in an hour?
To make and bake pitta bread it can take less than an hour, – and that includes the dough’s resting time. (Pittas have distinctively teenage qualities. )
They can be kept fresh until evening by storing in a couple of clean tea towels to retain softness and moisture. By the way, next-day-pittas are not great; don’t try it.
20g salt (or less)
5g dry yeast
650 ml water
Knead together ingredients and rest for 25 mins on a floured surface, while pre- heating the oven to the heighest temperature. Insert 2 baking trays, overturned, with space above each for high rising. Flatten fistfuls of dough into very thin (half a centimetre) round shapes and let them rest for 5 mins -always on the floured table. Place them very quickly on the heated baking trays without losing too much heat from the oven.
Now watch the magic through the glass window. Puff balls rising , swelling… and then as soon as they drop, take them out! Depending on the temperature this can be as little as 5 minutes baking time.
for lunch, or a healthy mid morning snack, with omelette, fresh salad vegetables, houmus, tahini or guacemole.
Tear it, and dip it…
for supper, with mezze. The classic mediterranean combination is olive oil, fresh herbs and soft white cheese with olives.
As life get’s busier times becomes shorter and more precious. ‘Eat, pray, love?’
Or make bread from scratch? You can do it in 5.
Time for Daily Bread
It is a miracle today to find our daily bread. This is because good bread is made from time, ( and flour, water, yeast and salt) and time has become the great modern day mystery.
But let’s start with magic. In ‘Ode to Bread’ Pablo Neruda gives imaginative pictures of the amazing rising of dough, and formation into baked loaf.
‘There’s the joining of seed
and you’re growing, growing
all at once
hips, mouths, breasts,
mounds of earth,
or people’s lives.
The temperature rises, you’re overwhelmed
by fullness, the roar
your golden colour is fixed.’
What was on the baker’s shopping list? Good quality flour and a little salt. Fresh water. And maybe some yeast.
In ‘Bread: How easy to make and bake’, Haim Attias gives a recipé and shows a way used for thousands of years in home and community bread baking. The secrets of taste, texture and a good proving lie in the kneading and in the fermentation time. You can leave it to rise for a couple of hours, or overnight according to the rhythm of how your day goes.
This Abracadabra fact is also the basis of a Sourdough starter – just fermented flour and water – instead of yeast. Here comes wonderfully nutritious and delicious bread, full of fibres, minerals and the good forces of the sun!
So why do we often prefer to seek out something to swallow that is packed with calories, enzymes and ‘processing aids’?
Hugh Fearnley -Whittingstall observed,
‘Perhaps it is the time famine that is the greatest blight of our age? How long have I got? How much can I have? How fast can I get it?‘
Are you your own Food Hero? What are your views on the importance of eating real food? (See the link to the ‘Real Bread Campaign’ on the MoreSouth facebook page.)
And does it have anything to do with sitting down around a table?
I gave my Love a …
‘A book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread – and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness -
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!’
Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám
MoreSouth Christmas canapes
Christmas is coming. We are planning times to thank, celebrate and enjoy the good company of friends, family and colleagues. Office parties round off the working year, and we get together to have fun with friends before the dinner on the Big Day.
However, if you are not a restaurant it may well be that you are feeling a little overwhelmed now. While everyone knows that it’s people – not food – that make or break a good party, putting together a delicious feast may add to many other organisational tasks that you have at this time of year.
Bring in the canapés!
All good things start with mezze. The mediterranean tradition of mezze – aka canapés – always creates a sense of welcome and occasion.
It’s cold outside!
Guests may like a glass of sweet mint tea on arrival or some freshly squeezed Blood Orange punch. Another winter favourite is Kir. Add a drop of blackcurrant or cassis syrup to white wine. Champagne makes a Kir Royale to toast the season.
