back to blogging...
If one thinks about truffles...they were used in kitchens and restaurants as a norm and everyday on the order list on different sections back in my London Savoy days. Knowing full well they were expensive but part of fine cuisine, presentation, flavours and giving any dish the waw factor. This is still the case in smaller restaurants, where passionate Chefs who give their life and love to every single dish, with incredible techniques where real foodies sampling their artistic flair and perfection. Sourcing local ingredients and working with growers and helping artisan producers has been in my life for as long as I can remember make the best out of the best. 20 years ago I arrived in Shropshire on my journey as a Chef. Back then only a handful of local producers were known but plenty of choice of growers. Now in every corner or hamlet of Shropshire there are passionate growers and producers working along side each other to make the finest artisan produce Britain can be proud of. I am working closely together with Rupert and Tracy from Bennet&Dunn organic rapeseed oil, develloping and making natural flavoured rapeseed oils using locally sourced ingredients. We discussed many times truffles, but only if they were local ones. Many moons later I happened to come across Mike Collison, from Shropshiretruffles, on instagram and contacted him immediately, set a date and today was just a fabulous experience. Mike and his 'truffle' dog Oscar took us, Rupert, Tracy and myself into the orchard and as simple as it sounds, Oscar was set to work and told to find truffles, of he went and we just followed him, he certainly had a good nose for truffles and within seconds the first truffles were dug out. Can you believe it, Shropshire truffles....for Mike and Oscar walking through the orchard , digging and picking up truffles is a daily routine, for us three just to experience this was an un-forgetful jaw dropping event to say the least, real Shropshire truffles. Needless to say this won’t be my last visit. Another chapter has begun.
So now we are in August, I know lots of catering establishments meant to be going all full on t.mz , prepping all weekend and then some kind of government 'person' announced yesterday that kids need to stop going to pubs and go to school soon. so shut the pubs, I am not to sure at all what kinda horse sh..t trade-off this is. Who in the right frame of mind comes up with this. It feels like there is an unknown to the public agenda running to cage us all, a little at the time so we get used to it. So wrong....
I do feel sorry for all the new hospitality students, who were looking forward to a career they dreamt of for years, just melting away in front of them. It will have a serious impact in our industry for years to come. I hope there will be more constructive guidelines coming out soon. we all need structure in our life and looking forward to what will be happening tomorrow...
Meanwhile, my new addiction of sour dough breads is more fulfilling then any 1 minute of BBC news. Using great organic flours from Pimhill Farm and Shipton mill, I do look forward making my daily fresh loaves. Healthy indeed and the fresh baked bread smell every day is mouth watering, even better then the smell of freshly ground coffee.
I promise next blog will bea little less politcs...🙂
So this lockdown....I have seen so many people all over the world making sourdough bread in this period so far, It is amazing how people come together, I am always on the lookout for new things and challenges. food is an endless journey of knowledge and learning. I have been speaking to people in Canada, Australia, Bahrain, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Holland to name a few countries working together on new recipes, methods. Exchanging knowledge of the how the who the when and the what, a privilege for sure. From hobby bakers like myself to professionals all having the same ideology to make the best ever ...everyday...
Having been experimenting with starters (mother) using different flour and blended flour, and came to the conclusion, to make the best you got to use the best. Speaking to a baker friend in London, I got in touch with Shipton mill flour company, their website is fantastic, but you need to know what you are looking for as there is so much choice. Well impressed with their service, flour(s) been delivered within 24hours although their website stated it could be a few days as there is a 'pandemic' on the go.
I will be starting to use the flour this week and see what will be the new results/outcome of my sourdoughs. Exciting times. I am eager to implement the new breads/techniques when the lock down is all over.
Happy baking, and I hope this will carry on regardless this lockdown ar another one if it happens again, people are changing for the better in my eyes, more home cooking and baking.
See you all again soon 🙂
Will the Catering Industry ever be the same.... I have been in catering for a little while now, and all the great times, the fab achievements, building consistencies, working together for the same goal, supporting local producers and their foods, making people proud of Shropshire and everywhere else, all been taken away by decisions made higher up, claiming a pandemic is the cause. We still don’t know what Covid-19 is other then it has been around for 60 years, Bill Gates has it all under control and we just wait till given the green light, then one has to pick up the pieces and try and make ends meet, I have a feeling that it might be short lived as a second wave probably will follow soon. That to think that our industry has been around for thousands of years and survived wars, deceases, plagues who where definitely worse then this epidemic....To be the first industry to be shut down to keep people away from each other. Human species need to interact/socialise... the government is discussing now to relax the 2 meter rule what can become acceptable 1 meter. But we are still closed
Cooking every day is my life, my passion and my pride, my Journey has taken me all over Europe and Great Britain, from Festivals to food shows, finest Hotels to incredible eateries using the finest fresh produce, working with and for the great and good and meeting some finest people too.
The last few months gave me time to reflect on our life’s and I am sure we all have and did a lot of home cooking as everyone else, trying to make fine breads using old techniques and have my family around as my tasters, a never ending learning curb and I love it, so it does has it’s positives.
Further, doctors all over the world are saying that there are no obvious symptoms, and no testing is no use as they do not know what they are testing for. The whole lock down should stop immediately and all should go back to Pre-pandemic times and carry on as B4. I agree we should. Negative ‘News’ creates anxiety and uncertainty something we have had enough of lately, life goes on and we all have a purpose and need to have our structured life back.
I hope that 2020 does not end as it began, looking forward to the good times that lay ahead and make it count. Fingers crossed it will be soon...
Well as previously mentioned, a lot of time for practicing and learning/creating new recipes, Sour dough starter is something one has to understand and learn to work with and control. each kitchen environment is different whether it is at home or industrial, they are all different and have an effect on the behaviour of the starter. once you got it going it becomes a never ending daily surprise to see it 'eating' when it has been fed and then there is the end result....every time the baking is done, you cut it in half and look for the sour dough holes and see how nice it has been air rated.....and then you start baking every day till you found your own recipe suiting everything, I am very humble to now have found that and my starter is working nicely, feeding it is a daily routine when having your own breakfast, making dough and overnight proving, all becomes the norm and knowing you have fresh bread every day whether it is a Boule or a French stick. If you want any advice on sour dough starter or methods of making or cooking, there are a good few on you tube etc but I put you in the right direction.