Arts Award

Today the group did some work towards their Arts Award.

The group members were creating thier own action cards, which were discussed in the last blog post.
They then had to translate their actions into movements 
This work will go towards the arts award which is an accredited qualification for the creative arts. 

Beef Wellington

Traditionally a beef Wellington uses a fillet of beef, which is very expensive so we found a thrifty alternative using mince beef.

First we put the mince beef in a bowl with chopped onion, garlic, 3 eggs, sage, parsley and tomatoe ketchup. And we mixed this all together. 
Chopping the onions.
Adding the eggs.
Adding the herbs.
Mixing it up.
We then shaped the mixture into two loads…
We cooked these in the oven for 20 minutes and allowed to cool for 20 minutes.
In the mean time we sautéed some chopped mushrooms with garlic and a knob of butter.

We also rolled out the puff pastry ready for the meatloaf. 
Once the mushrooms were softened we drained them and spread them on the rolled out pastry.

We then added the cooled meatloaf on top and wrapped the pastry around it.

After scoring the pastry we cooked for 35-40 minutes.

We served the beef Wellington with roasted vegetables.
One of our members gave this dish a 10/10! Everyone enjoyed their meal. 

Tomatoe and Basil Soup

Firstly we had to prepare the tomatoes by washing and cutting them into quarters. We then had to cut out any hard cores out of the tomatoes to help make a nice smooth soup.

We then chopped an onion, a carrot and a couple of celery sticks.
We then heated some oil in a pan and cooked the onion, celery and carrot for a few minutes until soft.
We then added tomatoe purée, the chopped tomatoes, a pinch of sugar, some black pepper and bay leaves. We gave all this a stir and cooked for 10 minutes to allow the tomatoes to stew.
We then added the stock and cooked gently for 25 minutes
We added fresh basil and blended for a smooth consistency.

We served with a dollop of single cream on top. This soup was really fresh and tasty! 

Dance is back!

After an intense warm up the group started learning some new choreography. The new piece focuses on floor work and working with different levels.

The group really enjoys the new choreography and one of the members explained that it feels like a good workout for the body because it exercises lots of different muscles. He also likes the floor work because it allows him to explore a different kind of dance work.
The group then started to work with action cards:
These are cards which state an action, it is then up to the dancer to interpret the action cards however they want to.
Each card is numbered and when the number is called each member of the group has to perform their version of the action.
One of the members described watching the piece as ‘different painters all painting the same portrait’.
Others found it a great way to experiment with new dance moves in an organic way.

Aubergine and chickpea curry

The group wanted to make a vegetarian curry so our new volunteer found this recipe which everyone seemed to want to try.

First we chopped all our ingredients and got all our spices ready to use.

We used chopped onion, tomatoes, Aubergine, two cans of chickpeas, two cans of coconut milk, mustard seeds, garam masala, chilli powder, tumeric and ground coriander.
First we browned the Aubergine in the pan for 5 minutes before putting to one side.
We then cooked the onion, mustard seeds and other spices for a minute to release the flavours.

We then added the tomatoes and coconut milk and let it simmer for half an hour. 
After the half an hour of simmering we added the chickpeas and Aubergine and let the mixture simmer for a further 10 minutes.

We served the curry with cous cous. 

The group liked the curry but thought it needed a bit more chilli and maybe something sour, like some fresh lemon, to cut through the dish a bit.

Broccoli and Feta Parcels

The group came up with this as a starter but is also great for a snack too. We used Filo pastry and seasoned the broccoli with mustard seeds, garam masala, salt and pepper.

First of all we chopped the broccoli and feta.
We then cooked the broccoli with some mustard seeds, garam masala, salt and pepper.
We then cut the Filo pastry into strips (about 5cm wide) and added a bit of the cooked broccoli and crumbled on the feta on one corner of the pastry.
The group then did their best to fold over the pastry to make samosa style parcels.

After the parcels were brushed with a bit of melted butter, they were cooked in the oven for 10-15 mins at 180 degrees until golden brown.

Every one liked the parcels, and enjoyed the flavours and textures.

Pineapple upside down cake

First we started with the topping. We melted 50g of butter with 50g of soft brown sugar.

Weighing out the ingredients.

Melting butter and sugar.

We poured the melted mixture into our dish and laid pineapple slices on top with glacé cherries in the middle of the pinapple rings.
We then mixed 140g of caster sugar with 140g of butter until fluffy and pale. 

We then beat in two eggs…

… And added 140g of self raising flour, 50g desiccated coconut and a teaspoon of baking powder.
We added 6 tbsp of milk to lighten the mixture and poured it on top of the pineapple.

It then had 25- 30 mins in the oven at 180 degrees.

When it came out the oven we let it sit for 15 minutes before turning it out onto a dish.

Beef casserole

Warming casseroles are great during the winter months and the group found this simple recipe for a beef and onion casserole.

First we chopped the vegetables we would be using. This included a couple of potatoes, sweet potato, celery, carrot and onion.

We then brownies the beef in a hot pan to seal the flavour and moisture. This should only take a few minutes.
Once the meat is browned we turned the heat down and added the vegetables and some stock. We put the lid on the pan and let the casserole simmer for an hour and half.

We served the casserole with some fresh bread from the bakery.

Everyone enjoyed the casserole and agreed it was perfect for a cold day.

Fish pie

For the first session back after Christmas we decided on this easy and comforting fish pie.
First we had to peel and chop potatoes ready to boil for the mash potato topping.


To increase nutritional value of this meal we used a mix of sweet potato and normal potato. This would also add some  extra flavour to the topping.
Whilst the potatoes were on the boil we got on with making the sauce.
For this we used a tub of low fat garlic and herb cream cheese, vegetable stick and parsley. 
On a medium heat we combined the cream cheese and vegetable stock until the mix was of a smooth and creamy texture. 

Once we added the fresh chopped parsley we had our sauce sorted. The appeal if this recipe was how quick and easy it was to make the sauce. This is something everyone can definitely make at home with very little effort.
We added a mixture of haddock, smoked haddock and salmon to the sauce and let  the fish cook for 15 minutes.
While the fish was cooking we mashed the boiled potatoes.

Mashing the potatoes was really fun and was a great way to expel some excess energy!

Once the fish and sauce were cooked we poured it into a dish and topped with our mash. 

Then it’s in the oven for half an hour and it’s ready!

We served with some broccoli but any vegetable would go well.