Season Well Social Enterprise

It’s Social Saturday, a day for promoting Social Enterprises so I thought I’d tell you all about my new Social Enterprise, Season Well. Our aim is to inspire and enable people to use more local, seasonal food to create great tasting healthy meals  and preserve our planet and soil.

I set up the Travelling Tea Ladies 5 years ago. Then 4 years ago left my job in Community Engagement saying “ I’ve had enough of trying to make a difference…..I just want to make cake!”

Vegan Rhubarb cake

I am a self taught baker who believes strongly in using fresh, local, seasonal produce in my baking. I became a food grower in my search for great produce to bake with.  I set up a  small community project growing food on unused land- Incredible Edible Aireborough– and my passion for making a difference and changing the world came back.

It’s critical that we look after our environment. It seems a no brainer that if we can do this whilst eating the best tasting food (everything tastes better when it’s in season) then we should do this. However what used to be such a fundamental skill- growing and cooking food – has become lost in our society. I want to bring those skills back to improve our health well being and the environment . I believe that everyone can cook and grow their own food and I want to inspire people to have a go.

Please head over to our Facebook page to keep up with Season Well as it develops. I’ll be posting up there any workshops we have coming up and how to get involved. Soon we’ll have a new website with seasonal recipes and growing tips so we can inspire you to eat more seasonally for flavour, health and sustainability.

Baking & cooking classes

The Travelling Tea Ladies and our sister business  Season Well offer baking and cooking classes to help you improve your skills and confidence

We offer  seasonal baking classes at Get Cooking, Leeds, a beautiful cookery school, in Farsley, just off the Leeds ring road. See earlier blogs for what we have taught. Baking ClassesChristmas Baking with a difference

 

We also run regular cooking classes at Orb Community Arts, Knaresborough showing their clients how to cook and bake with the amazing produce from their wonderful kitchen garden. We have been running these classes for 2 years. We’ve  developed a large number of seasonal recipes for light lunches, main meals, cakes, biscuits and savoury buns.

Through both The Travelling Tea Ladies and our sister business, and  Social Enterprise, Season Well  we can offer personalised baking and cooking lessons for organisations and groups. Let us  inspire you to get cooking and baking with delicious seasonal, local produce.

 

 

 

Wild Greens

Spring is finally here and for us that means wild greens like wild garlic, garlic mustard, dandelion leaves, nettles  and many more.

 

If, like us, you are trying to eat and bake with the seasons  then you breathe a sigh of relief when the “hungry months” of Jan and Feb are over and fresh, local produce is available again. The arrival of  beautiful pink forced rhubarb in the shops (and a bit later on our allotment) is our first joy.

 

 

Then in March  it’s wild garlic time. Oh how we love it’s pungent smell and taste. Both in the woods and in our baking. Spring has been late arriving this year but now it’s begun with gusto. We’ve been out foraging a couple of weeks ago and have turned a bag of freshly picked wild garlic leaves into jars of yummy wild garlic pesto. We use almonds, pumpkin seeds, pecorino cheese and good olive oil. and you can use our recipe to have a go yourself Wild garlic pesto

This year Travelling Tea Lady Becky has experimented with making wild garlic pesto soda bread and it’s delicious.Becky is setting up a new social enterprise called Season Well to work alongside the Travelling Tea Ladies. It’s aim is to get more people cooking and eating seasonal produce and even growing some of their own fruit , herbs and vegetables. You can find more about it on her website and Facebook page.

She runs seasonal cooking lessons and last week her class made wild garlic pesto soda bread with wilted spinach and local duck eggs- yummy.

If you want to get baking a quick and easy bread with a wild greens twist try out the Season Well recipe.Wild garlic pesto soda bread

Oh and if you want to go down to the woods and pick your own wild garlic check out our Facebook page for a quick guide.

What’s your favourite way to eat wild greens?

Hen Tea Parties

Getting Married? How about a Hen Tea Party to celebrate with your favourite ladies.

Beautiful table settings

We’ll bring gorgeous cakes, beautiful vintage crockery and a variety of teas to a venue of your choice. It could be your own home a hired cottage for the weekend or just a venue you love. You can relax and gossip with your friends and family whilst we serve you. Great for a non-boozy hen do.

