Ginger Whisk Cookery School – A Review

Ginger Whisk Cookery School – A Review

If you love food I’m sure you can appreciate that even the most confident cooks sometimes benefit from a bit of help and guidance to improve in certain types of cooking. Personally, I find using pastry a challenge (curse my naturally warm hands). As such I was absolutely delighted to attend a Pork Pie making class 2 Saturdays ago at the Ginger Whisk Cookery School in Chiswick, West London.

The Cookery School hosts a wide range of classes ranging from baking; teaching university students to cook; children’s cookery classes; soap making; food photography and many more. The class list is diverse and classes are run by a range of people and can include guest teachers.

The pork pie class was hosted by Lucy Cufflin, one of the founders of Ginger Whisk and Lucy Lee-Tirrell. Both were excellent teachers, friendly, encouraging and open to questions. The class sizes are small which gives them both opportunity to offer tips to individuals in an area where they may have been struggling. For example, I have been rolling out pastry too aggressively for years which has led to slightly shrunken pies and tarts as the pastry sprang back in the oven.

The small class sizes gave a friendly, relaxed atmosphere and it was lovely to spend time with other people who enjoyed talking about food as much as I did. As it turns out pork pie making, which previously I was wary of, is actually pretty methodical and it is a pretty perfect thing to make around Christmas time or for a celebration. As somebody who is collecting ideas for a wedding it quite literally gave me food for thought and home made pork pie might make an appearance on the menu in the course of the day.

It was a lovely touch that not only did we get to sample a range of pork pies and local beer.; we also had cheese and wine from Lucy and Lucy’s recent travels to France. As well as being a great way to learn about cooking on an individual basis, attending a cookery class would be a fun idea for a date or even a great corporate team building event. Not only does Ginger Whisk offer cookery classes, there is opportunity for prop hire and a photography studio – used in food magazines and in the production of cook books. So if you’re the next Delia or Jamie Oliver get in touch with Ginger Whisk.

I had a great time during my trip to London and I left with a large pie and instructions on adding the jelly which was a fun post pie activity. I actually made a video of my visit which will be appearing on my Youtube channel soon!

Thank you so much for my invite to your lovely cookery school. I had a great time!

Click here for details of classes.

For information on prop or studio hire click here.

For any general enquiries or business enquiries click here.

I was kindly invited to visit the Ginger Whisk Cookery School to review a class. All opinions stated here are my own.

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A change of scene

A change of scene

You may have noticed a period of quiet, perhaps some tumbleweed blowing through my little slice of the internet. Its been far from intentional, I still enjoy cooking and finding new spots of food, but I find lately my quest for a full stomach is not as all consuming. When I first started this blog, I was almost a different person. Almost a shadow of who I am now, having just moved to a new place, starting to make friends and not really wanting to admit that my university relationship was nearly over. Not as confident to pursue hobbies and ambitions and to be honest not really knowing what I wanted.

Anyway, time heals many things and having some stability at home (thanks boyfriend! thanks parents!) and more disposable income (thank you work!) made it easier to pursue more interests. But I found I was posting less on here and I don’t want to neglect what was perhaps my first adult passion. Blogging and writing in general. I do still love writing about food, writing new recipes and taking restaurant recommendations. In some ways I actually prefer writing about food now; I feel like I found my rhythm as a writer, quick and (usually) healthy recipes for people pushed for time, with the occasional longer recipe to enjoy over a weekend. Crowd pleasing recipes when you have larger groups to entertain. Stuff I as a woman approaching 30 would want to read myself.

However, life is so much more than food. I want to wax lyrical about the books I read, about the raw elegance of music on vinyl, why you should consider taking part in a Park Run, fashion preferences. Life through the eyes of a food lover, rather than a life led entirely by food.

D and I have discussed remastering some of the older favourites and starting some sort of youtube channel based on this blog. Simple recipes to appeal to cooks of all abilities. So the food writing and learning how to cook with more skill and precision won’t really be going anywhere, I just want this venture to keep growing and developing the same way I have over the years.

