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Cookery Courses News

Learn to cook – vegetables

For those who see vegetables as purely fillers for a meal, to add a bit of colour to the plate or articles that you know you should be eating more of but would rather take your vitamin intake from supplements, perhaps taking a cookery course in the art of preparing les legumes may open your eyes to the possibilities that these often neglected ingredients present.

Trying to get your kids to eat their greens is a problem that has bedevilled parents for generations. Perhaps we have been looking at them the wrong way.

How often do you roast your vegetables, other than spuds, for instance? What other herbs and spices do you put in the pot – other than salt – when boiling your cauliflower? And do you boil them until they’re so soggy any nutrient gets washed out of the colander when you drain them?  Perhaps it’s time you acknowledged that you need a cookery class to learn how to cook vegetables.

Cooking courses not just for meat or fish

When you turn your eyes to the TV or magazines, very often the spotlight is on the honey-glazed roast or a sizeable chunk of flaky white fish; okay, the vegetables may be glazed, too or treated to extra dressing but can in no way be considered centre stage.

Chinese New Year can kick-start your enthusiasm

One of the greatest nations on Earth for utilising leaves, shoots and seeds are the Chinese. With their New Year a little over a month after Western Europe’s – and the great sense of occasion they celebrate it with – the build-up in 2012 will take in many of their customs, not least the cookery master class to which many Brits aspire, eat regularly and yet have absolutely no idea how to cook.

Christmas dinner without turkey?

Could you imagine being sat around the table on December 25th, sprouts and stuffing at the ready, yet no big bird waiting to be carved? No, of course not.

However, the Chinese New Year meal is as close an equivalent as we can draw in Europe to our own Christmas meal. The difference between them is that the Chinese version, probably the most important family meal in their calendar, there is a marked abstinence from meat due in no small measure to their belief that sticking to the vegetables will lead to a prolonged life.

Whatever your belief, if you’re in the majority of UK citizens, you are not consuming enough vegetables. Vegetables are not the enemy – if you know you should eat more, but don’t want to expend the time and effort because you’re the only one in the household who eats them, learn how to cook and prepare them more interestingly.

There are vegetable cookery courses – or individual classes – out there; enrol today to bring some natural goodness back into your life

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Cookery Courses News

Back to nature for foraged ingredients

In the fast-paced world in which we live, the tendency is to resort to pre-packed ready-meals available off the supermarket shelf as a matter of convenience.  Even when we buy ingredients off the shelf, there is a question hanging over their nutritional value.

Depending upon where you live in the UK, there could be a multitude of ingredients on your doorstep that you could literally pick from their natural habitat and, after a quick swill, pop straight into the pot.

Foraging for your ingredients

Even the judges for TV shows, like The Great British Menu, place a huge emphasis on the sourcing of local ingredients.

The onus is on the chefs to go out to their local region, find suppliers for the ingredients of their four-course competition dishes who are then invited to the prestigious event, for whichever worthy cause is deigned for that year – even to the extent of celebrating the indigenous British ingredients, themselves.

Why the sudden interest?

There has been a sweep across Europe with the top chefs looking to promote their home-grown ingredients.

Two-Michelin starred chef Rene Redzepi has incorporated his native Danish wild plants as the basis for the Noma menu in his Copenhagen contemporary restaurant.

What are we talking about when we refer to foraged foods?

If you want to learn to cook as these top chefs – other contemporaries utilising this en vogue method are British chefs Mark Hix and Simon Rogan – you need to have an inkling about what you’re looking for to put on the plate.

There is no exact ‘list of ingredients‘, it is very much down to what you can pick out of the ground, scoop from the hives or pick from trees and bushes.

Honey is a great traditional local ingredient – the bees collect pollen from plants nurtured in nearby grounds, plants that grow only in certain regions and variants of fruits and berries that change their flavour as they suit the geography of the land.

Many of the chefs who propogate this method do offer cookery courses that will inherently incorporate foraged foods. Not only through their own restaurants and websites but by their registration with the Great British Chefs association.

It is worth contemplating, if you’re looking to add more unprocessed supermarket to your diet and cook freshly on a more regular basis.

Just look to the ground, tress and bushes around you for your inspiration.

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Cookery Class News

Cookery lesson with Bruno Loubet won

It seemed like the ideal competition – tweet this and you’ve won a cookery lesson with Bruno Loubet. For Internet users everywhere, they may have thought – OK, where’s the con?

Turns out, there’s none! There exists a small pot of genuine opportunity to win competitions on the Internet without having to sign your life away and provide details that entail you giving away your bank account details to the highest bidder behind the scenes.

