When writing articles for Breeze magazine I have been inspired by foodie people and places in Pembrokeshire. I recently attended an event which brought together teachers, college staff, farmers and food producers, all wanted to ensure children and young people know about their food and where it comes from.
Examples of schools visiting farms, and farmers going in to talk to pupils were good to hear – especially after one local teacher told us a pupil in her class thought tomatoes grew underground and another thought milk was made in factories. These stories surprised me, I naively assumed that children growing up rurally would have a better grasp of how food gets to their plates.
Whilst there is some great work taking place to inform and educate about food production, barriers remain – such as funding or health and safety. More worryingly, some farmers and food producers expressed frustration and sorrow at the misunderstanding and hostility they can encounter when off their farms. Talking with them it became clear that it is not only children and young people who know little about these industries that we all rely on.
I’m reminded of an adage told by a farmer friend, ‘All being well you’ll need a doctor and a solicitor a handful of times in your life, but you’ll need a farmer three times a day’. I suggest we could all learn more about where our food comes from and value the people who produce it for us. Encouraging more young people into the food and farming industries would be great too, across Wales they employ 1.5 million people, offering varied and interesting careers. I started working in catering 20 years ago and I still love it.
This is my final article for Breeze magazine, thank you for reading (thoughts and recipes will continue to flow here on the blog!) I’ll sign off with a sweet goodbye recipe. Tarten Planc (Griddle Tarts) or Teisennau ar y Maen (Bakestone Turnovers) aka, as with the large version in this recipe, known as a Harvest Cake – most suitable for this time of year! They would have been made on a planc or bakestone traditionally, but a frying pan works as well. Use whatever fruit you have available, rhubarb or cooking apples work well, and you could add berries too. I like to eat it with cheese (it’s a Yorkshire thing..!)
Welsh Harvest Cake
150g plain flour (I used 100g white + 50g wholemeal rye flour)
3 tblsps cold water
1 large stalk of rhubarb / 1 large cooking apple
1 tblsp butter
1 tblsp sugar
1 – First cook the fruit (or use leftover cooked fruit). Wash the fruit, peel if necessary then cut into even chunks.
2 – Place fruit into a pan and sprinkle over the tablespoon sugar and butter, cover with a lid and gently simmer until soft. Leave to cool, strain off excess liquid, taste and add more sugar if needed, to your taste.
(I cooked my rhubarb in the oven, as it was on for other stuff. To cook in the oven – Heat oven to 160c. Place fruit in an ovenproof dish and sprinkle over the tablespoon sugar and butter, cover with a greaseproof paper/a lid and bake for 15-20mins until soft. Leave to cool, strain off excess liquid, taste and add more sugar if needed, to your taste.)
2 – To make the pastry, put the flour into a large mixing bowl, dice the butter and mix into the flour. Rub the butter with the flour between your thumb and fingers, until it resembles sand and there are no more large lumps of butter. Pour in the water, mix and press together into a ball. Wrap the ball of pastry and place in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to rest (pastry will last about a week in the fridge, if you want to prepare it in advance).
3 – When ready to make, split the pastry into two large and two smaller pieces. Roll them all out to about the thickness of a £1 coin, the large/small should be equal sized pairs. If you like to be neat cut them into rounds, using a saucer/pastry cutter for large/small.
4 – Prepare the small pie (Tarten Planc) first – this will be your tester! Place a spoonful of fruit mix onto the bottom pastry circle, spread it out leaving a 1cm edge. Dab a little water around the edge then place the second piece of pastry on top and seal around the edge, gently squeeze out any air trapped inside before you finish sealing.
5 – Warm a frying pan over a low heat and place your Tarten Planc in the centre. Cooking low and slow is the trick with these pies (as with Welsh cakes). You’ll notice the appearance change a little, they’ll puff up slightly and appear a little greasy as the butter in the pastry melts. Turnover when you think it’s ready, when it’s golden on both sides and the edges have changed colour too they pie’s ready. Allow it to cool a little (the filling will be very hot), then eat while still warm with cream, ice cream or cheese (this maybe a Yorkshire eccentricity!)
6 – Repeat this process with the larger pastry rounds to make a Harvest Cake. You can use any pastry scraps and leftover filling to make Teisennau ar y Maen – roll into a round, add filling to half the pastry round then fold the pastry as if making a pasty.
This article was the final part of a series in Narberth Breeze magazine.
Last week I had a great evening with an interesting group of women in Haverfordwest while giving a cookery demo and talk to ‘The Ladies Who Can’t Lunch’. I was asked to demonstrate a couple of recipes which are quick to produce and tasty (and facilities were limited so it also had to be something I could make on a camping stove!).
I started by making a tortilla wrap dough, this is so simple, just flour, water and a pinch of salt, it’s barely a recipe really.
I use 25g/heaped tablespoon plain flour per wrap, a pinch of salt and about half the amount of water to flour (approx 12g/a level tablespoon per wrap), just enough to bring it together into a pliable dough – too firm and it’s tough to roll out, too wet and it’s too sticky to roll out – add water/flour as necessary to get a workable consistency. I mix it together by hand, knead it a little until it’s a smooth ball of dough, then I leave this dough on one side while I prepare the filling.
Leftovers work well in the filling if you have them or anything in your fridge/cupboard that you think will taste good together. For example I often use leftover veg and meat from a roast; chilli con carne; bolognese sauce; or fresh vegetables and cheese if there are no leftovers around (if adding meat I’d cook it first). I imagine a sweet filling would also work well but I’ve not tried it (yet), maybe apples and blackberries… Chop/dice/grate your filling so it’s all in small pieces – so they’ll heat through quickly.