Plus, you know, food always did taste better when life was lived enough to work up an appetite.

The Great British Bake Off Gifts

The Great British Bake Off Gifts

I have had a good run from Mr Postman lately. One of these was an insight into the Great British Bake Off gift range currently available to buy at Debenhams. While the format for this show will almost certainly be different next year (something that we will all have to wait and see about) this is a range that is perfect for avid bakers of all ages. With fun touches such as a cute cake shaped kitchen timer and cake tins to personalise these are the sort of fun gifts that are perfect stocking fillers at Christmas (although I’m not too sure a cake tin will fit into many stockings). Who knows, it might also be a hint to your baking gift recipient to make some sort of cake or pie for your enjoyment? (A win win situation in my opinion).

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I was sent this lovely grey apron from the Debenhams range. I think it will be used in my kitchen to show who is boss! Although there’s no contest really as the last time Dane baked was about 12 months ago!

To shop the full range click here.

I was kindly sent this as a PR sample.

Easy ramen for tired stomachs

Easy ramen for tired stomachs

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Around Christmas time you really do just need to enjoy a bit of a treat and the odd overindulgence. Its practically mandatory, what with chocolate, cheese, wine and roast dinners aplenty. However after 2 Christmas dinners at D and my respective parents houses and our usual boxing day mini buffet my stomach was feeling pretty tired of rich food. I needed a break from overindulgent and to eat something a bit less hearty; something at the opposite end of the comfort food scale.

Anyway, this was so easy to make and the good news is *drumroll* I made this just for myself so you can scale it up or down to your heart’s content. Feel free to make any substitutions (like the tuna for another fish), I had to work with what I had in. I suppose this makes this a bit of a store cupboard recipe.

To make this you will need (per person):

250ml vegetable or chicken stock

Ginger root

Soy sauce

A spring onion

1 handful frozen peas

1 brick frozen spinach

2 forkfuls canned tuna

1 egg

1 bundle noodles – I used sweet potato and buckwheat

Boil your egg for 7 minutes – so that it is cooked but still slightly soft inside. While the egg is boiling heat your stock, grate in some ginger and add a dash of soy sauce. Add your frozen vegetables and stir to loosen out the frozen spinach. After about 4 minutes add the noodles to this as well as the spring onions. If your egg has cooked rinse it a few times with cold water to prevent a grey ring forming and set aside. Once the noodles have cooked, stir in your tuna so that it disintegrates into the mixture. Serve your soup out. Remove the shell from your egg and half it. Top your soup with the egg and serve.

I can assure you, your stomach will feel a bit happier once you’ve finished eating this.

Christmas – the people who have made it better (soppy post)

Christmas – the people who have made it better (soppy post)

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Initially last week I planned to write a post about how to cope with the festive season when you’re really not feeling great. It can sometimes be so hard to put a brave face on when everyone wants you to be happy and to enjoy festivities. However, this time last week I got struck down with a kidney infection. I can only describe this as one of the most painful episodes of my life. It hurt to walk, it hurt to sit down. My lower back felt like someone was digging a screwdriver in at exactly the point where my kidneys apparently sit. Anyway I am feeling a tonne better and I thought I would instead post about some of the lovely people who cheered me up.

As a side note, if you do feel rubbish this week, the best thing you can really do is to talk to someone about it. Your family and friends really do only want you to be happy all the year round and will always be there with a listening ear and a cuddle; even if they can’t provide a solution to your problems. Sometimes you don’t need to even talk, just sitting together watching a favourite film, or taking a boxing day walk will help. Comfort can be found in the smallest things even just taking yourself off for a long bath or snuggling up with a good book.

