A sweet charity cook book
by Eileen Leahy | 9th November 2018
Last week we brought you news of The Cook Book, a collaborative foodie tome which celebrates the culinary talent and produce on our doorstep in aid of Tree of Hope charity. This week Eileen Leahy talks exclusively to Great British Bake Off finalist Jane Beedle about why she got involved with this special project….
‘The Cook Book Sevenoaks/Tonbridge/Tunbridge Wells’ is a collaboration between the Tree of Hope charity, Eat Around Tonbridge food blogger Caroline Kings, photographer Severien Vits and events organiser Charlotte Rogers.
Launched last week, its aim is to raise the profile and awareness of some of our most talented foodies and the wealth of quality produce available on our doorstep. As well as generating lots of much needed funds for the Tree of Hope charity which supports children’s healthcare needs in the local area.
The book is divided into a series of chapters which highlight a particular foodie, place or passionate producer and then serves up some of its delicious recipes and kitchen confidential secrets.
One of those feature is Jane Beedle who came to the public’s attention when she reached the final three of the 2016 Great British Bake Off. Jane, who lived in Sevenoaks before relocating to Faversham earlier this year, has contributed three recipes including the delicious chocolate and caramel tarts pictured, as well as an ‘easy ice cream’. So why did she decide to get on board with this particular project?
“I met Gill Gibb, Tree of Hope’s CEO and some her team at an event in London about a year ago when they were promoting their Dine & Donate Campaign. Since then I have done some work with them and I was thrilled and honoured when they asked me to be part of The Cook Book project,” Jane explains.
“The Tree of Hope is a brilliant charity, they help and empower parents of sick children when they need the most support. Raising money is really difficult, people are bombarded with requests for so many deserving causes, so finding new and innovative ways of engaging people is extremely important,” she adds.
“The Cook Book is a beautiful collection of recipes from some very talented chefs, and so buying a copy is a great way of supporting the charity and at the same time having a lovely new book for the kitchen.”
In terms of Jane’s contributions she stuck to her tried and tested sweet treats. “I contributed an easy ice cream, a cake and a tart. I like my recipes to be simple, delicious and accessible. And although I don’t personally know any of the other chefs involved with the book I am going to try and work my way through all the recipes and then visit the restaurants! I think this will be a lovely way of discovering parts of Kent I have never visited.”
As any keen cook will know, Jane who has two grown-up children, is most famous for her time on the Great British Bake Off in 2016 when she made it to the final, alongside the eventual winner Candice Brown and Andrew Smyth. But is her sole passion baking or does she cook all types of gastronomic delights?
“I am best known for my baking but like most people I cook dinner every evening and love to experiment with new recipes when I have the time. My son is vegetarian, so I have been expanding my veggie repertoire. My latest venture is homemade ravioli stuffed with roasted squash and sage, which even gets a thumbs up from my carnivore husband!”
When it comes to Jane’s signature dish she says it’s a classic pavlova. “I’ve been making it for years, it’s simple to do and a thing of beauty piled high with gorgeous fruits. It doesn’t have to be expensive either as tinned fruits can be used in the winter. If I don’t have time to mess about it’s my go to recipe.”
Apart from her involvement with the Tree of Hope cookbook Jane says she has a few things in the pipeline but reveals they are all in the early planning stages. One thing she can talk about is her ongoing work with Brogdale, who hold the national fruit collection.
“I hope to be doing some more projects with them. We have been working together holding classes and teaching children about fruit and cooking. Educating them about food is a passion of mine and I hope to be able to do much more of that in 2019.”
Do your bit for charity – and your culinary skills – by trying out some of The Cook Book contributors’ recipes:
Jane Beedle’s Chocolate Orange and Caramel Tarts
Serves : 8
100g Unsalted butter - softened
1 large egg yolk
50g Icing sugar
½ tsp Vanilla extract
Grated zest of ½ an orange (reserve the rest for ganache)
160g Plain flour
For the Salted Caramel
75g Salted butter
125g Soft brown sugar (light or dark)
300ml Double Cream
1tsp Vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
For the Ganache
300ml Double cream
Grated zest of ½ and orange (from pastry)
250g Plain chocolate (not too dark)
Make the pastry:
- Place softened butter, egg yolk, sugar, vanilla and orange in a bowl and beat until soft and well combined.
