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Cook Books News

One cookbook, 5 years, 17 classrooms and 50,000 miles later

June of 2012 will see 37 pupils leave the humdrum of Glasgow and travel over 5,200 miles (one way) to Malawi, to continue a twin-ship unlike many other on the planet.

In time-honoured tradition (well, six years, anyway), the pupils and staff at Holyrood School have set about the fundraising to contribute towards the travel costs. This year, their cash-spinning tool of choice is a nothing other than a cook book, which was the rather bright spark this year’s fund needed to get the engine roaring up through the gears once more.

Emma MacDonald, the progenitor of this year’s idea, called upon her skills as a geography teacher to meld recipes from all continents to form the staple ingredients of this cookery book extraordinaire.

It seemed right on so many levels, according to Emma in a recent snippet in the Rutherglen Reformer. Glasgow has a rich, cosmopolitan air about it and the multi-national cultures amongst the school’s pupils reflects Scotland’s second city’s diverse global appeal.

As well as some of Scotand’s rich heritage making into the recipes, there are cookery lessons to be learnt from the East, with Indian and Pakistani contributions also included. The cookery book will be on sale on the school’s website at the price of £10.00. You will have to be quick if you want to pick one up, though, as there are only three hundred copies being printed.

The story of the partnership between Holyrood and Malawi is quite fascinating. Starting out as a backpack mission by the Holyrood Learning Community in 2006 in conjunction with Scottish International Relief, the partnership has grown leaps and bounds, since.

The project sees pupils globe-trot from Scotland across to Africa every year to bring much needed construction of new and renovation to old classrooms for educating the Malawi pupils, who would otherwise struggle to find a shelter in which to learn.

Over the short space of time, an astonishing seventeen classrooms have been built from scratch with many others having been renovated in the cannily-named Malawi village, Blantyre.

The classrooms not only act as a place to learn, but also a place to dine, as Mary’s Meals ensure the pupils partake in nourishing fare that would otherwise be devastatingly unattainable. Part of the project has also seen the Scottish pupils install a water pump for the life-saving dinner-ladies which, again, has proved a boon to lives of the Malawi school children.

Let’s hope the cook book does the trick and sends another mercy mission off and away to Malawi. You never know, there may just be a sequel in the offing, with nutritious African meals in for us to have a crack at cooking. For more information, or to order the book, visit the website at: http://www.holyrood-sec.glasgow.sch.uk/default.aspx

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Cookery Class News

Surely tea is for the teapot, not the stew pot?

Cynthia Gold, former sommelier at Park Plaza, is to take charge in a similar role at L’Espalier in order to emphasise its own fantastic tea menu. In a recent e-mail interview, Gold spared some time for Eater to share her envisaged role and give us a sneak preview into how they’re going to develop their own house blends and expand dishes and cocktails all in a cookery masterclass with the star ingredient: tea!

The first task for the purpose of this article is to perhaps introduce the idea of cooking with tea to an English audience. And we’re not just talking different ways of serving it in the afternoon, such as do we put the milk in first or second? or do we favour a shortbread or Garibaldi first? We’re talking proper alcoholic cocktails and real food with tea as a solid ingredient, either as the base or infused at some point during this most refreshing of cookery classes.

There is a popular school of thought that cooking with tea can overpower other ingredients that going into making the meal itself. Like any recipe that is deemed a success, it is all about getting the correct balance of ingredients. Tea is no different, especially when it comes to forming the base of an alcoholic beverage. Weird? Well not when you think about how popular Pernod and Ouzo are, and they have aniseed at their bases, so perhaps we could all learn something about a cookery class that teaches us about brewing up bevvy that incorporates an ingredient that is so very English.

To understand a little bit more about how one learns to infuse tea to make varieties of sangria, salt-rimmed shots where the crystalline edge has been smoked in tea or for your homebrew bitter, it is perhaps worth knowing what exactly a sommelier is and how one gets to become one.

The original masters in the art of the tea sommelier are relatively new, when you consider how long the stuff has actually been drank by the gallon as part of the afternoon tiffing regime of the old Empire Britannia. Gold was the only chef amongst the original set and so it seemed a very natural progression for her to learn to cook tea in different ways.

She sees two things in the leaves about her future. Firstly, at L’Espalier, a subsidiary menu of rare teas will accompany the existing menu which draws upon their estate teas in a combination of both savoury and sweet dishes from their kitchens. In the background, Cynthia is putting her head together with Canadian, British and French ambasadors for the industry to produce a multi-national certificate in recognition of the art of becoming an accomplished tea chef and the necessary background studies to achieve this standardisation.

Mmm, it may take the UK public some convincing to take tea with anything other than milk or sugar – we’ve never really taken to popping lemon into it, so Tea-kka Masala? You’ve got your work cut out, Cynthia.

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Cookery School News

More than Basil in this Thai cookery course

If you ever find yourself in Amphur Muang, Chiang Mai District (easy for you to say) in North West Thailand and fancy learning to cook like the locals, then Basil Cookery School is ready and waiting for you six days a week, mornings or evenings, for a four and half hour sortee into every component that makes up your traditional Thai meal.

With a deep commitment to deliver an enjoyable cookery school experience for one of the most popular styles of menu on the globe, the Basil Cookery School have done everything to simplify the process, as you get to do all of the cooking for seven – yep, 7 – different courses. They’ll even pick you up from and drop you back to your accomodation, providing you’re staying within the district of Amphur Muang, Chiang Mai.

There may be many happy memories you bring back with you from Thailand, but this is something very practical you can practise time and again when you get back home. Never remembered anything like that you’ve done before? Don’t worry – for the cookery class price of 1,000 BHAT you get the entire colour Basil recipe book to bring home with you!

Thai food is one of the most healthy of the popular food-styles and you get to choose one from three possible options for the six available courses, plus how to make your own curry paste. The six cooking courses consist of Noodles, Curry, Soup, Stir-fry, Starters, Desserts and then the all-important Pastes.

What sets this cooking school apart is that, whether you opt for the morning 09:00 to 13:30 class or evening 16:00 – 20:30 lesson, numbers are limited to a minimum of one to a maximum if seven people, so you are always guaranteed help close to hand, although the recipes are simplified to be able to easily recreate when you get back home to the UK.

They have the passion and knowhow and are just dying to share that experience in their ‘clean and clear’ kitchens, top-end implements and using only fresh, locally-produced products. All ingredients are grown within the district, bought from the local market and you will learn all about the parts the herbs, spices and vegetables play in delivering that undeniable Thai taste, in the palm of your hands forever once you attend this unique cooking class.

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Cookery Courses London News

Learn to cook The Smart School Cookery Course way

For many of us in the UK, we bring the monthly or weekly shopping home, tick off all of the ingredients to make sure we’ve got the requisite to make the planned meals and that’s about the extent of the thought we put into planning our menus. To add variation, we may change the day we have a meal on but, other than that, our diet rarely changes.  This is thanks, in no small measure, to the ‘favourites’ menu on our online shopper.

Wouldn’t it feel like an escape if once, just once, we knew how to shake that up a bit, learn how to cook something new? Well now you can. In fact, not just one dish, but a whole four-course meal brought to you from the cookery school of none other than Ann Hood and the passion she exuded when she appeared on Masterchef.

With a choice of centres, Danbury in Essex or Wigmore Street in London, The Smart School of Cookery offers an extensive range of dishes to choose from delivered over the duration of a single day for any one set of the themed courses on the menu.

The cookery class is very much a hands-on experience under the expert guidance of some of the best-known and well-loved celebrity chefs, who’ll guide you through the basics and then deliver their own twists to help create that slice of originality that makes this day truly unique amongst cookery courses.

The day itself begins at 11.00am at a meet, greet and welcome over coffee and croissants where you’re welcomed by one of the professional chefs on cuisine duty, that day. Whilst you’re still in the main group, getting acquainted, the day’s menu will be discussed in further detail before you are presented with your essential kit for a day like no other in the kitchens at the Smart School of Cookery.

Not only will you get your apron – of course – but an information pack about the day and the themed courses you’ll be making but also you’re provided with a notepad and pen to make any further additions, which your guest chef may drop in for your own reference to the copies of the original recipes themselves.

As you work your way through the menu, sampling your dishes as you go, refreshments will be provided to perfectly compliment each of the four courses you learn to cook.

There really are courses to suit every palate, ranging from Italian to Indian, Just for Men (a hairy experience, no doubt) and Teen Cuisine to provide just a sampler of the range on offer.

