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Cookery Courses News

Sustainable cookery demo at Westmill Wind Farm this June

This June, July and August look like being, in the infamous words of Sir Paul Weller (okay, maybe they’ve not knighted him yet, but surely there are few greater wordsmiths than he during our time?), a Long Hot Summer for Pudding Pie Cookery School.

Kicking off on June 23rd, ably accompanied by this year’s Masterchef finalist, Andrew Kojima, the cookery school will be demonstrating sustainable food cookery classes at Westmill Wind Farm in an attempt to raise awareness of the importance of incorporating replenishable food stocks into our every day meals.

The open day event, which 600 of the WeSET co-op’s members are expected to attend, promises to be a fun-packed day bringing to light the plight of our dwindling energy supplies, both the type we burn for fuel and energy but likewise, through the day-long cookery courses, also the natural resources that provide our very bodies with energy and fuel.

Once that event has been and gone, all eyes then turn to the summer holidays and the rush of activity that sees school children (and parents) flock to their cookery courses as an activity that not only passes the long six weeks but also learns the budding pudding pie (I nearly wrote ‘pudding club’, then – that would have been a faux pas, non?) chefs life lessons, to boot.

More kitchen space means more availability for summer cookery classes

This summer holidays’ cookery courses promise to be bigger and better than ever as the addition of another kitchen sees the cookery school able to offer 240 spaces, their biggest number ever. They do warn, however, that these spaces do fill up rapidly, so don’t hang about if you’re looking to give your darlings something to do (and yourself a well-earned break) this summer.

To run alongside all of that, the cookery school have gone into partnership with ‘hello babycakes‘ to bring the art of cake cookery to all of those eager to learn how to bake but are perhaps without the experience necessary to produce the perfect cupcake or get their fairy cakes to rise in the morning. Enough said.

Phew. It’s going to be a busy old time in Banbury, Oxfordshire this summer, that’s for sure. If Pudding Pie Cookery School is a little too far away, why not check out our selection of hand-picked cookery courses to find summer events and classes near you?

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Out with the lentils – vegetarian cookery schools go gourmet

There are some immense resources online for vegetarians, these days; hardly surprising when almost two million Brits consider themselves to be ‘strictly vegetarian‘. But the ideology behind going meat-free is so out-dated for us carnivorous dinosaurs that we really are in the dark ages when it comes to our own conception of what makes up a vegetarian diet. Personally, I blame Neil the Hippy and his constant badgering of Rik, Mike and Viv to eat lentils – I surmise that for anyone whose life has begun again, we’re in the same boat.

And that is really the crux of this week’s National Vegetarian Week – not only trying to change our appreciation of a meat-free diet but also teaching vegetarians that the carnivores are not the enemy. As such, we look today at the strides made by the myriad vegetarian enterprises, as well as those on our own cookery courses page, making a difference online today, starting with an offline event (hey-ho): VegFest running, Friday 25th-Sunday 27th May inclusive.

If you’re able to get along to Bristol this weekend, the culmination of this week’s proceedings concludes at the tenth annual VegFest in a program that not only exhibits live cookery classes and demonstrations but also has three comedians (Andrew O’Neill Friday, Sarah Pascoe Saturday and Chris Stokes on Sunday) to remind us that there is a lighter side to vegetarianism and it’s not all about hangovers from the Summer of Love and proclamations that if we don’t stop eating meat, the world will come to an end, despite what Einstein predicted that survival on Earth will be directly benefited by the evolution of vegetarianism. Another good reason to go is that it’s free to the general public, opening Friday at 2pm, then 11am on the weekend days, concluding in all cases at 11pm.

If that’s not enough for you, or you can’t get along, let’s get one thing totally clear: the vegetarian diet is no longer a bowl of lentil soup with a few herbs dashed in; it has gone Gourmet. The Cordon Vert Cookery School, for one, has taken the art of sourcing and preparing ingredients and even developing their own stock of vegetarian chefs through in-house cookery courses, to new levels. Indeed, as National Vegetarian Week builds up to its climax, they have announced the winner of their Chef of the Future award, which we’ll run through in more detail, tomorrow.

There are plenty of other fine dining experiences to be had sans la viande up and down the country, but the real jewel in the UK vegetarian crown is Edinburgh, at least according to Alex Bourke, author of such tomes as Vegetarian Scotland and other travel-related ventures for veggies.

Vegetarian dining is well catered for in the Scottish capital; it even has its own meat-free bed and breakfast, Claymore Vegetarian Guesthouse, based in the heart of the city, just a hop skip and a jump from Princes Street. You can also find up to thirteen bespoke vegetarian restaurants and cafés, all of which sit nicely in and around Edinburgh’s many historical attractions and plentiful pubs and bars (well, it is Scotland).