- Stir in the plain flour and bring together with either a wooden spoon or your hands until you have a smooth (ish) dough. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.
For the caramel:
- Put all the ingredients into a medium saucepan, heat gently until the sugar and butter and sugar have completely dissolved.
- Gently bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring very frequently, until the caramel has thickened. Leave to cool.
Bake the pastry cases:
- Preheat oven to 160C (fan) 180C (conventional)
- Grease the tart tins.
- On a lightly floured surface roll out the chilled pastry to approx. 2mm thick.
- Cut out a circle of pastry larger than the tin, line the tin with the pastry, you can patch up any holes. The pastry will crack when cold.
- Combine trimmings and re-roll until you have lined all 8 cases.
- Place a flattened cupcake case in the pastry case and fill with baking beans.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 12 minutes, remove paper and baking beans and bake for a further 5 minutes until the pastry is cooked and pale golden in colour
- Remove from the oven and pour in 2-3 spoons of caramel and put into a cold place to set.
For the ganache:
- In a saucepan add the cream and the orange zest, warm very slightly, do not boil. Set aside for the orange to infuse into the cream.
- When the caramel has set in the pastry cases, place the broken up chocolate into a bowl, heat the cream until hot but not boiling. Pour the cream onto the chocolate and leave for a couple of minutes for the chocolate to soften. Stir well until all the chocolate has dissolved and you have a smooth glossy mixture. If the chocolate has not completely dissolved pop into a microwave for 10 seconds.
- Now fill the pastry cases with the chocolate mixture and place into the fridge to set.
- Top with a physalis (flowring fruit) and a sprinkle of glitter
Sulston’s Kitchen’s Banana bread
Makes 8 portions or a 2lb loaf tin
90g Coconut oil
35g Maple syrup
230g Ground almonds
1g Malden sea salt
1 Vanilla pod
10g Baking powder
65g Coconut flour
Extra coconut oil to grease the tin.
Extra garnishes of yoghurt or fruit if required
Gently warm the extra coconut oil in a saucepan and using a pastry brush coat the inside of the loaf tin.
Using a food processor blend the bananas and then add the rest of the ingredients. Blend until all combined and smooth.
Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and cook in a pre-heated oven at 160°C for 1 hour.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly, then remove from the tin and continue to cool on a cooling rack.
Banana bread is a great snack at any time of day or it makes a great dessert warmed up with some seasonal fruits, Greek yoghurt, roast almonds and bee pollen (as pictured) as we serve it at our Supper Clubs.
John Boreham from Rendezvous’ Lobster Thermidor
One large onion, chopped
8 Button mushrooms, chopped
140 ml Beef stock
I teaspoon English mustard
150ml Double cream
Generous splash of brandy
2 egg yolks
Finely chop the onions and mushrooms and sweat them down in a pan with the butter until the onions are translucent but not burnt. Add the beef stock and reduce by half.
Add some English mustard and bring to the boil, adding the cream and letting it simmer for 5 minutes. The brandy is added next: cook again for five minutes, adding the chopped tarragon at the end of the time. Add the egg yolks to the pan and whisk in to the sauce off the heat.
Spoon the sauce over the cooked, halved lobster and shave over some parmesan. Pop it under the grill for 5 minutes until the parmesan has crisped up.
BREAKOUT: Michel Roux Jr lends his support (include pic of Ice Red Berry Soufflé with the picture caption SIMPLY RED: “This dessert always impresses and is well worth the effort,” says Michel.
The Kent-born celebrity chef Michel Roux Jr has written the foreword to The Cook B saying: “I might be biased, but I believe that is food that brings people together in a way few other things can. Each recipe and story in the book lovingly threads together a community and all in order to raise money for a vital cause”.
Tree of Hope Cook Books are priced at £20 + P&P and can be ordered from treeofhope.org.uk