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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?

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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.