mama's home cooking Archives - Greenwich Pantry Blog
15 Apr

Loving Food at Greenwich Pantry got us marching into the kitchen

Cooking with Greenwich Pantry

Foodies loving food at Greenwich Pantry is nothing new and there’s a lot to love about food, but if you want to make more of an impression take a leap of faith with our cooking classes. Our enthusiastic team will have you marching into the kitchen with an inspiring collection of food and cookery classes.

“….if you want to make more of an impression take a leap of faith with our cooking classes.”

The last few months had us loving lots of different food. For starters there was February and Valentine’s Day and for some of you lovers who wanted to make more of an impression than a box of cheap chocolates and corny ‘2 can dine for’ deal ever could, some of you in the first flushes of flirtation with food came to us for a sushi class and we made Sushi followers of you; expert lovers of good ingredients whom we’re sure are now skipping if not leaping into more awesome adventures in eating since taking the Sushi Class; finding out your Sushi Type and ‘Finding the Foodie in You’.

Then there was Mother’s Day and competitions but wait; before then, Pancake Day, that flipping crazy (good) day, which featured some of the best pancakes seen careering through Greenwich Market during the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Race and with just enough time to get a freshly flipped short stack down, it was National Pizza Day. Yay. And you certainly went about ‘proving’ that when food is homemade using delicious ingredients that are wholewheat, heritage wholemeal and made with a whole-lot of love; food can be a lot of fun, much more tasty, nutritious and way less expensive than when it’s pre-prepared! But all that seems light years away! Who kneads readymade, when a baking class is just round the corner eh?

‘there’s no need to monkey around when it comes to cooking,’

If you’re still stalling, rather than leaping for joy at the thought of cooking, uninspired on what to dine on, or somewhat bored with chocolate eggs and egg hunts then get with the program and join one of Greenwich Pantry’s new classes to get you up-skilled in the kitchen. There’ll be no need to monkey around when it comes to cooking.

Perhaps you’ve been inspired and want to get better at making authentic dishes with Asian flavours? Why not step up to the plate and join our weekly cookery classes, or if you’re after something a bit more special then you could learn to make stunning food and be the envy of your office when you take proper grown up packed lunches to work. Your co-staff will be salivating around you and you’ll be the talk of the town. Everyone’ll want an invite to your table with the cooking confidence you’ll gain on the International Cuisine Cookery Class.

Knowing how to dine doesn’t need to be daunting when you’re well prepared with a stacked pantry of the essentials, so take a leap of faith and ‘Find The Foodie in You’.

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31 Oct

Hubble Bubble! Make a feast in your cauldron.

Instead of bumping into blood sucking vampires as things go bump in the night tonight, celebrate Halloween, (All Hallows Eve) traditionally.  Did you know that on this date of remembrance for the faithfully departed, it was historically marked by feasting (and something that won’t scare-off vegetarians), it was also customary to abstain from meat.

Foods that were favoured were seasonal English apples, country cider and the humble potato, but back in days of yore when people were hell-bent on witch-hunting, one would have had to have kept shtum about the spice-rack. 

You wouldn’t have dared to pepper your potatoes, or brazenly sprinkle cinnamon and stud cloves on your sweet apple pies for fear of being called out a ‘Witch’!

How ghastly! If you do want to keep it traditional tonight, fear not! It might be fright night, but you don’t have to keep things frightfully bland if you want to be faithful to the festivities.

‘Witch’ is a good job Greenwich Pantry’s shelves are bursting with flavours. That’s what we’re all about: Feasting and flavoursome deliciousness, but do spare a thought, whilst you get your worst witch on in Greenwich this weekend: Think back to the women centuries ago accused of the serious crime of witchcraft; persecuted for flavouring food, cast-out of communities for healing with herbs and accused of all sorts of wrong doings for keeping company with familiars. (That’s the likes of cats to you and me).

Dreadful to think, that in reality the accused women were usually the poorest women in society, marginalised for being the unmarried singleton and with no access to healthcare, would have had to rely on experimenting with natural home remedies. So in the days of the unexplainable, with no way of Googling oneself out of a situation; just the mere sniff of sage, would have landed you in the stocks.

Speaking of stocks, tonight I am going to celebrate all things soupish and bewitching, just me and my faithful cat. With a cup of hot herbal tea, I am going to soothe my sore scratchy winter worn throat with some traditional and antibacterial natural Greenwich Honey & lemon and I am going to hubble bubble boil, with no trouble; cook up a storm.

