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Our Cook’s Certificate is currently in session and yesterday was devoted to cooking on a budget. Congratulations to all of our students who kept within their £10 budget! Not an easy thing to do when planning and cooking a three course menu.

The food was tasty, well-presented and everyone had their own ideas, from Alex’s lamb and prune tagine with mushroom rice to Deborah’s American popovers with spring onions. As a reward we sent them to Borough Market to chat to the producers and try some delicious ingredients.

The students had a skilled packed day of advanced pastry today and then another assessment on Friday before diving into their final week - week 6, which will be all about WSET wine tasting and study and Dan Lepard Sourdough! What a way to end the course.

Find out more about our Cook’s Certificate in Food & Wine on our website.

Is the baking craze here to stay?

Every time I open the paper I read something about the Great British Bake Off, now in the fifth series, with six million viewers it seems the craze is here to stay. It is an exciting time for pastry, cakes, pies and artisan breads, which in particular, have seen a rise (!) in popularity, with more and more people taking classes and courses, opening independent shops and pop ups and even pushing the big supermarkets to stock more speciality breads.

At Cookery School we have our own form of the Great British Bake Off – a three day intensive baking course which covers cakes, sweet & savoury pastry, pies, quick breads, yeast breads and croissants. This fast-track course throws you into baking with all the hands-on prep and cooking that you need to get going, understand the key principles and get confident to cook at home. With small groups you get the best quality teaching, advice, tips and guidance that you need to discover where your interests lie…

If you fancy delving into the world of baking at Cookery School our next three day course is on the 5, 6, & 7th November. Click here to learn more.

You might even find yourself spurred on to apply for the next British Bake Off…

 

Our event with the African Leadership Institute was a complete success with 26 potential leaders working as ‘team Africa’ at Cookery School all day to create feasts from north, south, east and west Africa.

BBC World Service Radio News sent reporter, William Edmondson, to Cookery School for BBC Newsday, which aired this week and is available on iPlayer as well as here. In the broadcast, William speaks to our principal, Rosalind, and two of the leaders about cooking and corruption – find out how they got on

Here’s the menu of what our leaders prepared…  

A CULLINARY TOUR OF AFRICA

NORTH AFRICA

  • Bourik (Chausson) – baked dumplings stuffed with lamb, carrots, spinach & sweet potato
  • Moroccan lamb skewers – served with aubergine and tomato tagine & sweet pumpkin with dates
  • Sweet fruit flan with meringue

EAST AFRICA

  • Kuku choma (roasted chicken)
  • Ugali (Swahili for maize meal) with ground beef with eggplant sauce
  • Maize mutugo with tropical fruit salad

WEST AFRICA

  • Pounded yam with boiled plantains
  • Efo riro – spinach and okra fish soup
  • West African grilled line-caught Polak fish, lightly seasoned with cayman spices, chilli & ginger
  • Coconut candy with green salad

SOUTHERN AFRICA

  • Mielie corn with coconut rice
  • Mozambican peri-peri grilled chicken with a South African butternut and cinnamon
  • Mango pancakes and a light green citrus salad
Cookery School - Team Africa
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African Leadership at Cookery School… listen to BBC’s William Edmonson talk to our principal, Rosalind, and two of the leaders about cooking and corruption.

Honey Spiced Cupcakes with Ginger Cream

This is Rosalind’s recipe for delicious cupcakes, full of spices like cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg, and topped with a beautiful ginger cream. This recently appeared in The Jewish Chronicle and now we share it here so our readers can enjoy these cupcakes, too!

If you want to hone your baking skills, cupcakes and otherwise, check out our upcoming baking classes. Or if you really want to get serious, check out our 3-day short course in baking. Now, on with the recipe…

Honey Spiced Cupcakes with GInger Cream

Makes: 14-16
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 25 - 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS
170ml honey
150ml golden syrup
100ml strong coffee freshly made with boiling water
3 eggs
260ml double cream
50ml sunflower oil
290g plain flour
60g demerara sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
Grated zest of a lemon
¼ tsp allspice
2 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp ginger
3 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
30g stem ginger, finely chopped

For the cream
300ml double cream
30g stem ginger, finely chopped

METHOD

Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, spices and lemon rind in a large mixing bowl.

Break the eggs into a bowl and beat lightly. Add the syrup, honey and cream to the eggs and mix, then add the oil and coffee.

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and add the stem ginger. Mix until just blended — do not overmix. The batter should be quite runny.

Pour the mixture into cupcake cases and fill to just over three quarters full.

Bake in the oven at 170°C for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack.

Whisk the cream until thick and stir in the finely chopped stem ginger. If you like you can also add some of the ginger syrup from the stem ginger jar.

Serve alongside the slightly warm or just cooled cupcakes.

Gap Year students: Now is a great time to take your cooking to the next level

This September begins our next session of our Cook’s Certificate in Food & Wine and we’re very excited to be welcoming gap year students into the programme. We’ve been talking to lots of students about what makes a gap year such a great opportunity for learning more advanced cookery. Here’s what we found and how it works… 

Why should young people consider cookery programmes on a gap-year?

Cookery programmes are ideal for gap year students: not only do they provide you with life skills and learning that lasts but they set you up to work at home or abroad during a time that students take out to grow and develop, make decisions on their career paths and explore new places.

What are the current trends for the number of people signing up for courses?

At Cookery School we have seen food fads fade in and out as dictated by popular culture. We teach simple principles and culinary skills required to make confident and knowledgeable general cooks and are currently seeing a real trend for people wanting to learn the basics.  Our absolute beginners courses are full of keen cooks wanting to master everything from soups & stews, roasting, desserts to salads and dressings. Classes such as fish & shellfish and pastry are also in high demand for the passionate home cooks looking to expand their repertoire and gain a deeper understanding of certain subjects.  

