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.
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.
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 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.
Mediterranean abundance: the Horn of Plenty
Summer in the mediterranean promises a glut of luscious fruit, fish and vegetables. It’s no wonder the ‘The Mediterranean Diet’ evolved in an area of such rich, natural surroundings.
And generosity is inherent in mediterranean hospitality.
How much would you like?
At the market mangos are in season next month. Why not take a kilo of almonds now – freshly picked, and still in their soft, green velvety husks? Or a carrier bag full of lychees? Plums, apricots, nectarines and peaches - reminiscent of the heavy, golden sunlight ooze with sweet and sticky juices.
(TIP: Can be devoured in quantity over the kitchen sink to save on wiping up.)
Then there’s the watermelon, inspiration for a hundred crisp, cool salads – if you can carry it home!
No one’s counting
Breakfast can be a mini banquet but make sure to leave room for lunch. (Remember, you can siesta later.) This is the time to make the most of the mediterranean tradition of mezze.
Our family loves to visit the falafel stand by the sea where we can pile up our pitta breads with as many freshly cut vegetables and sauces as we want, to complement the delicious deep-fried chickpea balls.
Sometimes we prefer to sit on the restaurant terrace. Before our main dish arrives the salads start coming, and soon the table will be crowded with 15-20 plates - a delight for all the senses. We didn’t order any of these – they’re on the house, but my daughter notices that her favourite shredded cabbage has not been included this time. It is brought, together with another basket of warm pitta and an extra dish of houmus, broad beans and virgin olive oil (my husband’s favourite) at no extra cost.
And more of The Good Life…
at the shared table. Dinner is usually a celebration of family ritual coming from the innate confidence in cooking that most mediterraneans enjoy.
If you are fortunate enough to be a guest you will be offered plates of nourishing, colourful food. It’s hard to say ‘No.’ There is little packaging and complicated processed recipés. Maybe this is why the food is so good?
We can all learn to be satisfied with the fruits of the earth. Even if we don’t have a pomegranate tree at the bottom of the garden, grape vines swinging in our faces or a handful of fresh dates to make the most regal of desserts it is picking the simple, good produce around us that inspires great dishes.
Don’t you think?
Plastic Fantastic Greenhouse
What’s the weather like today? Answers in the UK this Spring would be either ’ changeable’ or ’ rainy & windy.’ Those who work on the land, in gardens, allotments or in agriculture have needed the option of a protective environment for young plants and seedlings.
We built a greenhouse from recycled plastic bottles on the new site of the Hemel Food Garden.
I asked Emma Norrington of Sunnyside, the local charity which is responsible for transforming this land on the edge of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire how this ecological bottle-house came into being. She described how the pile of bottles were first washed, then cut, then threaded on to bamboo canes and placed into wooden frames.
(Photo – Graham and Sheila, environmental services officers from Dacorum Borough Council)
Emma: ‘We were amazed by how many bottles we were able to use in the project, and the realisation of just how many more must be used and discarded each day.’
Emma: ‘The bottles in frames formed the wall panels, and then roof panels were built in the hangar before being brought out and put on top – quite a moment!
I’m amazed how beautiful it looks too. People shown round the site are fascinated by our bottle house, and all take photos, vowing to construct their own.’
Question: What will you use the greenhouse for?
Emma: ‘First of all for as many tomatoes as we can grow in there! The Hemel Food Garden team is really looking forwards to seeing the plants and fruit growing (and glowing) through the bottle walls. We have applied for planning permission for a local food shop on site.
We are extremely grateful to Haim and Mischa from MoreSouth mediterranean catering who worked on the project from start to finish. Haim developed the design and oversaw the sourcing of the waste bottles.
And we certainly couldn’t have done this without local renewable energy company RES , who took it on as a Corporate Social Responsibility task and worked with other local volunteers.’
So – all that are needed are time, willing helpers and a couple of thousand plastic bottles, as well as wood for frames and a door. No special engineering skills are required – just a willingness to think creatively about waste materials. Purists may be happy with the air circulation that comes from gaps in the structure, otherwise it is possible to use a bit of old bubble-wrap and silicon to fill in.
And remember, glass can smash in stormy, variable weather,( appart from being quite expensive these days) whereas reserach has already shown that ‘plastic fantastics’ last for at least several years.
On May 11 the Hemel Food Garden will be officially opened when 90 guests will be invited to have a tour and enjoy a buffet lunch provided by MoreSouth.
What have you made for your garden out of recycled materials?
The way to someone’s heart on Valentine’s Day?
By guest writer, Virginia Webb
There is one day a year when I categorically won’t go to a restaurant, however much I love dining out – and that day is Valentine’s. Because even if you are truly, madly and deeply in love, there is something deeply cringe-worthy about sitting there surrounded by a clutch of other doe-eyed couples. Valentine’s day is one day when you should cook your way to someone’s heart.
Imagine coming home to a delicious meal, with your partner having taken time think of what you love to eat? All you’d have to do is dive into a glass of well-chosen wine before feasting on simple, but delicious flavours – now wouldn’t that utterly gorgeous? Or, if you both like cooking, you could do a course each and spoil each other.
As for the aphrodisiac qualities of certain food, it might be fun to include a few items that have a reputation for certain effects on Valentine’s, but don’t take that aspect of the food too seriously, otherwise you’ll be too focussed on the result rather than enjoying the moment!
Here are a few ideas of Mediterranean ingredients that could be fun to use this coming Valentine’s, which are a little less clichéd than oysters and chocolate:
Honey – eating honey is a sensual experience in itself, but it also provides a shot of natural energy. Known as ‘The Nectar of Aphrodite’ and created from the nectar of flowers it embodies ripeness and romance.
Chili Peppers – seems an unlikely food to have an amorous effect, but the eating of spicy chili releases natural painkillers, endorphins, which end up making us feel good. Make sure your beloved likes them as much as you do though!
Basil – a wonderful, zingy flavour, fresh basil is a feature of many Mediterranean dishes, but did you know that in Roman times basil was a symbol of love?
Pomegranate – in mythology, this stunning red fruit was the symbol of Aphrodite and has long been held to have aphrodisiac qualities. Be that as it may, it’s packed with vitamins and antioxidants, and is a fabulous addition to both sweet and savoury dishes.
Figs – Apparently eating a fig in front of a loved one is the ultimate sensual act! Linked with love and temptation, it’s been suggested that the fig was the original forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Why not end a meal with fresh figs and great cheese, which coincidentally has ten times the amount of the feel good chemical PEA than chocolate.
Whatever menu you choose (or persuade your partner to cook for you!), the important thing is that it really is a labour of love, served with verve and in an atmosphere of sensuality and indulgence. So go on, cook up a storm this Valentines!
Virginia Webb recently founded The Good Fork after a varied career which has involved studying and working in Italy, France and Portugal. She has had a life long interest in good food, starting as a child at her mother’s side baking biscuits and intensified by cooking and eating her way round most of Italy, working in Paris as a waitress, and latterly hosting a local Supper Club.
With The Good Fork she aims to bring the fine foods of the Mediterranean within easy reach of keen cooks across the UK, and to encourage them to taste some of the delicious flavours she has enjoyed on her travels.
www.thegoodfork.co.uk/ currently features a delicious deli-box packed with ingredients on the theme of love, ‘The Lovin’ Forkful’. This contains eight fine foods from around the mediterranean and a quirky leaflet with recipe ideas, priced at 39.50.
For further information about this or the monthly deli-boxes visit the website or call 020 81661900.
What will you be cooking this Valentine’s Day?