Stay in and bake.  And that’s precisely what we did at Just Bread this Thursday.  It was clear that once our trainees shepherded their kids to school, getting to Myatt’s Field Park anywhere near on time for our fifth session was just not going to happen.   So we were forced to make the decision to cancel the day before.   Yes, a bummer for all of us, but when you get lemons, you make lemonade:  In lieu of attending, our trainees have been revisiting what they have already learned to consolidate their knowledge and skills.

On the bright side, our employability skills workshop was thankfully unaffected by the strike.  Fahira Mulamehic, Just Bread’s trainee mentor at the Refugee Council has been running these, attending all baking sessions and generally facilitating communications and logistics for our trainees.  She is a wonderful asset!  Here is what Fahira covered:

The UK job market and recruitment process CV’s  (what they are and why it is important  to know how to write them)

  • How to start building up a CV  (assessing one’s own skills, transferrable skills and experience which can be used to support statements)
  • The language of baking recruitment and job applications (analysing a baking job vacancy advert)
  • The cover letter (what they are, purpose, and what makes a good one)
  • The job interview (what it is, how to prepare, do’s and don’ts)

Fahira reports:

“The engagement of all participants was exceptional.

When they were asked to list a few skills they have there was a silence – When we reminded them they all do MANAGE their own families finances, time schedules…. PLAN and ORGANISE their daily/weekly house work and responsibilities, have to be PUNCTUAL/GOOD TIME KEEPERS at appointments, when taking children to school, etc -it was an “Aha” moment and an excited conversation started.

It is always great to eyewitness it when clients begin to look at themselves from a fresh, positive perspective.  That’s when the foundation for confidence is laid down.

All participants agreed they’d like more time for this kind of training and we are going to provide it.”

Next week we will be making ciabatta, soft pretzels and anther interesting bread from Iran.  Jane Mason, author of The Book of Buns: Over 50 brilliant bakes from around the world, founder of Virtuous Bread and great champion of Just Bread will be co-teaching with our very own Bread Angel Deb Russo.   We can’t wait!

Until then, we leave you with Paulina’s recipe for cunapes, Bolivia’s favourite street food.  Yes, that’s spelled with a “u” but believe us:  Like canapés, they go well with your favourite white wine or cocktail.  And they’re not just for grown-ups.  They make a tasty and healthy after school treat, too.  But don’t limit yourself.  They are the perfect snack food anytime, and are also a nice way to start your day.

These cheesy little marvels are super easy and can be made in the time it takes to preheat your oven.  They are traditionally made with queso fresco, but we have it on good authority from Jane, who resides in Mexico a large part of the year, that you can substitute queso fresco with equal parts feta and cottage cheese if need be.  The challenge is to find tapioca flour (aka cassava flour), which is sold in Latin American markets.  We have found its West African cousin, Fufu flour, at leading grocery stores which cater to multi-ethnic communities.  Fufu is made from plantain and will do in a pinch.  Both are gluten free.

Paulina’s Cunapes Bolivianas

                                            

Makes 2 dozen or more “bollos”Buns

Ingredients:

  • 500 g tapioca flour or fufu flour
  • 500g cheese (1/2 feta, crumbled;  ½ cottage cheese)
  • 1 egg, beaten lightly
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 cup milk (add more if needed)

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • Blend dry ingredients.
  • Add remaining ingredients, blending in milk gradually and stir together until the mixture comes      together to form a soft and supple dough.
  • Wet your hands, and roll the equivalent of a heaped tablespoon into a ball.
  • Press a little dimple in the      bottom of the cunape with your index finger and place on prepared trays a few inches apart.
  • Bake 15 – 20 minutes until golden on top.
  • Enjoy!  These are at their best when still warm from the oven and will stay in an airtight container for a few days.