Tonight as werewolves howl in the wind, out from the windows of my house will pour steam and sumptuous flavours like fresh ground Indonesian long peppers and the bewitching green brew of piquant Anita’s Goan Green Curry Sauce to ward of the Ghouls.

So if you want to try a seasonal spicylicous and vegetarian feast this Halloween here’s an easy delicious recipe for a Bewitching Pumpkin Curry. 

To make 5 portions you’ll need

  1. 2 large carrots
  2. 1 medium pumpkin or squash & a selection of vegetables
  3. Wharfedale Rapeseed Chilli Oil
  4. Anila’s Green Goddess Goan Curry Sauce
  5. The Real Basmati Rice Co Basmati Rice to serve
  6. Some nuts of your choice and spoonful of sugar to toastily caramelise them

This devilishly good recipe is smooth yet chunky and crunchy, with sweet caramelised pieces of tender squash, and veggies with bite. Wolves and goblins and ghosties and ghouls, if you want to trick of treat me at mine, there’ll be no sorcery within. If I don’t answer the door, i’ll just be clanging my saucepans.

I bet Macbeth’s Witches would have loved the texture from my recipe, but I don’t really rate theirs.

“Eye of newt, and toe of frog, Wool of bat, and tongue of dog, Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howler’s wing”

You can’t help but feel sorry for those puritanical potato peddlers of yesteryear, I’d be praying for flavour. They we’re really missing out. If you need me tonight, I’ll be on my broomstick!

 

XX Joyce

 

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30 Sep

The Harvest Moon shining on a Harvest Festival

We’re apparently experiencing an Indian Summer right now where fruits and berries have fattend from the prolonged end of summer rains and glorious recent sun shine ripens spoils ready to be picked.

Don’t talk to me about spoiled!

In my attempt to make an organic effort for #OrganicSeptember, I avoided fertilisers on my then plump, homegrown ripening pomodoros on the patio. However due to the deluges in August, my poor toms got tainted by blight.

With all of the ruby recipes I’d planned I had a green tomato crop not even fit for pickling, but I had in my store cupboard something that gets me out of a pickle every time; my hero ingredient: What on Earth Organic Tinned Chopped Tomatoes. Although it’s not as satisfactory nor sexy to boast about something from a tin as it is using fresh plucked of the vine produce, I can rest assured that I am feeding my friends and family with only the freshest and finest I can from a can.

So if you’re gardening attempts aren’t all you’d hoped for, at least you can trust that Greenwich Pantry ingredients ensure your food is as consciously canned as if it were your own crop.

What did you try this Organic September?  Although it’s just a month of encouragement to ‘Go Organic’, you really don’t need me to go on about the benefits of traceable food that contains higher levels of nutrients and is naturally preserved at packing point without the use of additives. It’s really the long term choice that’ll benefit your health that outweighs a month of marketing. So if you didn’t go organic last month, don’t worry you can always start today. It’s never too late to give your digestive system and our eco system the care that it deserves.

Did you see that beautiful rouge Harvest Moon a few nights ago?

It couldn’t have come at a better time when we traditionally celebrate harvest and share our spoils, so cleverly coinciding, we ran some cooking skills sharing workshops. Did you see the delicious things that the latest cohort of Cook Eat Party made? I heard the Frangipane tarts you enthusiastic students made, didn’t last.

Cooking Class with Alice

Cooking Class with Alice

As the mornings take longer to grow out of night, give yourself something to get up for! Instead of gimmicky sweet cereals go for something to boost your immunity and energy levels whilst giving your tired tongue a touch of luxury to to taste.

Speaking of cereals; a certain breakfast spot on Brick Lane has had a lot of attention recently, but hey it’s a destination, a Disnification on dehydrated wheat. However you feel, we promise that all of Greenwich Pantry’s breakie bundles are totally gimmick free.

Whatever your stance on the recent protests on the gentrification of the East End, there is a very real urgency for many people in need. So to share this season, please donate generously to your local food bank spots when you can to really get into spirit of harvest festival. Greenwich Foobank supports local people in emergency crises.

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09 Apr

Sun’s Out, Buns Out.

Oh how that big shiny yellow ball in the sky gladdens my heart.

Another thing that brings joy to my soul is Jam. Simply good Jam, with a pot of tea. Jam on buns and on finger sandwiches; oh yes it’s time for the timely old tradition of Afternoon Tea.

