Cookery Courses News

Ontario cookery school fan club for the Great British menu

In recent times, it seems that all we Brits have wanted to do is to learn to cook like another nations. Whether it be picking up renowned cookery tips from our near neighbours in France, Italy or Spain or traversing all the way around the world to learn to cook Asian food, from Sushi to Tandoori or Thai to Malaysian – anything, it seems, to escape our own unpalatable fare.

Unless, that is, we travel out into Green Belt land, where there are cooking courses a-plenty delving back to our culinary roots, foraging for vegetables, herbs and spices, poaching game from the manor estate land or, as is the en vogue menu, sourcing locally-grown ingredients. Good luck if you live on The Thames (jellied eels is definitely a southern delicacy).

However, we may have been doing ourselves an injustice; it seems that there is an appreciation society for the Great British menu beyond our shores, after all. The Waring House Cookery School (alright, you have to go to Picton, Ontario to find this cookery course) are holding a Modern British cooking class this coming Sunday in the second of their Around the World series. Yep, it’s true. For a mere snip at $80, there are three whole hours dedicated to the resurgence of the Great British menu. It will look at our classics and the influences from Italy and India that dominate our restaurants our take-away outlets (just look to your letterbox for verification of that statement).

It seems a bit of a hike for anyone from the UK to go, but there is the Waring House Inn available for an overnight stay, located in Prince Edward County central, if one cares to uphold their patronage and pop along. And although it is part of the ongoing global cookery course running by the school, it is a stand-alone cooking class in its own rite, so if you’ve missed part one, it doesn’t inhibit you from attending this lesson in the best of British cuisine.

The UK menu aside, The Waring House Cookery School certainly emphasises fun to run alongside it cookery classes, which run practically every Thursday and Sunday, keeping the Ontario masses on their culinary toes. And I mean that – if there was anywhere in the world that has encompassed the Internet, it is this Canadian state – I defy anyone to browse the web and not bump into someone from Ontario!

I was going to stick an additional note about appropriate food to suggest, but Wikipedia have a great article on British Cuisine which wraps it up in a nutshell. No mention of The Black Country classics ‘gray pays wi’ ber-kun bits’ or ‘faggits n mushy pays’ – wonder why…?

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.