So join me tomorrow when we take a look at what really is en-vogue veggie as we review the three-course recipe that carried off Cordon Vert Cookery School’s Chef of the Future title and all of the trimmings and prestige that the award entitles the winning chef to.

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Locally-sourced and foraged ingredients for your veggie bbq

No need to remind everyone that this week is Vegetarian Week, if you’ve been following the cookery courses blog, but for those who’ve just ambled across the site: it’s National Vegetarian Week! As such, we’ll be devoting the articles and advising of cookery schools that specialise in meat- (and fish-)free dishes.

In the UK alone, the Big Veggie Survey found that 3.8 million class themselves as ‘mainly’ vegetarian, the concession being that, to get a little flesh inside them (ooh, err!), they are not opposed to eating our water-dwelling friends. Half as many again, however, consider themselves ‘strictly vegetarian’, i.e. they eat no meat whatsoever, rather derive protein from soy and nuts and their iron and other vitamins and minerals from the common-or-garden vegetable.

This is a plight that can cause problems eating out, as we looked at earlier this week, as many restaurateurs and other eating establishments consider they’ve done their bit for the hoards of vegetarians wishing to eat socially by slapping a bit of cod or haddock on the menu. Uh-uh – catering sector, in the spirit of Eurovison, you score nil pwon. Yes, I know it’s spelt ‘points’, but it sort of loses the effect, innit?

How to serve vegetarian meals at home

Given that almost 2M strict veggies in the UK equates to one in thirty people, there’s a real good chance that, when throwing a dinner party or barbecue – yes, we have the weather for that at last! – at least one of the guests will be vegetarian or even vegan. What you don’t want to do is make the same mistake as the catering trade, rather, get the lowdown on what vegetarian cookery courses offer as part of their curriculum.

You really can’t go wrong by taking time out to pop along to one of the many UK cookery courses that have had a program designed by and for vegetarians. It’s a competitive business and reputation is everything in the industry; cookery courses are a growing market as UK citizens become more aware of the fact that ready meals off the shelf contain little in the way of nutrients and prefer to cook their meals from scratch.

The industry has recognised this and locally-sourced produce is one of the aspects that feature heavily in the modern day cookery class. And you can’t get more naturally cultured or foraged than UK vegetables or fruits and berries that can be plucked from many a winding country lane, a phenomenon that the UK is renowned for. What’s more, foraged ingredients are usually free, so what better excuse do you need to learn to incorporate vegetables and fruits into your dinner party spread?

So, over the remainder of the week, we’ll be taking a peep into what some of the most prolific chefs in the industry have to offer in the way of not only preparing a vegetarian feast, but also is rich in nutrients and is surprisingly cost-effective to prepare, as long as one has the know-how. If you can’t wait, our choice of the best cookery courses have plenty to offer in meat-free cookery classes, so why not take a gander, now, whilst we still have the weather to get the Grilletto out and make hay while the sun shines, as they say?

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Cookery Courses Cookery School

Edinburgh’s hidden cookery school gem

There must be something in the air in Edinburgh as its two most prolific football teams took to Hampden Park at the weekend to do battle for the Scottish F.A. Cup. Following the Jambo’s victory parade in the sun yesterday afternoon on the open-top bus, the rest of Scotland’s capital gets back to work, today, with thingstodoinedinburghtoday.com offering a cracking cookery course deal through Groupon for the Coulston Cookery School.

The bigger the deal you take out, quite simply, the more you save from their set price list of fine dining cookery classes. A single place entitles you to a 58% discount, two people will benefit from 60% off and, if you book a private session for up to ten people, the group will save almost two thirds, snapping up a whopping 63%, the prices coming in at £50, £95 and £450 respectively.

But there is more to the cookery school than just learning how to cook haute cuisine.

The Haddington rural estate in which the cookery school is set not only provides a venue for the private functions it hosts and idyllic atmosphere for cookery lessons, but its vast land beside the retreat has plenty of room to grow the vegetables used in the cookery classes. These sit well beside the other locally-sourced ingredients that all go in to making this a real adventure into the world of fine dining.

And for the savings, you won’t simply be thrust in at the deep end or wondering whether you’ve managed to achieve the high expectations set by one of Edinburgh’s most sought after cookery courses.

Prior to you getting your hands dirty (not literally, obviously), there is a meet and greet session over tea where you get to know the other students taking the class with you and an informal drop in by one of the chefs.

You then move ion to the kitchens themselves, where an initial demonstration will prime you in order that you can take on the three course meal challenge that the teachers, all master chefs themselves, will set you. Once you’re done and your creations are taken through to the dining room other master chefs and chefs of the future will sample your delights, appraising your efforts with critical eyes, nose and taste buds.

So if you fancy learning to cook in an estate that boasts 700 years of fine dining history or are simply heading off to Edinburgh and are looking for something to do other than the usual tourist ventures associated with Scotland’s capital city, the Coulston Cookery School seems to have it all wrapped up.

If Scotland’s a jaunt too far, don’t forget we have our own choice of classes on cookerycourses.co.uk.

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Cooking Courses News

Dinner parties on the wane as The Good Life disappears

One of the main reasons that people from all walks of life entertain the idea of cookery courses is purely and simply because, after one Stella or glass of Chardonnay too many, they have publicly announced at a social gathering – “Come around to ours – we’ll knock up a four-course gourmet meal for ten, no problem.”

In the sober light of day, when one of the two of you remembers the self-laid gauntlet you accepted, you think you’d better start to learn how to cook for such a feast. But a recent survey suggests that, despite your good intentions, you may just be better off booking a table for ten at your local Indian restaurant and picking up the tab yourself.

A recent article on the Great British Chefs blog suggests that the home-hosted dinner party is becoming a thing of the past. Without the benefit of a cookery class or two to deliver the culinary know-how, the time and effort that goes into cooking for so many when you’ve not got the experience soon descends into an ill-tempered chore – and that’s without looking at the supermarket bill for the tab of ingredients, alcohol inclusive or not.

Two thousands UK adults were polled by the bespoke cooking ingredients company VeryLazy about their attitudes towards hosting dinner parties. Surprisingly, only a third said that they enjoyed the experience with 25% categorically stating they avoided them altogether due to the emotional stress that’s attached to the once-popular social activity. If you’ve ever watched The Good Life, your heart would often go out to Margot after Jerry invited “Sir” and a whole host of international clients around for such an event at the drop of a hat. It seems that little has changed as Penelope Keith’s character would go into instant meltdown at just considering the menu, ingredients and, obviously, the state of Tom and Barbara’s back yard.

Whereas money was not often the case for the Leadbetters, the survey by VeryLazy intimates that the tough financial times have put the collybosh on self-hosted dinner parties to some extent. Another reason cited by Rob Cottam, the brand’s head development chef, is that we’re all so hyper-connected these days, finding the hours to set aside to source, prepare and cook the ingredients that go into dinner parties is not so easy as every spare minute is a premium to look at other more pressing aspects of our day-to-day lives.

He summed it up succinctly, saying that dinner parties are indeed a brilliant excuse to devote time to those things most important to us – friends, family and food. If you find yourself in a pickle and have promised to lay on a gastronomic fayre fit for royalty, but are unsure of how to go about it, why not check out our cookery courses to see if they can at least take the headache of sorting the menu out, even suggest the beer and wine to go with.

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Free cookery courses on offer for Loughborough women

It’s not very often that you get cookery courses for free, but for those living in and around the Loughborough area that’s the exact deal on offer from Loughborough College and the local council. And the theme is perhaps a diversion that many of us could do with taking on board as the world is recycling everything from tin cans to underpants. Would Joanna Lumley really want me to shwop my worn boxers? Perhaps discussion for another article.

Anyhoo – back to cookery courses. Loughborough College are offering two fee-free courses for women in their region to promote both health and fitness; indirectly, also teaching how to put less of a strain on the environment. The fitness part is a four-week proficiency course in cycling, running from the nineteenth of next month through to the tenth of July to be held at Lodge Farm Playing Fields. The health part is the free cookery course, which not only encourages the reduction of food waste but also, as we are all conscious of our budgets as well as our carbon footprint, making the food that we do buy stretch further.

In order to access the cycling and cookery courses you need to go through the Loughborough Womens’ Environmental Network, who are running the event for the second year on behalf of Charnwood Borough Council. The courses have even been acknowledged as highly as in The Cabinet, with Councillor Hilary Fryer (not the best surname to be endorsing a healthy-eating cookery course, to be fair) of the ‘cleansing and open space’ department commented on the difference that LWEN is making for women in the borough.

Fryer goes on to explain that the courses, indeed, the group, are in place to enable women living in somewhat inaccessible areas of the borough to come together and share their experiences. It is hoped that, by bringing in women from various and more diverse communities, the healthier lifestyle of those who do not have access to off-the-shelf ready meals so easily and do all of their cooking from nature’s own back yard will be able to pass on their experience to others hungry to learn to cook how nature intended. Furthermore, with limited numbers, she hopes that women who genuinely want to attend the cycling proficiency or cookery classes sign up soon as soon as possible, as it is a once a year opportunity not to be missed.

