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:

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.