International Women's Day 2019 #BalanceforBetter

It’s International Women’s Day and we thought we would celebrate this by celebrating some of the amazing women who work for the Cooking Company. Meet Laura. Laura manages the Folk House Cafe (soon to be Bowl of Plenty at The Folk House). She is thoughtful, very organised and uber calm. She also has a bit of thing about fungi and growing food, and really rocks a beret.


Role with the Cooking Company: 

Folk House Cafe Manager 

(soon to be Bowl of Plenty at the Bristol Folk House)

How many people are managed by you? 


What does an average day at work look like? 

I like to arrive early open up the curtains put music on and help my team in the daily set up of the cafe, chat with chef about what will be on the daily menu and then I turn my attention to the admin tasks- from banking to event organising, doing the rota, responding to emails from customers and suppliers and during busy lunch times I jump into service with the team.

What would you like to see happen in the world in the next year? 

I would like to see a move towards Agroecology (the study of ecological processes applied to agricultural production systems) becoming the norm. I believe if we get our food systems right everything else will fall into place.

Who are you in another life (fiction or non-fiction)? 

A flying squirrel who inhabits the sequoia trees of the Pacific.

Who is your heroine? 

Any one who is brave enough to live their truth. 

What book are you currently reading? 

Mycorrhizal Planet by Michael Phillips (How Symbiotic Fungi Work with Roots to Support Plant Health and Build Soil Fertility).

How does it feels to be a strong woman in the workplace, and particularly in this role? 

This company has some very interesting and intelligent people onboard who all share a passion for quality, well produced and ethically sourced food, working each day with this team to create the best experience for our customers and building opportunities for the future workforce of Bristol is immensely rewarding!

What is your super power?

Making Tea ;)

Meet our other managers - Florrie from Spike Island, and Anna at Bowl of Plenty

What to do with tomato glut!

Confit tomatoes

Raw ingredients getting ready for a slow and gentle bit of cooking.

Raw ingredients getting ready for a slow and gentle bit of cooking.


  • 1kg tomatoes
  • 400ml olive oil
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • Good sprinkle of sugar
  • Couple of large sprigs each of thyme & rosemary, salt, freshly ground black pepper

Cook them:

  • Pre heat the oven to very low setting - 120oC or lowest gas setting.
  • Boil a kettle full of water.
  • Make small slit in each tomato then put them in a big bowl and pour the boiling water over them.
  • Let them sit for a about 1-2 minutes to loosen the skins while you peel the garlic.
  • Once the water has cooled a little pour it off and peel each tomato.  They may still be hot so wait a little longer if necessary.  You can also plunge into icy cold water to stop them cooking and cool them down - but its not really necessary.
  • Cut the tomatoes into quarters and de-seed them.  Theres no need to be too picky about this, it’s just about removing as much of the watery bits as you can.  Also remove the cores as this can be a bit woody.
  • Put all the ingredients into a good roasting pan and mix up, adding a little salt & pepper and a good sprinkle of sugar.
  • Put into the oven for about 3-4 hours, or until the tomatoes are almost melting.  You can up the temp towards the end just a little to give them a final oomph of heat to get them really soft.
  • Sterilise a large kilner jar (750ml) if you have one, otherwise get a mish mash of jars and clean and sterilise them.
  • When the tomatoes are cooked spoon them into the still hot jars and cover with the oil left in the pan.  If you have oil left over keep it for roasting other vegetables which will bring a really lovely depth of flavour to them.
  • They will keep in the fridge for a good while in an air tight container.  Once opened use within a week or so.  


You can use any kinds of tomatoes for this recipe - good greengrocers and markets will have a glut of them right now so you can get them at knock down prices.  If you use cherry tomatoes I wouldn’t bother peeling them - far too fiddly.  

