Recipes for a delicious locally sourced dinner party

Catering for guests in your own home can be a daunting prospect. However, with some “cheffy” tricks of the trade a lot of the stress can be removed with most preparation the day before. This ensures an impressive dinner party whilst ensuring your guests are not neglected.

With this is mind we have prepared some of our favourite dishes and presented these with recipes and some pictures.

On Saturday 26th January 2019 our Head Chef Lee and Peter Moulam cooked these dishes live on Radio Sheffield.

Kat’s Kitchen a popular Radio Sheffield broadcast

Kat’s Kitchen a popular Radio Sheffield broadcast


Menu

The PJ taste Sheffield Egg served with a winter salad of local grown miners lettuce and foraged dandelion

Chicken ballotine stuffed with Stanage Millstone Cheese and PJ taste preserved local heritage tomatoes

A light PJ taste honey and rosemary sponge served with lemon curd and spun sugar.


First Course - Salad of The Sheffield Egg with seasonal salad

The Sheffield Egg is a big eat so we would recommend serving half per person as a starter. Recently we have been serving with a winter salad dressed a vinaigrette made with our own elderberry vinegar. Its amazing how salad like miners lettuce, mibuna and red dragon mustard survive quite severe frosts. If you are brave you can even add foraged dandelion which can still be found in good quantities right through the winter.

The Sheffield Egg is a big eat so we would recommend serving half per person as a starter. Recently we have been serving with a winter salad dressed a vinaigrette made with our own elderberry vinegar. Its amazing how salad like miners lettuce, mibuna and red dragon mustard survive quite severe frosts. If you are brave you can even add foraged dandelion which can still be found in good quantities right through the winter.

The Sheffield Egg – to make 4

Ingredients

4 Local free range eggs
For the coating::
72g breadcrumbs soaked in 60ml vegetable stock
60g PJ taste pickle (or use your favourite)
80g grated Fountains Gold Yorkshire Cheddar cheese
200g Moss Valley pork sausage meat
1 tsp Henderson Relish

To finish:
Dish of equal quantities of toasted breadcrumbs, sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds for coating
Dish of 1 egg mixed with 100ml milk

Method
Prepare a baking tray of the coating mixture by toasting in the oven a mixture of breadcrumbs, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds until nicely coloured. Briefly blend to form a crumbs fine enough to coat the eggs but still having some texture.

Boil a pan of salted water using enough to easily cover 4 eggs.
Once boiling carefully lower the eggs into the water and immediately start your timer for 6 minutes. You are wanting to achieve a runny centre to the yolks.

After 6 minutes remove the pan and after pouring off the hot water leave under a running cold tap to cool the eggs as quickly as possible. Once cool carefully peel – the eggs will be quite soft so go carefully.

Divide the coating mixture into four equal balls. Using wet hands press the balls into a flat circle and carefully place around the eggs sealing the edges to ensure no gaps.

To finish dip in the egg/milk and then in a mix of toasted breadcrumb, and seed mix mix to form a “shell”. Ideally using a rounded silicon mould (to help keep the shape) bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees until the pork coating is cooked to 75 degrees.

Cool and then store. Will keep refrigerated for a maximum of three days including the day of production.

Chicken Ballotine stuffed with Stanage Millstone Cheese and Heritage Tomatoes

The ballotine is stuffed with local cheese and tomatoes. As part of our drive towards a zero waste kitchen we have been recently using tomatoes preserved from last year. We simply use a dehydrator to preserve heritage tomatoes from Sheffield Organic Growers

The ballotine is stuffed with local cheese and tomatoes. As part of our drive towards a zero waste kitchen we have been recently using tomatoes preserved from last year. We simply use a dehydrator to preserve heritage tomatoes from Sheffield Organic Growers

Ingredients

  • Four 7oz/200g Chicken breasts

  • 6oz/175g Stanage Millstone Cheese

  • 3.5oz/100g Preserved heritage tomatoes 0r sun-dried tomatoes

  • 2 little gem lettuce (each cut in half)

  • 150ml white wine, 200ml single cream and parsley for sauce

  • 1/4 finely diced onion

  • 15 new potatoes - to be boiled and crushed for the garnish

  • Some herbs for garnish, we added Saltbush a perennial plant grown on our plot

Make an incision into the “fat” end of the chicken breast and using the knife blade make a pocket to stuff with the seasoned tomato and cheese mix. Wrap in cling film and tie each end ready to poach in water. The chicken breast can be poached the day before your dinner - ideally a temperature probe should used to ensure the centre reaches above 75C degrees. These should then be cooled as rapidly as possible prior to refrigeration.

On the night of your dinner they can be re-heated by cooking in a hot pan with oil and butter. (Please ensure the cooking time allows the centre to reach a piping hot temperature). Remove the chicken to rest whilst you cook the lettuce and make the sauce.

