A Taste of the Past

Historical and Traditional Cookery

Day-long Cookery Courses: Basic Bread Making | Further Adventures in Bread | Jam and Curd | Basic Baking | Sour Dough and Sponges | Fancy Breads | Mediterranean Breads
Evening Cookery Club: Christmas Treats
Other Services: Talks and Demonstrations | Recipes for Forty Hall | Catering


A Taste of the Past is a small, independent catering company that provides cookery courses, talks and demonstrations a small range of sweets and baking and small scale catering for up to around 20 people.

Vanilla fudge
Vanilla fudge
Sour dough bread
Sour dough bread
Pain au chocolat
Pain au chocolat
Traditional bread in different forms
Traditional bread in different forms

Cookery Courses

Day-long Cookery Courses

Course Name (click for details)DatesStatusNotes
Bread Making for Beginners9 Feb 2013Full
Jam and Curd16 Mar 2013Spaces
Bread Making for Beginners20 Apr 2013Full
Basic Baking in a Day14 Sep 2013Full
Sour Dough and Unusual Breads12 Oct 20131 Space
Christmas Treats16 Nov 20132 Spaces
Bread Making for Beginners18 Jan 2014Full
Further Adventures with Bread8 Feb 2014Full
Bread Making for Beginners8 Mar 2014Full
Further Adventures with Bread26 Apr 2014Full
Bread Making for Beginners14 Jun 2014Full
Bread Making for Beginners12 Jul 2014Full
Further Adventures with Bread13 Sep 2014Full
Bread Making for Beginners11 Oct 2014Full
Bread Making for Beginners10 Jan 2015Full
Enriched and Fancy Breads24 Jan 20153 Spaces
Bread Making for Beginners14 Mar 2015Full
Enriched and Fancy Breads21 Mar 20151 Space
Mediterranean Breads12 Sep 20152 Spaces
Bread Making for Beginners10 Oct 20158 Spaces
Mediterranean Breads7 Nov 20158 Spaces

Evening Cookery Club

Course Name (click for details)DatesStatusNotes
Christmas Treats12 Dec 2014Full
Christmas Treats16 Dec 20143 Spaces

Booking and Other Information

To find out more information about any of the courses or catering on offer please call Claire Passaris on 07999 871 053.

To book a course please send a booking form and cheque to Claire Passaris, A Taste of the Past, 80 Orpin Road, Merstham, Redhill, Surrey. RH1 3EY. I do require payment in full at the time of booking as I have to pay for everything before the course. However I will not cash your cheques until I have enough people to run the course. Please give me your e-mail address or mobile phone number and I will send you a message a couple of days before I cash your cheque. I will also use it to tell you of any changes to the course details.

Talks and Demonstrations

11 Dec 2012Forty Hall, Enfield CouncilFood for Thought: Festive recipes from the 17th Century
4 Apr 2013Christchurch Ladies Group, Waltham CrossPresentation on 17th Century Marmalade Recipes
13 Jul 2013Forty Hall, Enfield CouncilFirst Fruits: Historic cookery demonstration
10 Aug 2013Forty Hall, Enfield CouncilCookery Course: 17th Century Jam-Making Techniques
24 Nov 2013Forty Hall, Enfield CouncilProviding breakfast to the Dawn Chorus event and talking about the history of breakfast
7 Dec 2014Forty Hall, Enfield Council17th Century Christ Tide Banquet

I am happy to give talks to local clubs. Please call me to discuss what you would like.

For talks to charities I just make a small charge to cover my time and travelling expenses. However, if you would like a cookery demonstration and tasting samples then I do have to cover the costs of public liability insurance for your premises and food insurance for the audience as well as the cost of ingredients and cooking.

Blog Posts

Green Tomato Chutney

The best way I know to use up unripe tomatoes.  I will be looking for more recipes this week, I'll let you know if I find a good one.

2lb  green tomatoes
1lb of cooking apples
1lb of onions
500ml vinegar, (old recipes use malt vinegar, more recent recipes tend to opt for cider or white wine vinegar)
120z of sugar (I prefer soft brown sugar but see what you have the in cupboard)
 A good handfull of dried fruit (I like dates chopped small)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
2 tsp ground ginger

At the start, apple is in large chunks because it has come out of the freezer pre-chopped.

Chutney making is easy.  The secret is to spend time at the start chopping all your ingredients as small as you have the patience for.  No matter how small it looks on your chopping board I can guarantee that it will look much bigger in your sandwich.

Finely chop all of the ingredients that need chopping.
Put everything into a large saucepan.
Heat gently and stir until all of the sugar is dissolved.
Then bring up the temperature and give it a good boil.
You know when it is done when you can draw a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan and see the bottom briefly.

Warning - chutney burns very easily at this stage and there is nothing so persistent and stinky as that of burnt chutney.  You will be smelling it for days.  So even though it seems like your chutney is taking ages, and it may well take ages, do no be tempted to wander off and leave it on the heat for even a few minutes.  It doesn't need constant stiring but it should be watched.

Once cooked you need to pot it up into hot, sterilised jam jars.

Try and leave it for a few weeks to even 3 months to let the flavours develop before you eat it.

A note on ingredients
Please don't worry if you don't have the exact ingredients.  There is a lot of scope for changing.  The earliest chutney recipe I have is from a historic cook book and that one uses honey and white wine instead of vinegar and sugar and the main veg is turnips!  It tastes a lot better than it sounds. 

Mix and match your ingredients, swap apples for pears, try other veg, use your favourite spices. 

More blog posts: