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

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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.


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BBC Radio Shropshire’s Fidget Pie

It has been another exciting day!  I have become a radio star (well ok, not quite, but nearly…).

BBC Radio Shropshire, my local radio station, have tasked themselves with making an entirely Shropshire Fidget Pie.  The Fidget Pie, as regular readers may remember, is a traditional pie of Shropshire.  The name is reputed to come from Fitcheted, meaning five sided (so presumably it used to be made five sided), or alternatively from being carried about in the pockets of farm workers and the filling fidgeting about.  Either way, I was captivated by its deliciousness when I discovered it and you can read my original post about it here.

In the BBC Radio Shropshire’s quest to make an entirely Shropshire Fidget Pie they came across that particular blog entry and decided that my pie deserves the status of the ultimate fidget pie (look away quickly, I am blushing).  I am extremely proud of this – I love food and I love Shropshire and in the Fidget Pie these two things are combined.

Their mission is to find the ingredients of everything in the fidget pie in Shropshire, including the pie dish.  They admit that it might be difficult to find salt and pepper, in which case an alternative will be sought.  But Shropshire is a farming county and we have some wonderful producers.  I, for one, am looking forward to following them in their mission to source everything locally.  Their promotion of local food is wonderful and the concept of creating an entirely Shropshire Fidget Pie is an exciting one.

Vicki Archer,one of the co-presenters of the Drive programme, came to my house to interview me and try my Fidget Pie and the results of that interview can be heard for the next seven days here. If you do want to listen, the interview starts 43 minutes into the show and is in three segments, the last starts about 1 hour and 10 minutes into the show.

I am ridiculously pleased to be on the radio talking about something I love.  I will be going along to the final tastings of the entirely Shropshire Fidget Pie in a few weeks and will let you know how that goes.


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