Each course is set out in such a way that will leave you with the confidence to be able to recreate these dishes once you’re home, with or without the gift-pack you take away with you as a permanent reminder of your day learning to cook a masterclass at the Smart School Cookery Course.

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Cookery Course News

A cookery course in pasta of our own

As David Lebowitz has made his home in Paris it is unlikely that many of us in the current economic climate will be nipping over to France from T2 at Birmingham for a quick cookery lesson in pasta any time soon.

Lucky for us, he’s gone to great lengths on his own site revelling in the delights of home made pasta, compared to shop-bought. So, for a cooking course of our own, we’re taking the best bits and offering a condensed version of the Michelin-rated chef’s lesson in how to make pasta, from scratch, rekindling his fondness of the fresh, home-made version .

Why make pasta at home when it’s so cheap to buy?

By David’s own admission, it is easy to get into the habit of picking up a packet of pasta, whether it’s fusilli, lasagna sheets or the chef’s own favourite, pasta spirals.

As fortune had it, whilst he was around a friends house for a meal and they were taking an aperitif, his friend whipped out the dough, rolled it in thrice and voila, he had the base of his lasagna – that simple.

Pasta dough less fussy than bread and pastry

Whereas doughs for other bases, namely your breads and pastries, take time, effort and precision, making the base for pasta is effortless, in comparison. What’s more, according to David, the variety of attachments for the base pasta maker are inexpensive and easy to pick up, to help you make simple pasta which will impress your friends and make them believe you have been on numerous cooking courses to acquire the skill. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Tips for pasta preparation from the man himself

According to his article, David always recommends making fresh pasta on the day you’re going to cook it; it can be refrigerated, but loses its fresh colour and takes on a grey pallour if made the day before.

Simple though it is in essence, it may take a few attempts to get the pasta to your very own liking. It is a versatile staple and learning to prepare it is as much about you and the you-specific ingredients used in prep as in the way it’s made. David’s preference is half semolina/half all-purpose flour, then a whole range of eggs, whatever is available close by.

To complete this quick and easy online cooking course, our next post will be David’s shopping list and how he puts it all together to create pasta-perfect dough, good enough to eat.

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Cookery Courses News

Cookery school has Asian food craic’ed

With an overall emphasis fashioned towards comprehensive cooking courses in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere, Brennan’s Cookery School in Eire offers a plethora of classes covering everything that is, well, not necessarily native of Cork.

Evening cooking classes are the staple diet of Brennan’s Cook School that is Irish in attitude, Asian by design. Claiming to be the only cooking school in the centre of the metropolis that is Cork, you can dip your toe into simple Asian fusion and barbeque menus, cuisines from Vietnam and even learn how to prepare and cook Indian bread and those sweets that you see lining the counter every time you nip in to pick up the samosas and bhajis to go with your home-made curry on the way home from work.

If cooking from the East really is your passion, you can take the level of experience up a few gears by booking to a place on the advanced Asian cooking class, Cooking with Spices.

Forget Blackpool, Prague and Dublin – have your stag or hen do cooking in Cork!

Okay, name two things you associate with Ireland, other than jockeys and hockey. Yep, Guinness and Jameson Whiskey. How many stag dos do you see heading to the Emerald Isle in terminal T2 at Birmingham airport every time you’re planning a trip over the Irish Sea, yourself?

You can’t move for t-shirts emblazoned with some guy’s face, each with a name on the back or pink outfits with one (un?)lucky bride-to-be with an ‘L’ plate around her neck. Instead of spending three days just staggering around Temple Bar, why not plan one of the evenings learning to cook at Brennan’s, instead?

Not only do they cater for corporate evenings, private parties and birthday and anniversary celebrations, but they also offer an evening cookery class for those celebrating their pre-nuptuals and last nights of freedom.

Put the fun back into cooking

You may have noticed a huge leaning towards fun and frolics in the atmosphere this cooking school emits – that’s because they believe that you’ll take more out of an evening learning to cook if you’re enjoying it than if you’re being taught in classroom conditions.

So, if you fancy having a craic at learning how to cook Asian-style in convivial Gaelic surroundings, ready to impress your bride/groom-to-be once you eventually get back off honeymoon, with the added bonus of being in the land where the finest alcoholic drinks of all time were invented, why not check out what this Irish by nature cooking school has to offer this year.

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Cookery Class News

Time for a quick lesson in cooking?

