Tag Archives: Veg Patch Kitchen

Veg Patch Kitchen’s new kitchen

Further to my last post. Here is the finished kitchen.

Veg Patch Kitchen

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I have some time now for experimenting with the oven and the space before the first classes in July. It’s very exciting and I absolutely love having this space in our garden. To think that for all these years it has been a shed filled with junk when it could have been this.

I am really looking forward to welcoming people to our classes. I just need to keep the eponymous veg patch tidy!

Kath x

Veg Patch Kitchen

I have been neglecting this poor blog. Not because I want to, but because life has been busy. My cookery school, Veg Patch Kitchen, has overtaken my time and energy. I am really pleased with its progress in its first eighteen months. We have had lots of successful and well received bread making classes at my sister’s house in South Shropshire, at a village hall local to me here in Ironbridge, at Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre in Craven Arms and at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm. I have also run a few classes, on a voluntary basis, for a brilliant local project Let’s Grow Telford.

I absolutely love teaching people the pleasure of making your own bread. It’s wonderful to get an email from someone that has attended a class giving me an update on their bread making adventures and telling me how bread making has become an important part of their routine.

Last month we decided to take the plunge and make better use of our outbuilding. This particular outbuilding was piled high with plant pots, tools, furniture that we neither wanted but couldn’t bring ourselves to get rid of and general junk. Being natural hoarders it was easier to add something to the growing pile in the shed than make the decision to take something to the tip. So we braced ourselves, Mr OC and I, and emptied it completely. Most of the stuff made it to the tip. Some of it made it into the adjoining garage. Enter our garage at your peril! If the chiminea doesn’t get you, the old bench will.

The plan is to make this former dead space into a kitchen that we can use for the cookery courses. Having it on the doorstep will make it so much easier to run more courses and to still be here for the girls.

My Dad has been working all hours and like a trojan to help me with the electrics, the plumbing, putting kitchen units together, etc, etc. He is a very talented man my Dad and can pretty much turn his hand to anything.

Everything is rolling along very quickly and hopefully the classes can start to run from here very soon. I am very much looking forward to welcoming people to Veg Patch Kitchen headquarters. Although, the garden and in particular the eponymous veg patch needs some attention first. If you come, can you promise not to look too closely at the weeds?  Oh, the irony.

This is all happening because of this blog. If I hadn’t started The Ordinary Cook back in 2009 then I wouldn’t have developed my passion for bread, and it would never have occurred to me that I could pass on my knowledge and skills to other people. I am very grateful that The Ordinary Cook has created a new path and a new adventure. It’s funny how life takes its twists and turns and offers you opportunities that you would never have expected. If you had told me, back in 2009, that in 2016 I would have my own business running a cookery school I would have looked at you askance and backed gently away. Back then I was working in economic development, helping other people to achieve their dreams of growing their small business.

Once the kitchen is complete and the courses are up and running, I hope to find time to come back here with new recipes, but for now, please be patient with me. I will be back, but not just yet.

Kath x

Honey and almond buns

It’s Real Bread Week this week and this is something close to my heart. The difference between real bread, made with those four ingredients of flour, yeast, salt and water and the bread that you get in the supermarket with all the added emulsifiers, fast proving and bland fluffiness are a world apart. I urge you to bake your own bread or if that doesn’t appeal (although please give it a go, just once, and I promise you will be hooked) then try to find a bakery that makes bread that meets the Real Bread Campaign’s standards.

Most of my days are consumed with the making of bread, the trialling of new recipes or the teaching of bread baking to others.  In celebration of Real Bread Week I thought I would make these beauties.

Honey and Almond Buns

These were inspired by a free sample of Manuka Honey I was sent to review by Manuka Doctor. Manuka honey is reputed to have many health benefits, with its antibacterial properties.  Now I cannot vouch for its ability to cure you of your ills, but I can tell you that it is very tasty. It has a creamy, smooth consistency and is really quite delicious, and not as strong tasting as some Manuka honey that I have tasted in the past. I ummed and erred about whether I should cook with it, as Manuka honey is expensive and is probably better spread on your toast or added to your peppermint tea (and most of my jar has been used for both of these purposes) than used so extravagantly as I do in this recipe. However, I was sent a jar to review and this is a cooking blog and would you really be interested in a picture of my honey spread on a bit of my toast? If you are making these buns at home then I recommend you use a very good local honey (and check the jar carefully to make sure it is local honey and not just packed locally) and save your Manuka for your toast and to sweeten your tea or smoothie.

