Cookery courses in London | cookeryschool.co.uk | 0207 631 4590 | info@cookeryschool.co.uk

We were thrilled to be able to host an evening for Slow Food Week last Wednesday at Cookery School. Joined by Chris from Taste the Wild, Caroline from Moshi Moshi, Cat Gazzoli from Slow Food and 21 eager slow food cooks the evening got off to a great start.

Ros welcomed everyone to Cookery School and talked about our ethos, link with Slow Food and recent 3 stars from the SRA, Cat welcomed all and discussed all the great work Slow Food does with forgotten foods, artisan producers and the success and importance of Slow Food Week, Caroline then introduced Moshi Moshi, her background in Japanese food and the importance of choosing sustainable fish - using a map that really hit home in showing how fish have globally depleted by [what looked like] 90% in the last 100 years. Finally, Chris got everyone excited with his history as a chef and move into foraging up in Yorkshire, showing us an array of delicious ingredients to be used in the recipes:

  • Bush vetch (wild pea shoots to garnish mackerel pate)
  • Wood Sorrel (for acidity and garnish)
  • Common Sorrel Wild Horseradish (used in the smoked mackerel pate)
  • Large Bittercress (leaves and small white flowers as garnish on the pate)
  • Sweet Cicely (aniseed flavour, used in salsa rossa and fishcakes)
  • Hogweed buds (side vegetable)
  • Spear Thistle stems (to add crunch in the soused herring)
  • Ground Elder (used instead of parsley in several dishes)
  • Wild Garlic flowers, leaves and pickled seeds (the pickled seeds were used in Beurre noissette)
  • Wild garlic stalks, sweet cicely and hogweed buds in the court boullion to poach fish


The menu

  • Plaice with black butter, parsley & capers
  • Mackerel pate with own smoked mackerel
  • Mini whiting & crab fishcakes with a salsa rossa
  • Summer cuttlefish stew with side dish of steamed Hogweed buds
  • Soused herring

We had the last day of this week’s Absolute Beginner’s Intensive Course - covering the two topics: fish and salads, the perfect combination.

Recipes included;

  • Simple fish soup with mussels and prawns
  • Fish goujons with tartare sauce
  • Mixed bean salad with an Asian dressing
  • Potato salad dressing packed with gherkins
  • Plaice, cooked under the grill, then dressed with sauce vierge

The next course is our six week evening course, starting on Thursday 18 April, after that our next three day intensive course runs on the 25, 26 & 27 June.

Fresh Fish and Summer Salads

Walked into the kitchen yesterday to mouth watering aroma of fish cooking.  On display were the fish dishes cooked by our very enthusiastic Beginners course participants: grilled plaice with sauce vierge, steamed fish with parsley sauce, goujouns and tartar sauce.  

Preparing plaice

Alongside were the most delicious dauphinoise potates and a huge range of salads. I didn’t know what to choose from: potato, mixed bean, baked aubergine with chilli and coriander, tomato and mozzarella, tabbouleh and fresh grated carrot and orange salad. 

Standing next to the salads were jugs of dressings – balsamic, mustard and herb – I was spoilt for choice – and could not believe how much had been cooked in a mere six hours!  Best of all is that we have lovely leftovers to eat today  -  it’s going to be a good day!

This squid gets them every time!
A lovely review of our Fish and Shellfish Class in House and Garden this week: Learn to cook with… fish and shellfish
Excerpt: 
Cleaning and preparing squid was a personal favourite. As Lucy, one of the two tutors, remarked, buying ready-prepared, sliced squid is often pretty expensive, so knowing how to deal with a whole one can save money and is much simpler than you might think. Lucy even discussed saving and freezing the squid ink: useful when whipping up a risotto later on.

This squid gets them every time!

A lovely review of our Fish and Shellfish Class in House and Garden this week: Learn to cook with… fish and shellfish

Excerpt: 

Cleaning and preparing squid was a personal favourite. As Lucy, one of the two tutors, remarked, buying ready-prepared, sliced squid is often pretty expensive, so knowing how to deal with a whole one can save money and is much simpler than you might think. Lucy even discussed saving and freezing the squid ink: useful when whipping up a risotto later on.
Mackerel and Pollack: How to Use our Favourite Fish

We use mackerel and pollack heavily at Cookery School and at Rosalind’s Kitchen. At Rosalind’s Kitchen, pollack fish cakes and goujons are a mainstay of the menu (always served with a delicious homemade aioli or salsa). At Cookery School, pollack and mackerel are a major part of our Sustainable Fish Class where we show people how to make such lovely dishes as fish pie and pickled mackerel.

The reason we use pollack and mackerel so heavily are because we can obtain these fish from sustainable sources (as verified by the Marine Conservation Society who can vouch that these species are fished sustainably using methods that don’t damage the environment or other marine life).

As pollack and mackerel are such an important part of our cookery, I wanted to share with you some tips on how you can use these fish species in your own cooking.

Pollack

Pollack is a lovely, versatile white fish that we tend to use as a substitute for threatened species, particularly cod. Pollack is a wee bit softer than cod, but works just as well and is very tasty.  We use it in fish cakes and goujons, both oven-baked. 

Pollack also makes a beautiful fish plaki, a Greek style dish with onions, tomatoes and olives (in the winter, try onions, fennel, or even spinach).

Of course, with quality fish, simple is often best. Try pollack grilled with herbs. Or pair it with a beautiful sauce such as black butter sauce, hollandaise or bearnaise. 

Mackerel 

This oily fish is endlessly versatile. We like to smoke mackerel using tea leaves and sugar in a pan lined with foil. This we serve with a relish made of pear and port, or anything sweet and sour like a good balsamic vinegar.

Mackerel is an oily fish, packed with healthy omega-3s. It’s delicious simply grilled but it needs to be served with something to cut through its inherent fattiness. A compote of something sharp like rhubarb is a good start. Other fruit compotes can be made sharp by the addition of vinegar, salt and sugar. 

Soused mackerel is gorgeous. Make a light pickle of vinegar, salt, sugar and water and season to taste. Pop thinly sliced onion into the pan along with pickling spices, a wee bit of slivered carrot looks pretty too. Add the mackerel to this and simply cook it in the oven until it just turns opaque (do not overcook!). Chill and eat.

If you have any questions about how to cook with sustainable fish, feel free to ask us here in the comments, or come ask us on Twitter and Facebook! We really do love to hear from you.

For more information on our sustainablity efforts, please visit our website.