Another meal out for me a few weeks back…but one with a bit of a difference. I entered a mailing list competition from The Devilled Egg Kitchen Academy, and was very surprised to find out that I’d won! The prize? A free cookery class with Barbora, where I and six others were taught how to make a three course meal that we then sat down to eat afterwards…
Barbora’s background is fantastic: she’s always been a big fan of having friends and family over for dinner, and her love of food led her to complete an advanced course at Leiths School of Food and Wine in London. She then worked under Michael Caines in a Michelin-starred restaurant and is now focusing on her cookery school, based in Clifton. As well as standard classes with pre-set menus, The Devilled Egg also offers bespoke classes and tasting events – have a look at the website for more details.
I’d opted for an evening class (she also runs daytime courses), with other attendees on the night having bought the class/had the class bought for them as a present. Everyone was very friendly, if a little nervous in some cases, but Barbora put us at ease straight away, talking us through the menu and taking us into her kitchen where the lesson began.
Pan fried duck breast and blackberry salad, homemade gnocchi and homemade pesto, and chocolate eclairs are the three courses on the menu for May’s classes…and we began with dessert. After showing us how to make choux pastry, Barbora divided us into three groups, each with our own induction hob, to make our own batch, which we then piped into eclair and profiterole shapes before they were put into the Aga to cook.
The main course of gnocchi and pesto was next – Barbora had already done much of the groundwork in terms of the “boring bits” such as chopping veg, giving her more time to focus on the actual preparation and cooking, and giving us all sorts of handy tips and tricks. How to toast pine nuts in the most effective way, storage of pesto and chopped garlic under a layer of oil to make it last for longer, details of the suppliers that she uses for affordable but high quality ingredients…it was certainly an educational session. After making the pesto in a food processor as a group, each smaller group was given the gnocchi ingredients to make their own batch.
The menu had been designed in such a way that we made the starter just before eating: sliced pan seared duck breast with a salad of asparagus, blackberries, quails eggs and a blackberry jus. We were all encouraged to let our creative juices flow as we artfully arranged the ingredients on the plate – very interesting to see all how different each plate of food looked, despite using the same ingredients!
Having prepped our main earlier, all we needed to do was to cook the gnocchi and garnish it with the crispy pancetta, pesto, pine nuts and oven-dried tomatoes before eating…
…and while eating our mains, Barbora and assistant Charlotte filled the eclairs and profiteroles and covered them with chocolate. We were all pretty full by that point, but had some boxed up for us to take home 🙂
It was a great way to spend an evening – fun, educational, sociable, relaxed…and stuffed, by the end of it! Thank you so much to Barbora and Charlotte for making us all feel so comfortable and teaching us so much. I now just need to invite friends over for dinner to show them what I’ve learned…
For further details about The Devilled Egg Kitchen Academy, visit the website at http://www.thedevilledegg.com.