Fry the halved little gem lettuce in the same pan to gently wilt adding some additional butter. Again remove and keep warm.

For the sauce simply soften the onion in the remaining pan juices, “deglaze” the pan with the white wine allowing it to reduce by one third. Add the cream and chopped parsley and check the seasoning. You can at this stage “monte au beurre” which means adding chilled cubes of butter, swirling then into the sauce to achieve a rich and silky smooth finish.

Serve with crushed new potatoes, cutting the chicken in half and arranging with the sauce and your chosen herb garnishes.

Steamed sponge with PJ taste honey and local grown rosemary with lemon curd and spun sugar

decorated with a spun sugar nest adds the wow factor!

decorated with a spun sugar nest adds the wow factor!

The sponge can be made as one large sponge in a pudding basin or as individual portions using smaller “dariole” moulds.

Lemon Curd: 175g/ 6oz of a quality lemon curd make or ideally make your own!

  • 175g/ 6oz butter softened

  • 140g/ 5oz caster sugar

  • 3 eggs

  • 175g/6oz self-raising flour

  • 1 tbsp milk

  • 1.5 tbsp local blossom honey

  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary or thyme

Generously grease your pudding basin or individual moulds.

Put the lemon curd into the bottom of the single or split between the individual moulds. Put the ingredients for the sponge in a food processor and blend until smooth (but don’t overwork the mix), then tip into the pudding basin or split between the individual moulds. Cover with a lid made of baking parchment and foil, and tie with string. Stand the pudding on the upturned bowl in a saucepan and pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the side of the pudding basin. Set over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid, lower the heat to a gentle simmer and leave to steam for 2½ hrs or 30 minutes for individual moulds, topping up with boiling water if the level gets too low.

To decorate your plates add “pools” of a local fruit puree, crème fraiche and dehydrated fruit along with a spun sugar nest or spun sugar shards.

N.B. Spun sugar is a “cheffy” trick which is easier than it may seem! Simply melt 175g/ 6oz caster sugar in a pan bringing to the boil without stirring. Once a caramel colour take off the heat and for shards pour onto a greased baking tray breaking into shards once set. For a fancy basket drizzle the caramel over the base of a greased ladle again leaving to set before removing.

Easter foraging in Sheffield

Gathering wild food has always appealed to my parsimonious nature, its free after all!  However, a better reason is getting into the great outdoors and the connection you get to nature and the seasons.  In the Sheffield area there are things to find all year round but it is by Easter time that the possibilities increase.

Wild garlic or often commonly known as Ransoms, (Allium ursinum) is a spring time favourite and when located is usually in such profusion that you have no concerns about over harvesting.  You can use the leaves, flower buds and flowers (the bulb too but as with all wild plants it should not be dug up).  As with all foraging ensure that you are 100% sure about what you are picking and check that there is no contamination from the environment.

Wild garlic and its beautiful flowers

Wild garlic and its beautiful flowers

Whilst the a few of the leaves can be used fresh in salads we use most to make a wild garlic pesto which allows us to preserve it beyond its relatively short season.  The recipe is very simple:

First wash the wild garlic well. Soak in cold water, rinse and put them in a colander to strain.

Blend the wild garlic to taste with the following

·       garlic puree

·       pine nuts

·       grated cheese (any hard cheese will do) – parmesan is good

·       salt and pepper

·       olive oil (use the good stuff)

·       some lemon juice if needed to cut the richness

Jar into clean sterilised jars and secure lids tightly.

There are a number of other members of the onion family (alliums) which can be foraged.  Heres a super guide to knowing your alliums.

Another almost other-worldly wild find is the Scarlet elf cap.  This is an edible fungus which would provide an amazing way to present other edibles as a striking canape.  However, I have never found enough to warrant picking them and instead have just enjoyed them as a living spectacle.  They occur in woodland where there is plenty of fallen wood on which they grow.

The striking scarlet elf cap

The striking scarlet elf cap

So Happy Easter one and all and I hope you are able to get out and enjoy some fresh air and make some interesting wild food finds.

Chocolate and Cocktail demonstration in Sheffield

Enjoy an evening making delicious chocolates and learning to mix a range of cocktails in the comfort of our meeting, dining and event venue on Staniforth road in Sheffield. Thursday Evening 8th March 6.30pm for 7pm 

PJ taste espresso chocolate martini cocktail

PJ taste espresso chocolate martini cocktail

Join us for a relaxed evening Upstairs@PJtaste immersing yourself in a world of chocolate and cocktails!  Our demonstration will include the chance to get hands making chocolates and mixing cocktails!
Your PJ hosts will guide you through the tempering of chocolate, using moulds to make delicious pralines as well as mixing some iconic and locally inspired PJ taste cocktails and Flairing Demonstrations. Thursday 8th March 2018, 6.30pm for 7.00pm £18 per person

To book tickets please complete the form below

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An apple tree pruning masterclass in Sheffield

In November 2016 I planted 15 apple trees on our plot bought from Huw Evans of Sheffield Organic Growers.  I was lucky to benefit from his advice and experience which he has built from establishing a 300 tree orchard over the last seven years.  Yesterday Huw has kind enough to drop by to show me how to carry out the all important formative pruning to ensure the trees develop into productive and healthy trees. 