If you have an oven nearby you could put in a small tray of orange peel, rosemary and cloves for warm, spicy wafts of fragrance, while roasting almonds and cashews to serve with the drinks. Before you turn the oven off put in pitta bread or focaccia for a few minutes to eat with whatever your local deli or farm shop has to offer. ( Be assured that they are well stocked at this time of year!) Present the food so that it looks beautiful, and fun-sized.
Of course most companies use the services of a caterer that specialises in locally sourced, freshly prepared dishes. And an increasing number of people at home each year are choosing to order something special before the mad Christmas cooking rush.
You can find a selection of MoreSouth Christmas canapés here. We’re taking orders now for parties and corporate events, for a Mediterranean style Christmas in Hertfordshire and central London. Just give us a call on 07825 760773 or email your order in.
You may like ’3 Top Tips for Magnificent Mezze.‘
How are you celebrating this year?
MoreSouth London food days
Last week we went into central London for a day of market research. Our Hertfordshire location is very near and MoreSouth often caters for events and parties in the capital. Window displays were dotted with Halloween pumpkin lanterns like this arrangement in the famous Fortnum & Mason.
We had coffee in’ L’Eto’ in Soho before walking to Selfridges Food Hall.
The cakes were elaborate and quite pretty.
I was particularly amazed by a pale pink chocolate eclair which had three different coloured crystalled rose petals poised on top.
(No, it’s not here; too beautiful to photo.)
Of course all shops are ready for Christmas sales.
Are you buying any of this year’s festive cookbook best sellers?
Around lunchtime we made our way to the outdoor food stalls in Covent Garden. Last week we served hundreds of lunches of Couscous Royale, and handmade Merguez sausages in organic rolls at the ‘Wood, Wool & Food stall’ at Hemel Hempstead. Here is the stand we liked best from Karantania Delicatessen.
On our Menu page you can find our selection of MoreSouth Christmas Canapés. We’re taking orders for parties and corporate events.
Courgette recipes and cake
It is fortunate that courgettes can be adapted for such a wide range of recipés because they do not stop for many pauses in the 4 month UK summer growing period.
Courgettes are currently Britain’s 10th favourite ‘vegetable’ ( though they are technically a fruit). Their name originates from the french ‘courge‘, with their US alias, zucchini, coming from the Italian ‘zucca’.
In the first MoreSouth bumper courgette blog we showed how the classic mediterranean method of cooking courgette could be transformed into soup, omelette, quiche, soufflé or risotto, and promised 3 delicious salads.
Summer Allotment Salad
Use your own selection of : green beans, celery, asparagus, spring onions, green, red and yellow sweet peppers, chives, parsley, cherry tomatoes, courgettes and mozzarella cheese.
- Blanch the beans, asparagus and courgettes by plunging them for 2 -3 minutes in a large pan of salted water
- Rinse in cold running water
- Add to the chopped celery, onions, tomatoes and peppers
- Make a light dressing (eg. olive oil & lemon)
- Add the fresh herbs and mozzarella just before eating
Baby Courgette Salad
This is a salad which you should only make if you grow your own.
500g of small, picked-today courgettes
handful of fresh mint leaves
- Cut the courgettes into 1cm rounds
- Add mint
- Season with olive oil and either lemon juice or balsamic vinegar, and a little salt
Bi-colour Ribbon Salad
250g young carrots
olive oil, soya sauce
- Peel the courgettes lengthways, including skins
- Peel the carrots lengthways after removing outer peel
- Marinate for 60 minutes in oil and soya dressing at room temperature
Lemon and vanilla are two ingredients which particularly complement the delicate taste of courgette in cake but cupcake makers ‘Petit Pois’ claim that the high percentage of vegetable they use cannot be tasted directly. (They can be bought in posh shops in London.)
And if that doesn’t appeal today-
- maybe a journey back to the mediterranean to tackle Ratatouille is called for as the warmth of summer evenings draws to a close.