Pocket-lint & GB Chefs – a formidable team

The prize, to win the chance to cook with two-Michelin-rated chef Bruno Loubet followed by a meal for two as part of the Pocket-lint Christmas Spectacular, did exactly what it said on the tin.  Just ask @jonny162 from London who has scooped the prestigious prize.

Cynics may suggest, as the terms were: in order to be in the hat you have to tweet the hashtag #plxmas and follow @pocketlint and @gbchefs, that the reward is simply a cheap marketing tactic, but for jonny162, it could just turn his life around.

Who are the ‘Great British Chefs’?

The name ‘Bruno Loubet’ does not automatically ring synonymous with being a chef of UK origin, and you’d be right.  Bruno came here to ply his culinary trade in the early eighties, straight out of National  Service en France.

The theme behind GB Chefs is to encapsulate all the ideas brought to the UK by chefs working on our shores and utilise their site as a fulcrum to synergise everything expressive and wholesome about continental cooking and deliver it to the UK public.

Download 105 recipes at app-speed

The sum of that creative talent then provides an online presence to express the collective chef’s brilliance and offers a platform both online and now mobile in order to relate to an English-reading audience across all networks.

You can follow their blog by RSS or, as is the wont with everything hot on the net, download an app to keep you up-to-date with everything en vogue in the culinary UK. As soon as you install the app, these 105 recipes are yours for the cooking.

Ranging from recipes the single bloke at college could cook to a recipe that only those who’d attended a multitude of cookery courses to understand the ingredients, let alone the methods involved in preparing the dish, this app is an insight into ingenuity.

Whether your aim is to learn how great chefs cook, get an eye-opener to the type of know-how you feel you ought to arm yourself with before signing up to a cookery course or just like experimenting every now and again when the opportunity presents itself, check out Great British Chefs. It’s not all rrros-bif, Yorkshire pud and tikka-masala, y’know.

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Cookery Class News

Masterclass in cooking apprenticeship

Learning to cook, in a way that will endorse recognition of your skill, is not easy. Even the very best acknowledge the work involved, from day one, to achieve greatness in the kitchen.

Marco Pierre White recently visited Greene King brewery to relate tales of his initial struggle for success, going from cleaning shoes, borrowing 50p bus fare from his father, a chef himself, to begin his illustrious career at the best restaurant in London. For the nine apprentices involved in the Greene King cookery course, this was a master class of the highest order.

Let your passion drive you

If you start to let questions like ‘what will my wages be?’ or ‘what are the hours?’ stand in your way, your probably not going to make it.
True greatness comes from focus of the job in hand, letting that be your only concern. That’s difficult to get your head around with the way the economy is stacked against that philosophy, but dedication will out. Sacrifices are called for every step of the way on the ladder to mastering the kitchen.

Class on your doorstep

When you’re first starting out, the road ahead seems long and tortuous – whatever aspects you can tick off your ‘to do’ sheet in the early stages is crucial to success.
Two of the key elements to establish this positive outlook are find the right establishment, and make it local:

    1. if the restaurant you’re working for is renowned, they will only employ top chefs in order to uphold their reputation, so you will be learning to cook from the best.
    2. having the establishment on your doorstep allows flexibility, not necessarily having to rely on transport (cutting your outgoings) and being able to get there in a flash if needed.

Forget the past – this is a new dawn

Hands-on experience is great, but you also need qualifications if you aspire to making it on your own, one day.
Once you’ve positioned yourself as best you can, see if the employer will allow you to go on day release to college, or has tailored cookery courses of their own which they’ll actively encourage you to attend.
This is where it goes back to your flexibility and willingness – if you show them talent and determination, they will do what they can to ensure you realise your potential as an investment in their business.

Get instant gratification and feedback

Great cooking is one of the few jobs where you can be judged there and then. If you’ve prepared a wonderful meal, your critics will let you know by what’s left on the plate.
Feedback is as important as any inherited skill – it not only can build your confidence, but also provides pointers as to where your own strengths lie in the cooking industry.

It’s all give and take

Cooks develop over time, picking up different styles from the variety of chefs for whom they’ll work.

Once you’re established, it will be your turn to become the Yoda to your own Jedis. Use your force to pass down what you have learnt on the way to success.

Cooking is very much a two way street and definitely a 9-5 career. Food is a marvellous tool to allow you to be creative and instantly impress your employers and your clients, alike.

With hard work, flexibility and an inner determination to succeed, ignoring the naysayers but accepting constructive criticism as it comes, you will succeed and be able to provide a masterclass of your own.

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Cookery Course News

When Britannia ruled the…kitchen?