Over the next few years we hope that these trees along with the other soft fruit, salads, herbs and perennial vegetables will contirbute an increasing quantity of supplies into PJ taste.

Huw accessing how to proceed with this Red Windsor apple tree.  He selected the four main branches at the top of the tree and cut these back by up to half of last seasons growth to an outward facing bud to encourage these to branch further.  The lower branches were cut back to between 4 and 6 buds to encourage them to develop as fruiting spurs.

Huw accessing how to proceed with this Red Windsor apple tree.  He selected the four main branches at the top of the tree and cut these back by up to half of last seasons growth to an outward facing bud to encourage these to branch further.  The lower branches were cut back to between 4 and 6 buds to encourage them to develop as fruiting spurs.

The trees I planted over the winter of 2016/17 are listed below.  I have added descriptions from the Orange Pippin Trees web site

Two Discovery -the definitive early-season English apple variety.

Three Red Windsor - Self-fertile, so there is no need to worry about pollination partners. It grows naturally in a neat and tidy fashion, and crops heavily. The apples can be picked over several weeks so you don't have to deal with a glut. It seems untroubled by the usual diseases of apples, and the blossom also has some resistance to frost.

Two Ribstone Pippin - A particuarly handsome apple, thought to be one of the parents of Cox's Orange Pippin. It has some of the aromatic qualities of that variety when eaten fresh, but is noticeably sharper in flavour - and for this reason is often used in the kitchen as well.
By Victorian times Ribston Pippin was very popular as a late autumn apple, and the Victorian fruit enthusiast Robert Hogg reported that it was in "greatest perfection during November and December".

Two Blemhein Orange - Blenheim Orange is a popular large English heritage apple variety, widely grown in gardens. It has the characteristic orange flush which is often associated with English apples. Although it can be eaten fresh, it is best considered a culinary apple, and it cooks to a stiff puree.

One Rajka - a modern apple variety, developed specifically to be resistant to the main apple diseases, and hence a good choice for the gardener or home orchardist who prefers an organic or un-treated regime. The fruit is deep-red coloured over a golden yellow background when ripe. The flesh is a creamy-yellow colour and is open-textured, fairly crisp but not too hard, and snaps cleanly when you bite into it. The flavour is sweet, but with good acidity.

Two Fiesta - Fiesta is a relatively new English apple, developed in Kent in the 1970s but with a very traditional English style and flavour. Cox's Orange Pippin is one of its parents, and it has inherited the classic Cox aromatic sweet/sharp flavour. Visually it also looks the part, with the attractive orange flush so typical of traditional English apples.Fiesta is one of the best apples for juicing. It produces copious amounts of juice, with a very good rich sweet / sharp flavour.It can also be used as a substitute for Cox's Orange Pippin in apple cookery - slices keep their shape when cooked.


Three Ashmead Kernel - Ashmeads Kernel is a very old traditional English russet apple. It remains popular for its distinctive pear-like flavour which is quite different from most other apple varieties.
Although often considered as a connoisseur's dessert apple, Ashmead's Kernel is actually quite versatile. It can be used for cooking, or sliced in savoury salads, and it keeps very well in a cold store.

The pictures above show Huw deciding how to proceed with the Blenheim Orange.  As you can see each tree presents a slightly different challenge depending on how it has grown through the year.  These trees are positioned quite close to a hedge and it may be that this has created a slightly lopsided growth pattern.  The video below gives some great tips from Huw and shows how he proceeded with this tree.

Huw's advice have given us lots of knowledge about pruning trees of this young age.  He also recommended a couple of books which he says he still uses regularly and cover a wide variety of specis and styles of training.

There are a number of growers from whom I would recommend buying quality trees. 

In the Sheffield area and for planting in this area you could'nt do better than to approach Huw at Sheffield Organic Growers
For a wide variety of trees and great advice on forest gardens - Martin Crawford at the Agroforestry Research Council
Cool Temperate in Nottingham also stocks an interesting range of trees

Finally here is some information from Wortley Hall Walled garden where they re-established the orchard back in 2007 and have plenty of interesting regional heritage varieties.