I’m not talking silver service, stuffy expensive afternoon tea at a hotel with your Aunty Mabel. Although I’m known to have a penchant for dollies once in a while, we should do it more often. At home, alone, at work even or outside; especially when today is as beautiful as today. Go on have Afternoon Tea, al fresco if you can.

Start by putting down that thing you’re doing. Right now and just get your buns out. Spread them with juicy delicious, tangy sweet delightful jam and have a moment. That’s it, just you and your buns.

Well, share this moment if you will, just excuse yourself if in company but try to make a date of it at least once a week.

Brew a decent cuppa, let the caffeine gently perk you up whilst the sugars do the thing that sugars do and you’ll be right as ninepence. Well at least until supper time.

Right now, I’m indulging in Campbell’s Perfect Tea and the delectable honey-like consistency of Granny’s Secret Rosehip Light Jam on a scone or two.

Rosehips are full of vitamin C, Tea is naturally high in antioxidants and sitting in front of the windows wide open bathed in glorious Spring sunshine, I’m getting a much needed dose of vitamin D, too. You could say that taking Afternoon Tea is practically beneficial to your health, well you could.

Time for Tea

Time for Tea

Ahh, that’s more like it. Now, back to the grindstone for now.

Have a Sunny Afternoon.

x

 

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15 Jan

Create Comforting and Colourful food in your Kitchens on Cold Days.

souper dooper

souper dooper

On one particularly foggy day this week, despite unpredictable weather warnings, my impatience to be outside escaping central heating and hiking off mince pies, beat my need to be in-front of my laptop or in the kitchen.

I went out into crisp chilly weather perfect for walking in.

Although the scene was bleak, it was beautiful and still showed me surprising arrays of colour.

It was dry, with the sky a pavement grey. The bleak horizon met the brown, frosty and enjoyably squelchy mud, but in the park I was rewarded with the sight of new life among the skeletons of yellowing fallen leaves.
There, precious bright green beginnings of the heads of daffodils and crocuses peeked timidly through.

If skies were never grey I’d not appreciate the sunshine and it has to be cold and wet to soak deep roots for a scorching summer, I tell myself.

Hooray for these buds heralding the arrival of spring, I count down the days, like a kid counting down Christmas. Whenever there’s a mere momentary break in the rain I pull on my wellies and get out in whatever blustery drizzle the skies offer, with hope that the sun continues to burn through the gloomy mist.

At this time of year, what I do love as much as being outside is thawing out in a steamy kitchen with an oven hot and whirring, pots and pans on incandescent flames of a hob or a discreet bubbling of a slow cooker humbly taking it’s sweet time to warm up the kitchen.

Much like the winters scene I found this week, my cooking in this dull cold season, is predominantly sludgy and earthy coloured. However It’s important for both the constitution and the curator of food in you, that it’s flecked with handfuls of fresh flavouring.

So keep colour an important part of putting together dishes at this time of year:

Slowly simmer earthy brown stews and garnish with glut loads of zesty green herbs and veg.

Prepare plump and creamy oats overnight, or pale blankets of porridge with a blob of ruby jam or golden honey.

Feed fluffy swollen rice with flavour; pique paellas with proper paprika, rightfully enrich risottos or serve simply with rich ochre curries, even sprinkle it in super souper dooper soups.

Harvest season may be a mild-weather dream away but at GP gather yourself jewelled dashes of pomegranate, hibiscus, and rich thick pepper and tomato Ayvar to brighten up dull days and feed the furnace of your body to keep you warm happy and healthy in this newish new year.

Wishing you all wellness, good health and happiness.

x

 

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01 Dec

Popping into the Pop-Up Shop for a treat

Thank you to everyone who came to visit the Greenwich Pantry pop-up shop having seen our tweets. It was great meeting you and I hope you’re enjoying yummy and rediscovered nostalgic treats. Isn’t it nice to treat yourself sometimes?

Greenwich Pantry proprietress Lara’s ethos is that we should be treatwise, but we should treat ourselves. Lara comes alive thinking of the world of possible nutritional enjoyment out there, what we can eat and how we can treat ourselves, daily. Yes, daily!

“Indeed it is possible to wisely treat ourselves everyday, it just means we need to spend money wisely and most importantly recognise the value of what we’re eating”.

Not just a pantry patron;  she’s  a truly well researched curator of foods, a busy working mum who proudly possesses a high integrity for food and is a promoter of produce where she can vouch for the provenience of items sold and their ingredients. She even knows her product providers personally. In fact she’s pretty much pally with all of her suppliers. Praising them, there’s nothing she doesn’t love on the stockroom shelves. Having tried a few things, I couldn’t agree more. My mouth still waters at the thought of trying Uncle Roy’s Passionfruit Curd.

