Upcoming courses at Exeter Cookery School

At Eating Exeter, Dining Devon we are massive fans of the Exeter Cookery School. We have seen them develop and flourish from their launch, and they’ve continued to grow from strength to strength. We recently went down to help them celebrate their 1st birthday in their current premises with the owners, Jim and Lucy Fisher.

For more information visit http://www.exetercookeryschool.co.uk or click on the title of each course!

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The sheer range of courses that are available is mind-boggling, from seafood to sugar-spinning, you can sharpen your culinary skills whilst admiring the beautiful surroundings on Exeter’s historic quayside.

Exeter Cookery School Launch - read more at www.eatingexeter.co.uk

One Day Vegetarian/Vegetable Cooking Course

Are you a seasoned vegetarian looking for some fresh inspiration to pep up your repertoire?Maybe you’re new to vegetarianism and want some guidance and are keen to learn a few key veggie techniques.

Or perhaps you’re an omnivore, but are thinking that you’d like to be able to cook for your vegetarian friends or family members.Well, whichever is the case, this is the course for you. You’ll learn how to prepare and cook vegetables and vegetarian dishes from scratch in a fun and friendly environment.We’ll teach you all manner of professional cookery tips including cook-ahead and pre-prep methods.

Dishes might include the tower of riddled Mediterranean vegetables, the classic Greek Spanakopita, or freshly made raviolis.


What do you do on the first morning of your long-awaited French holiday? If you’re anything like us you seek out a popular cafe or patisserie, pull up a chair, sit down in the sun and order your first croissant of the year!
 

If you’ve been to France before you’ll know that the locals eat theirs just as they are, or dunk them into a bowl of hot cafe crème. We Brits like ours with a knob of butter and a spoon of jam, but either way there’s no denying the exquisite pleasure that is the archetypal French breakfast. 

But, returning home for work on Monday, France seems a million miles away. So what better than to knock up a batch of croissants in order to relive your moment in the sun? And while you’re at it, you may as well make some other staples as well. 

That’s where we come in: we’ll show you how to make authentic croissants and, using the same dough, you’ll also create some pain aux raisins and pains au chocolat. While we’re on a roll (pun intended), we’ll also make some crusty baguettes to have with lunch.And who knows, maybe we’ll even get to sit in the sun!

One Day Advanced Dessert Cookery Course

Taking things up a notch or two from our Classic French Dessert Cookery Course, the Advanced Dessert Cookery Course takes you into the realms of the professional pastry chef.Taking two complex restaurant-quality desserts as springboards for some pretty advanced techniques, we cover many facets of the Patissiere’s art:

Dessert Louis XV (pronounced “Louis Canze”)

Dessert Louis XV is the invention of Alain Ducasse of the three Michelin-star restaurant Le Louis XV-Alain Ducasse at the Hôtel de Paris in Monte Carlo.It is a many-layered chocolate extravagance: the base is a thin Dacquoise (hazelnut meringue) followed by a crunchy feulletine layer, then a rich sumptuous chocolate mousse. The whole is then draped with liquid chocolate and topped with a hazelnut spun-sugar droplet and a flutter of gold leaf.

Lemon Posset

Lemon Posset with Raspberry SorbetStrawberry LeatherStrawberry & Black Pepper Shortbread – Our chef’s signature dessert.

Half Day Ice Cream & Sorbet Making Course

Let’s get one thing straight: eating ice cream is about experiencing that luxurious cool texture and rich tongue-coating flavour we never forget from childhood. And herein lies the secret to making and serving great ice cream: it’s about using full-fat cream, free-range egg yolks, sugar and strong natural flavourings.

Forget your skimmed milk, reduced sugar, yoghurt-based grainy horrors – we’re talking full-on guilty pleasure here!But, making ice cream brings with it a fear of curdling the custard base which can put a lot of cooks off.

So, on your Half Day Ice Cream & Sorbet Making Course, you’ll learn how to make a perfect Crème Anglaise custard base, but with a little twist that makes use of a small amount of natural chemistry knowledge.

Don’t worry, we won’t be using any weird chemicals, but you will gain a fascinating glimpse into the world of proteins, sugars and gels. And it never fails!