Anyway instead of a gift guide this is a nice little list of the people who cheered me up and actually made me feel all festive:

  1. The nice NHS direct lady, who kept me calm and sorted me out with an out of hours doctors appointment with no hassle.
  2. The out of hours doctor who went out of his way to make sure I was prescribed the most effective antibiotics, making life way easier than having to trail backwards and forwards.
  3. The friends who kept contacting me to make sure I was feeling better, offered to go to the shops, tagged me in funny videos on Facebook, made me up a missing out on going to see Star Wars present and understood me barely showing up to one of their birthday parties. You are all very sweet and I miss those of you I don’t see as often any more.
  4. My Mum and Dad; who cooked me my favourite tea, consoled me over the phone and generally looked after me. You are both wonderful.
  5. My brother; thank you for making me laugh a lot with your new cat and cheering me up by being so happy in your home.
  6. D’s mum for also contacting me to make sure I was feeling better and for always making me feel so welcome in their family.
  7. D; thank you for it all. Driving me around, keeping an eye on me, bringing water and making me smile even when I didn’t have the energy to really get out of bed. Also thanks for the massive card that came in a box. I don’t think I have ever received a boxed card and I’m so excited to be spending Christmas with you.

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Obviously I’m feeling much better now after rest, antibiotics and lots of water and I feel very loved.

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and I hope you enjoy spending time with your loved ones.

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Maybe in a few days?
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Milk chocolate and Bailey’s truffles

Milk chocolate and Bailey’s truffles

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So this is a last minute recipe and its an absolute dream to produce for a crowd. I actually made these for my brother’s 30th birthday back in October but I thought, for many of us, the time we need to feed a lot of people delicious items is over the festive period. I hope you enjoy my last minute Christmas blogging and now you will have another festive recipe set aside should you need it.

These truffles are a dream as they only require 4 ingredients:

200g milk chocolate, broken into pieces

190ml double cream

10ml Baileys

Chopped hazelnuts

(This recipe can be scaled up or down as required)

In a heavy pan heat your cream and Baileys. Once it starts to simmer add the milk chocolate and allow to melt in. Once the ingredients are combined pour the mixture into a glass bowl and cover with cling film.

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Freeze this mixture for a couple of hours until it is solid. Once it has hardened use a teaspoon to make mouth sized pieces (technical term). Use the warmth of your hand to round the truffles – there is no photographic evidence of this as I was covered in chocolate!

Once you have the truffle shape roll this in the chopped nuts to decorate. These keep best if stored in the fridge. Serve with the Christmassy themed drink of your choice.

Homemade Christmas Wreath

Homemade Christmas Wreath

I wish I could pretend I had a grand plan about making my own decorations this year. I am so far from organised sometimes when it comes to planning blog posts (and also how our home will look) its unreal. However, in a fit of Christmassy enthusiasm last week, D and I may possibly (definitely) have bought too many baubles for our little tree.

Anyway, credit goes out to D for suggesting that I used out smaller ones last year to “fashion some kind of wreath”. I think it looks pretty good. Very rustic and homemade, but pretty cute. As a bonus I wasn’t slaving for hours or struggling with a hot glue gun making this.

Anyway if you want to make something similar you will need:

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A plain natural rattan wreath (mine was the 30.5cm one from Hobbycraft)

Approx 25 small baubles (or other little Christmas decorations)

Craft wire

At least 60cm festive ribbon

A suction hook to attach your wreath to the door if you don’t have a knocker (see here)

 

If your baubles have any string attached, cut this off. You won’t need it and you can use the loops on your baubles to attach it to the wreath with the wire. Cut about 8cm wire and tightly twist it around one of the sticks in your wreath. Add your bauble and twist the wire to hold it in place on the wreath. Twist the wire all the way along and tuck the sharp ends into the wreath so nobody’s finger gets cut on it.

Although this looks best if its not exactly even (it adds to the homemade charm) try to make sure the baubles are relatively evently spaced and the colours aren’t grouped together too much; unless that’s what you like best, but you may need more decorations to achieve this effect.

Once the wreath is nicely covered in baubles tie your ribbon to it around some of the sticks in a bow.

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The good thing about this is that although it looks pretty natural it can be used year after year.

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I hope you’re all starting to feel nice and festive. Have a good day.