 

 

But if you do fancy a tipple we can offer you an afternoon tea with fizz and serve you proseccos with your savouries and cakes. ( we even have homemade sparkling cordials for non drinkers so they don’t feel left out!)

 

New for 2018 we are now offering Cocktail Tea Parties.

Working with Bar Events Uk we can bring a cocktail mixologist to your party who will mix up some tea influenced cocktails served in our beautiful teapots and cups ( or glasses if you prefer) The Mixologist can also give you a little cocktail masterclass so you can learn how to mix your own tea inspired tipples

We offer a bespoke service and will create an afternoon tea menu that’s perfect for you and your guests. Just give us a call or drop us a line to let us know about you and your Hen Do and we’ll send you a personalised quote.

Fresh brewed teas from Yorkshire and around the world

Here’s a little guide to prices

Full Afternoon Tea £14.50 a head ( excluding waitressing, set up and travel)

With Fizz     £20

Light Afternoon Tea £12.50 a head ( excluding waitressing, set up and travel)

With Fizz     £18

Cocktail Afternoon Tea prices depend on the number of people attending so contact us for a quote

Growing to Bake

Rhubarb & ginger cheesecake

We’re loving  baking with home grown fruit this season. Fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers just taste so much better when local & in season. It’s  important to us to try to get our produce from sustainable sources and keep our food miles down. That way what we eat isn’t just good for us and our tastebuds but good for the environment too

Our desire to get the freshest ingredients lead to me getting more involved in growing our own produce and working with other people growing food.  I’m now are working with a few organisations to help them get growing and cooking with their own produce. I teach cooking at Orb Community Arts Knaresborough  and Harrogate Skills 4 Living Centre . I’ve also helped set up a community growing project in Guiseley Incredible Edible Aireborough and  I have an allotment now too.

Summer pudding with allotment berries

Plum Crumble Muffins

Thanks all this we have access to a lot of own grown produce. I’ve been experimenting and developing  recipes to make the most of our seasonal fruit. July & August are most bountiful months in the garden. We’ve had lots of rhubarb, raspberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, whitecurrants and plums to bake with

 

Red currants seem to be the trickiest fruit to get people using as there’s really only so much redcurrant jelly & summer pudding you can make! I was really excited to come across a recipe by Nirvana Cakery for Redcurrant Quinoa bars. I adapted it a bit to make it more tempting and came up with this recipe for Red Currant Almond Crumble Bars. I’m sharing it here so you can have a go. It can be made with chopped plums instead if, like me, you’ve got those on your garden too.

Redcurrant & Almond Crumble Bars

I’ll be developing more plum recipes and then apple and blackberry ones so keep following for inspiration or tell me your favourite fruit bakes

Get Seasonal with your baking, cooking and eating!

According to the media we have  a vegetable crisis  in the UK  so it seems a good time to get seasonal with your baking, cooking and eating.

So we’ve got shortages of courgettes, broccoli and iceberg lettuces in British supermarkets because of bad weather in the mediterranean?
My first reaction was “so what, it’s winter eat cabbage!”  ( or carrots or leeks or cauliflower)
Then I thought: this is a good time to be talking to people about eating with the seasons. 

If you are eating local vegetables when they are in season then this lack of summer veg like lettuce and courgettes  is no worry for you. I have been talking about  seasonal baking since we started The Travelling Tea Ladies. I like to bake with fruit, herbs and vegetables that are growing locally and naturally at the time that they should be growing. This is when they taste their best. It’s also best for the environment to to not eat fruit and veg flown in to your supermarket from miles away

Seasonal menus

I suggest menus to my customers based on what’s in season . I talk about seasonal baking on our website and give some examples of what we bake in spring, summer, autumn and winter.

Vegan Rhubarb cake

Ok winter is a bit tricky for fruit but it’s the time to be using preserved fruits or stored fruits. We are still baking with apples picked in autumn and stored in our cellar. Now I’m getting excited about the rhubarb showing it’s pink shoots on our allotment.