We’ll answer a few questions, too – for instance: what makes a custard curdle, and what, if anything, can be done to rectify it; is there a correct temperature at which to serve ice cream; how to achieve that professional smooth finish, but without having to buy expensive gadgets.

One Day Bread Making Course

Our one day bread-making course covers more than just making rolls and loaves: after a brief introductory chat by the chef over coffee and biscuits, you’ll be shown how to choose the correct flour, yeast and other ingredients for each bread type.

You’ll be preparing everything from scratch, which means weighing, mixing and kneading the ingredients to form the various required doughs.

During the day, while you’re kneading and stretching dough around the communal central island, our chef will explain the chemistry involved in making bread and how you can take advantage of this knowledge to achieve consistent results at home. For instance; the reasons why one batch of dough will rise perfectly one day while another might fall flat the next; how temperature affects the rise; how you can refrigerate or even freeze active bread dough; why we choose a high gluten content flour for one type of bread, but a low gluten flour for another.While your breads are proving, you will be making various fillings and preparing tins, etc, prior to baking.

Lunch will be a buffet laid out by us and will include some of the bread you’ve made.At the end of the course, you will be able to take home everything you’ve made in order to show off your new-found skills to family and friends.

Half Day Children’s Cookery Course

Learning all about using fresh ingredients, the basics of following a recipe and the core principals of how to cook should be an integral part of a child’s education.

At Exeter Cookery School, we firmly believe that children should be inspired to cook from scratch so that they can truly explore the joys of cooking as well as giving them a firm founding in food education that will last them a lifetime.
On our half day children’s cookery course we will be teaching children between the ages of 10 and 14 how to cook a basic bread dough, which they will use to create a delicious pizza and garlic pizza bread or dough balls.
The children on our half day children’s cookery course will also learn how to make and pipe Swiss meringues, combining them with a Chantilly cream to form a delicious pudding for the summer. Add handfuls of fresh summer berries and you have the makings of a dessert that will delight the whole family.

Cake baking, the epitome of all that is good in the world. With cake baking becoming ever more popular (and competitive) than ever thanks to TV shows such as the Great British Bake Off, we thought it was high time we offered a half day cake baking cookery course. So here we are…

Cake baking: How to make the perfect Victoria Sponge

Want to learn how to bake a cake for the loved ones in your life? Or have a better chance in your workplace charity bake off events? Or even just love cake and want to be able to recreate it yourself with better results, this is the course for you.

You’ll learn how to make a traditional Victoria sponge with buttercream icing.This classic cake first came to popularity way back in the 1840s, made possible by the invention of baking powder.
The sweet-toothed British public embraced the gloriously patriotic recipe with aplomb. Mrs Beeton’s version of how to bake a Victoria sponge may have been slightly underwhelming as they contained no eggs. However, over the last century and a half there have been many different incarnations of the classic Victoria sponge cake, all baked with love and in many cases accolades. We can help you create your own Victoria Sponge award winner.

Learn how to make chocolate brownies

Cake baking: Learn how to bake gooey chocolate brownies at Exeter Cookery School

Then comes the chocolatey gooey bit, where you’ll learn how to make failsafe chocolate brownies using the melting technique. Whether you want to learn how to make brownies for a school bake sale or are hosting a coffee morning and want to impress your friends, our chocolate brownie recipe will tick all the boxes.

And the best bit…

We can’t really think of a better way to spend the morning or afternoon, and what’s better, you get to take away with you what you’ve cooked.

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One Day Shellfish Course at Exeter Cookery School

You might have seen over the weekend that I headed down to the Exeter Cookery School to help them celebrate their first birthday.  It was a stonking event which, despite the weather, brought in lots of people all eager to have a peek and eat delicious scones with fresh cream and jam.

A course which is an absolute must for seafood or shellfish lovers is their Shellfish and Seafood Cookery Course. The next one is taking place on the 10th August.

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Have you ever wanted to know how to create a bisque or a demi glaze? How about cooking and dressing a crab?  Under the expert tutelage of Chef Jim Fisher, you will be armed with the skills and know-how which will allow you to get stuck in yourself.

“Devon is the UK’s only county with two coastlines. Consequently, wherever you start from, you’re never more than 35 miles from the sea! Which means we get the pick of the crop when it comes to fresh sustainable seafood.

Whether it’s mussels from Exmouth, oysters from Salcombe, or crabs, prawns and scallops from the pristine waters of Start Bay, we have access to some of Britain’s finest.

So, how to do it all justice? Come with us on a trip around the two-coast county and learn to select, prepare and cook a variety of maritime fauna and create some classic and modern seafood dishes.

These are examples of the kind of dishes you could be making

  • Tian of Crab with Granny Smith Apple, Lime Vinaigrette, Tomato Concasse
  • Spaghetti Vongole
  • Moules a la Creme
  • Mouclade
  • Seafood Bisque with Rouille Croutons
  • 21st Century Prawn Cocktail
  • Oysters with Devon Cider Sabayon”

If this tempts your tastebuds, take a look on the Exeter Cookery School website

Get Spun with Easter Sugar Fun – Exeter Cookery School Recipe

Jim Fisher, head chef tutor and co-owner of Exeter Cookery School, shares his fail-safe method for creating show-stopping desserts adorned with spun sugar cages, baskets and springs – or for Easter, why not make an edible nest for mini chocolate eggs!

Spun Sugar Cages, Baskets and Springs

This is something I love teaching on our cooking courses: spinning sweet gossamer threads over the back of a ladle or around a sharpening steel to create a beautiful caramel cage or spring – pure magic!

A word of warning before we get on to the good stuff: caramel gets hot. We’re talking upwards of 185°C here, and, if it gets on your skin it’ll burn deep! So, make sure you have cold running water on standby because, if you do get any caramel on you, you’ll need to have ready access to it (thrust the wound under lots of really cold running water for at least five minutes).

Unusual Ingredients

Making caramel is easy, but, as in all things, you’ll need to prepare by gathering together the equipment mentioned below. Also, try and acquire some Glucose Syrup (sometimes called Liquid Glucose); this sticky clear syrup – obtainable at the chemist and most supermarkets – is actually a form of starch and is really useful for keeping your sugar syrup from re-crystallising.

Storing Caramel Shapes

Caramel doesn’t store well – it’s hygroscopic, meaning it will attract moisture from the air and quickly turn sticky – but it will keep for a few hours under Clingfilm. If you want to keep your work of art for any longer, pop a couple of silica gel sachets (or a small pot of baked and dried salt) in with them and seal tightly.

Makes at least 12 cages or 20 springs

spun sugar

Equipment

  • Heavy-gauge stainless steel (i.e. colourless) medium saucepan
  • Heat-proof pastry brush
  • Sugar thermometer (not essential if you use white sugar and a stainless steel pan as you can judge the temperature by the colour)
  • Bowl of cold water (for cooling base of pan)
  • Several metal dessert spoons (preferably stainless steel)
  • Several sheets of silicon paper or mat
  • Heat-proof pan stand
  • Metal ladle
  • Large round-section sharpening ‘steel’ or similar size metal tubing

Ingredients

100ml cold water 500g caster sugar 1 tbsp glucose syrup

Method

Put all the ingredients into the saucepan and place over a low flame until the sugar has completely dissolved. Don’t stir or shake the pan during this stage as you’ll get sugar crystals forming around the edge of the solution. If this does happen, brush down the sides with a pastry brush dipped in cold water.

Once everything has completely liquefied, crank the heat up to maximum and boil vigorously until the syrup reaches 185°C on a sugar thermometer or turns a deep golden colour.

Briefly, but gently, plunge the base of the saucepan into a bowl of cold water, stirring with a metal dessert spoon, in order to prevent the caramel from over-cooking.

Place the pan on a heat-proof pan stand and begin making your shapes:

Cages and baskets

Very lightly lubricate the convex side of the ladle with a faint smear of neutral cooking oil such as groundnut or sunflower.

Hold the ladle at arm’s length with the bowl uppermost and upside-down.

Take a spoonful of caramel and tip it until the excess runs back into the pan. As soon as you have a steady stream running off the tip, flick the thread of caramel in different directions over the back of the ladle in a lattice pattern.

Waft the ladle in the air until cool enough to handle, then cup the lattice in the palm of your hand and gently twist it away. Et voila!

sugar cage

Springs

Wait until the caramel is cooler and much thicker than before.

Get a nice thin strand going off the end of your spoon, then, keeping the steel pointing upwards at a constant 45° angle, wind the caramel onto it in a spring shape, but doing most of the work with your spoon hand.

Again, allow the caramel to cool sufficiently, then gently but firmly grasp the spring in the palm of your hand and slide it off the steel.

Practice makes perfect

Both these techniques take time to master, so definitely do not attempt to make them for the very first time the day of your dinner party!

However, once you get the hang of it, you’ll have access to a very impressive arsenal of dinner-party dessert garnishes.

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About Exeter Cookery School

Exeter Cookery Courses for Easter

Polish up your cookery skills over the Easter holidays with Exeter Cookery School’s relaxed half- and one-day cookery courses taking place during the Easter holidays. Head chef and co-owner, Jim Fisher, offers a wealth of top cheffy tips and tricks to make your food look and taste better and ensure consistent results time and time again. He’ll also teach you some simple cook-ahead techniques to take the hassle out of entertaining at home.

All courses are held at a stylishly converted 1830s warehouse on Exeter’s buzzing quayside. It is also a stone’s throw from the Haven Banks Outdoor Activity Centre, so if you have children attending an outdoor activity there over the holidays, why not tie it in with some ‘you time’.

9th April    9.30 – 12pm

Half Day Ice Cream making Workshop

Get your taste buds going with this lip-smackingly good ice cream making workshop. Learn how to make delicious ice cream from scratch with Jim’s simple and quick method and explore a host of flavour sensations – anyone for basil ice cream? Suitable for every level of ability.

9th April    2pm – 4.30pm

Half Day Spun Sugar Workshop

Discover the fine art of spinning wonderful shapes on a half day spun sugar workshop. You will leave knowing how to create baskets, twirls, swirls, baskets and much more. Perfect for transforming desserts into show stoppers in no time.

Wednesday 12th    9.30am – 4.30pm

One Day Butchery & Meat Cookery Course

This is a comprehensive hands-on butchery and meat cookery course, which will take you through the process of jointing a chicken, preparing and roasting a rack of lamb. Finally, you will learn how to bone a rabbit and create a complex dish that includes the roasted rabbit loin, rabbit leg confit (fall-off-the-bone tender), a rack of tiny rabbit chops, the sautéed kidneys and a liver parfait.

Thursday 13th April    9.30am – 4.30pm

One Day Vegetarian / Vegetable Cookery Course

Vegetarian cooking can sometimes lack variety and even taste if not approached in the right way. However, on this one day vegetarian cookery course, vegetables become the star of the show. From a seasonal vegetable salad to filled ravioli or a risotto packed with flavour and the pick of the seasonal larder, your taste buds will be tantalised and you will leave with some sure-fire recipes for cooking for yourself and loved ones.

Friday 14th April    9.30am – 4.30pm

One Day Chocolate Cookery

Well, quite frankly, need we say any more? You’ll get a whole day of cooking, and yes eating, chocolate! You’ll discover all about melting and tempering chocolate. And if you can resist a little bit of temptagionu might even come away with a special treat for a loved one for Easter.

Saturday 15th April    9.30am – 4.30pm

One day French Bistro Mains Cookery

Relatively simple to prepare and cook, French Bistro main courses make a great choice for a British dinner party. You’ll learn how to cook some delicious dishes, including classics such as Jim’s flavour-packed French onion soup, Confit d’Canard (duck leg preserved in its own fat), Gigot d’Agneau (leg of lamb) and the hugely popular, Steak Frites.

Or, if you’d rather wait until the children have gone back to school, then why not have a look at Exeter Cookery School’s full calendar of events to see what takes your fancy.

Visit www.exetercookeryschool.co.uk or contact 07415783759 for more information.

 

Guest Chef Days Announced at Manna From Devon Cooking School

Manna from Devon Cooking School is delighted to announce the dates for the 2017 Guest Chef Classes: a series of celebrity chefs and foodie experts will be running classes at the school from March until September.

