Loaf Newsletter - March 2010

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Welcome to the March newsletter from Loaf. I love March, it's full of hope for the new year. There's plenty to do in the garden and allotment (we're building new raised beds and moving the chickens), although there won't be much produce from there until the summer. Planning what to plant makes me positively salivate at the thought of all the recipes that will be flowing from the garden this summer. The hedgerows are storming into a lead though, and there's plenty to get out there and harvest in the spring - the humble nettle is the pick of the bunch. There's plenty to do for Loaf too; we've got some exciting new courses coming up, and there's lots of practice and experimentation to do in the kitchen. See below for details of our new courses! Well there's a few other bits of news to share below, but for now happy growing, and see you in April!

Loaf hitting the news
Loaf has some great media coverage coming up in the near future. There's an article in the Virgin Trains 'Hotline' magazine that will be published in April. I had a visit from food writer Rosie Birkett last week who's writing the piece on 'Birmingham's Food Revolution', and after a tip-off from my friends at Marketing Birmingham, she managed to squeeze in an hour with me between lunch at Lasan and dinner at Purnells. Rosie also writes on the Guardian's Word of Mouth food blog, so keep your eyes peeled on that, just in case. Loaf will also feature in an article in the Guardian about the excellent School of Everything next week, Tuesday we think, and apparently there's a big photo of me in it - whoopee! 

New Courses at the Cookery School
We've got some exciting new courses coming up for the spring. Next week we've got an exciting collaboration with Kiss Me Cupcakes to deliver a Cupcake masterclass - it's sold out, but there are vacancies in May. In April there's a course that I'm extremely excited about - I'm collaborating with master butcher Steve Rossiter, the first organic butcher in Birmingham, to deliver an evening poultry workshop where we learn poultry butchery techniques and some delicious poultry recipes. Coming up in April and May is a 'Cook the Seasons: Spring' where we spend an evening exploring the best of what the spring has to offer and learning some tasty treats and kitchen techniques. And right at the end of May is an evening 'Spring Forage and Cook' where we take a foray into the wilds of South Birmingham, before returning to Tom's kitchen to cook up the wild treats we've discovered. More details on

Bakery nearly up to capacity!
The bakery is nearly up to capacity now, with only 4 places left for bread subscribers! It's been a huge learning curve changing from baking 2 or 3 loaves in a day to baking 40 or 50, but i'm relishing it! You can also buy my bread on Saturday's at Capeling & Co on York Road, Kings Heath and at Leverton & Halls Deli, Mary Vale Rd, Bournville. Visit for more details

Recipe: Spicy Pork and Cranberry Burgers
Left alone at home, and in need of some comfort food, there's only one thing a man can do - make burgers!


400g coarsely minced organic pork belly
Small handful or cranberries
1 large clove of garlic
1 level tsp hot smoked paprika
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 dessert spoon Dijon mustard
1 tsp maldon sea salt
Good pinch black pepper
1 small dried red chilli
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Chop the garlic finely, and the cranberries roughly (and weep as they fly round the kitchen). In a pestle and mortar, bash together the fennel, salt,  pepper, and chilli, until thoroughly crushed. Add these to a mixing bowl together with the pork, mustard, paprika, and parsley. Get stuck in with your hands and combine all the ingredients thoroughly. Now add a tiny dash of rapeseed oil to a frying pan on a low-medium heat. With two hands, mould the mixture into four round burgers about 2cm thick, and place them into the hot pan. Fry for 5 mins on each side, basting it frequently with the liquid that is released from the burgers as they cook. Serve between two thick slices of rustic bread, and enjoy, perhaps with a little fresh goats cheese, and a full-bodied red wine. Eating alone is for Kings

On the blog!

Charlecote Mill in Warwickshire
Whilst on a short break in Warwickshire, Tom visited Charlecote Mill in Warwickshire, a historic working watermill. John Beddington gave us a private tour around the building and packed us off with a couple of bags of here for the full report.

Recipe - Sauteed Savoy Cabbage with Hazelnuts and Cranberries
If you've got a cabbage lurking in the back of your fridge like I often do, try this seasonal recipe for jazzing it up a here for more

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