A successful meeting and networking event at our dining and training centre in Sheffield

Our event space today hosted another successful meeting with a group of Sheffield based small business owners.  Brought together by Andy Hanselman the subject covered was recruitment and retention.  Presentations were given by Louise from Benchmark Recruit and by Bhayani Law.  We received lovely comments on both the quality of the food and the attention to detail with which we have refurbished the meeting room.

Delegates from Andy Hanselman's Connect 6 group enjoy the presentations

Chef Lee prepared delicious vegan muffins as a welcome treat and a hot lunch of chicken with mozzarella.

Sheffield hampers - last posting day - Wednesday 20th December 2017

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Our range of Christmas hampers all contain delicious, locally sourced foodie gifts.  Starting at £24.95 for the Sheffield Favourite, the luxury hamper at £125 shown above comes in its own quality wicker basket and contains the following:

  • Sheffield Honey 12oz jar
  • Henderson’s Relish 142ml
  • Sheffield Cook Book - "Second Helpings"
  • PJ taste Preserve 12oz
  • PJ taste Chutney 12oz
  • 12 PJ taste handmade Chocolate Truffles 
  • Frazers Sheffield Roasted Triple Certified Coffee 250g
  • PJ taste luxury Christmas Pudding
  • John's Pickled Killamarsh Chillies
  • 20cl Sir Robin of Locksley Gin - distilled in Sheffield
  • 275ml PJ taste locally foraged rosehip syrup
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The last posting day for UK deliveries in time for Christmas is Wednesday 20th December so to ensure your order arrives in time please place with us by close of business on Tuesday - thats tomorrow as I write!  Happy Christmas.

Our Fun with Christmas Menus

Lamb in a Manger, Rudolph and His Red Nose, Jerky Turkey.  Can you can see where we are going?  Its our Christmas themed BBQ.  This year we have put together a range of menus for a number of our corporate clients in Sheffield with the emphasis on Christmas fun.  So from Christmas pizza with Moss Valley slow cooked pork and a Christmas stuffing, to a generously filled Turkey Poblano burrito we have deliciously locally sourced food served with a twist.

See some menu ideas here.

Sheffield Cookbook

We are excited to announce that the sequel to the Sheffield Cookbook, The Sheffield Cookbook Second Helpings will be available from 14 November 2016.  Available to pre-order now at £14.95 this 320 page full colour book will make a brilliant Christmas present for any Sheffield food lover.  Order here

Sheffield and Yorkshire gift hampers

Our carefully selected hampers contain delicious foods sourced within Sheffield, South Yokshire and they are ideal for Christmas presents, birthday presents or simply gifts at any time of the year.

The PJ taste Sheffield Favourites Hamper

The PJ taste Sheffield Favourites Hamper

This year we have some of our own handmade preserves as well as an artisan chocolate bar which we have made using Barry Callebaut chocolate and chillies grown by John in Killamarsh.  The jams are made with fruit grown on our own plots and made with fairttrade sugar by our chefs.  Our Sheffield Favourite hamper is priced at just £19.95 and can be simply ordered on our web site.

We have added a lovely Christmas Chutney made by Matthew at  Just Preserves  based in Chippinghouse Road in Sheffield.  Matthew shares the same ethos as us when it comes to the care with which he sources his ingredients.

We have added a lovely Christmas Chutney made by Matthew at Just Preserves based in Chippinghouse Road in Sheffield.  Matthew shares the same ethos as us when it comes to the care with which he sources his ingredients.

Ther coffee is from another Sheffield company.  Cafeology buy extremely sustainably and it is seven years since they imported their first consignment of coffee from Asoapia in Colombia, buying direct from the cooperative.  The quality of this Columbian blend suitable for filter or cafetieres is amazing.

Other favourites of ours are Sheffield Honey and Hendersons Relish which complete the Sherffield Favourites hamper.

We are excited to be including within the Premium Hamper (at just £39.95) the SHeffield Cookbook - Second Helpings.  This is a bumper tome featuring the best of the Sheffield dining out scene.

Edible Chrysanthemum - preserving seasonal produce #3

Edible Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum coronarium, is an easy to grow annual plant which has thrived in the garden this year.  It is a member of the Asteraceae/Daisy family and otherwise known as garland chrysanthemum or chop suy greens.  Originally from the Mediterranean the plant has spead over Asia and the American continent

Simply grown from seed in the polytunnel with successional sowings over April, May and June the seedlings were hardy and grew quickly in a variety of soils and positions once planted out.

The stems and leaves are used in stir frys and steamed as a green and if you want to encourage this kind of growth then pinching out the top growth to prevent early flowering is useful.  However, having a ready supply of flowers has been brilliant for adding colourful garnishes to our delivered and event catering and these plants willingly started to flower and have kept flowering well into the Autumn, producing the lovely yellow and white and pure yellow blooms.