These guest days only pop up once a month and usually book up pretty quickly, a true reflection on the talent and reputation of each chef. This year’s Guest Chef classes are being hosted by Peter Greig of Pipers Farm, Mitch Tonks of Rockfish and The Seahorse, Romy Gill MBE from Romy’s Kitchen and food writer Charlotte Pike with another two hosts in the pipeline.

David, co-owner of Manna from Devon comments on the Guest Chef programme: “Holly and I are really excited to confirm we’ve got some of our best foodie friends joining us in 2017- we hope you can join us too! It’s important for us to involve other chefs and experts here at Manna from Devon, as we’re all about the community aspect of cooking; connecting lots of people through food and drawing on the array of amazing chefs and talent in the area.”

Peter masterminds Pipers Farm in Cullompton and he and his team produce the most amazing meats, raising their animals from birth and selling them through their own butchery and online shop. Peter will be bringing one of his lamb carcasses to butcher on Saturday 11th March and will be cooking up some of his fabulous meats in the wood fired ovens as well as discussing the Pipers Farm way of farming and how important it is to him; a true expert in his field.

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Peter Grieg

Mitch Tonks is an old friend of David and Holly’s. His knowledge and passion for fish and the fishing industry is inspiring and his fish dishes are truly delicious. As well as his chain of Rockfish restaurants in South Devon he runs The Seahorse restaurant in Dartmouth so Manna from Devon are delighted to have him hosting what will be a fabulously convivial day of some outstanding fish and seafood recipes on Friday 7th April.

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Mitch Tonks

Romy Gill MBE will be hosting her class on Sunday 7th May and will be cooking some of her amazing Indian food from her restaurant, Romy’s Kitchen – traditional flavours with a light and contemporary twist. David and Holly have been friends with Romy for a long time and love hearing her tell our guests stories of growing up in India and her determination to open her restaurant in Thornbury, just outside of Bristol. If you like Indian cooking, this is a day not to be missed.

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Romy Gill

Food writer Charlotte Pike will be joining David and Holly at the school on Sunday 4th June – passionate about smoking food, she will be creating some amazing dishes, passing on lots of tips and discussing how the enthusiasm for this kind of cooking is growing. David and Holly discovered “low & slow” smoking on their road trip in America so are keen to compare notes with Charlotte.

charlotte-pike
Charlotte Pike

Classes will take place at Manna from Devon Cooking School in Kingswear and run from 10am – 4pm. All are limited to just 12 students and cost £175 per person.

To book one of the Guest Chef Classes visit http://www.mannafromdevon.com/cookery-courses/guest-chefs/ or call 01803 752943.

Follow Manna from Devon on:

Twitter (@mannafromdevon)

Facebook (facebook.com/mannafromdevon)

Instagram (mannafdevon)

New Wood Fired Oven Cook Book Published in Time for Christmas

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Experts in everything wood fired, David and Holly Jones of Manna from Devon Cooking School have released their second wood fired oven cookbook just in time for Christmas entitled “Wood Fired Flatbreads and Pancakes”.  The book is available from the 8th of December and responds to the increased interest in the wood fired oven trend which is set to be even bigger in 2017.

Holly comments on the launch of the second book: “With more restaurants, food vans and hotels choosing to cook with fire, it is no wonder people have acquired a taste for the smokey delicacies wood fired ovens produce and are opting to install wood fired ovens at home.  The new cook book teaches readers how to prepare, manage and use the fire to cook a whole range of flatbreads and pancakes, from luscious creamy naan breads to Yorkshire puddings, sweet and salty pissaladiere and breakfast pancakes. There’s so much more to flatbreads than pizzas!!”

David says: “The release of our second wood fired book stems from our passion for cooking with fire and our knowledge we’ve gained over the past 10 years both here at the school and in our worldwide travels. We had to share our findings! We’ve also developed a new way of telling the temperature in a wood fired oven as there’s so much more to it than turning a dial – that’s all explained in the new book.”

Several new recipes* feature in the book, both traditional household favourites and those inspired by David and Holly’s travels to India, Vietnam, Spain and beyond. There are lots of beautiful photographs by Devon-based photographer Nick Hook so you’ll know exactly what’s going on.

