Last year I embarked on an Extraordinary Journey with Creating for Good and Taylors of Harrogate. This journey will see myself and seven other content creators attend a series of workshops focused around creativity. For the cooking workshop, we spent a day in a south London kitchen cooking with spices inspired by Taylors’ origin countries and learning about coffee flavours.
Creating for Good: An Extraordinary Journey
Our Extraordinary Journey started last October with a 2-day immersion into the world of Taylors of Harrogate in Yorkshire. We learnt about tea, coffee and storytelling, but the highlight of that experience was meeting the rest of the team and connecting with everyone straight away. I returned to London feeling inspired and eager to grow my skills and create my best possible content.
I attended the class in a double-role of student and co-teacher. In the weeks before this event, I met up with Jessica to help her with recipe testing, planning the run of the day and organising props for styling. I certainly can appreciate how hard it is to organise such an event, so big thank you to everyone involved behind the scenes is due here.
The day before the workshop, I baked two cakes for everyone to enjoy with coffee during breaks.
The Orange-scented Olive Oil & Almond Cake was a hit! All the merit goes to Nell Newman who contributed this recipe to Share cookbook by Women for Women International. Women for Women is one of the charities we support with our Creating for Good fundraising events and also the charity Taylors of Harrogate will donate money to, as part of the Extraordinary Journey campaign.
Taylors of Harrogate Speciality Coffee
Our day began with a lesson in speciality coffee by Taylors’ coffee expert Jamie Ball.
More than 800 flavours and aromas have been identified in coffee. That’s hundreds more than in wine, including everything from pomegranate, nutmeg and coconut to tobacco, jasmine and even black tea. [Jamie Bell]
As you know, I am already familiar with the world of speciality coffee and I’ve taken part to cupping (coffee tasting) many times. I have studied the basics of coffee farming and processing, plant varieties and I know about the importance of roasting, grinding, brewing and so on. I care about the quality of coffee that I drink.
Not everyone is as fussy about coffee as me, I know. Many people just want to drink a cup of coffee the way they like it, whether it’s arabica or robusta, washed or unwashed, light or dark roasted… I cannot ignore the fact that coffee is a popular beverage and an important commodity. Small batch coffee roasters do an amazing job, but they cannot meet the huge demand of coffee. Bigger industry players such as Taylors of Harrogate have an important role to play: to roast and sell the best possible coffee to wider consumer base.
I have spent some time talking to people at Taylors of Harrogate and I am impressed by their knowledge and passion for coffee (and tea). Of course, I wouldn’t be working with them if I didn’t believe they offered a great product.
At Taylors of Harrogate they select the best coffee crops available each season for their range of coffee blends. These are blends of different coffees, mixed together to create flavours that customers are familiar with and love.
Recently, Taylors launched a new range of single origins (ie. coffee grown in one specific farm / geographic location).aimed at those consumers who want to trade up and learn more about the complexity of coffee flavours. Each one of the Taylors Origin coffees showcases flavours and aromas that can be identified as chocolate, nuts, citrus, berry, spice and floral.
Interesting fact: the coffee is packaged immediately after roasting and bags are flushed with nitrogen to keep the oxygen level at less than 1% to preserve the aroma and flavours of the (whole or ground) beans. Once you open the bag at home, the coffee will naturally start to lose freshness, so it is recommended to keep it in the fridge or even the freezer.
Cooking with Coffee and Spices
The day continued in the kitchen where Jessica Bride gave a demonstration on cooking with four extraordinary dishes.
To begin with, we made an Ethiopian-Berber spice mix, which we later used to coat the Berbere Spiced Beef Filets.
Taylors gifted us cute little bottle with cork stoppers to take the spice mix home, as well as other thoughtful gifts such as an old school coffee hand-grinder, a tea towel and a cast iron pan.
The next dish we prepared was Vanilla Soufflés with Taylors Crème Anglaise.
Making soufflés is a delicate affair, as I learnt while testing this recipe at home. Luckily, Jessica and the Cactus Kitchens’ staff were going around the cooking stations ensuring that we followed all the steps correctly, such as boiling the milk and beating the eggs whites.
We made a coffee-flavoured Crème Anglaise to pour into the soufflés (pure heaven on a plate!), using Brazilian Praline Coffee from Taylors’ Origin range.
As a side dish to accompany the Berbere spiced beef fillets, we prepared Honey Roasted Acorn Squash which was both delicious and visually stunning.
Acorn squash is not easy to find in London (Jessica ordered it from a vegetable supplier at Portobello Market), but you can replace it with pumpkin or butternut squash. This dish is easy to prepare and a real crowd pleaser!
Finally, we made a gorgeous Lentil Salad with Tomatoes and Gorgonzola using an Ottolenghi recipe, which you will find it in Women for Women’s Share cookbook.
My co-teaching efforts came to play here, as I showcased how to style the salad ingredients into a dish and garnish them to create a beautiful and colourful dish.
After all the “hard” work (not really, I had lots of fun in the kitchen!), we moved into the dining room where we sat around a big table and shared the food with a cheeky glass of wine.
Each dish was packed full of flavours! At the start of the day, not all of us were confident about cooking and baking, but in the end we all pulled these dishes off with amazing results.
I am so proud of us for creating such a wonderful meal. It was a hearty home-cooked meal and it was a pleasure to share it with people I admire and love.
Creating for Good’s Jess Henderson brought the day to an end with a talk about Women for Women, while the lovely Taylors and Finn Comms teams gave us a few hints about what’s next in our Extraordinary Journey. Stay tuned for more inspiring stories!
About Creating for Good
Creating for good is a London based collective of creatives who use their passions and skills to make a difference in the lives of women, men and families affected by war, political discord and poverty. Through workshops, photo walks and individual tutoring we raise funds and give 100% of all proceeds to charitable organizations.