Sourcing Fresh, Local , Seasonal Produce

So back to that veg crisis… there isn’t one if you are eating what is growing around you.  A great resource to find out what’s in season now is the fabulous What to Eat Now calendar on the Eat Seasonably website. There are so many ways to find good, local, seasonal produce : shop at your local market and ask where their veg comes from; shop at your local farm shop or farmer’s market; find a community garden or even grow your own.

I am really interested in having the freshest, most local ingredients I can find. So I took inspiration from my business partner Lynne’s fantastic kitchen garden and I started growing my own herbs and vegetables in my  garden.  I also pick a lot of fruit and herbs from the wild. My knowledge of foraging for wild food has been hugely improved by teaming up with Mina from Mistu Forage and Feast

I’ve only got a small garden so after attending an inspiring talk in our local pub by Dr Lindsay Smales from Incredible Edible Todmorden I was inspired to start Incredible Edible Aireborough.  As well as giving me more growing space I want to inspire my local community to eat veg when it’s in season and to increase people’s access to local produce.

We are a small group of volunteers who grow fresh fruit and vegetables for our local community for FREE using bits of land going spare. The Station Pub in Guiseley were kind enough to build us some veg beds in their grounds. We also grow herbs in a couple of beds around the town and fruit bushes in a local park. I have  teamed up with a neighbour to grow on her allotment too.

You may have a community garden near you where you can go pick  fresh veg, herbs and fruit for free or get involved in growing. You don’t need to be an expert either as you learn from others like I’m doing.

Seasonal recipes

I will aim to post a monthly blog post with inspiration and recipes for using what’s in season.

My first recipe to share is for a more  seasonal salad to have instead of iceberg lettuce. I made myself a lovely winter  coleslaw this week with:

  • a 1/4 of a head of red cabbage shredded
  • 2 medium carrots grated
  • 2 shallots from my allotment, sliced finely
  • 2 big tablespoons of mayonnaise mixed with a teaspoon of horseradish,a 1/2 a teaspoon of mustard seeds, 1/2 a table spoon of lemon juice mixed together with a fork

Mix it all together in a glass bowl. I added a few sprigs of  parsley grown on my window sill for a bit of greenery

Delicious in  pitta bread with grilled halloumi cheese

Who needs tasteless iceberg lettuce anyway!

Please do comment with your favourite seasonal recipes and follow my blog and facebook page for more seasonal recipes.

I’ve just started doing some teaching and food inspiring at the Incredible Aquagarden in Todmorden so I’ll soon be posting some seasonal recipes on their website too. There’s a whole lat more that can be grown organically in this country using aquaponics but that’s another topic!

 

New Year Resolutions: Get cooking & baking

Happy New Year! it’s the 3rd January so time to start your New Years Resolutions. Mine include ones to improve my cooking and baking skills do yours?

I’ve been writing resolutions each year for a few years now. Nothing too taxing, just things I want to achieve or do in the year. I make sure they include as much fun stuff as self improvement. I got into the habit with a friend of mine and we often write joint resolutions. One of our joint ones for 2016 was to make a steamed sponge pudding as neither of us ever had. I wrote my resolutions on my phone then lost them when I changed my phone in February!  I forgot about the sponge pudding resolution until on holiday with the same friend this Christmas.  I was determined the pudding would get made and so it did….. on New Years Eve.

It was a delicious quince pudding using up the quincemeat I made in December and the last of the quinces I’d bought and served with whipped cream laced with quince vodka.

If you want to know more about the quincemeat have a look at my FaceBook Live video

 

I liked the fact I was improving  my baking skills so I decided I’d have more baking & cooking resolutions for 2017. These are:

  1. Get into fermenting. I meant  to make Kimchi and water kefir last year but never got round to it so 2017 is going to be my year of fermenting
  2.  Make my own flatbread. I’ve only really dipped my toe into bread a few times as it takes   sooo long ( well without a bread machine and especially when the last bread I made  was a sourdough!). I thought I’d try flatbread as a quick way to get into bread. Luckily I’ve a lovely cookbook, Vegiestan by Sally Butcher, with a chapter on flatbreads which is a good start.
  3. Expand my healthy cake range.I started working with Jenny from Active- eat last year to develop cakes which are good for you. ( See my blog post from last year: An apothecary of buns.)We then both got a bit busy so let it drift but we’re back on it this year. We are meeting up on Friday to make Kale Cheesecake ( gluten & dairy free). Keep an eye on our Facebook pages for how we do with that
  4.  Eat less processed food. In fact my husband and I have challenged ourselves to eat no processed food this January which may be a bit of a tall order. We’re currently trying to define what we mean by “processed”. He’s going with “nothing made in a factory” which cuts out an awful lot. ( I mean flour is made in a factory isn’t it?) I’m going with ” food made from ingredients not food with a list of ingredients”. Whose definition do you prefer?

So have you got any cooking or baking resolutions? Please comment and  let me know. Maybe you want to cook more with your family. Maybe you want to learn more about how to cook with wild ingredients or maybe you want learn more about preserving. If so, guess what? I’ve going to have some classes coming up at Get Cooking! Cookery school in Farsley Leeds covering just those topics ( amazing hey?)

You can book now onto my child & family baking class on 14th February. Then I have a baking with nature class in June combining foraging for wild ingredients with baking & cordial making. Next up is an apple preserving class in the Autumn where we’ll be making apple juice, cider and chutney. If you want to hear more about my baking classes please fill in our contact form to be added to my mailing list for news and offers.

Don’t forget to comment with your baking & cooking resolutions or tell me why you don’t make any. Good luck with all your resolutions and have a great start to 2017.

Christmas Baking with a difference

It’s spiced-window-biscuitbeginning to smell a lot like Christmas at Tea Lady Towers (well terrace really) as my Christmas baking gets underway.

I love Christmas baking. Love all the spices and dried fruit and of course the traditions. I’ve got my own tradition now of baking Christmas biscuits to decorate my tree. I usually make these and  home made sweets as gifts for my family.

 

I do like a mince pie too and this year I’ve been experimental with my mincemeats. I’ve made quince meat with roasted quince taking the place of the more traditional apple and some gorgeous Polish quince vodka in place of brandy. If you think that’s unusual then you’ll be amazed by …….wait for it…………..Green Tomato Mincemeat!!

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I was musing on Facebook about what to do with the large amount of green tomatoes we’d harvested from the local community garden where I volunteer (Incredible Edible Aireborough). Local gardening business, Leaf Cutters, suggested mincemeat and even supplied me with a recipe from an old apple cook book they have. It’s so easy to share recipes now we all have smartphones. Just 1 or 2 photos; a Whatsap message and away you go!

Well I do love a challenge so of course I made tgreen-tomatoeshe mincemeat. I even filmed myself doing so on Facebook Live! It’s  an alcohol free recipe, made with cider vinegar, so good for anyone who is opposed to alcohol. And , guess what…..It’s delicious!! It’s simmered for 2 hours so the green tomatoes cook down to a  toffee like consistency.

I tested both out on the good folk of Guiseley last weekend. I had a tea & cake stall at our local Christmas market and everyone who was adventurous enough to try them was amazed. Yes we did have more traditional mince pies too!

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I’m teaching my first Christmas Baking Class this year at Get Cooking! Leeds on Saturday 3rd December.  I shall be teaching people how to make a last minute Christmas cake using mincemeat. It’s based on a Delia Smith recipe but I’m using a Mary Berry mincemeat recipe as it’s a lot quicker than Deila’s. Of course I put my own twist on both recipes. For those of us who have missed out on Stir-up Sunday this really does make a very nice, moist  and quick Christmas cake.

I will of course be showing people how to make mince pies and they get to taste all 3 mincemeats and see which they like the best.

If you want to see more of my recipes and video demonstrations do follow my Facebook page and if you want to hear more about my baking classes, fill in my contact form to  join my mailing list

So what are you baking for Christmas? Do you have any favourite or unusual recipes you’d like to share?