Chrysanthemum tea - a simple infusion of the flowers gives a golden brew

Chrysanthemum tea - a simple infusion of the flowers gives a golden brew

To preserve the flowers for use over the winter we have been drying them and crystallising them.  The dried flowers will make a lovely golden tea and the sugared ones will give an extra month or two on the garnishing front.

Taking preservation to its logical conclusion I am now collecting the drying seed heads ready for planting next year.  I suspect that there will also be a lot of self seeding going on and it will be useful to be able to recognise the seedlings in case they start to take over large parts of the garden!

Pickled Nasturtium Seeds - preserving seasonal produce #1

We are learning more about growing our own food crops in a sustainable and productive way.  In this series of blog posts I will be picking one plant that I have grown this year and showing one simple and interesting way to preserve it.  The focus is on great taste and methods to store seasonal harvests into food which can be utilised in the coming months.

In this first post I look at Nasturtiums ,Tropaeolum minus, and how its simple to pickle the seeds to produce a caper like substitute.

Nasturium seed which has formed after the flower has finished (remanants of the brown and dried flower attached)

Nasturium seed which has formed after the flower has finished (remanants of the brown and dried flower attached)

Nasturiums are an easy to grow plant producing edible leaves, flowers and seeds.  In our new garden the rabbits seemed to love the young plants so after raising from seed in the polytunnel they were very vulnerable when initially planted out.  Tree guards worked well and from just a few plants we harvested dozens of flowers, followed by loads of seeds.  The dilema was how many to dry and save to plant for next year and how many to pickle!

Tree guards used to protect young nasturim plants - amazingly they plants grew to the top and flourished

Tree guards used to protect young nasturim plants - amazingly they plants grew to the top and flourished

As the flowers die back you will notice the distinctive seed pods forming.  These can be collected whilst still green straight from the plant (you may also notice that some will have already fallen to the ground - judicious selection will determine whether these too are collectable).

Pickling the seeds is simplicity itself and an excellent recipe and method can be found on the Decorators Notebook Blog

The distinctive seed pods still green and picked straight from the plant

The distinctive seed pods still green and picked straight from the plant

Our friends electric

Tracy and Jade both key members of our team have been well and truely zapped!  After driving our electric vans they are the latest converts to the benefits of zero tail pipe emissions and have both bought a Nissan Leaf.

This brings the electric vehicles in daily use for PJ taste to 4 when we add the 2 Nissan ENV 200 vans which have proved such great workhorses.  Tracy and Jade now enjoy extremely cost effective motoring and can use our rapid charger when at work.  (We especially like this when the sun is shining as our 37 solar panels mean that we do not need to draw from the national grid).

One of our Nissan vans alongside those from other Sheffield business on an  Inmotion  Open Day

One of our Nissan vans alongside those from other Sheffield business on an Inmotion Open Day

If you are interested in the green driving revolution check out the Top EV benefits here

Celebrate Autumn's bounty with our special buffet menu

Featuring our own Sheffield grown food and artisan Derbyshire produce our special buffet for Autumn 2016 captures the essence of nature's bounty.
         

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Menu - Cold Fork Buffet

Fresh baked courgette and cheddar quiche (PJ taste grown courgette) (V)
Platters of PJ taste Sheffield Eggs – Moss Valley pork, Hendos
Stanage Millstone Cheese – a new cheese made in Hathersage served with PJ taste baked bread and our plum chutney (Sheffield grown plums) (V)
Roasted beets, carrots and Jerusalem artichoke with a herby tahini sauce  (v)
 Potato salad with chives (PJ taste grown chives)
Selection of PJ taste Sheffield rhubarb Bakewell and bowl of Hazelhurst organic heritage apples (Sheffield grown)

Free delivery for orders of 10 or more people in Sheffield please book on   0330 043 1954 or ask@pjtaste.co.uk

Some Customer feedback:
We would like to say a massive thank you to everyone involved in our event on Friday, the day was a huge success and we have received some very positive comments throughout the practice. Your excellent communication prior to the event and the attention to detail we received was military perfection which did not go unnoticed.
Sally Hutchinson, Senior Office Manager, Purcell July 2016

I would like to say a massive thank you from myself and all at Wake Smith.  Your service and food has been excellent and it has been a pleasure working with you. 
Bridie Mulgrew, Marketing Executive, Wake Smith Solicitors.  May 2016

I wanted to write to thank you for the wonderful catering at our event last Friday.   Not only was the quality of the food and drink exemplary but your accommodating and calm approach was very much appreciated by myself and colleagues. 
Alan Dick, Head of Policy, Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

 

Weddings - those all important special touches

We pride ourselves on making each wedding and indeed every event unique.  As well as every menu being individually designed we love adding special touches.  Here are some of them shown pictorially from catered events we have planned and delivered this year.

