16 July 2013

GUEST BLOG: Stew and strawberries

By guest blogger TRACEY

There was genuine disappointment this week at Barlow Hall Primary School as the course of four cooking sessions came to an end. The ladies wanted this session to go out on a high, so eagerly set to prepping the vegetables and beef for a ‘mid-summer’s stew’. Many were surprised with the choice of vegetables, as they compared their standard choice of potatoes, carrots and swede to Kim’s ease of throwing in vegetables that some people don’t necessarily associate with a stew: red onion, beetroot, leek and peppers. 

Kim explained the financial benefits of using vegetables which are in season and she illustrated how versatile the veg mix is: at each stage of the cooking process, she described what you could do to make alternative dishes using the same basic ingredients, for example adding more water to make a soup, or combining with pasta and cheese to make a pasta bake, or putting in pulses for a tasty vegetable chilli. On this occasion, we were using diced beef to keep costs down and, as time was of the essence, make sure the beef would cook and become fairly succulent, which the first choice of lamb on the bone wouldn't in the length of the session. Crushed chilli and smoky paprika were sprinkled into the pot, along with aromatic thyme, rosemary and bay leaves, filling the room with enticing aromas and whetting everyone's appetites.

Next, non-suet dumplings were deftly formed using flour, margarine, water and salt, and were treated to a scattering of finely chopped rosemary before each ball was swiftly lowered into the pan, allowing just enough time for everyone to savour the beautiful smell of the stew.

Then came the part everyone had been eagerly anticipating, the non-bake fruity cheesecake. The team patiently awaited Kim’s instructions of folding in the icing sugar with the Greek yogurt and soft cheese. The fresh strawberries were sprinkled with sugar and chilled in the fridge, and the digestives were quickly crumbled in the food processor. The three parts came together to make a deliciously refreshing and light dessert - what a treat!

A BIG thank you to all at Barlow Hall Primary School, as they made us feel so welcome and both Kim and I had so much fun. We are extremely delighted to be invited back to run another set of four cookery classes in September and we will also be working alongside two of the ladies who just completed the course, so they will be sharing their newfound knowledge and skills and will help to deliver the sessions to a new group of participants. Roll on autumn!

There are more photos from this session on our Facebook page.

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