 

Banana Bread to Macarons: My baking journey

I’m really proud and excited to be the first contributor to the talented Sally Robinson’s Democratic Cookbook.  I share my story of when I first fell in love with baking. From Banana Bread to Macarons  shows my baking journey from first realising I could bake well to mastering the tricky French Patisserie delight of a macaron.

macarons

The idea behind the ( currently online) cookbook is that cooking is for everyone. Cooking happens in real life not just in the stylised versions of life we are shown on cookery programmes where everything is perfect and clothes always stay spotless!

grin-beat-it

 

 

I met Sally through twitter when she was was studying for her masters in food photography. A project exploring people’s relationship with food. When we met we realised we got on well and shared a love of food.  We also believe that everyone should and could enjoy wonderful, delicious food. I talked to her lots about what food means to me.  I come from a foodie family who often express our love for each other through sharing meals. We have even run our own family bake off with parents, children, aunties and uncles competing with each other to win the prize for best hot cross bun. We  made a visiting aunt and cousin do the blind judging- just like the judging in the technical challenge of The Great British Bake Off

ma311-383I talked to Sally about my baking journey: how I had come to baking when I was off work with depression.  I see baking as a wonderfully therapeutic activity. I am truly mindful when I am baking . I concentrate on the flavours and the tasks required for that magical alchemy which turns eggs, flour butter,sugar and seasonal fruit into cake heaven. I feel very lucky to be able to do this for my livelihood baking seasonal food for parties & events

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I’ve started teaching baking as I believe that everyone has the capacity to perform this magic. They just need to build up their confidence and skills. The banana bread recipe in the democratic cookbook is one I taught in my first family baking class at GetCooking! school in Leeds.

 

My classes focus on baking with seasonal fruit, herbs & flowers. Using local seasonal produce is so important to me. Fruit and vegetables taste so much better when in season and not travelled: good for us and good for the planet. My  Bake the Seasons classes are for all ages and all levels of ability as I believe everyone has something to learn. I aim to inspire people to bake with the wonderful produce that’s growing around them. I often take traditional recipes and give them a seasonal twist or  research for fantastic recipes to help people learn new skills on their baking journey

I’m doing more baking classes at GetCooking! Leeds so keep an eye on their website .  If you’d like to be one of the first to hear about my classes, receive special offers and recipes then please join my mailing list and get one of the recipes featured in my initial taster classes. Choose from Lemon Balm drizzle cake or Rhubarb & ginger sandwich cake.

 

Apple Day: Brewing & Baking Class

We run seasonal baking classes at Get Cooking, Leeds, a beautiful cookery school, in Farsley, just off the Leeds ring road.

We’re really excited about our fantastic Apple Day Brewing & Baking class on Saturday 22nd October  a special one  class on offer this Autumn.  We love apples and so have teamed up with Learn to Brew Uk to dedicate a whole day class to making the best from the abundant local apple harvest this year

Steve from Learn to Brew UK will teach you in a hands on session how to make apple juice, cider and even cider vinegar from local apples You get to take home a demijohn of apple juice  we’ll have pressed plus all the know how and equipment to transform it into 5L of cider.

apple-and-almond-tart

Apple & Almond Tart

Travelling Tea Lady, Becky will  show you how to make a fantastic apple tart. Then we’ll enjoy eating it as part of  a  gourmet lunch full of apple delights like cream cheese, apple & mint sandwiches, cheddar cheese with home made apple chutney and home made apple cordial.ma311-944

 

 

After lunch we’ll all bake a gorgeous Italian Apple cake which you take home with you.  We’ll also have an apple cake and beer tasting afternoon tea before you leave.

If you love apples this is a great baking class for you.  The full day costs £130 which as well as the tuition and 2 meals includes all your brewing equipment ( demijohn, syphon and cider box) And of course your 5 litres of cider and a family sized cake, Book your place at :https://www.get-cooking.org.uk/co…/apple-day-brewing-baking/

We pick our apples locally if you have an apple tree and want to use your own apples do bring them along. Becky will tell you how to best store your apples to keep them for eating & baking right through the winter.

We have discount places available for 2 people baking together and returning customers so please email Becky at hello@travellingtealadies.co.uk if you want to take advantage of these