All measurements are rough - basically you need to cover the tomatoes with the oil so you may need more or less than the 400ml, depending on whether you use more or less tomatoes


  • On bruschetta ( Here's how - toast or chargrill some really nice bread, sourdough or ciabatta is good, and spread a few on top - bob's yer bruschetta!)
  • Pasta sauce - just as is or add some feta, or other sharp cheese.
  • With roasted vegetables - add at the end of the roast for a real punch of unctuousness.
  • In salads - e.g  quinoa/millet/short grain brown rice/orzo pasta/puy lentils with roast peppers, peas, mint, basil and broccoli - add a spoon full of the tomatoes, a squeeze of a lemon and season to taste - lovely contrast between soft and crunchy veg..
Delicious ingredient for all sorts of dishes ready for use.

Delicious ingredient for all sorts of dishes ready for use.

Our fabulous new cook, Alexandra

Here is Alex with a beautiful, puffy dough she made.

Here is Alex with a beautiful, puffy dough she made.

Alexandra, or Alex as we know her, is our wonderful new cook at the Folk House Café.  You may have noticed a slightly Greek slant to some of the dishes coming from our kitchen, and this is because Alex is half Greek, the other half being Russian.  The quality and taste of her food speaks for itself, and while she is a relative novice in commercial cooking being a keen bean she has taken to café service like a duck to water.

Gigantes - traditional Greek butter bean stew with feta and bread.

Gigantes - traditional Greek butter bean stew with feta and bread.

Alex also does popup dinners, previously all in London.  Pop ups are everywhere these days but Alex's are served with a side of story telling and interactive fun.

We are really excited to announce the first Karamouza food & storytelling event in Bristol, which will take place on Saturday 4th November at 19:00 at our sister place, Spike Island Café. 

Our theme will be “Grape, Wine and Dionysus” (the ancient Greek god of the grape harvest, winemaking, festivities, and theatre).


We will explore the grape and wine as culinary ingredients, while our storyteller takes us on a colourful journey around the vine and wine traditions in ancient Greece, and the exciting and adventurous mythology of Dionysus.

Expect to taste Graviera (a unique Greek cheese), petimezi (grape must), and moustokouloura (must cookies) amongst other Greek delicacies.

Greek organic Tsantali wine (white Assyrtiko and red Cabernet Sauvignon) as well as other drinks will be available to buy separately at the bar (this is NOT a BYO event).

Vegetarian and vegan options are available but please contact us to provide any dietary requirements before booking.

To book your place please visit THIS LINK - you can pay before or on the day.


And watch this space for a Russian Christmas special from Alex also to be held at Spike Island Café


    The nights are drawing in and will be drawing in a lot faster when the clocks change at the end of this month.  Our thoughts will turn inward, to the indoors, twinkly lights and warm spaces, hot soup after a chilly, damp walk - time to get cozy and eat comfort food. 

    And before we know it Christmas will be looming on the horizon, like it or not, it's coming your way.  Here at Folk House Café we are rather partial to Christmas, fond of a bit of tinsel and spiced wine, a hearty meal with friends and colleagues, festive music and the throwing away of cares for a night be-bopping to Wham while wearing a cracker crown.

    Party like it's 1961 !

    Party like it's 1961 !

    If you are like us and fancy a knees up this December, maybe just lunch for two with Christmas crackers, candles and mulled wine or the full monty for 180 , give us a call - you can have lots of food or no food, we have a splendid bar, smiling staff who will wear elves' hats if that's what pleases you,  you can bring your own music or listen to our play lists - all you need to bring is some Christmas spirit!

    Our menu (below) runs in the café throughout December so you can also just come along and get festive without any effort at all!

    Call Alina on 0117 908 5035 for more information and to book your do.

    folkhouse christmas menu 2017.jpg

    All the leaves are brown & the Pumpkins are orange (and green and yellow and...)

    They soon will be anyway, despite the seemingly endless sunny days we are enjoying.  The temperature is dropping, woolly jumpers are suddenly an attractive option again, soup is high on your want-for-lunch list, and baking feels like the right thing do, if only to get stand by a warm oven.

