belinda jeffery's news and events
A few years ago, I gave a pastry-making class in one of the local village halls as part of a community fund-raising drive. I must admit, I was somewhat gobsmacked at the numbers of people who came, not only because they wanted to support their community, but also to learn some of the ins and outs of making and working with simple pastries. I’ve never forgotten that after the class, so many of the people there (including a number I knew were really wonderful, very capable, cooks) confided in me that they were happy to tackle the most complicated dishes, but when it came to even the thought of working with pastry, they were filled with trepidation.
Their words very much stayed in my mind, and recently when I taught at the lovely Agrarian Kitchen cooking school in Tasmania, the whole day was devoted to working with different pastries. It was such fun, and a real joy for me to see the delight on students’ faces as they mastered these skills. So as I was musing on what recipe to feature this month, the thought of a pastry of some sort came to mind. My next thought was - what better than the simplest, most rustic tart possible? A sweet crostata. They’re such wonderful-looking things, and perfect if you’re a bit wary of working with pastry as they’re terribly forgiving and can be easily patched-up - and as they are meant to look rustic, any imperfections look as though they belong!
They’re certainly my go-to dessert when we have visitors, as I love their simplicity - short, buttery pastry filled with whatever fruit happens to be in season, and a sprinkle of sugar and spices. At this time of year, really beautiful apples from Stanthorpe arrive at the farmers market - they’re sweet, with an ever-so slightly sharp edge, and satisfyingly crunchy. I always end up buying far more than I need, but they never go amiss, as an apple with a chunk of cheddar is one of my favourite snacks, and I cook no-end of them in maple syrup to eat with porridge for breakfast. Last week, I ear-marked a kilo to make a lovely, simple apple and cinnamon crostata, which, as you have no doubt gathered from my ramble, is this month’s featured recipe. I hope you enjoy it!
P.S. I have just confirmed another cooking class in July. If you are interested in finding out more about it, have a look at the Upcoming Events section below.
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Upcoming events and news
I have firmed up another cooking class for this year. It will be a hands-on class at Helen Nott’s terrific PepperTree Kitchen in Lismore on Wednesday 22nd July from 9.30am – 1.30pm. If you would like to find out more about the class, you can do so at www.peppertreekitchen.com.au and click on the link to their classes.
I also have a class at the Accoutrement Cooking School in Sydney on Tuesday 14th July at 6.30pm. I would love to think that I see you there. If you would like to find out more about the class, you can do so at www.accoutrement.com.au
I’m really chuffed to be returning to the wonderful Agrarian Kitchen cooking school in Tasmania in November 2015 to teach two baking classes on Friday 20th and Saturday the 21st. This brilliant cooking school has a holistic paddock-to-plate philosophy that informs everything they do. Their website is really lovely and I highly recommend a visit...I rather suspect that, like me, you will be hooked once you read it! www.theagrariankitchen.com
I was recently on Channel 7’s The Morning Show, making Asparagus and Goat’s Cheese Tarts …if you’re interested in watching the segment, follow this link… http://au.tv.yahoo.com/video/watch/25322696/springtime-asparagus-tarts/
My favourite charity
Just A Drop - www.justadrop.org
My lovely sister-in-law, Fiona Jeffery, started this international water aid charity in 1998 when she learnt that less than $2 can deliver clean water to a child for up to 10 years. From this knowledge, and her passion and commitment, Just a Drop was born, based on the premise that if people can be encouraged to give a little then collectively we can make a huge difference. I’m so proud of all she has achieved over the years and encourage you to visit the site and see the fantastic work they do.
Favourite websites & blogs