For further information, you can e-mail either [email protected] or [email protected] for updates, exact course venues and activities.

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Cookery Courses News

Get out your greens – it’s National Vegetarian Week

Calling all vegetarians – if you’re unaware, next week is National Vegetarian Week. Everyone thinks that, just because you’ve chosen a meat-free lifestyle, you’re bound to have signed up to all of the websites in the world about going Vegan, attend vegetarian cookery courses and sail out to save the whale with Greenpeace at the weekend. For the carnivorous types, the thought of going without a bit of red-blooded protein every day beggars belief.

It would be easy to sway towards the demand and use this week to press home the issue – ‘herbivores are right, omnivores are wrong’. But next week is choosing a different path. In a recent article, Monica Shaw caught up with two renowned vegetarian chefs who are not only providing eateries and cookery schools for meat-free diners but are also now accepting the fact that omnivores are not the enemy and just want to learn to cook vegetables that actually taste nice to go with their main course.

First of all, the Great British Chefs blogger caught up with Rachel Demuth, owner of the restaurant of the same name and ‘The Vegetarian Cookery School’. With the emphasis on time, the school has seen one of its cookery classes, ‘Fast and Delicious’, sell out time and again.

If you look inside anyone’s freezer, there is usually the odd bag of greens; beans, peas and even sprouts. But Rachel’s cookery class extols the virtue that everyone should have at least enough fresh vegetables in their pantry to be able to serve at least the minimum of fresh vegetables with every meal to add taste and nutrition alongside your canned and frozen vegetables.

Even if these are simply your staple vegetables – no need to go on a mad shopping hunt to try to find the exotic and expensive – Rachel’s recommendation is the simple frittata – simple, basic and suited to almost every veg you can name just to fry off in the basic egg mix.

Banging a similar drum is Mildred’s Vegetarian Restaurant head chef, Daniel Acevedo. Again, Daniel sees a fridge full of fresh veg as an absolute necessity. Although his interest is predominantly in the restaurant, he suggests that anyone looking to get their 5-a-day in every day (and not have to hold a victory parade on the day they achieve the feat once a month) always has the option of a simple salad or soup if there are fresh vegetables to hand.

There are plenty of planned events across the UK to run in conjunction with the Veg-fest, which officially gets under way Monday May 21st. If you’re looking to improve your vegetarian cookery prowess, there are plenty of choices on our cookery courses page that incorporate this niche, as well as a whole bulletin of other information to mark the event expected to go through the search engine pages.

No doubt I’ll meat meet you there.

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Cookery Courses News

More than just a cookery course from Arthritis Ireland

Let’s Cook! is a brand new venture being brought to the people of Galway by celebrity chef Stuart O’Keefe and is a program of free cookery courses designed to help those with Arthritis indulge in a passion they once enjoyed but now find difficult to do.

The initiative was the brainchild of Arthritis Ireland, who developed the course based on results from a healthy eating survey carried out amongst its members to see what troubled them the most about getting the right food inside them when it comes to tackling the kitchen. Relief from the pain of Arthritis is aided by quality nutrition; the problem is that, following the onset of rheumatoid arthritis, cooking fresh meals three times a day is not just a chore but a nightmare. Oh, yes – I know. (did I sound like Eric Burden, then?)

Abbott, the healthcare company, have also got involved with the cookery course, which will take place in the form of free work shops. With so much input, this particular venture will not be all about the cooking, which is what the participants of the survey suggest they need as more than a third (35%) often opted for off-the-shelf ready meals.

Further studies have shown that three quarters of those suffering with arthritis, especially when the weather’s a touch on the damp side (when isn’t it in the British Isles?) and joints become inflamed and swollen, find that just the act of cooking – let alone going to the extent of getting out to fetch the fresh ingredients daily – is a painful trial. Indeed, more than half (54%) say that regular cooking is just a no-no.

So as well as bespoke recipes prepared for the cookery course attendees, there will also be lessons in what foods can best deliver the nutrients a body needs to perform at its optimum, even with chronic conditions such as arthritis. There will also be demonstrations and instruction in the range of utensils available to sufferers to make the kitchen experience a lot more pleasant.

Science has helped develop nifty little gadgets to transfer the weight of heavy pots and pans, took the labour out of opening tins and can literally do the cutting, chopping and dicing of fresh meat and vegetables without putting unnecessary strain on those joints that ache like billy-oh when asked to do too much. Many such products will be incorporated in the cookery classes, the first of which will be on Monday 21st May at The Carlton on the Dublin Road, Galway.