For the wedding of Chris and Becki we used Derbyshire Lamb on a spit roast as part of the main wedding breakfast, followed by a cake of cheese decorated with a variety of our own grown flowers and herbs.  These included hops, foraged Meadowsweet, nasturiums, marigold and borage.  The evening buffet featured our Sheffield Eggs and amazing gammon from Moss Valley Farm which were served alongside the cheeses with handmade biscuits and lindseed crisps.

For a wedding in June we presented a surprise handmade pork pie decorated with the Bride and Grooms name as part of their evening buffet.  Specially bought drinks and great personal service along with our own naked wedding cake completed a great day.

By growing a variety of our own crops we can offer really interesting ingredients which would be difficult to source elsewhere.  This year we have had masses of excellent rhubarb, raspberries, plums, red and black currants as well as more unusual crops such as Oca (a South American tuber which comes in a number of colours and often has a hint of citrus flavour) as well as giant goosefoot, leaves from the small leaved lime tree, red amaranth and Vulcan flowers.  These have all helped make colourful, conversation provoking impact.

Ready made for your entertaining nights - Dinner Party Solutions

Our Dinner Party experience menus will provide you with a delicious meal which can be simply presented and re-heated by you at your chosen venue.  We have had great feedback from guests who have found this a brilliant way to cater for larger parties for example where they have hired a cottage for the weekend.  They work equally well when entertaining at home allowing you to spend the time with your guests.

Supplied ready for collection and service in appropriate dishes, le Creuset style casseroles and platters they take all the stress out of entertaining.

Ideal for parties of 8 or more who want to enjoy our locally sourced and freshly prepared food with complete flexibility of time and venue and at a cost effective price .

Sample menus are available here to get the party started although we are equally happy to create an individual menu based around your own theme, tastes and occasion. Please do contact us.

Our daily bread

Purists may blanch but we have developed a simple, overnight method to make delicious sourdough bread.

There is certainly a place for the specialist bakers like Chad Robertson of Tartin (see these amazing videos) and they have been a major inspiration.  But in a busy kitchen concerned with making a full range of dishes a consistent and fail safe method which can easily fit in the daily varied kichen environment is essential.  We still habour ambitions to one day explore the intricate avenues of specialist baking further but for now here is our recipe and method.  I have listed some more in depth resources at the end of this piece for when you get more into this art.

Good sourdough bread, as opposed to a lot of modern industrial bread, is simply made from flour, salt and water.  Instead of using yeast a natural starter or leaven is used.  The starter is simply a mix of flour and water which over a period of days left at room temperture develops into a living, fermenting pool of goodness.  The acid tang which becomes such an appealing facet of soughdough is from the lactic acid produced as a by product of this fermentation by bacterial action.  There is lots of evidence that making bread in this way has a number of health benefits over using commercial yeast and potentially many more over buying mass produced bread.  We will explore this in a subsequent post.

In keeping with our desire to use local ingredients we choose Yorkshire flour milled by Bradshaw's in Driffield.  We use a 50/50 mix of the aptly named "Hercules" a strong white and their wholemeal.  Sea salt and Sheffield water are the other two ingredients.

The only part of this recipe process that take some planning is the preparation of the starter which you need to do a week before your first bake.  There are a lot of detailed descriptions of how to do this like this one here.  However, you can get going simply by mixing an equal quantity by weight wholemeal flour and water in a convenient plastic or crockery pot.  Leave at room temperature and for the next 3 or 4 days pour half away each day topping back up with 50/50 flour/water.  The natural yeasts from the flour and bacteria should start a fermentation and after a few days you will notice activity in your starter.  So bubbling, tangy aromas and a change in consistency will be noticable.  If you are baking regularly, say two or three times a week, you can simply keep it going indefinetely by feeding at least every other day and definetely the day before you plan to bake.  If you are more sporadic in your baking you can slow down the fermentation by keeping in a fridge with the feeding regime also down to once a week.  Simply remove from the fridge a few days before baking and feed as before to reinvigorate before using.

We base our recipe around a kilo of flour.  This makes us two good sized loaves of around 900g each.  The method could not be simpler:

1kg flour (we mix half white and half wholemeal)
1 tbsp of sea salt
550g warm water
250g of the starter (feed the night before)

Mix in a bowl and turn out to knead for approximately 7 minutes or mix in the the bowl of your mixer and then mix with the dough hook for 7 minutes.  Then cover in the bowl with cling film and rest in a warm place for 1-2 hours (a temperature of 25C° is good but at least 20C°).  We simply sit the dough in its bowl on top of an oven which being in use most of the day gives us the required temperature (give or take).  When I am making bread at home I find the airing cupboard is the best bet for a snug and consistent temperature

The dough proves during this time with the yeasts starting to feed on the starch/gluten to convert it to CO2 and alcohol.  At higher temperatures (say up to 40 C°) this occurs quite quickly and the excess alcohol can create unwanted flavours.  However, given time the bacteria present itself feeds on the alcohol producing more desirable flavour compounds - this is why artisan bakers often "retard" the fermentation by putting the dough into colder storage (or even the fridge) over night. 

