We just had a really cool request for a healthy, simple, reassuring take away meal to be served to a group of weary travellers arriving in London after a 27 hour flight-airport-flight journey of horror.
We supplied the wine (a magnum of red natural wine to help them sleep), bread (E5), cheese (Mons) and a main mean; milk and herb polenta with a spinach, chickpea, butter beans, tomato, celery, pancetta stew. We did the cooking and they collected it on the way past and served it at their place.
Looks like they were too tired to stem the purple sprouting brocolli,... or maybe they just ate it raw while they ate the cheese and bread?!
Ah, it all looks innocent enough to start with. Chrisitan and Rob fill the tractor with petrol to get the adventure started: Prepare a sheep for dinner from start to finish for our lovely hosts, Annabel and Peter.
We picked our two favourite and yummy looking sheep from the paddock rounded them up and pulled out our knives. No pictures of the gory bits- we have to have a bit of respect for the poor sheep... but here we are skinning and gutting them. We have suspended them from the tractor forks so we can drain the blood quickly and also adjust the height. You can see our lovely host, Annabel, in the middle.
Here we have the should which we are going to dress with olive oil, rosemary, garlic and anchovy.
Yummy, it already looks delivious and we havent even started cooking it.
We are cooking this should under a giant cast ion bell- its a trick we learned in Crotia and we love it. First of all find yourself a giant cast iron bell...
Second you need to cut up a sheet of corrugated iron and make a sombrero hat for the bell which will hold all the coals on top of the dome. Thusly...
Light your fire to get the coals ready. Put the bell over the meat, pile the coals on top and you're cooking. For a shoulder this size it will take about 4-5 hours.
Unfortuntaley for us we were just the cooks so once we got it to this stage we were off. Great reports about the meal though and fabulous fun getting it ready!
I swear by Kombucha. Its a fermented tea and its deicious and super good for you at the same time. I bought some of my scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) along to The Waiting Room and taught our rpeservation group how to get started making Kombucha.
For a medium sized preserving jar of Kombucha you need one scoby, a tea cup full of kombucha, 2 tablespoons of black or green tea and a cup of organic raw sugar.
Make the strong black tea in a separate container (a big teapot of something). When this has stewed for 5 minutes or so pour into the preserving jar and combine with the sugar. Wait until this in cool to the touch then add your kombucha and scoby. Taste after a week and if it tastes delicious to you then transfer this into a bottle and seal it and start the above process again. It should taste a bit like apple cidre vinegar. If you leave it longer it will get less sweet and more like vinegar - but this entirely depends on your taste.
If you dont have a scoby you can buy one online (I think this supplier sounds realy good) Or you can make you own. To make you own scoby buy a plain bottle of Kombucha pour some out into a cup and leave covered with a cloth in a warm spot in the kitchen or larder. A whitish film of scoby will start to form on the surface. Once this has thickened up a bit make a sugary tea as above and get started on brewing your own Kombucha.
I cant live without this! I love Kimchi but I change the ratio of ingredients everytime I make it. This is what we did last night at The Waiting Room.
4 Chinese Cabbages, 3 carrots, 2 large ginger roots, 7 cloves garlic, 2 onions, dried red pepper flakes, fish sauce (or salt).
Cut up the cabbage into slices and the carrot into rounds. Grate the ginger and garlic, thinly slice the onion and combine with a handful of red pepper flakes and a tablesppon of fish sauce (or a 1/2 tsp of salt if you dont eat fish)
Combine the wet indredients with the cabbage and carrot and then press into a glass jar or plastic container. Every 2-3 days press down the cabbage mix so that the liquid in the jar gradually covers the vegetables. Taste the kimchi after about a week and start eating when it has reached the degree of fermentation that you like.
Sauerkraut is the easiest fementation that we did for our Makers Wednesday at The Waiting Room. Here are my instructions...
1. Cut up your cabbage. Rememeber that it will reduce so cut a bit more than you want!
The texture will vary depending on how thickly you slice the cabbage. Thicker slice = more crunch. My father grinds his rather than slicing it!
2. For two large cabbages use about a 1/4 of a teaspoon of salt. Sprinkle the salt over the cut cabbage in a large pot. Grab a wooden rolling pin with a flat end or a clean stone or anything you can bash with and pound the cabbage to realse some of the moisture and compress it.
3. Transfer this mix into a jar and pack it down tightly but leave some room at the top.
4. Every 2-3 days press the cabbage down into the jar pressing the pulp down so the water rises up to cover the cabbage. Start eating after a week.
We just had the most brilliant evening at The Waiting Room, teaching the basics of preserving and fermation to the industrious folk of Colchester. We decided to teach three of the basics that we rely on for our every day needs: Sauerkraut, Kimchi and Kombucha. After a super practical workshop where everybody could chip in to make a bit of everything, we filled a bundle of jars for people to take home.
After a breif introduction by Christian about why we do it- besides taste I got everyone chopping, grating, slicing, mixing and tasting and drifting around to learn about how its done.
I'm giving you the recipes that we used in the next few posts but remember everything is open to variation and can be altered depending on taste so don't feel too tied to what I've written done!
The wine for our spring time feast was kindly provided by Pipai, an amazing wholesaler of Italian wines. You can see that the wine was completely irresistable!- isn't there just a little bit left in the bottom of this bottle.
Here are the two wines that we drank last night... and they were seriously fantastic.
Last night Tavolone sprang into spring with a marvellous dinner at Mother. PiPai provided us with some amazing wines to go with our fresh and herby dinner. It really felt like a celbration yesterday evening - not just because the weather is finally getting warming, but also becuase we had a month off and we were really starting to miss all of our lovely guests.
After nibbling on olives and sippiung on an absoluelty fantasatic Spumante we all found our way to the table for the main event- Food! Christian was in charge of the first course creating a Vegetarian Lasagne with Bechemel sauce and his specialty, Pesto alla Genovese...
The lasagne tasted as good as it looks- perfect.
In the meantime Giorgio was in the kitchen rolling the chicken Saltimbocca alla Romana. Again you can see from the picture...
it was divine. And look at our proud chef!
This left me on dessert and typically I decided to make something I'd never made before: Kola Kakor- a delicious, crunchy, hokey pokey-ish, golden syrup biscuit which I served with soft, creamy home made vanilla icecream. It was amazing.
And it was really fun to make too!
I also made a cake with ingredients that were sitting around anyway: Bread Flour, 1 Egg, Butter, Maple Syrup, Tired Apples, Prunes, Earl Grey Tea. A bit hippie I know but it really did make a delicious light loaf.
Thanks so much to everyone who made it last night and to PiPai for the wine. It was great to see you all again. And thanks to Felix, Willie and Lars who were so amazingly helpful- We think you are all terrific!
Look at our breakfast table- mint from the garden for tea, beautiful blue bells from the garden and a strange knot of wood that fell of out rose tree. We've planted all of our herbs, thyme, sage and rows of basil, our salad greens are starting to spout. My favouriste season, Spring!