The last few months have been pretty busy. Three months of builders, dust and countless decisions meant that I did not spend as long in the kitchen as I would have liked.
With the builders gone I have been really enjoying trying new recipes and keeping one of my new years resolutions: to make rather than buy more of our families biscuits and cakes. My resolution was inspired by a terrifying programme I watched that explained what is actually in our food. I imagine it is a question many of us have asked ourselves since "horse meat gate".
I thought if I started with cakes and biscuits I was doing pretty well ... however one of the images that really stood out for me was bread being injected with all sorts of preservatives.
After reading about the changes in bread making since 1961 when the Chorleywood Process was developed I decided I needed to buy better bread ... and learn how to make it.
I had a great day. Vanessa not only runs great courses, that I can not recommend highly enough, but creates a very welcoming environment by running the courses from her kitchen.
As you walk up to the house, through her much loved garden, you are greeted by two well behaved dogs. You arrive at the front door and get a glimpse of the chickens on the other side of the lawn before being ushered through into the kitchen for a cup of tea. You can see the herb garden is taking shape out of the kitchen window and you feel immediately at home.
We were soon all up to are arms in flour making Sourdough and disscussing all sorts of interesting ingredients and our reasons for doing the course. We stopped mid morning for tea and muffins, followed by a delicious carrot soup and Vanessa’s bread for lunch.
In the afternoon my eyes were opened to a whole host of delicious food you can make with sourdough. We made grissini, pizza, focaccia, mini blue cheese and rosemary canapés ... to name a few.
The course had the perfect balance between theory and practice and left me dying to get back to my kitchen ... My first attempt came out of the oven last night ... here is a photo:
Apparently it will take seven loafs before I get a real grasp on baking sourdough ... so I am not going to attempt to give you the recipe.
Instead, I am going to give you my recipe for Jerusalem Artichoke Soup. I made it yesturday and we ate it with the remains of my sourdough loaf and some savory muffins ... I was inspired by the muffins we had on the course so when I came across Vanessa's Caraway & Parmesan Muffin recipe I could not resist giving them ago.
If you are learning to bake or have any views on the Chorlywood Process I would love to hear them ... you can comment below or send me an email.
JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE SOUP - Serves 6
1 Medium onion, 1 Clove of grated garlic, 750g Peeled and chopped Jerusalem Artichoke Frozen, 750ml Boiling water, 3 Teaspoons of Bouillon Stock powder, 100ml Double Cream, Salt and Pepper
- Slice the onions and place in a sauce pan on a low heat with a generous slug of olive oil. Allow them to cook for a few minutes until they are soft.
- While the onions are cooking boil the kettle and make up 750ml of stock. For this recipe I add three teaspoons of bouillon powder to 750ml of boiling water
- Grate the garlic into the onions and stir for a minute
- Add the Jerusalem Artichoke and the boiling stock to the pan. Bring to the boil, once boiling allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes until the Jerusalem Artichoke has become very soft.
- Season with salt and pepper and blend
- Once blended mix in the cream, check the seasoning and serve
I bought 1.2kg of Jerusalem Artichoke ... once I had peeled and chopped them all up I was left with 750g
To test whether the artichoke are ready, gently stab with a fork ... if the fork goes in very easly, like it would through softened butter then they are cooked.
I tend to use a hand held blender for this and blend in the saucepan ... if your worried about it spitting use normal blender.
If you like soup very creamy add more to taste.