How does a typical gap-year cookery programme work?

The typical programme at Cookery School is an intensive six week course based on the teaching practices we have honed over the past ten years that provide good training in necessary technical skills as well as knowledge and understanding of ingredients and how to combine them to produce food that tastes delicious. We intend to pass on skills that once would have been acquired through mothers and grandmothers that form the bedrock of cooking and are fun and engender a passion for food.

Once gappers have finished a programme, what is the next logistical step?

We hope to produce cooks that will go on to confidently cater at home, take seasonal chalet and yacht work and go into professional kitchens. We have also seen students go on to take further training in specific areas, such as patisserie, after discovering a love for a topic they had not previously considered. Of course, a cookery programme will stand you in good stead if you are heading off to university where healthy eating, cooking to a budget and shopping seasonally to get the most out of your ingredients is so important.

Finally, for those unable to devote six weeks to our Cook’s Certificate course, we have a series of three day intensive courses from Absolute Beginners, through Beginners and Intermediate to Advanced where our students leave us feeling that they are competent cooks and are well set up for their future whatever route they may take.

Cook’s Certificate dates: Monday 21 September – Friday 1 November

More info: Cook’s Certificate in Food & Wine

British Food Fortnight, 21 Sept - 6 Oct

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From the 21 September to 6 October we will be celebrating British Food Fortnight

Described as a modern day harvest festival BFF invites communities, businesses and individuals to celebrate the fantastic seasonal produce that is being grown, harvested, cooked and enjoyed! 

Love British Food offers some top suggestions on how to get involved from growing food, producing using traditional methods, cooking or simply attending an event.

At Cookery School across the two weeks we have several classes to whet your appetite and to enthuse keen cooks in using an abundance of seasonal ingredients. Why not join us for;

*         Fish & Shellfish on Saturday 21 September
*         Slice & Dice on Saturday 28 September
*         Pastry on Saturday 5 October
*         Or even Pasta, Gnocchi & Risotto on Saturday 5 October


Using only the best [organic where possible] ingredients we get our delicious, seasonal fruit and veg from Watt’s Farm in Kent, Langridge Organic in Devon and Mrs Tee’s Wild Mushrooms in Hampshire.

We hope to see you at Cookery School during British Food Fortnight.

Back to Basics: Teaching Beginners How to Cook

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The emerging pattern in the Cookery School kitchens is that students, young professionals and people of all ages want to cook - with our absolute beginners course outselling everything else that we offer. The need for basic cookery skills, culinary principles and recipes that efficiently use store cupboard and seasonal ingredients seems more prevalent than ever, as well as understanding your kitchen, your equipment and food to suit the occasion, be it a quick dinner or a long lazy weekend lunch.

As university starting dates creep closer, the news reminds us that one in three university students ‘can’t even boil an egg’, but also informs us that students are flocking to farmers’ markets – a positive effect of the food revolution that continues to influence and enthuse the public. 

Next week’s intensive absolute beginners course is taking over both kitchens to teach 25 eager cooks about the principles of cooking, how to use their kitchens to the maximum potential, how to shop well and buy incredible seasonal ingredients and how to enjoy time spent at the stove.

Check out our course calendar for future beginners course dates.

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Chopped Market Salad

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For a very bright, jewel like mid-summer salad that is delicious and crunchy to eat and truly delicious we use a large variety of different RAW seasonal veg with a range of different textures and flavours.  This salad is wonderful at a barbecue. If a creamier salad is required then add a cubed ripe avocado pear too. In winter this salad is great with turnips, parsnips, celeriac and cabbage.

What is particularly good about this salad is that it is so versatile and any uncooked ingredients can be added to it.  It is important that everything is cut up small.  These days cubing machines are available on KitchenAids or manual appliances and these make short shrift of all the dicing.

Ingredients:

1 beetroot peeled, cut into 1 cm pieces

2 carrots peeled, cut into 1 cm pieces

6 small radishes, cut into 1 cm pieces

6 mangetout, chopped into 1 cm pieces or 4 tablespoons of raw green peas

1 very small head of broccoli, broken into small florets

6 small button mushrooms, finely cut up

1 small courgette, cut into 1 cm pieces

1 small bulb of fennel, cut into 1 cm pieces

Half cucumber, cut into 1 cm pieces

2 sticks of celery, cut into 1 cm pieces

¼ head of red cabbage, very finely shredded

3/4 green asparagus, very finely chopped

1 small apple, cut into 1 cm pieces

1 firm pear, cut into 1 cm pieces

1 small bunch of parsley, finely chopped

1 small bunch of chives, finely chopped

3 tbsp pomegranate seeds

2 tbsp roasted pine nuts

3 tbsp dried cranberries

Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and just before serving, coat lightly with the following dressing.

HONEY MUSTARD DRESSING

125ml cup good wine or sherry vinegar i.e. one that is not too acidic 

1 clove garlic crushed

1 tablespoon ready-made Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon finely ground sea salt

Good grinding of black pepper                                    

375ml good olive oil and sunflower oil mixed                                     

 1.    Place the vinegar, honey and mustard in a bowl and beat until the honey and mustard has dissolved.  Add all the remaining ingredients and whisk well until all the ingredients are blended and the dressing is creamy.

2.    Taste for seasoning – the dressing needs to be subtle - sweet and sour but not acidic.

3.    For a well amalgamated, creamier dressing, use a blender to thoroughly mix the ingredients.

4.    Use a VERY small amount of this dressing to coat very lightly.

While you are here see what is coming up at Cookery School this summer.

African Leadership Institute at Cookery School, filmed by Al Jazeera. 

Our September leadership date is fast approaching…!

If you are interested in discussing team training and leadership skills through cookery then call us on 020 7631 4590.