To make the process manageable we make the dough, do the initial 1-2 hours prove and then shape and place  into proving baskets (bannetons) towards the end of the working day.   The slower final prove then takes place in the cool kitchen overnight.

The baskets are made of canes with a concentric circle pattern and give the bread its disinct pattern.  When shaping the dough its a case of carefully dividing your dough into two and with the minimum of flour fold the sides carefully up and into the centre to form as uniform a ball shape as you can.  You then flip the ball over so that the seam is underneath and using the sides of your hands fold down and under whilst rotating the dough.  This neatens up the ball and forms a tight smooth surface across the top of the ball.  Finally lift the ball and place smooth (top) side down into the floured baskets.  All sounds a little complicated but watching a video makes much more sense.

At this point we simply pop the baskets into plastic bags to maintain a moist environment and leave overnight.  In the winter the cool kitchen temperature (approx 10C°) is ideal for a slow development over 12 hours so that first job at 7am is to turn out and bake.  If your kitchen is warmer over night you will need to find a cooler place (or warm fridge) to ensure the dough does not over develop in this longer peroiod.

So first thing in the moring we prepare to bake.  We get an oven to 220C° with a tray of boiling water on the lowest shelf.  We then turn out the bread onto floured baking trays and cut the surface in a simple pattern with a razor blade.  This helps form a good crust as well as giving a lovely final appearrance.

The picture below shows the loaves after the inital higher temperature bake where the "oven lift" has done its work.

After 10 minutes baking we turn the oven down to 180C° and cook for another 20-30 minutes. You are looking for a good dark colour (develops flavour as sugars are caramelised) and a hollow sound when you tap the base of the cooked loaf to judge when it is ready.

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Allow to cool and enjoy your own amzingly flavoured bread.  Its last really well, easily up to a week and even after that still makes good toast.  You will find it hard to go back to any other bread!

For further information I can recommend: Tartine Bread Books  Bread Matters by Andrew Whitley and Bread: River Cottage handbook 3 by Daniel Stevens

Premium Local Sheffield Hamper

With Christmas rapidly approaching our hampers are a lovely present option for your foodie friends.  This week we put together our Premium Local Sheffield Hamper which retails at £49.75 and contains some of our local handmade goodies as well as some indulgent Christmas treats - Prosecco and local beer.  At £23.95 our Sheffield Favourites Hamper is a good alternative particularly for non drinkers.

Hampers come attractively wrapped and we will make every effort to deliver FREE within the Sheffield area.  Please call us on 0114 4536254 or email ask@pjtaste.co.uk

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The detailed contents list is:

Autumn Foraging

Having enjoyed bountiful harvests of fruit and vegetables throughout the summer one could be forgiven for thinking "thats it for another year".  However, a feast of Autumnal pleasures await and here we feature a few of our favourites along with some interesting recipes.  Whats more you just do the harvesting letting nature take care of the husbandry!

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I find the spotting of Boletus edulis (the very fine Penny Bun/Cep/Porcini) one of my most exciting foraging finds.  As well as being an excellent edible mushroom they have a majestical presence and are distinctive enough to provide a reliable identification.  As always if thinking about consuming wild fungus/mushrooms you must be 100% sure of your identification.  There are of course many more poisonous specimens than those which are edible - some fatally so.  Cross referencing a number of good guide books and gaining experience over a number of seasons before attempting to eat is good practice.  Some excellent books and useful guides are listed at the end of this previous post on a Fungi Foray.

We will collect some if we find enough (and if you find one others are often close by) but leave plenty from a sustainability perspective.  After checking for damage caused by slugs and insects there is nothing better than cooking with garlic in a little olive oil and butter.  Sizzle in a frying pan well until the edges are almost starting to crisp and take on some colour and enjoy on a slice of good sour dough toast.

Alternatively they can be readily dried for use later in soups or to add punchy flavours to winter casseroles.  In fact its really worth buying a dehydrator to help with the preservation of a wide range of foods.  

We recently bought an excalibur dryer which has been in daily use.  Wind fall apples into apple chips, bananas beyond their aesthetic use into a wonderful caramel tasting banana chips and fruit and savoury leathers.  We love the fruit leathers as they make a really nutritious snack and are great for garnishing.  There is some very useful information on the "National Centre for Home Food Preservation" web site an American resource with a rather cold war austerity feel to it! 