If you’ve enjoyed reading all this about courgettes please share it on facebook or tweet it. Thank you. ♥
The courgette: bumper recipes and cake
Courgettes are one of those pushy plants that once arrived in your garden or allotment just keep… well… growing: they are a bumper breed.
The more you pick these ‘immature fruits’ the faster they seem to reappear- from July until mid October. Summer squash can reach a good metre but should be harvested for the best taste at half this size. At the height of summer this can mean picking every day!
Courgettes also want you to know that they are not marrows.
Marrows will become big and hefty, and need more help with flavour, usually by being stuffed. They can be stored in a cool dry room for a few weeks. Courgettes should be used after a couple of days. (And taking them out of a fridge to room temperature causes small, dark pits to form if you don’t get cooking within an hour or two. )
They should not be bought in enormous quantities unless you plan to have a courgette bonanza with all the recipe suggestions that are included in this blog. Don’t choose imported ones because of local gluts -as described above, and because airplane-fresh is particularly unappealing with these smooth, firm, green, gleaming …
So are they good in cakes? Courgettes add a very pleasant fluffy texture and moisture to a cupcake. The delicate flavour complements lemon, vanilla, pistachio, cinammon, camomile, rosewater, coconut, banana or mint. They are low in calories (15 per 100g uncooked) and contain foliate, potassium and vitamin A. So that’s a yes!
The trick is to finely grate and lightly drain of excess moisture immediately before adding to the mix.
Flowers can be stuffed with spinach and ricotta, and deep fried.
The usual way to cook this mediterranean food as a side dish is to stew it gently until the liguid has evaporated, and it is soft, pulpy and aromatic: 1k courgettes, 3 tbs oil, salt, thyme & 3 cloves of garlic.
Add milk and black pepper to this purée to make a soup or add the cooked mixture after draining for 30 minutes to an omelette (with added pinenuts), soufflé, quiche or risotto (with added peas or broad beans) .
Coming next week : 3 delicious salads with courgettes. And more about cakes!
Do you have a recipé to share?
Do share the Courgette-Love online if you have found this interesting!
Breakfast goes on holiday
What is food indulgence for you? A dessert after dinner to linger over or a special breakfast to start your day?
If you are a morning person it can be great fun to invite friends over at the weekend. Start with a jug of juice, a loaf of fresh bread and a large platter of summer fruit on the table.
Dishes like ‘Fresh Baked Beans’ (cf. Recipé below) can be prepared the day before and warmed in the oven. Or you could create a hotel buffet of breakfast side bowls with roasted tomatoes, grilled mushrooms and crispy potato cubes.
Or maybe you prefer breakfast in bed? (You just need to know a Morning Person to collaborate here!)
There is an intimacy about breakfast that cannot be recreated in even the most gourmet restaurant dinner.
What about a delicious bowl of red, white + blue (supporting Team GB ,of course, in London 2012) of Raspberry Swirl Yoghurt with Blueberries? Purééd redcurrants or strawberries work just as well.
Can’t get away?
Holiday is time as well as place. It’s a change or a surprise. It’s doing what you want and eating what you love.
Whether you want a Balcony Breakfast (=newspaper, coffee + view) or a Spa Breakfast (Avocado Salsa with lemon, coriander leaves and finely cut spring onions ) just make sure you grab the day and make it what you love.
Recipé: Fresh Baked Beans
handful of ripe cherry tomatoes
2 tbs of olive oil
can of cannellini beans
Small pinch of chilli flakes
1 red onion
Large pinch of fresh basil or oregano leaves.
- Fry the onion lightly for 2 minutes in olive oil, adding garlic & chilli flakes.
- Add the tomatoes and beans, and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Bake covered in a medium oven until the tomatoes are slightly shrivelled.
Garnish with fresh, shredded basil ororegano leaves.
(Optional extra: add prociutto when you are frying the onion.)
What breakfast really makes your day?
I’d love to know what your favourite holiday breakfast is!
If you have enjoyed reading this feel free to share it on facebook or Twitter. Thank you.