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

Cookery Courses

A Taste of the Past is the happy product of my interesting and varied career history. I have at various times worked as a computer trainer, teacher, caterer, administrator and museum professional. An enforced career break to have children has left me with time to reflect on what really interests me and with the opportunity to do some real research, the sort that involves getting the pans out and having a go from real old recipes. The result is a slightly odd mix of history, food and training courses that is A Taste of the Past.

As a caterer I was asked to do some non-specific medieval banquets, my interest was sparked and so I started reading. Turns out that there are a lot of good recipe books out there and all you need is a little determination to track them down. I decided that it was time to start sharing my love of food and baking in particular.

I will be running trial courses in 2013 to work out timings, course content and to gauge public interest. If all goes to plan then I will put together a fuller programme starting in 2014.

In the meantime or if you can't make it to one of my courses then you may be interested in my blog which is an eclectic mix of food experiments.


Talks and Demonstrations

Claire presenting at Forty Hall
Claire presenting at Forty Hall

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.


Chicken in white sauce
Chicken in white sauce
Cooking fritters on an open fire
Cooking fritters on an open fire
Spit-roasted beef dredged in oil and breadcrumbs to protect the meat from the fire
Spit-roasted beef dredged in oil and breadcrumbs to protect the meat from the fire

In the past I have been involved in catering banquets and weddings but I currently only have the time and capacity to cater for small events such as family celebrations, children's parties and small charity events. However this is where food can be used to really add some character to your celebration.

Why not turn a hen night into a Jane Austen style afternoon tea with delicate sandwiches, scones and home made jam, delicious cakes and buckets of tea?

Or how about a Tudor style feast with roast meat (domestic sized joints; we don't have space to cook half a cow) with fancy salads, fruit pies, spicy biscuits and milky jellies for historically minded youngsters?

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.