The sun streaming through the kitchen window seemed like a good omen as our very first Cook Club guests arrived for a day of kneading, shaping and baking bread.
With ovens turned to the hottest setting the day, we started with a simple olive oil dough to be turned into fougasse and rolls. Amid clouds of flour they then made a loaf with their own choice of flours – wholewheat from our local Burcott mill, rye flour, nuts seeds and dried apricots all came into play.
As neither pupils had made much bread before they loved it all-from the smell and feel of the fresh yeast as we rubbed it into the flour, the changing texture of the dough as it was kneaded and the wonderful aromas that filled the whole house as the bread baked.
We finished the session with an enriched sweet dough which we turned into a cinnamon swirl. Lunch was pissaladiere made with our first simple olive oil dough and then it was all too soon time to go home laden with bags full of breads to share with family and friends. Our next Cook and Dine course is fully booked but there are still places for the next pastry day and our Autumn courses starting in October.
Now that our Bramble cottage kitchen is almost finished my thoughts have turned to welcoming fellow cooks here to share my recipes, tips and secrets accumulated over my many years as a food writer and teacher. Over the four years that we ran our Tasting France cookery school in the Charente my favourite moments were when I was able to show guests that kitchen skills that they thought were beyond them were totally within their reach, and could bring enormous pleasure, not just in the sense of achievement they brought but also in sharing the results with others. it could be anything from making a decent loaf of bread to mastering a perfect souffle. Next Spring we will be opening our kitchen and home for a short series of workshops that aim to inspire and offer extra confidence and pleasure in your cooking.
Our Cook and Dine sessions add something extra to the day and will offer you the opportunity to invite a friend or partner to share what we have cooked with a glass of wine or two in our candlelit salon.
For more details, dates and costings visit our workshops page http://www.marycadogan.co.uk/workshops/
We look forward to welcoming you to Bramble Kitchen