Now, we’re in advent, it’s the run up to a busy festive time. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably spent all year balancing work, family and your social calendars; where it’s hard to keep up with fashion, or even the house. (Maybe the kids wont let you keep the house tidy?) Whatever your lifestyle, Greenwich Pantry can allow you to feel like the kitchen is a place where you can find solace again.

“The kitchen is a place where we can surround ourselves with beautiful things, even perhaps where we can have order where we can’t necessarily have it in the rest of the house”.

Greenwich Pantry’s  packets aren’t just pretty containers, they contain inherently good things; ethically sourced, which is why Lara is so proud of all of the products.

“Finding value in our food is important: There is its nutritional value, then there’s value of it having pride of place in our cupboards. It’s about treating yourself with the time to prepare. We are all capable of running our lives; jobs and homes. So treating yourself is simply about organising  yourself and what you’re going to eat, it’s just about running your life and body, being decisive about what you want to eat.

So Lara, I agree, aspirational eating is liberating, it’s not just about having pleasing pretty packets.

“How we present ourselves with clothes, how we chose to appear is liberating. Like clothing, I think choices of food can allow you to liberate yourself. Believe in bold choices, experiment with change, make that break from your usual brand, say I’m not going to spend my money on my regular brand of … I’m going to try something that is better quality, beautiful and try enjoying a little bit of luxury through the medium of good food.”

Once again it was great to meet you, those of you who popped in to the Pop-Up shop. The good news is that Greenwich Pantry will be back @57arts for the Christmas Market next week on Saturday 6th December where you can really stock up on Christmas Treats.

Uncle Roy's Wonderful (and it is) Passionfruit Curd

Uncle Roy’s Wonderful (and it is) Passionfruit Curd

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17 Nov

Beat Stress, Bake Bread!

Apparently today is ‘National Bread Making Day’.

Ok, if you’re the type to roll your eyes at the likes of silly days such as National Only Eat Tomatoes Day/ Have Burgers for Breakfast Day or my personal favourite happening on the 15th July, a long wait away until Summertime next year (*sighs*): Piña Colada Day. Or the countless number of other marketed ‘Food Days’, then FYI- today is also National Take a Hike Day and if you think these ideas (yes most from across the pond) are silly, then ok, I will.

However, why not counter your daily stresses and take out your frustrations on some flour?

I find that there’s nothing more balancing, zen inducing and stress relieving than baking bread.

I must admit, I haven’t always been a huge success at baking. On a previous attempt, trying to be virtuous and both fibre and flavour conscious, I tried to use a complete spelt mix and must admit I completely stupendously #bakefail failed. The loaf sounded hollow when I came to give it that satisfying final tap, but the cooled lump fooled me, proving it was nothing but an inedible weapon.

Still nothing ventured, nothing gained and having experimented more, I can share with you this recipe that after few experiments, produced a beautiful light and malty loaf. (If you like less of a rich malty flavour and doughy texture, you could omit the Rye flour and use 125g more Wholemeal Spelt Flour together with 125g more of the Farmhouse Brown Strong Wheat Flour.

Today I came home to my beau, the bonny bearded expert baker in my household, having spent the afternoon flexing his muscles teasing the glorious gluten out of some Gilchesters Organics flours and he baked this gorgeous loaf with this yummy recipe.

Dry Ingredients

  1. 250g 100% Wholemeal Spelt Flour
  2. 350g Farmhouse Brown Strong wheat flour
  3. 250g Rye Flour

Wet Ingredients

  1. 14g yeast (2 packets of the quick to mix store cupboard kind)
  2. a blob of natural yogurt

Method

1. (If you have an airing cupboard or a proving cupboard, skip this step) Turn the oven on to the lowest setting, about 30 degrees, it should only be a comfortable warm temperature. Place a saucer of boiling water in the bottom of the oven to add a touch of moisture to the atmosphere.

2. Mix the flours in a big mixing bowl, if you have a dough mat, pour the flour out in a heap in the centre of it, or of course on to a hygienically cleansed dry work surface

3. Separately liven up the yeast in a jug with about 225ml of warm water

4. Create a well in the flour adding the liquid little by little, then add a blob of the natural yogurt.

5. Get kneading! Think of your to do lists, that person that nudged you on the tube and didn’t appologise, that car that drove past you splashing you with an arc of muddy rain. Go on, let it out. Release that tension! It’s hard work so make sure to do some neck stretches every so often, circle your head from shoulder to shoulder. Then keep on cathartically kneading for about 15 minutes. The dough should be tacky so that it sticks to your fingers, but no so much you cannot knead it. You’re aiming to hydrate the flour just enough to release the chewy glutens. As you work the dough, the idea is that the grains will absorb the moisture and part from your fingers.