I wonder if Ryan Air have got any cheap return flights – it’s a free cookery course and my nan was from Waterford…

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Cook Books News

GCU Cook and Eat initiative exemplifies Glasgow community

The Glasgow Cookery Book – a hundred years old and now the basis of a healthy-eating program for families in the Drumchapel region of Scotland’s second city.

Not that the Scots knew how to eat healthier a hundred years ago, but a designated portion of the proceeds from the sale of the centenary edition of the book are being funnelled into Glasgow Caledonian University, which they are then taking to the Drumchapel community in the form of cookery courses, a catchment zone of the Glasgow Corporation’s overspill and a legacy of rebuilding in the city in the 1950’s.

The GCU Campus plays host to Caledonian Club’s healthy eating project tagged ‘Cook and Eat’ (to the point, you have to say) and will open its doors to Cloan Nursery children’s parents to partake in the cookery courses the Human Nutrition and Dietetics students, their mentors and the GCU staff have put together from their share of the profits of The Glasgow Cookery Book.

It is hoped that the cookery classes will not only spread the word about healthy eating for what the children bring to school in their lunch boxes but also what the parents can cook up once they’re back home. The Caledonian Club is the University’s outreach program into the community beyond the campus, for which it has won awards for encouraging (and getting) engagement and participation from the surrounding populace.

All aspects of cookery will be covered, including hygiene, budget and nutrition

The initial cookery classes, which will take the form of workshops, will be instructive not just in cooking, but also food hygiene, eating healthily within a budget and how to maximise nutrition in the lunchbox. The secondary aim of the community-related initiative will be cookery courses in preparing similarly healthy meals from scratch, rather than pay over the odds for pre-boxed ready-meals, devoid of much of the nutrition that cooking from the base ingredients delivers and worse, often filled with fillers and preservatives, especially those tagged as ‘healthy eating’ alternatives.

Once the parents have been put through their paces by the GCU students, their children will be invited to take part in the final cookery class in the hope that they will start to value nutrition from an early age and will take that through with them into later life.

This is a real story about how, by helping the community beyond the walls of education, the community gives back to the university, which prior to 1993 was actually two schools, Glasgow Poly and The Queens College. The £4,000 raised to fund the Cook and Eat project came from a share of the iconic cook book but also from alumni and friends of the GCU, some who have been part of The Caledonian Club themselves.

It is very much a community venture in the heart of the housing estate for the locals within. A fantastic example of symbiotic existence when all too often today’s attitude is every man for himself. We wish the venture every success and hope both the message and the aim of the cookery course serves to inspire others to do the same.

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Italian cookery courses with dietary insight class inclusive

Nothing kick-starts a night of passion and romance like a good Italian meal, accompanied by the appropriate vino of course, but what can you do if you want to avoid the clichéd Spag. Bol. or extend your Italian culinary prowess further than a Lasagne? Perhaps a ‘no experience necessary’ Italian cookery course may be the added extra ingredient that those first date or impress the rellies meals are missing.

The Cooking Academy is hosting just such a cookery class – amongst the myriad of other influences they draw upon to produce their schmorges board of international cuisine – and if learning about the nitty-gritty tomato-based meaty cooking sauces or would love to know how to make fresh pasta (you will never buy shop-bought, again), then this cookery course is perhaps all you’ll need to know about learning to cook Italian, from a standing start, at least.

This particular cookery school doesn’t simply do the “learn to cook Italian” thing, though. One of the passions that will hit you like a sack of tomatoes when you take your Italian cookery lesson with The Cooking Academy is how integral knowledge of the nutritional values of the ingredients is as much a part of the educational process as is how to put them together to make the dishes.

Italian food has earned a reputation of being oily and the average dieter wouldn’t go near a full-blooded Lasagne or Spaghetti Bolognese for fear of the fat and oil content, not to mention the carbs, but these are myths that belong in urban legend. The natural fats are mono- and polyunsaturates, as is that found in olive oil; as part of a calorie controlled diet, this type of nutrition is essential; you will be taught an overview of basic Italian diet, too, and where and how the traditional dishes fit into it.

The cookery courses are a decent six hours, much longer than many one-off cookery classes; as such, a choice of beer and wine (within reason) and fruit juice is provided in the price, as is lunch itself and all of the ingredients you’ll need; a complete recipe pack of what you have learnt, as well as the food you have prepared and cooked, is available as a take away basket once your six hour induction in Italian is complete. The preparation of the dishes is obligatory and is covered before serving the dishes that you will learn so much about, whether you have had experience in any type of cookery, or not. Full details and times are available on The Cooking Academy’s website.

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