To celebrate the beginning of the half-term holiday we devoted the morning to baking. We made our usual crusty white loaf and I am pleased to say that everyone, including the youngest member of the group, is getting the hang of the “kneading” now.

We watched a tutorial from the Rouxbe online cookery school and learnt the professional way to make chocolate chip cookies. This is certainly the best recipe I have come across so far. One of our group is intolerant to wheat so substituted spelt for wheat flour. This worked very well. Spelt adds a faintly nutty taste to baked goods.

Some of us then made a Victoria sponge cake sandwiched with buttercream and the others a Chocolate Fudge Cake. Indulgent but popular treats for the holiday.

Kevin delivered our usual box of vegetables from the Community Farm but there wasn’t enough time to cook with them so everyone took something home with them instead.

Finally the younger members of the group completed a Rouxbe online quiz about wheat and scored 100%.

Click on the “photos” link on the right-hand side to see photos of the session.

Our new class for years 5-7 is now established. A delightful group of children (a mixture of boys and girls) who are all enthusiastic and keen to learn. So far we have made chocolate brownies, a loaf of bread and vegetable soup.

Our joint project with Wallington High School for Girls has got off to a flying start. Most of our families have booked in for the majority of the sessions which means that we have now settled into a good and sociable routine. As well as the dish of the day we bake bread and something to eat during the session. So far we have made biscuits, apple cake, crepes and chocolate american pancakes with chocolate sauce to keep the young people happy!

Kevin, from the new Sutton Community Farm, brings us a veg box each Saturday. Many of the vegetables were picked that morning so you cannot get fresher than that! This gives the younger members of our group the opportunity to prepare and cook vegetables that they may or may not be familiar with. The Farm is being funded at the moment but needs to be self-sufficient within a year. Four of our families have now signed up for a regular box in addition to the one for the Community Kitchen – so it is a start!

Sticky Mitts is now offering its older students (14-16 year olds) the opportunity to follow the new Jamie Oliver Home Cooking Skills course. There is an excellent website with lots of fact sheets, recipes and technique videos www.jamieshomecookingskills.com

Our students are now putting together a portfolio of evidence to support the dishes that they cook at home and in class. We are looking into the possibility of linking with an accredited training provider so that our students, if they wish, can be assessed and gain a Btec or 1/2 GCSE. Assessment is based on their portfolio and cooking a two course meal under exam conditions.

Irrespective of the final qualification, the course itself is excellent and is a worthwhile addition to C.V.s.

Finally, I would like to stress that the Community Kitchen can go in whatever direction our members wish so please keep giving me feedback. So far we have talked about a professional cupcake session (the real fancy stuff, not my simple buttercream offerings!), a visit by a butcher and fishmonger and possibly a Christmas outing to a local restaurant.

All in all a really enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

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