If you mention ‘cookery courses’ in polite conversation, quite often the virtues of nouvelle cuisine are extolled or one instantly aspires to globe-trotting celebrity chefs who bring back recipes from around the world to treat the British public.

However, it may come as a surprise to many of you that back in the day (we are talking over half a millennia) British food used to be revered on the continent. 600 years hence, and the Italians were crazy for our cheese, which is thought to have been traded on the continent on the back of our wool exports.

A life in the Day

One food historian trying very much to revive past cooking traditions is Ivan Day, who runs cookery courses from his farmhouse in the Lake District. With over one thousand culinary items collected from centuries past, and only those required by health and safety from this one, such as a digital thermometer to check that the meat is thoroughly roasted, a cookery class here is a step back in time. Not a pair of white gloves in site!

It is definitely not a museum, however. As Ivan explains, museums store artefacts in a dead way; everything here gets used, from clockwork spitjacks to roast the meat before an open fireplace to sugar moulds popular in the 19th century to create cake decorations, supposedly the inspiration for the famous blue and white Wedgwood pattern.

Traditional Cooking Methods

But the course dates back further as Ivan’s explorations into forgotten UK cooking heritage transports us to the 16th century. At one time or another, name any of the last five centuries and Ivan will tell you, they have all been a personal favourite of his. What keeps this cooking course fresh, however, is the host’s constant self-learning. Our culinary evolution is a genuine passion for him; he rates the 18th century kitchen as one of the most sophisticated periods ever enjoyed by UK cuisine, whereas the 19th century produced ‘spectacular’ food.

Old meats new

No one reads the old books any more, of which Ivan has thousands, including handwritten notes and one farmer’s wife recipe book dating to 1830’s which was never published but is packed with recipes and processes which give us a real insight into who we were, compared to who we are. Of course, HSE is at the heart of many of today’s cooking methods and the utensils used described in cook books from days of yore, even if still manufactured, would be unlikely to pass such stringent tests.

Ivan is a genuine food archaeologist, but more; from his farmhouse, he is the last mutton ham curer in Cumbria. This is one item he’d love to see back on the menu having had a 200-year absence. From the Herdwick sheep, the breed used back then, this original recipe only takes 16 days to cure, and one afternoon to smoke.

If you’d like to learn to cook as in years gone by, few places offer more genuine opportunities than this Historic Kitchen.

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Cook Books News

Cook books to add to Santa’s List

One of the many reasons people may be put off from joining a cookery school, especially a top-end one which involves interacting with other hopeful chefs, is their perceived lack of knowledge.

This is a barrier which can either stand in your way forever, meaning you never learn to cook like the competition chefs you know you can better on the television, or you can read up about it, so you can at least sound professional when you first enrol.

There are so many cullinary experts, writing in so many niches, it may be difficult to know which suits you best. The only way to find out is dive right in. The Evening Standard has produced a best of list of 2011 cook books. If there’s room in someone’s sack for one more present, perhaps you can point them in this direction…

Get your mince pies around this, for starters.

What can be more festive than a book containing Christmas recipes? For a mere £12.99, of which a portion is being donated to the National Grocers Benevolent Fund, Caravan have published ‘The Ultimate Festive Feast’. As the name suggests, its brimming with seasonal recipes with contributions such as Mary Berry’s chocolate roulade and tit-bits from the Frying Scot himself, Gordon Ramsey.

Spry’s coronation chicken streets ahead

For value for money, £30 will not buy you much more than The Constance Spry Cookery Book. Reprinted again, for the umpteenth time since it was first released in 1956, this encyclopedia of recipes could keep you in the kitchen forever. With a strong Gallic influence, Spry and co-author Rosemary Hume (accreditted with inventing coronation chicken) put together a tome worthy of its half a century plus legacy.

Jamie Oliver gets back to gastro basics

Jamie’s globetrotting menu may not be what you’d expect to see at his parent’s gastropub but, what the heck, it’s Jamie Oliver at his best. Influences from the Yemen, Guyana and the Med may not endorse the Great British Pub Menu, but well worth £30 for Jamie’s Great Britain, from Penguin.

If you’ve ever thought your cullinary expertise could conjure a cook-book then take a leaf from Claire’s Kitchen.

Claire Caminada has taken contemporary recipes and added her own twist to give them a uniqueness you won’t find anywhere else, especially not for less than the £16.95 price-tag for this collection she’s taken from her kitchen into print.

There are many more cook books in the extensive article, including Italian cooking from Alvaro Maccioni, food meets physics when Heston Blumenthal experiments with cooking in a whole new way, choices for those with a sweet tooth in Fiona Cairns’ Cake Book and Vegetarian delights in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Veg Every Day!