Not everyone has the time to pack up their bags and head off to the Dorset coast and spend four weeks learning to cook, more’s the pity. Sometimes, we just want a short, sharp quick-cook class to keep the old grey matter ticking over, with the added bonus of being able to impress our nearest and dearest with our culinary expertise.

Set half way between Ross-on-Wye and Gloucester, just off the A40, the Harts Barn Cookery School offers a number of cookery classes that wrap up a lesson in a couple of hours in a diversity of cooking styles, derived from global influences and that special ingredient from the heart of England.

With prices starting from a tenner for the weekly two-hour cooking class on a Tuesday to bespoke lessons likewise reasonably priced, here is a brief overview of what’s on offer in the immediate future.

Marvellous Moroccan

There are spaces still available for a cookery class exploring a taste of North African cuisine on Friday coming, from very much where the Africas meet Europe; the combined influences are on display in this two-hour introduction to this fusion-style cuisine.

Following a demonstration of how to make a Harissa sauce you can then dive in and learn how the Moroccans make a stew, or Tagine, a dish named after the two-piece earthern-ware pot it’s made in, followed by an interesting combination of fish balls in tomato sauce, Chermoula carrots, an accompanying flat bread consisting of onion and parsley and finally all finished off with Rice Pudding Moroccan style. Once you’ve revelled in making these exciting dishes, they can be washed down with a mint tea at the end of the cookery course.

Vegan-friendly fresh food frenzy

On Sunday 22nd January, enjoy this two-hour cookery lesson aimed at delivering the best from safe raw ingredients, proving that salad is not the only food you can serve uncooked. As well as demonstrations of this healthier option, it is suitable for vegans as the entire menu dispenses with meat, fish and dairy product, however, does contain nuts, presumably as the source of protein to round off the meal.

There is a special two-for offer for this cookery class, too.

Harts Barn Cookery School has a complete program of courses designed for those who perhaps only have a couple of hours at a time to spare to devote to their past-time. Full details and downloadable booking form (Word doc) available on their website.

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Cookery Course News

Learn how to cook bread – a right pain

I apologise profusely in advance for the amount of buns puns that are going to be in this article, but learning how to cook bread just lends itself to giving the rise.

But, as this is a staple component of many a culture, from the Lord tempting the Israelites to cross the Desert of Sin en route to Sinai by raining down manna from heaven to the celebration of Holy Communion to this day with unleavened bread and the spiritual holiday of yeaster, this is a biblical side dish of much renown.

However, Leith’s School of Food & Wine, London, are offering a one-off cookery class this summer to learn how to cook bread in different styles from the continent, just in time to use your loaf on holiday and impress the locals with your knowledge of their local bread.

Unlike many cookery courses which require you to have a camper van full of equipment before you can even bread roll enrol, all that is required of the budding bread chef for this four and a half hour course is an apron and a notebook and you’re set – everything else is supplied.

The cookery class looks to pack in plenty of variety to enable you, once completed, to be able to perfect the art of bread-baking in several languages!

From a Gaelic fruit soda bread recipe to a base Italian offering which should be a pizza cake, you next move on to biga things as you experiment in French and further Italian textured breads to complete the European tour.

It’s not all hands-on; when you arrive there is coffee and pastries as you meet your fellow students, but after that you dough get a minute (yeah, you probably have to be from The Black Country to get that one) as you get stuck in to the lesson.

Each slice of the action will be in the form of a demo, then you get to have a go with the ingredients that are weighed out for you for each recipe – they really do supply all you knead.

Mid-lesson, there’s a breather when wine is served to go with the food that you’ve prepared up to that point, I guess to toast your success so far, and then it’s into the afternoon session to complete the cookery class.

Any food not consumed during the course of the lesson you’re free to take home with you if you couldn’t eat the whole meal, as well as a recipe booklet as a souvenir to help you replicate your expertise time and again just in case you don’t crust trust yourself to remember each lesson. If you’ve not bought anything to carry the surplus home, don’t worry; I’m sure Leith’s will baguette for you.

It’s a pitta, but I’ve not been on this cookery course; however, my naan reckoned that this essential lesson in cooking was, well, the best thing since sliced bread.

At time of writing, there were still places available; further details on Leith’s School of Food & Wine’s website.

Last updated on January 11, 2012

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Cookery Class News

They don’t teach this on Daily Cooks Challenge

Anthony Worrall Thompson, one of the most renowned TV chefs who puts his peers through trials and tribulations using chosen ingredients and “4 items from [his] very own store cupboard” on the TV cookery show Daily Cook’s Challenge has given us a clue as to where the ingredients come from.

According to recent reports, the top chef has been caught on camera shoplifting wine and cheese from a Tesco store in Henley-on-Thames.  Perhaps his new catchphrase for the ‘store cupboard’ star challenge ought to be “Every little bit helps”; it’s no wonder he lets the celebrity chefs use the ingredients for free.

I can just imagine the stick he’ll get from contestants John Burton Race and Gino D’Acampo when and if they film the next series. Perhaps the celebrity guests ought to be bringing in all of the ingredients, not just the star food pick, to help the cook out for the new cookery demonstration series. If ever one of them brings their food of choice to the show in one of those famous blue and white striped bags…

Troubled times for the MasterClass Chef

This is another blight on the chef’s reputation who, in 2009, had no choice other than to close several of his branded eateries as the recession bit and the restaurants were subsequently handed over to the administrators.

This is, allegedly, not the first time the chef has attempted the scan scam. On five previous occasions, staff at the store have monitored AWT on the closed circuit system taking a handful of none-expensive articles to the self-service checkouts but only passing a select few of the items through the scanner. The rest of the ingredient list has found its way into the shopping bag without being scanned.

The police were called as the 60 year old, who as only been issued with a caution on this occasion by Thames Valley Police, was stopped by guards as he tried to leave the store on the Reading Road last Friday, the 6th January.

A spokesman for TVP confirmed that a 60 year old man who’d given his address as High Wycombe had been arrested and subsequently issued with a formal caution in relation to the offences.

Maybe the hit ITV show’s next series will be called Daily Crook’s Challenge, instead…

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Cookery Course News

Food of Course cookery school

There is no better commendation for a cookery course teacher than by her students and that’s exactly the case for Lou Hutton. She is, without doubt, the special ingredient in the Food of Course month-long cookery course at the residential cookery school in Somerset.

If you’ve got a hidden cook somewhere within your persona, she’ll find it, throwing herself into her work, encouraging you to do the same, unearthing cooking skills that perhaps you never thought you had, let alone dreamed would come to fruition.

Lou Hutton’s global experience

From her days as the principle instructor of ‘Cookery at the Grange’, Lou gave up the working for someone else tag to go on to create her own very special catering business. On the Food of Course class, you will learn some of her twenty years experience and it will change your impression of cooking forever over the duration of this residential offering.

After jaunts freelancing as a globetrotting cook, which took in Europe and Australasia, she flew home to roost to once again indulge in her passion of teaching. With so much experience under her belt and an uncanny knack of being able to filter her energy and confidence through to her students, you will be able to glean these skills and, before you know it, be able to take pride in your own vast knowledge as the days spent on the cooking course just fly by.

The aspiration is that you not only take away happy memories of enjoyable days spent in a glorious setting, but also a part of Lou as your outlook on cooking changes forever once you have completed the course.

The Cookery School Location

Middle Farm House is the setting for this residential cooking school in a traditional ‘Long House’, complete with thatched roof, to boot!

Back in the 18th Century, the Hutton family farmed the land. More recently, Lou and Roger Hutton have extensively renovated the house whilst managing to retain much of its original character.

From the farmhouse kitchen you look out onto the gardens, the idyllic setting for students to nurture their skills in a (very) informal atmosphere, growing in skill an experience as the ays flit by in clouds of flour and fun.

How to get to the Cookery School

From London Paddington station you can catch the train which serves Castle Cary, nearby to Middle Farm House. In the opposite direction lies the West Country and Cornwall and down further towards the Jurassic Coast. To see the map here is the link to The Cookery School.

Cookery School Accomodation

The majority of the bedrooms, all tailored towards comfort, are en suite. You can chill out in the sitting room or curl up on the gigantic sofa and catch up on the soaps or send pictures to make your friends envious via your social media platform through our WiFi connection.

And there’s no need to pack towels, or anything of that ilk – the food is, naturally, provided – the only important thing to bring is yourself!

Generally, people tend to flit home during the weekends, however, that’s not obligatory. If you can lose yourself for the month, you are more than welcome to stay the Saturdays and Sundays, too.