The American Style Pancakes make a great breakfast or brunch and are a sure fire winner if you have children to feed – Holly and David noted that kids particularly love them with crispy bacon, banana slices and maple syrup drizzled over the top! Another important recipe, particularly this time of year, is for Yorkshire Puddings, which cooked in a wood fired oven turn out perfect crisp, light and puffy. *see full recipe details at end of release

Recently becoming the brand ambassadors for Morsø Wood Fired Ovens, Holly and David are excitedly looking ahead to 2017 and have a lot in store for the year.  Watch this space!

“Wood Fired Flatbreads and Pancakes” is available direct from the Manna from Devon website priced at £15.97 RRP, the perfect Christmas gift for the foodies in your life.

If you know someone who hasn’t got a wood fired oven (yet) why not get them a gift voucher which they can spend on a course next year! Just visit  http://www.mannafromdevon.com/gift-vouchers-2/  or call 01803 752943 to find out more.

For forthcoming dates, and to book one of Manna from Devon Cooking School’s wood fired courses, visit http://www.mannafromdevon.com/cookery-courses/woodfired/ or call 01803 752943. Follow Manna from Devon on Twitter (@mannafromdevon), Facebook (facebook.com/mannafromdevon) or Instagram (mannafdevon).

A River Cottage Christmas – by Lauren Heath

Recently I was over the moon to be invited to join a host of other foodie, family and lifestyle bloggers at River Cottage HQ, to experience their facilities and offering. The event was being hosted blogger groups Foodies100 and HIBS100.

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Me..’over the moon’!

I have been to HQ before for one of the annual Summer Fairs but it has been some years now. Most of you would know of River Cottage I’m sure, and the fantastic Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall who has lovingly developed the farm, his book collection as well as using his knowledge and power for good.

If you don’t know much about River Cottage and Hugh, here’s a little snippet:

‘River Cottage HQ, found on the Devon and Dorset border, is home to everything they do and is the base for their Cookery and Chefs’ School, unique dining experiences and memorable events.

There are four Canteens, the award-winning restaurants and delis based in the South West where they combine their philosophy with the finest producers in Axminster, Bristol, Plymouth and – most recently – Winchester.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a multi-award-winning writer and broadcaster widely known for his uncompromising commitment to seasonal, ethically produced food.

He has earned a huge following through his River Cottage TV series and books, as well as campaigns such as Hugh’s Fish Fight and the most recent- Saving Africa’s Elephants: Hugh and the Ivory War

Hugh’s early smallholding experiences were shown in the Channel 4 River Cottage series and led to the publication of The River Cottage Cookbook (2001) which won the Glenfiddich Trophy and the André Simon Food Book of the Year award (and was republished in an expanded 10-year-anniversary edition in 2011). Ten more books have followed, including the acclaimed River Cottage Meat Book and the hugely successful River Cottage Veg Everyday and the most recent A-Z of Ingredients.’

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The famous River Cottage HQ Kitchen used for filming

So on a very damp Tuesday afternoon, I ventured out to Axminster, along with Tara of Tara’s Busy Kitchen and Stephanie of Exploring Exeter.

As we arrived in the unassuming car park, we gathered in the wooden hut along with other bloggers who had already arrived and waited patiently for more to trickle in with the final count being 55 I believe. We were all like children knowing we would inevitably have a tractor ride down to the farm – we weren’t disappointed, although what a bouncy journey!

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Tractor riding and posing (L-R  Steph of Exploring Exeter, Me, Tara of Tara’s Busy Kitchen & Claire of Flip Flops or Wellies

After being welcomed into the twinkling barn with drinks and delightful drop scones, topped with yogurt and honey, we settled in for a demo. This demo was all about enhancing your Christmas meats including making your own ham, how to brine a chicken or turkey and how to make venison bresaola. All three sounded so simple and I will certainly be looking to give one or two a go! Of course the tasters were delicious.

After indulging in said tasters, the group split into two with half networking and talking all things blog and social media in the famous River Cottage HQ main house where lots of filming has taken place and the other half piling into the yurt, warmed by the beautiful log burner in order to take on a Guess What’s in the Box challenge. The challenge involved putting your hand in said box and feeling around and guessing what the items were, with some being unexpectedly sticky such as candied ginger and a bit daunting at first.