    Here at Folk House the term is in full swing.  After a long quiet summer it's a great to have a buzz about the place again.  Come and warm your cockles with us and see what's cooking in the Folky kitchen.


    Autumn is pumpkin & squash frenzy time, they are so bountiful, beautiful and bonkers with their colour, weird shapes and sizes and their rich, earthy flavours.  We displayed some on our counter during Organic September and now we are cooking them! 

    Easy Pumpkin Soup.

    1.5kg pumpkin or fleshy squash
    1 teaspoon dried chilli
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1 large onion
    3 cloves garlic
    1 stick of celery
    1 litre hot vegetable stock

    Peel, de-seed and cut up the pumpkin into chunks about the size of an apple quarter.  Peel and chop up the onion, and celery, into roughly similar sizes. Peel garlic cloves and leave whole. 

    Put all the vegetables in a roasting tin with some good glugs of peppery olive oil, the chilli & cinnamon, salt & pepper and mix them all up until every bit is coated with the oily mix.  Roast in a medium oven for about half an hour or until all soft, golden and ready to squish.

    Put half the veg in a blender with half the stock (yes, you can use a stock cube and also chicken stock can be really nice in this.  Home made stock is ALWAYS best, but cubes will do the job nicely if they are good ones), blend until really smooth & velvety, put into a saucepan and repeat with the other half.  It must be smooth, not grainy.

    Check for seasoning and adjust if need be.  This is where the fun starts. You can add any number of delicious little items when you serve this, from a swirl of cream, to toasted pine nuts or roasted, crispy pumpkin skin. 

    To crisp the peeled skins simply add them to a bowl with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt, mix well until coated and roast on a flat tray, in a high oven for about 10 minutes or until just browning at the edges.  They will get soggy quite quickly when served on the soup so keep them until the last minute.

    You can also add some chopped parsley, or a little pinch of fresh thyme leaves, with a swirl of really good olive oil and some black pepper.  Or toasted almond slivers... the list goes on so have some fun experimenting and let us know what you come with!

    Summer's end.

    Well, not quite, especially given the beautiful sunshine we have had over the last few days!  But, starting back after our two week break always feels like the end of the summer holidays when I was a kid - a bit of regret and wanting summer never to end, but also a little excitement at seeing everyone again, making some lovely food, checking out the new courtyard paving, greeting the students and tutors of the regular classes, like Arlette who teaches French and who has been working at the Folk House longer than I have been there.

    Dean & Stuart making the courtyard look amazing!

    Dean & Stuart making the courtyard look amazing!

    The team, me, Alina, Asher, Louie, Anna, Elana and newby Alice are looking forward to welcoming our customers, old and new, back to the cafe and getting on with the business of feeding you and making your days better. In the meantime have a wonderful and sunny bank holiday weekend!

    See you on Tuesday!

    We re-open at 9am, Tuesday 30th August 2016.

    Summertime rain...

    And still it rains.

    But there is still so much to look forward to!  The sun will shine again, one day, there is a live music line up to cheer the dullest day here at the Folk House in the next few weeks including the one and only, most charming Mr Brooks Williams, back by popular demand and playing once again with our Keith Warmington, he of the dulcet tones and a nice way with a harmonica, on Friday 1st July.  Ticket price includes some damn fine food by us.

    For more info and tickets:

    Phone: 0117 926 2987 | |


    And then there is also there is Summer School (30th July - 7th August) with courses and workshops from meditation to pottery, creative writing to photography, dance to book binding; we have it all going on, accompanied of course by delicious snacks and lunches in the café, to eat in or take away.


    Summer opening hours start on Monday 11th July - 

    Monday - Saturday    9am - 4pm (re-opening in the evening for music and other pre-booked events)

    Opening hours during Summer School will coincide with course and workshop times.

    The Café will be closed for annual summer hols and a bit of a spruce up August 17th - 30th.

    Autumn term starts Saturday 10th September.