This recipe is the enriched dough recipe I use in my baking classes, but with the sugar swapped for honey and it really does ring the changes, making a deliciously sticky and aromatically sweet bun.

Honey and Almond Buns

300g strong white flour
250g plain flour
10g salt
10g fresh yeast or 5g easy bake yeast
1 egg, beaten
150ml milk
150ml water
50g butter
50g honey

For the filling:
30g melted butter
50g flaked almonds
100g honey

For the glaze:
2 tbsp honey
Flaked almonds

Method
Place the flours, and salt in a large bowl, mix well. If you are using easy bake yeast then add this to the flours. If you are using fresh yeast crumble into a small bowl or cup. Heat the milk and the water over a gentle heat until just warm to the touch. Pour a little over the yeast and stir well to dissolve. Add all the liquid and yeast to the flours. You don’t have to wait for the yeast to bubble.  Melt the butter with the honey over a gentle heat and add to the flour with the egg.  Mix well together and then knead for about five to eight minutes until smooth and elastic. You can do this with the dough hook in a free standing mixer, with the mixer on speed 1 and for about three to five minutes.

Shape the dough into a ball, place into a bowl and cover with a large bag or lightly oiled clingfilm and leave to prove for about an hour to an hour and a half. With all of the egg, milk and butter in this dough it may take longer to rise. So use your judgement and when it looks like it has doubled in size it is ready for the next stage.

Lightly flour your work surface and turn the dough out. Roll the dough into an oblong measuring 20cm x 40cm. Brush all over with the melted butter. Warm the honey and brush all over. Sprinkle with the flaked almonds. Roll up from the long end like you would a swiss roll. Cut into nine equal pieces.

Lightly butter a square 20cm tin and place the buns in three by three (see above pic). Using your palm to flatten slightly so that when they have proved they will all be joined together in a batch. This will mean you have that lovely soft sides to your bun when you tear the nine buns apart once cooked (see pic below). Cover again with a large plastic bag or lightly oiled clingfilm and leave to prove for about thirty minutes, or longer if your kitchen is cold. They will have grown and merged together.

Preheat your oven to 200ºc, or use the roasting oven of the Aga with a grill rack set on the floor of the oven. Remove the bag or clingfilm and place in the oven and bake for about 25 -30 minutes until the buns are golden. Drizzle over another 2 tablespoons of honey whilst the buns are still warm and sprinkle over some more flaked almonds. Leave in the tin for ten minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

honey and almond bun

Veg Patch Kitchen Cookery Courses

Do you remember I mentioned I was ready for a new venture? Well here it is – cookery courses at my sister’s house in South Shropshire.

I originally planned to set up as a home bakery. There is still a possibility of this happening in the future but for now I am going to concentrate on the cookery courses. The idea for the tutoring came about after a discussion with my sister. She lives in a beautiful 17th century farmhouse in South Shropshire, with a large farmhouse kitchen with an electric range and a wood fired Esse. The kitchen is perfect for teaching people how to cook in a domestic setting. So we thought why not? Let’s do it! So we are.

Have a look at our new webpage at VegPatchKitchen to see more about us. Initially we are focusing on teaching the basics of bread making. We had a trial run in October which went really well, inspiring some of the participants to bake bread at home for their families for the first time. I was so pleased that the day had made a difference to their cooking habits. You can take a look at the breads they made on the day here.

Gift vouchers are available if you want to treat someone to a Christmas present that they can use in the New Year. I can’t think of a better present myself.

I am really looking forward to the new venture, meeting new people and teaching them new skills.

There will still be adventures to be had here at The Ordinary Cook. I have been doing a fair bit of baking lately. I just need some time to write the posts.