Mastering the art of cooking delectable dishes doesn’t have to be such a tall order. We all dream of being able to cook up a storm like Ramsay, Nigella and Delia, and with this handy guide to some of Britain’s best cookery courses our culinary dreams can become reality!
Leiths Cooking School
Leiths School of Food and Wine is one of London’s leading cookery schools, boasting a range of classes for foodies.
Courses vary from ‘Sensational French Farmhouse Cheeses’ to ’A Spice Journey with Atul Kochhar.’ Classes can also be taken in the evenings, through the day, or for the extremely dedicated, in week-long boot camps. Prices for hands-on evening classes begin at £90, ranging to £850 if you’re eager enough to dive into a week of non-stop cooking.
Bettys Cookery School
If you want to learn some Yorkshire classics, Bettys Cookery School of Harrogate gets budding chefs cooking some of the continent’s finest cuisine whatever their experience level.
Dedicated chefs can get you up to scratch even if you’re never seen a chopping board in your life, with a friendly fun environment and a large demonstration area, Bettys could have you revelling in creating your edible art.
Rick Stein’s Padstow Seafood School
Rick Stein is a stellar name in the cookery world, and you can now learn from the master himself at his purpose built seafood school in Padstow, Cornwall.
Courses are designed to teach visitors about every aspect of seafood cookery. “Almost without realising it, you will cover it all from filleting a plaice to stir-frying squid, braising brill to steaming sea bass” as Stein himself so eloquently puts it. Spending a day learning from a culinary great starts at £158.
The appetisingly titled ‘Baking Weekender’ located at DenmanCollege in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, offers all-comers a two-day insight into the beautiful world of baking.
The event, run by the Women’s Institutes, enables anybody who’s interested to indulge in mixing, kneading and baking for two straight days, making a variety of cakes, breads and pies. Weekenders run throughout the year with prices beginning at £269.
No cookery list would be complete without one of our biggest guilty pleasures. The Chocolate Masterchef course, fittingly led by 2012 UK World Chocolate Master Ruth Hinks, has the power to turn you from a chocolate lover to a fully fledged chocolatier.
The small group event, located in Peebles, on the Scottish border, is run by Cocoa Black throughout the year. At £380, it isn’t cheap, but you’ll learn a variety of skills including colouring, flavouring and tempering as well as how to create a range of tasty fillings.
There are lots of foodie celebrations to look forward to next week, not only is it Pancake Day on Tuesday, but from the 3rd – 9th March it is Great British Pie Week!
As a national favourite, this classic has seen a huge range of variations and guises dependant on regional location, seasonal ingredients and what course it is being served as.
In association with Jus-Rol, the Great British Pie Week website is chock full of delicious and tempting recipes, hints and tips that will help you celebrate this tasty week in style! From classic recipes such as meat and potato pie to apple and blackberry you won’t run out of ideas for tasty, warming, hearty meals for a while!
As always when it comes to food, especially a British classic such as the pie, a huge debate ensued throughout the studio with what constitutes a pie (crust, no crust, potato topped) and what everyone’s favourite was:
- Chicken Pie
- Savoury mince pie
- Steak and ale pie
- Chicken and mushroom
- Salmon pie
- Fish pie
- Chicken and vegetable
- Broccoli and cheese pie
Funnily enough, no one even mentioned or considered sweet pies and when asked, everyone seemed to associate fruit pies with horrible school dinners, and American movies. It seems in the eyes of Creative Tops a pie is savoury and mostly includes meat.
What’s your favourite pie and how will you be celebrating Great British Pie Week? Send us pictures via the Creative Tops Facebook page of your homemade pies and the best will win a Katie Alice pie dish!
Eating seasonally is good for both your health and your wallet.
You can normally pick up the fruit, veg and meat that is in abundance at a particular time of year for a fraction of the price of produce which has been imported from other countries. Plus you can rest assured that your dinner hasn’t racked up more air miles than you have!
Even if you are thinking with your tastebuds rather than your wallet, it’s no secret that seasonal produce tends to be more delicious than alternatives which have been grown in a hothouse or spent hours in transit. Just think how juicy and red British strawberries are in the summer months compared to the pale imitations that are stocking supermarket shelves at the moment.
Currently, we are hovering in the grey months between winter and spring, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a wide range of tasty seasonal produce on offer. We take a closer look at the best of the current crop.
- Purple sprouting broccoli
If you are sick of winter greens like cabbage and Brussels sprouts, purple sprouting broccoli will be a welcome addition to your diet between February and April when it is at its best. It has a surprisingly delicate taste and its thinner stems are tenderer than regular broccoli.
Why not try steaming it and dipping into soft boiled eggs for a great protein-filled breakfast or dropping it into a creamy pasta dish as an excellent way to work some healthy veg into an evening meal?
You may be forgiven for believing this brightly coloured vegetable is a fruit as it is used in many a sweet pudding – however it has so much more to offer than desserts alone.
Swap your regular apple sauce for rhubarb to go with your roast pork dinner or make rhubarb chutney to eat with cheese and biscuits. Alternatively, adding rhubarb to a goat’s cheese salad provides a real flavour boost.
Rhubarb is at its best right through from January until June. Right now you’ll need to buy forced rhubarb, which is grown in warm, dark sheds, in the earlier months of the year though.
Although leeks are part of the onion and garlic family, this spring vegetable has a much subtler and sweeter taste.
Leeks are a great flavour enhancer and give a tasty boost to chicken pies, soups, stews, risottos and pasta bakes. They are also delicious when cooked on their own and served as a side dish. Simply add to a large frying pan with a generous knob of butter and a sprinkling of thyme. Stir until the leeks are fully coated and then pop a lid on and let them cook gently for ten to 15 minutes. Leeks are harvested between September and May so there should be plenty available in the coming months.
The superfood everyone is raving about, kale, has a multitude of health benefits. It comes into its own during the early months of the year and is one of the only greens that is more flavoursome when the weather is colder.
The leafy green is high in fibre with zero fat and minimal calories and provides many essential vitamins and minerals. It’s even packed with antioxidants too – making it one of the healthiest vegetables going.
Blend kale into a health-boosting smoothie with fruit, or add to a stir fry – remembering not to cook it for too long so it keeps its crunchy texture. As a tasty snack, why not try kale crisps? Simply pop the kale onto some baking paper, sprinkle with brown sugar and sea salt and pop in the oven until dry, but not burnt.