If you been a follower of my blog for a while, you may have noticed I like to cook! In fact, both me and my boyfriend Stew, love cooking. We always cook together, I tend to do the preparation and he will bring it all together. We’re a good little duo. When alone, I follow recipes step by step rigorously, and it works for me. It allows me to learn and try to remember how I did certain steps, to be able to apply them to other dishes. Whereas Stew can easily rustle something up off the top of his head! He’ll find inspiration online but add his own spices and herbs as he goes along. He never really measures anything either, where as I will measure everything to the exact gram. It’s funny, but both ways work for us. He’s much more confident, but we can both create tasty meals.
During our travels around China last year, we attended a cookery class, which was so much fun! We learned new styles of cooking and the whole experience was really enjoyable, not to mention how good the food was to eat afterwards. So when I saw that a new Jamie Oliver Cookery School had popped up in Shepherd’s Bush, I jumped at the chance for us both to try one of his classes.
Both of us love Indian cuisine and so we chose a South Indian Prawn Curry class. I had no idea what to expect beforehand, but as soon as we arrived, we were greeted with a complimentary glass of bubbles, which was a lovely touch. As we washed our hands and popped on our apron, we headed into the kitchen to begin the class.
You can either attend the classes by yourself, in a pair, or in a group. There was a mixture taking part in our particular class. The benches however were split into two, with each pair or couple being assigned one station. I wasn’t expecting this. I thought we would be preparing our meals individually, however it made much more sense. We were making a curry after all! It’s quite difficult to make one of these for one person, so it worked perfectly making a larger batch between the two of us. It also meant that I could do the chopping, and Stew could bring it all together in the pans over the hob. Team work!
Now, I won’t go into too much detail about how we made the curry itself, in case any of you want to take part in this particular course for yourself. But what I will say is that together, we made a delicious, tomato based prawn curry and our very own vegetarian bhajis. Neither of us had made these before, and it was super exciting to try something new. It also surprised me that we didn’t need a large fryer. We simply fried them on both sides in some oil in a pan. We’ll definitely have to try this again at home sometime soon.
Our chef, teaching the lesson, cooked the basmati rice and made a beautiful fresh dip for our bhajis. He served his up wonderfully in cute enamel dishes and garnished with flaked almonds and chopped coriander. We did the same, and I now want to serve everything in these dishes! I love good presentation.
We washed it all down with a couple of local beers and chatted to our fellow guests. The best part of the whole evening for me was the chance to speak to the chef and pick up new tricks from him. For example he taught us to peel the skin off a stick of ginger with a teaspoon, instead of painstakingly chopping it off and losing half of the ginger itself!
He also showed us how to cut an onion easily, by firstly cutting it in half, and then chopping length ways down to the root, but not cutting the root off. You then go across the lines width ways creating small chunks of onion without it all falling part.
And finally – how many times do you cut vegetables or fruit through the skin? Stop doing this! This blunts the knife quickly. Of course to cut into something you will need to do this, but then when you’re chopping, cut from the middle or underside, the knife glides through much easier.
Have you ever attended a cookery class? Have you tried one of Jamie Oliver’s Cookery Schools?