Report on Cook and Eat 27/01/2016-

The Cook and Eat activity took place on Wednesday 27/01/2016 at my home.  The session began at 9h30.  There were ten members of AWG who took part, Katharine C, Caroline , Leslie , Kim , Maggie, Lydia , Susan , Peggy Anne  and myself as host.

The meeting kicked off with a round table discussion of the menu.  I had proposed a light lunch menu of three courses trying to use little fat or dairy products in the making.  I presented the menu and discussed the choices including giving information on alternatives and nutritional value of ingredients, and all the options that we may or may not use.

We prepared a starter of Chermoula aubergines with bulgar wheat and herbs, a recipe I had sourced from Yotam Ottolenghi’s wonderful cookery book ‘Jerusalem’.   Chermoula  (a North African spice and preserved lemon paste, superbly prepared) was liberally coated on aubergines cut lengthways and scored.  The bulgar wheat was prepared 10 minutes before serving and combined with olives, mint, coriander, raisins, toasted flaked almonds, salt and pepper. We had a discussion on whether to serve with Greek Yogurt, 0% fat natural yogurt or not all - everyone agreed that Greek yogurt (despite dairy free idea) would be lovely. And it truly was !

We followed with a main course of oven -cooked seam bream with finely chopped vegetables including carrots ( orange and purple), Jerusalem artichokes, fennel, celery, courgettes and onion.  We learned how to prepare and turn globe artichokes, removing the choke, and reserving in acidulated water prior to cooking.  We did not have the time to give a demonstration of the filleting of the sea bream- fortunately the fishmonger had prepared sufficient fillets for all that attended.

Dessert was a trio of fat free fruit based offerings- a gazpacho of strawberries and raspberries with basil, a tartare of pink lady apples with strawberries and passion fruit, and a blood orange jelly flavored with rosemary.

We had to start with the making of the jelly as it needed two hours to set. Unfortunately, blood oranges while in season were difficult to obtain but I managed to get some Maltaise oranges from Tunisia from the local greengrocer with a slight blood orange tinge.  I am sure the jelly would benefit from true blood oranges with regards the color but the flavor and texture of what was produced was perfect in the end.

I was concerned at the outset that there would not be a lot of each induvial to do and prepare, but as it happened there was plenty for all!  The vegetable preparation was intensive and done to perfection, and required precision and perseverance. 

With all ready by 12h30, the dining table was extended and set for ten.  We sat down to a great lunch- the aubegrines went down a storm, sea bream  with vegetables were light and not too much ( I agreed with Katharine that we could have left out the little bit of chorizo on the main course), and a palette cleansing dessert.

Everyone left around 14h- 14h30.

Great participation and enthusiasm by all concerned and I felt it was a pleasure to host this event.  Included are some photos from Scriveners that Katharine has posted- Maggie possibly has more.  And attached are the recipes.

Report by Orla