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Numerous wild apple trees occur through out the greener spaces in Sheffield and although their use for eating is limited cider making is an excellent alternative.  We have given some ideas from our experience here and below is some of the fruits of our 2013 labour.

Hazelnuts are another excellent and commonly occurring tree on local common land.  Get there before the squirrels and a great harvest awaits.  Sometimes smaller than commercially available nuts they make up for this with great taste.

We have used local hazelnuts to make Hazelnut and Florentine Lollipops and lovely Plum and Hazelnut Frangipan tarts.

The great thing about getting out to do some Autumn foraging is that you never quite know what you will find.  Be adventurous and plan how you are going to procerss and preserve your bounty so that nothing is wasted and always be sensible to leave plenty to help regenerate for future years.

If you are interested in more on Autumn foraging we have previous posts here:

Some Autumn foraging and growing

A Wild Evening of Food and Fungi

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

On the road to sustainability

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Since moving to our new production kitchen and premises at 54 Staniforth Road we have become increasingly interested in how to develop more sustainability. 

We have been extremely impressed with our Nissan electric van since taking delivery in March.  This was sourced through the Inmotion Scheme which adds very favourable grants for business.  We are able to charge the van via the 39 panels installed on our roof which effectively makes the running costs free and not to say zero carbon!

Rob Samuelson from jump energy and peter moulam at pj taste on the completion of the solar install - with our locally sustainable sheffield egg!

Rob Samuelson from jump energy and peter moulam at pj taste on the completion of the solar install - with our locally sustainable sheffield egg!

Now working on the refurbishment of floor 2 at Staniforth Road we are keen to incorporate as many features as possible to increase the sustainability of resources used in years to come.  Built into the plan so far are effective insulation, low energy lighting, rain water harvesting and grey water harvesting (of excess kitchen water use) as well as indoor growing!  This will involve extending our recent experiments in growing micro greens indoors to incorporating it as a key feature in the new space.  With Sheffield Architects Burnell Briercliffe working with us on the scheme we would welcome any further tips on building sustainability into this refurbishment.

its simple to grow a range of "microgreens" indoors supplying excellent leaves for garnish and smaller salads - saves importing and transporting from external suppliers

its simple to grow a range of "microgreens" indoors supplying excellent leaves for garnish and smaller salads - saves importing and transporting from external suppliers

Talking about growing we are extending the volume of crops we grow ourselves and are looking for land on which to develop an Urban Forrest style garden.  The ambition would be to grow more unusual perennial plants, bushes and trees to produce crops which we can then use and preserve for out of season use within our menus.  Of course some supplies are hard to grow and source locally.  Whilst we obtain excellent organic Yorkshire flours and oats from Driffield, sugar at the moment is a more global commodity.  It is arguably grown relatively unsustainably in the UK (see my previous post here) so its good to see the progress of our Stevia growing experiment.  Planted out in June the foliage has developed well and we are looking forward to our first harvest in the Autumn.  Once dried we can make a dried powder and a liquid sugar substitute.  On a larger scale it could make a significant contribution to our sweetening needs.  We will be taking cuttings in the Autumn and try to sustain more plants through the winter.  They are not frost hardy so we will need need to think about this.

Stevia plants july 2015 - lets have some more sun!

Stevia plants july 2015 - lets have some more sun!

On the waste front we have a way to go.  We do compost all our organic kitchen waste and recycle cardboard and glass but our general waste bin always seems to fill up fast.  Good kitchen management can help by using just in time stock ordering, sensible portion planning, preservation techniques and clever use by-products.  This should result in virtually no direct waste of ingredients although packaging of ingredients always seems excessive - any ideas to reduce this? 

Our ultimate aim is to produce creative and exciting food for your event that is as near to carbon free as possible.  See our menus here and watch our progress!

 

 

Is life just a bowl of Cherries?

Given that cherries are choc full of nutrients and protective antioxidants they can certainly contribute to a good life.  With trees throughout Sheffield currently laden with the fruit now is the time to get picking and try a whole range of recipes.  Here's an idea for a cake, a liqueur and a link to a slightly risque blog from a well known Sheffield food critic on the art of foraging cherries

Cherries are everywhere - check out places away from main roads

Cherries are everywhere - check out places away from main roads

Cherry Liqueur

Using this recipe from Homebrew Underground it could'nt be more simple.

 

Cherry and Custard Cake

There is a great tasting and simple cherry and custard cake in this excellent piece from the Guardian which shows how four recipes can be made from one batch of creme patissiere.  Its rather like a cake form of a Bakewell tart but without making pastry and baking blind and all that jazz.

And heres the blog:  I popped my cherry in Attercliffe; from that well know Sheffield food critic Martin Dawes.  Enjoy.