Now for the main event! We gathered inside the barn again, now transformed for our dinner. I say dinner, it was a grazing fest – we were fed for almost three and a half hours. It started off with a lovely warming apple liqueur, along with canapes of Devon mussels with cider apples and diced red onion, leg of pork croquettes with a bechamel sauce inside, as well as bruschetta of goats cheese, beetroot, cider vinegar and fennel. Every morsel a delight.

We were then treated to a pre-starter of pulled rabbit, and romanesco puree followed by a starter of celeriac ravioli with wild mushrooms and leaves. The main was River Cottage cider brined ham, carrot puree, fried savoy cabbage and braised beans. Full yet? Maybe a little…but then what followed was the most beautiful honeycomb creme brulee with apple puree and apple crisps – it was heavenly, every morsel eaten with my eyes shut, I wish I could have had more!

Everything was absolutely gorgeous, flavoursome and texturally well thought out but then what would you expect of such high calibre chefs and environment.

During courses we were welcomed by chef Sam Lomas (below far left) to wander round and even be nosy in the kitchen. The chefs kindly showed us the cookery school, where they hold the usual courses including fish, meat and baking to the more unusual of beekeeping, wild food cookery and even foraging courses.

Did you know you could get married here? Well you do now…and in the lovely veg patch I believe!  It’s a really charming environment with charming staff to boot.

Around 10pm or so it was time to go, our carriage (I mean tractor) awaited to return us to our cars. We left with quite a smile on our faces, bellies very full. It certainly was a culinary experience.

So if you are struggling to think of that ideal gift for a friend or loved one, think of #RiverCottageChristmas or any time of the year for that matter – remember cookery skills are for life, and not just for Christmas!

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For further info on courses, restaurants and events visit the River Cottage website.

Manna From Devon Cooking School – The Wood Fired Experts for 2017

The trend for cooking with fire is bigger than ever and it shows no sign of cooling down. In 2017 cooking on a wood fired oven is going to be huge and Holly and David Jones, from Manna from Devon Cooking School, are the experts to teach you how. Connoisseurs in everything wood fired, book your space on their ever-popular courses before they’re snapped up.

With more restaurants, food vans and hotels choosing to cook with fire, it is no wonder people have acquired a taste for the smokey delicacies it produces and are opting to install wood fired ovens at home. Holly and David teach students how to prepare, manage and use the flame to cook a whole range of dishes, from ‘flash in the pan’ squid, slow roasted joints, baked artisanal breads and delicious sweet treats.

Holly and David’s expertise came from a love of cooking in traditional ways and after taking gastronomic trips around the world, including India and more recently to the Southern States of America, they have picked up tips and tricks from the best pitmasters and tandoori kings of the world.

Recently becoming the brand ambassadors for Morsø Wood Fired Ovens, and having published the ‘Wood Fired Oven Cookbook’ in 2012, Holly and David are excited looking ahead to 2017 and have a lot in store for the year. Watch this space!

Holly, whose formal training was at Leith’s cookery school, is Manna from Devon’s expert in seafood, and now, to add to her repertoire, is teaching the wood fired oven courses alongside David. Both run the school group classes and are now available to teach private classes, either in their purpose built wood fired kitchen or in situ with your wood fired oven at home.

If you can think of someone who would thrive in the heat of a wood fired cooking course at Manna from Devon, they are now selling gift vouchers, ready for Christmas. Just visit http://www.mannafromdevon.com/gift-vouchers-2/ or call 01803 752943 to find out more.

For upcoming dates and to book one of their wood fired courses visit http://www.mannafromdevon.com/cookery-courses/woodfired/ or call 01803 752943. Follow Manna from Devon on Twitter (@mannafromdevon), Facebook (facebook.com/mannafromdevon) or Instagram (mannafdevon)

Exeter Cookery School Full Day Meat & Butchery Course with Pipers Farm – by Lauren Heath

Exeter Cookery School, 60a Haven Road, Quayside Exeter, Devon, EX2 8DP

More info can be found at: http://www.exetercookeryschool.co.uk/ or by following on @cookinexeter or http://www.facebook.com/ExeterCookerySchool

 

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Eating Exeter has been aware of Exeter Cookery School for around a year, and in fact you can read a 10 Q&A blog here to find out more about their founders, Jim and Lucy.

