Cookery Courses News

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?

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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