20 June 2013


By guest blogger KIM IRWIN

Tuesday 11 June saw the team return to Chorlton High for a 'Guest Chef' session, showcasing the talented local chef Wendy Swetnam. Wendy's chosen menu reflected the tantalising tastes of the Middle East with tabbouleh salad plus fried butter beans with feta and sorrel, accompanied by handmade flatbreads. It was a super packed-out session with 14 eager cooks ready to learn the secrets of this mouth-watering cuisine.

They were soon divided into three groups and Wendy demonstrated the dough-making process first in order for the bread to rise in time. The cooks then began making their own dough with the ingredients of flour, yeast, salt and water… it's as simple as that, and all the batches began to rise nicely a short time after. Next up was the tabbouleh salad, using couscous as a base. This was soon soaking in boiling water as the cooks prepped the ingredients to make up this traditional, fresh dish. Deseeded tomatoes, cucumber and purple spring onions were all finely diced then combined with the fluffed-up couscous, and the final stage was prepping the delicious fresh herbs which really brought the dish alive. Wendy suggested using flat leaf parsley, mint and basil to give the salad depth and flavour, and it was finished with lashings of freshly squeezed lemon juice. After seasoning, the salads were ready to taste… wow! All agreed it was the perfect food to enjoy in warmer weather.

Next up was our main dish of Ottolenghi-inspired fried butter beans. The butter beans were fried with garlic and olive oil until nicely golden and begining to caramelise. Sorrel was shredded and wilted in with cubed feta, then lemon juice was added with some sea salt for seasoning. It tasted amazing and we were all keen to cook the flatbreads so we could get eating. The dough was soon rolled out into single breads and sprinkled with the traditional spice of za'atar, which is a combination of sesame seeds, oregano and sumac. As they baked in the oven until golden, the room was soon filled with a delicious smell, and we were ready to eat. It was such a flavoursome banquet with the tastes of sumac, lemon and sorrel all combining to produce a citrus taste sensation. Well done to Wendy and the cooks - another great Cracking Good Food session with some inspiring recipes and great food!

One of the participants has written about her experience over on Good Gobble: a blog about gobbling delicious food and there are more photos from this session on the Cracking Good Food Facebook page.

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