This pre-dates my involvement in EE, however I met Jim and Lucy around October time when they were doing a pop-up cookery course in Sapphire Spaces – I happen to pop in at the time to see what was going on. Since then I have stayed in contact and really championed their efforts to open a cookery school in Exeter. Since meeting them, their enthusiasm for what they do is quite clear; both can be found smiling almost constantly.

Pipers Farm, on the other hand, have been well established in Exeter for many years and I have been on their Beyond the Hedgerow Tour last year, which can be found here. Similarly, Peter Greig’s passion for his methods and animals can be read in his body language quite clearly.

So two passionate businesses joined forces for one of Exeter Cookery Schools first courses and I was so excited to have been invited along. I caught the park and ride bus into town as I normally would, and walked down to the Quay, being greeted by the sunshine reflecting off the water…what better way to start your day, it really is a lovely spot. There are car parks very nearby at approx £5 for the day. Of course, if you have your own boat, there seemed to be room to moor outside too!

So in a great mood I entered their renovated warehouse building; it was so light and airy with the sun shining through the patio doors, and the contrast of concrete, metal, bare brick walls and beautiful oak wood tops. I was greeted by filtered coffee in their lounge area, a table that set the tone for the day and of course their trademark smiles.

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I met our other classmates, and after a short H&S chat from Jim, we got started. Peter told us about his animals and farm and then talked through the meats he had brought with him. He then proceeded to carve the shanks off his lamb, so Jim could sear it and then get it into the oven on a low and slow heat for us to enjoy later on. He talked us through various parts of the lamb and what we could do with it. We chopped up some vegetables to go in the stock pot.

We were then talked through Peter’s beautiful chickens and how to tell if it is a good bird. We were shown how to cut off the head and feet for stock later, we removed the giblets and then Jim talked us all through how best to use the whole chicken – so we removed the breasts, thighs, legs ourselves and learnt how to best prepare them for cooking. We cooked the chicken breast with their beautiful skins on, for us to eat for lunch. I’m not going to lie…there was alot of butter involved but the result was absolutely delicious and, in fact, the butter used was for basting and what was left can be saved for later and refrigerated to be used again…so we weren’t really eating all that butter.

We sat for lunch around a lovely table, chatting over the mornings skills and enjoying our chicken lunch with a macerated strawberry and basil ice cream for pudding the Jim had already prepared for us.

The afternoon was then filled with learning the skills of butchering the remainder of the lamb carcass. We worked in teams, all having a go, and Peter was open to allowing us to butcher as much as possible of his precious meat educating us on the various cuts and what to do with them. Jim taught us how to french trim the lamb racks, which were then cooked and we gathered round his chef’s domain to enjoy the cooked chops.

The day ended with us able to take a tub of melt in the mouth lamb home for our supper – I was actually so full from lunch that I saved mine for the next day and enjoyed it with toad in the hole!

It was a very enjoyable day with very patient yet enthusiastic teachers, in a spacious and beautiful building. We had a variety of skills between us students, and everyone got stuck in and felt comfortable enough to ask questions. Price-wise they are inline with cookery schools in the next counties, but this one is right on our beautiful doorstep and excellent value for 7 hour course including lunch.

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They have plenty of courses running, from fish to sugar skills to puddings, running on different days and include full or half day courses too. Ideal for yourself, a gift for someone and even corporate events can be arranged – an excellent team building idea considering how well us strangers worked together. The students included people from Totnes, North Devon, Exeter and even Bristol. It’s great to know that their efforts are being heard far and wide.

The beautiful Gaggenau appliances and Bulthaup workspaces were installed by the local and talented Sapphire Spaces, and the fantastic logo’d knives we used are made by I.O.Shen, which can also be purchased from the school.

No matter what your skill level, there really is something for everyone and I hope my photos speak volumes for the fantastic Jim and Lucy and their Exeter Cookery School.

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Peter & Jim trying to take the legs off the chicken! Don’t try this at home (near a river!)

Further info on Pipers Farm can be found at: http://pipersfarm.com/ & can be followed on @pipersfarm or www.facebook.com/pipersfarm