Saturday, 29 May 2010

days at the fair...with Tofu Paul!

After Ripple closed I didn't quite know what to do with myself!? I suddenly gained 80+hrs back a week, which was pretty strange as I'd been solid busy for nearly 4 years flat!!! I'd made friends with suppliers and had been all about food for everyone else. Moving the contents of the industrial kitchen into my galley kitchen of the bridal shop flat made 'cooking' feel quite daunting. 

yuk yuk yuk, what a mess!
This is just too many ingredients for me even to quite contemplate 'cooking'
A month in to my 'new life' however and I got a call from the lovely Paul, of Paul's Bakery in Melton. He asked me if I wanted to help him make some bread at the County Agricultural Show in Newark. It was to compliment a demonstration about wheat (he'd done one similar in Southwell some years ago...) I of course said "YES PLEASE PAUL!"

So, off I went over to his bakery, and saw where they made those delicious ciabatta breads I used to buy from him! 
we spent the day making some presentation breads for the tent
Then I joined him the following day at the showground, where we became part of the demonstration
there was a threshing drum...

and a hand operated mill

so that we could mix the dough
and make some bread in our workspace

 then all we had to do was bake it! In this wonderful wood fired oven!
His son Barney made a video of the day which is definitely worth a look here! And before I left for the day, he gave me this book...

A few months later he invited me to help out at the Melton Country Fair, so using Wild Fermentation I made some red saurkraut and some spicy fruit kimchi! It was easy peasy, and very delicious!!!
you start with some beautiful red cabbage
then you slice it fine with a mandolin and add salt. Using a pickling crock such as this, you press down on the shredded veg.

Leave it alone for a few days and see how the colour and consistency of the pickle changes! The salt draws the water and natural juices out of the vegetable and natural bacteria reacts with the juices to give you delectiable tasting pickle in as little time as 24hrs right upto 6months or more (if it lasts that long that is!?!)

It's all very exciting stuff! And got me thinking about lots of new ways of appreciating food....
 Here I am at the fair, with an array of organic pickles! (and just look at those lovely crocks!!!) We had kimchi, gherkin, saurkraut and, my favourite, delicious sweet tasting radishes!
Paul is ever so generous so we were giving away samples of the pickles all day for free! (I did get some money out of a few greedy people though!) He sent me home with some sourdough (delicious!) some lovely white wine, organic aubergine and peppers, AND a packet of Genmaicha which is quite delectible indeed!

I'm a bit in awe of Paul's knowledge about food and processing and I'm very greatful for the insight he gave me those few days at the fairs.

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