Cookery School

  • Cookery School

    My cookery school is based in the kitchen of my 17th century converted mill on the outskirts of Princes Risborough. The classes take place around the kitchen table with everyone working together so they have a very informal and friendly feel, more like cooking with friends than a formal home economics kitchen.
  • Real Cookery Classes for Real People

    Beverley GlockI launched Splat Cooking in 2001 as a cooking party company to encourage children to learn to cook and show them how much fun cooking is.  The natural progression to the parties was after school cooking clubs and cooking workshops, then I was asked by their parents to teach them so they could help their children cook at home too.  My cookery school was born.

    Over the years I've built on the school, making the courses bigger, longer, more intense, more adventurous, offering lunch, wine, very nice cookery folders, etc, and of course, more expensive to cover the costs, lunch and an assistant to help with the food prep and washing up.  However, it's still located in the kitchen of my 17th Century mill house as I've always backed away from suggestions to 'get a unit' or 'develop a purpose built cookery school' as my passion is encouraging and inspiring normal people to learn different techniques or just learn the basics so that they can cook a basic or more flash meal for their family and friends. The fact that the cookery school is in a home kitchen has always gone down well, usually met with a sigh of relief from people expecting a fire breathing stove and stainless steel everywhere.

    The point I'm getting to here is that I want to get back to basics, I want to teach real people how to cook real food and inspire them to be little more adventurous with their everyday routine meals.  So I'm reinventing the courses we offer to be just that - REAL COOKING FOR REAL PEOPLE.  In order to do this I'm paring down the courses and in doing so bringing the prices down.

    I ran a taster short course a couple of weeks ago, Pasta with Three Sauces, it was 3 hours long and was half the price of our normal full day courses, there was no fresh homemade cake, freshly brewed coffee and tea on arrival and no lavish lunch with wine.  Just 3 hours of learning how to make pasta and sauces to go with it with a cup of coffee and tea in the middle when we needed it, if my guests wanted lunch they were pointed in the direction of M&S on their way home.  The feedback was incredible and the course sold out in 2 weeks flat.

    Everyone on the course couldn't believe the price was so low (my overheads were massively reduced and I didn't need extra staff to help out, no fancy cookery folders either, everything on email afterwards), most of the guests had children and had time to drop them at school, come to the workshop and collect them afterwards, even though two of them had over an hours drive each way.  They all said that they had been put off by the prices of workshops at other cookery schools and that they would only go on those courses if it was a special treat and as a special 'day out' rather than learn to cook, they loved the pasta course and said they'd like more courses like this that were short and affordable....

    That's when it hit me, I've always wanted to get people cooking and learning about food, so by offering more of these Real Cooking courses I can do that, so here we go.  The first of these courses run in June with Breadmaking,on Friday 21 June, Healthy Summer Cooking on Friday 28 June and Summer Baking on Friday 5 July, all these courses run from 10am-1pm and are £40 per person, held by me, in my lovely farmhouse kitchen and if the weather is nice you get to have your cup of tea or coffee by the mill pond.  You don't get lunch, but there's an M&S Simply Food in the village, but you will learn to cook amazing food and take a little home with you too, you'll get the recipes but they will be on email or paper copies, if you'd like a nice folder then you can choose your own at another time, I'm going to teach you to cook.  Real Cooking for Real People.

    Tell all your friends and get booking to start cooking (yes, I know that was awful)

    millpond

     

  • It's Christmas - beat the recession and make your gifts

     

    Just finished Bill Buckley's Sunday Lunch show on BBC Oxford where we've been talking about making edible Christmas presents with the help of Rachel Allen on dial in, pity she couldn't have been in the studio but it was good to catch up as I've not seen her since the summer.

    Making Christmas gifts is a fab way of beating the recession and also a much nicer gift to give family and friends and teachers than something you've bought.

    Anything from a Christmas Pudding, mincemeat, stollen loaves to either a big Christmas cake, as Rachel says this is a great one to give to a family as they can share with their own friends over the Christmas period and it helps them with catering too.  Or make your normal cake mix and split it between 7 or 8 washed and lined baked bean tins.  If you don't want to eat baked beans for the next two weeks make a whole cake up and cut it into squares or use a round cookie cutter to make round shapes either eating the rest of the cake crumbs and off cuts or rolling those into balls and decorating them as mini puddings.

    Homemade fudge, popping candy chocolates and chocolate bark are all easy favourites but if you don't like cooking then you can make edible gifts.  Kilner jars can be purchased cheaply in homewares shops in different sizes.  Use small ones to make flavoured sugar - wash a sterilise them first and add caster sugar with 1-2 tablespoons of lavender (available from the herb aisle of big supermarkets) just mix and handwrite a recipe for lavender shortbread.  Add ground cinnamon to sugar instead to make cinnamon sugar or place a vanilla pod, slit down the centre to the sugar to make vanilla sugar.

    Use a large kilner jar to layer dry ingredients to make up Christmas muffin mix, or any muffin mix, omit the wet ingredients such as the eggs, butter and milk and add a handwritten label with instructions on what to add and how to cook them. You use the same idea for cookies.

    If you would like a little inspiration then Splat Cooking Silverstone and Princes Risborough are running Christmas Baking, Edible Christmas Present and Gingerbread workshops from  now through to December, there are Christmas cookie workshops too along with Christmas Cake Decorating to help you turn your fruitcake into a gorgeous winter wonderland.

    For details check out http://www.splatcooking.com, i've started recording some YouTube videos too, the first one is on there with chocolate tempering instructions too:

    Chocolate Bark and tempering chocolate 

  • Chinese New Year

    On Thursday 3 February it is the start of the Year of the Rabbit and the beginning of 15 days of celebrations for Chinese New Year.  If you would like to find out more about this celebration check out my article on lovefood.com's website.

    We had a lot of fun last Saturday at my cookery school making sticky dumplings, check out the blog on Splat Cooking's website

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