Scones? Sponge cake? Tips from the CWA

Country Women's Association cooking class proves popular

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Country Women's Association holds cooking class for all levels of baker

Struggling with sponges? Scones won't rise? The NSW Country Women's Association's undisputed queens of baking generously shared some of their tips for success at a recent Macquarie Group cooking and crafts day held in Dubbo.

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SCONE MASTERCLASS: Joan Yeo from the Gollan Country Women's Association branch said sifting the flour was a key step.

SCONE MASTERCLASS: Joan Yeo from the Gollan Country Women's Association branch said sifting the flour was a key step.

Aimed at both novices and those looking to collect a blue ribbon at the next local show, the day attracted over 30 participants from across Central West NSW as well as a group of ladies who travelled up from Sydney for the day.

CWA Maquarie Group cooking officer Amanda Colwell said sharing knowledge through group and branch workshops was a long standing tradition in the CWA.

"We thought it was timely to get everyone enthusiastic and practising, the new competition schedule for next year has just been released," she said.

Mrs Colwell said the proliferation of cooking shows on television spoke to the appetite people had for learning new cooking skills.

"Being able to see the recipe brought to life in front of you, from written words to action is an integral part of cooking," she said.

SUPER SPONGES: Audrey Tremain from the Wondarbon Country Women's Association branch said don't be tempted to open your oven early when baking sponges.

SUPER SPONGES: Audrey Tremain from the Wondarbon Country Women's Association branch said don't be tempted to open your oven early when baking sponges.

"We've had demonstrations of scones, sponge cakes, basic butter cake and marmalade and have talked about different techniques and methods of doing things."

CWA Gollan Branch member Joan Yeo demonstrated how to make scones using the lemonade method.

"As a rule you should always aerate your flour before you measure it, otherwise it will be too heavy and you will end up with more than you meant to," she said.

"When you are baking anything you must sift your flour, it should be sifted two or three times, particularly when mixing through baking powder, soda or cocoa."

Mrs Yeo said the lemonade in the scone mix helped them to rise, and another tip was to mix the ingredients with a knife rather than a spoon.

"I think in doing CWA competition cooking we learn to do a better article than what we slap up at home," she said.

"We need more cooks, it's important to learn."

JUDGING SPONGE: Audrey Tremain from the Wongarbon Country Women's Association branch displayed how sponges were tested in competition cooking.

JUDGING SPONGE: Audrey Tremain from the Wongarbon Country Women's Association branch displayed how sponges were tested in competition cooking.

Audrey Tremain from the Wongarbon Country Women's Association branch said don't be tempted to open your oven early when baking sponges and use yesterday's eggs sized at about 65 grams.

"With the drought it is getting a bit harder, the hens are laying more irregular sizes, so I try to compensate a smaller with a larger

"If you crack some egg shell then use another piece of eggshell to remove it, separate your eggs - the yolks have more fat - if you get a tiny bit in you can remove it with an egg shell, but if its in a desperate state then leave them for your scrambled eggs."

LOAVES OF DELICIOUS: Country Women's Association Macquarie Group president Karen McHale said flavour was all important when it came to judging cakes.

LOAVES OF DELICIOUS: Country Women's Association Macquarie Group president Karen McHale said flavour was all important when it came to judging cakes.

Mrs Colwell said even if people weren't interested in competition cooking there was a lot they could get out of such days.

"The cooks who demonstrated today have been cooking for a long time and have learned a lot along the way," she said.

"Its an opportunity to speak to people and ask questions and get tips while they are cooking."

MARVELLOUS MARMALADE: Country Women's Association Macquarie Group cooking officer Amanda Colwell said backyard trees make the best marmalades.

MARVELLOUS MARMALADE: Country Women's Association Macquarie Group cooking officer Amanda Colwell said backyard trees make the best marmalades.

Mrs Colwell said cooking days and competitions were open to both members and non-members, and for more information people should approach their local branch or check the NSW CWA website for more information.

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