I have been back in the world of food demos recently. Food Glorious Food is an event held in Epsom where I live allowing local businesses to promote themselves through food. I was asked to host the House of Fraser foodie day so I chose the theme of afternoon tea and baked my way through lots of Victoria sponges, scones and also several trays of freshly baked home made pizzas. It was a perfect way for me to tell people about what I do and where/what I teach and I hope to do more of these throughout the year.
I am also back teaching at The Art of Living cook shop in Banstead. Pasta making, Simnel cakes and authentic pizza dough to start with, but we are putting together a programme of lessons for the rest of the year too. If you like the sound of these courses then come along and take part. The groups are small and friendly and the coffee is very good plus you get to take home what you have made in class and have a few tasters in the lesson.
The Underground Cookery School
What we made:
Roulade of chicken with leeks and cabbage
Apple Tarte Tatin
What I thought of the school:
Being a cookery tutor myself means I love to have the opportunity of seeing how other cookery teachers teach. A large part of teaching is all about being observed and observing others. This forms part of our continuing professional development and it also happens to be very enjoyable. Not so much the being observed, mind you. I had just about the worst lesson ever in my last observation, and it took me quite a while to recover from it.
So, being taught by someone else is joyful in comparison. Matt taught us how to joint a beautiful Poulet de Bresse. Butchery is my favourite kitchen task, I love dissecting and de-boning, skinning and fat trimming. Don’t you?! We also learned how to prepare mussels, chop an onion, make a caramel and prepare a ballotine, like this delicious one created by Franglais Kitchen.
Yes, I did already know how to do these things but it was great to get involved in the activities and be able to chat to the chefs preparing/demonstrating the recipes and talk to other bloggers. You can do as much or as little cooking as you wish. The chefs are there to oversee and cook all of the dishes, so the aim of the evening seemed to be about teaching with a small “t”. Once the prep work has been completed the meal itself is then cooked by the chefs and our job in the kitchen is done.
We then get to sit around a large table drinking copious amounts of wine and eating all of the food we have learned how to make whilst listening to very loud music. The music, to me, emphasises the fact that these lessons are perfectly suited to young (20s&30s) parties who are out to have fun, enjoy dabbling with some light kitchen tasks whilst drinking and eating and listening to music. The Underground Cookery School is a party from start to finish. Fun, fun and more fun.
Photograph courtesy of Matt Kemp at The Underground Cookery School.
Kallo sent me a selection of rice and corn cakes, all of which I buy regularly. The chocolate covered rice cakes are a big hit in our house. And of course it helps that they are low in fat but it is all too easy to finish off a packet in one go. Weirdly I find them more filling than biscuits. They fill you up in the same way that popcorn fills you up. The corn cakes and rice cakes make a great choice for after school snacks. I either take a packet along with me for the walk home or sometimes I sandwich a couple together with the Whole Earth chocolate spread I was sent a while ago. A little butter and Marmite also works well and I love eating them with hummus and tomatoes or with cream cheese and sweet chill sauce.
Seed & Bean Chocolate
Seed & Bean chocolate is made in England.
“The Organic Seed & Bean Company was founded in 2005 by Stephen Rudkin with the idea to create an unusual range of confectionery and snacks, always Organic and Fairtrade when possible. Further to this aim the products must taste superb and be affordable.”
I was sent four flavours to try out. Lavender, Cornish sea salt, Coconut & raspberry and Tangerine (milk chocolate). My favourite of the four was surprisingly for me, the coconut & raspberry. There was a tangy sweet fruity hit that paired well with the dark chocolate although the milk chocolate flavoured with tangerine was equally delicious. The Cornish sea salt flavour uses smoked salt and when you bite into a piece the crunch of the salt crystals is a delight on the palate. The only flavour I was not keen on was the lavender. I had assumed this would be my favourite. I love lavender in all sweet things but the lavender flavoured oil was ever so slightly medicinal in it’s strength. I think I will use the rest of the bar to make a lavender chocolate ganache which will soften and mellow the floral flavour.
Thanks to The Underground Cookery School, Kallo and Seed & Bean for the cookery lesson and food gifts.