Divide your dough into equal portions, depending on how much flour you used and how many you plan to make. Knead each small portion into a smooth ball, squash flat and roll out into a disc about half a millimetre thick and 20cm diameter. If you’d like to make tortillas/flat bread; these are now ready to pan fry, in a lightly greased frying pan on a medium-high heat.
Alternatively you can fill the centre and fold the edges over the filling to make a parcel. Pan fry these in a little oil on a medium high heat. I fry on the folded side first and when it has changed colour and started browning I flip over to cook the other side. Adjust heat as necessary, they need to brown but not too quickly as the filling needs to warm up too. They parcel is cooked when it’s turned opaque white all over with golden brown patches. You can keep them warm in the oven, serve straight away or cool and have them cold for packed lunches.
Update: New date confirmed! There is a waiting list with a couple of spaces still available.
I’m very pleased to announce an up-coming cookery workshop, making sourdough bread with gluten free flours. It’s taken a fair bit of experimentation in the kitchen but I’m now really happy with the loaves I’ve been making and am ready to introduce them in a cookery workshop at Small World Theatre in Cardigan so you can make them too!
During the morning workshop we’ll discover the versatility of using gluten free sourdough starter in a variety of recipes and blend a variety of non-wheat flours to bake bread. I’ll demonstrate how to make a host of dishes with your sourdough starter, with plenty of opportunities for you to get hands-on and join in with the baking and cooking.
Insights into the history and benefits of eating sourdough and fermented foods will be available from Suzanne Riley who will be joining us to discuss natural nutrition during the workshop.
Together we will make a range of dishes which will be shared over lunch and all participants will take home their own gluten-free sourdough starter and recipes. Most ingredients are certified gluten-free, and all are wheat-free, a range of flours will be available to purchase too. Please mention any food preferences, allergies and intolerances when booking.
The workshop is on Saturday 5th December 2015 at 10am-1pm and will be followed by lunch, a chance to enjoy the foods we’ve made during the workshop. New date confirmed! There is a waiting list with a couple of spaces still available.
The workshop is £40 per person, everyone will take home a gluten free sourdough starter and a recipe booklet with the workshop recipes.
Places are limited and booking is essential – in person at Small World Theatre or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a booking form.
Pembrokeshire Cook are running a gluten free baking workshop at Canolfan Hermon on Sunday 17th May, 3pm-6pm, £15 per person. Please contact Canolfan Hermon or phone them on 01239 831968 to book onto the workshop. For more information about the workshop please contact Pembrokeshire Cook .
Image Posted on Updated on
The Real Bread Campaign are working tirelessly to promote good, honest, tasty bread in the UK. I’m proud to be a member and planned to support their Sourdough September promotion. I am a little late..!
I hope this addition to the plethora of sourdough bread recipes available will prove useful, I have illustrated it with lots of photos as I think this helps if you’re trying it for the first time.
Over the past few years I have honed my recipe based on my life at the time. The long fermentation and proving process is adaptable and I’ve been able to fit it around a busy working day, lazy weekends and now the demands of a small child. The process relies on time but demands very little from the baker, probably an hour of your time over 24 hours. I now use a food mixer but it’s not much more work to mix and knead by hand.
You will need:
665g (250g+115g+300g) strong bread flour (white, wholemeal or a mix)
230g sourdough starter (make your own or beg some from a friend/friendly local bakery!)
415g (300g+115g) water (use bottled if your tap water is especially high in chlorine, my tap water works fine)
10g fine sea salt
Create the sponge; put 250g flour into a large mixing bowl/food mixer bowl, add starter and 300g water. Mix/whisk until smooth. Cover and leave overnight, it should be sticky and bubbly in the morning. (Refresh starter by replacing 115g bread flour and 115g water).
To make the dough add 300g flour and the salt to the mix.
If kneading by hand, it will be sticky to start with, try not to add much extra flour as a wetter dough will make a better loaf. Knead until a smooth, stretchy dough is formed.
If kneading in a food mixer, use dough hook on low setting to start with, when a dough forms increase the speed to medium for a few minutes then return to slow for a few more minutes, until a smooth, stretchy dough is formed.
Cover and leave to rise until double in size, timings will vary depending on the temperature, a few hours in a warm room, and longer if cool.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and deflate and ease it into a rectangle shape by pushing it with your hands. Fold the bottom third up over the dough, fold the top third down (like making puff pastry). Rotate 90 degrees and repeat twice. The dough should become smooth and springy.
Create a proving basket by laying a tea towel in a large bowl. Dust with flour and place the dough smooth side down on the tea towel, dust the top of the dough with flour and cover with the overlapping tea towel. Leave to prove until doubled in size, probably around one and a half to three hours (depending on room temp, you can slow down/speed up to suit you by placing in fridge/warm place).
Heat the oven to the highest setting, 250 c/Gas 10. Place a large cast iron pan with lid in the oven, to warm up as the oven heats up (the pan will create similar conditions to a bread oven, giving the loaf extra lift and great crust. If you don’t have one just bake on a baking tray).
When the oven is full temp, remove the pan and dust inside with flour, tip the dough straight in, place lid on pan and return to the oven.
Bake at full temp for 10-15mins then reduce temp to 200c/Gas 6, bake for a further 20-30mins then check. The loaf should have risen well and a good crust should be forming, it will probably still be quite pale. If the loaf seems well risen and crusty, you can remove it from the pan and return to an oven shelf to finish browning for 5-10mins. If not quite firm/crusty enough, leave in the pan with lid on for a few minutes before removing from pan and browning in the oven. The loaf should be quite dark and crusty; it will lighten and soften a little on cooling. (Ideally you will hear it cracking and sighing as it cools, this is a great sign!)