13 May 2013

GUEST BLOG: Two for one

By guest blogger TRACEY

A whole lot of pasta was going on during our latest Foundation For Learning & Life Skills course at the Approved Premises last Wednesday, 8 May. Despite being two guys down, the remaining four of the group swiftly and smoothly completed all the tasks to produce a well-balanced and delicious duo of pasta dishes. Kim listed the many dishes that could be made from the ingredients laid on the table with minimal alteration and explained how the combined ingredients are great to freeze. 

The guys began by preparing the vegetables; dicing the onions and slicing the garlic, then adding salt to draw out the moisture. Kim’s hot on including colour in her diet, as the different colours are not just appealing to the eye but contain a lot of different minerals and vitamins for a healthy body! So the guys set to sautéing the onion, garlic and carrots then added these to the mince they'd already browned. Keeping with the healthy theme, just a little salt was added to the mix as the guys were urged to include fresh rosemary to enhance the flavour instead, or you could also use thyme as both release a woody and fragrant depth. I was delighted that Kim shared a BBQ tip – use the stalk of the rosemary as a kebab stick - I can almost taste the kebab, it's just unfortunate I can’t see the sun as I type!

 The participants' attention was moved to making a roux (cheese sauce) and, considering it was the first time for all, an amazingly smooth, lump-free sauce was achieved – everyone was delighted! We then went off on a tangent sharing our own and family members' secret ingredients, among the mix was salt, sugar, soy sauce and lemon juice, but on this occasion, the secret was out as Kim asked them to add mustard to the roux. Some mushrooms were sautéed and ham was ribboned then both were mixed into the cheese sauce. Once the penne pasta had cooked, all the ingredients were combined and left to let the flavours settle in together, whilst the group finished off the Bolognese sauce.

Kim explained the meaning of ‘Umami’: it's the fifth sense in relation to taste and translates to ‘pleasant savoury taste’, which the guys achieved by adding soy sauce to the Bolognese. Spaghetti was twisted and dropped into a pan of boiling water. Kim highlighted that no salt or oil was needed as oil doesn’t mix with water and the sauce already had salt in it. The meal did not lack in anything but had the lovely addition of fresh broccoli with a drizzle of lemon. I really enjoyed the day’s session!

See the Cracking Good Food Facebook page for more photos from the workshop.

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