6. Lightly flour the bread tin before carefully thwacking the conquered dough into it’s bed to prove in a moist oven for about an hour and a half to 2 hours, this particular loaf, didn’t double but almost triple in size. Some bakers knead after the prove, but this one was simply scored across the top and put into a hot oven on 180 degrees (ours is a fan oven, so set to 200 degrees if using an electric/gas oven) for about an hour, until it’s golden brown.

A springy doorstep slice, a wall of wheat and spelt ready to be slathered in butter.

A springy doorstep slice, a wall of wheat and spelt ready to be slathered in butter.

The result was a house heavenly perfumed with the cozy anticipation of sliced bread with Jam, slices to be lightly toasted, buttered and dunked into comforting hearty warming soups or hunks just ripped right off to be gobbled with cheese and pickles. This enormous endorphin releasing loaf should last, so long as I don’t keep picking at it.

For other great recipes have a look at Gilchesters recipe pages

Try having a go at baking yourselves and tell us all about it at the Greenwich Pantry pop-up shop on Saturday 29th November!

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04 Nov

Joyce, Musing on Food and Music. Save Me a Slice of Yesteryear

There are “Millions of people swarming like flies at Waterloo Underground”.

Well, at least there always seems to be when I’m south-east bound heading home and that normally that fills me a sense of drudgery embarking on my commute, but after seeing the press night performance of the newly transferred musical, Sunny Afternoon; a clever catalogue of Kinks hits, it spine tinglingly transported me to a time I wasn’t even part of, the fresh bold 60’s.

The romantic idealists crashed through kerrangs of a familiar ripe rock score, making the hairs the back of my neck raise, with an ultimate moment causing my heart to swell along with a congregation of sighs in the theatre hearing the first few bars of the tinkling riffs of Waterloo Sunset.

Food is the new Rock n' Roll

Food is the new Rock n’ Roll

I have this song on my playlist, the bouncing strums frightfully nostalgic when I’m away from this sometimes godforsaken city, my beloved home town.

Leaving the west-end glare of steak houses packed with tourists and day trippers, for a change, I passed the frantic Waterloo tube and decided to stroll across the bridge in the evening’s mild air hoping for a glimpse of the sun dipping behind the Thames, my thoughts turning to dinner.

Nearer to home; queues of football fans line up for, even what I must admit is the comforting acidic vinegary whiff of the chippy. In the constant endeavour to find more exciting and healthy options, Fish Friday is a tradition I rarely observe now, but every time I pass a chip shop it blasts me back to my childhood taking me back to the memory of walking from the shops with my dad and a furnace of paper wrapped food under my arm, crispy battered haddock wrapped in newspaper and my gleeful nose tingling with the scent of Sarsons.

Aren’t the scents and tastes of this town brought from traditions far and long ago enough to make your heart soar with delight. Well it’s enough to make my heart as as mushy as those accompanying peas with wrapped chips when I come home to familiar smells.

When I was a child I could always smell that something delicious was happening in my house from 50 paces, amen to that extractor fan wafting smells of dinner out on to the street; Caramelising Onions, or simmering stocks for chewy chicken stew. If ever I smell the fresh comforting warmth of bay leaves, it takes me right back.

Sometimes it’s nice to want a slice of yesteryear, however, harking back to Sunny Afternoon’s groovy 60’s tunes and views, my dad reassured me that from the Swinging era I didn’t miss much culinarily; the rise in popularity of microwavable food, salmon mousses, inescapable prawn cocktails and the like. Fast forward 50 years and now this city is a gloriously diverse pot of delicious ingredients and smells, without an aspic mould in sight (well at least until the next trendy pop-up decides to bring it back, please don’t).

We’d love to hear what makes you feel all nostalgic? Is it the smell of fresh baked bread or more like Mum’s Sunday lunch? Get in touch @Greenwich pantry

Speaking of pop-ups, I’ll be at The Greenwich Pantry Pop-Up Shop on Saturday 29th November from 10.30-3.30! It’ll be great to chat about what gets you all nostalgic.

“Let’s hear those sleigh bells riii….” Sorry, too early?

Pop-Up Shop Details

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