You can read the full article here to get you well and truly up to speed and possibly help you in your decision when choosing which cooking course is right for you in 2012.

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Cookery Class News

Our mission on cookerycourses.co.uk

A quick glance at the ‘Top Ten Trends for 2012’ published by food&drinkstowers provides not only a reflection of where the country is economically but, as the title suggests, lays the foundation of where the UK is heading, gastronomically speaking.

There is huge emphasis being placed by the average consumer, whose feedback has constituted the basis for the results determining the report’s outcome, on getting back to basics. The best way to learn how to do this for the younger generation, many of whom have been brought up on microwave ready-meals and fast-food restaurants, is to get yourself enrolled on a cookery course.

There are so many one-off cooking classes or in-depth cookery courses, to suit every budget, that there really is no excuse not to learn how food works, why ingredients come together to produce the edible delights we see being created on television and, most importantly, what elements are good or bad for you in your diet.

One of the first lessons you will learn when joining a gym is that exercise alone is not the answer. Obesity, sadly, is becoming a plague, blighting the UK’s young and old alike, threatening the very economy that all sectors are conscious of stabilising. Today’s youngsters are tomorrow’s workforce – they will be the ones clocking on and off to ensure pension funds are there for the older generation (that’s us) to claim; it is imperative that they are taught the value of nutrition – the basis of a healthy lifestyle!  It is all relative.

The way we eat has changed beyond all recognition in just one generation, it seems. The reasons are many, few of them are good. One-parent families or households where both parents work full-time can often be stretched when it comes to preparing fresh meals every night of the week. We have got out of the habit of eating well – even understanding what foods are good for us and why.

There are so many young families starting to build a new home that simply do not know how to cook from scratch, not even the basics, it is unbelievable. Everything they know about shopping for food is how it is bought from the supermarket. Even if it’s not a frozen meal ‘ready in eight minutes‘, it is a ‘jar of curry‘ or pre-prepared in a ‘packet of Bolognese mix‘. And how some of the ‘healthy’ options can claim to be that is mystifying – they may contain less fat (being deprived of the right fat is bad for you, anyway), but are high in salt and stuffed with artificial fillers and preservatives which serve to give them ‘taste’.

Here on cookerycourses.co.uk, we will not only bring you the best cookery courses to be found on the internet and offline, but we will endeavour to put a healthy slant on news, too. Concentrating on the freshest ideas from top chefs and cooking houses, we will bring you a master class of our own as we recommend la crème de la crème in understanding and learning about cooking – you can Sous us, if we don’t!

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Cookery Courses News

Cookery courses, from the ground up

Cooking has never been more popular than it is today. With television channels dedicated to the art, documentaries attracting millions of viewers and celebrities from all walks of stardom looking to exhibit their culinary expertise to willing audiences, pots and pans have moved from their spiritual home in the kitchen to up front and central in our living rooms. With our newfound love for doing something amazing with food rather than just blitz a frozen ready meal at 850 watts, cookery courses are attracting people from all walks of life.

From children to dads to grandparents (and mums as well, don’t forget), there seems to be an entry level (and certificate) for whatever plane your cookery skills operate on into the fast-growing industry, from foundation upwards. Instead of being just something you ate while you talked about your day at work or school, conversations around the dinner tables of the UK are turning to food itself as the prime source of discussion.

With the influence of top chefs like Jamie Oliver impacting our very government to change the way children think (and have access to) healthy, nutritional food, what we eat no longer simply exists in the domain of the adults, but it is a medium to bring whole families together, swapping tips, hints and learning from each other, as they go.

cookery courses for every skill level, every passion

There is only so much you can learn en masse. If you are serious about food, either delivering the best to your family, brushing up a technique to entertain the love of your life (or their family) or are so enamoured with cooking that you’re looking to take it seriously, there will be a cookery course out there for you.

Whether you are looking for a cookery class that shows you how to use a wooden spoon or a full-blown course that explains in depth how to cook a five-course meal for (family) royalty, there will be an entry level designed to accommodate you. There are many free courses at local community halls or schools, but to deliver the broadest knowledge of one of the fastest growing industries on the planet, choosing a professional course with a recognised qualification and certification is the way forward.

The topic of cooking is so broad that we couldn’t possibly cover it all in one article, here on cookerycourses.co.uk. What we hope to achieve, over the coming weeks, months and years is a comprehensive guide to the best cookery courses available either on the web (there are some excellent remote learning courses) or in situ, at some of the highest quality, nationally recognised cookery schools in the UK.

This will be an amazing journey for us – we hope you enjoy the experience (and sticky wooden spoons) as much as we do, as we have fun with food into 2012 and beyond.