Monday, 1 July 2013

Thackery's Cookery School

Now for a foodie related post. I tend to eat pretty healthily during the week and indulge a little more at the weekend. I love hosting and cooking up a storm for friends and family, and own more cookery books than you can shake a stick at. 

I've done a few cookery schools before, the obligatory Thai Cooking School in Bangkok and a short lunchtime course at L'atelier des Chefs in London but I was delighted when my step dad bought my mum and I a full day cookery course at Thackery's in Lewes. Mum had done two courses here before with delicious and impressive results and I was really keen to have a go.

Thackery's offers 1 and 2 day cookery schools in small group as well as individual tuition, and they have plans for a whole host of new courses and ideas (see there website for future courses). Its run by the lovely Graham, a hugely experienced chef who has worked extensively in London restaurants as well as ran the famous Thackery's in Lewes. The courses I ran in a beautiful 300 year old cottage in Lewes (with parking opposite). 

Graham kindly booked us in for a full day Sunday course , where it was just the two of us, at we set about creating a delicious but relatively ambitious 3 course menu of;

Tempura Prawns with Chilli, Coriander & Lemongrass dipping sauce

Individual Beef Wellingtons in Crisp Filo Pastry

Strawberry, Hazelnut Meringue with Strawbery Coulis

The day started with a demonstration of the starter and main course, with tons of tips and advice about cooking techniques, tools and lots of ways to make complex cooking much easier.
lovely ingredients

 Around Lunchtime we got to share the starter and main course which were delicious. The quality of the prawns and the beef was incredible, and all ingredients were locally sourced.

Graham showing us his skills
 After Lunch it was time for us to have a go at trying out the recipes, with lots of guidance from Graham. First was the construction of the individual beef wellingtons, so they could be cooled in the fridge before we started cooking. The instructions were relatively simple to follow and below is my wellington mid construction

Whilst they cooled we set about making the prawn tempura. The prawns looked amazing, and were fresh from a local fish monger.
yummy prawns
 The ingredients for the dressing were all of my favourite flavours, chilli, lime, lemongrass and coriander, they looked so lovely together in the bowl below

And Here is the finished article of the starter, absolutely delicious. I will definitely be buying better quality fresh prawns now, and making this for friends in the near future. The batter goes a long way and could also be used to make veggie tempura as well.

Next came the beef wellingtons. I like my steak more on the rare to medium side, with my mum much preferring her's a little more well done. Graham taught us how to adjust the timings according to each guest whilst still ensuring the pastry is nice a crispy.  And here it is! What do you think?

After this, feeling very full, we constructed desert. I was keen to get some tips on this as friends will know I have a reputation for being terrible at desert as well as several failed attempts at meringue.
Graham demonstrating his piping skills

My attempt at piping
 The meringues then went in the over and we make the strawberry coulis, and covered strawberries in chocolate for the decoration

Here's the finished product, which you get to take home to share (or not share). Truly scrumptious.

Overall it was a fantastic day, and by far the best cooking course I have done. You get to take the recipes home and I can't wait to try them out on friends in the near future. 

Thackery's website is here and courses start from £165 for a one day course.

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