My favourite style of food – classic timeless cooking which has evolved over a long time to give us the traditional recipes we’ll enjoy today. You will see how we can reproduce great tastes from original recipes in a New Zealand kitchen.
Bread and Yeast
Probably our most popular topic – from light yeasted pastries to solid healthy wholemeal loaves. This is always a fun class, and participants leave feeling really confident about working with yeast.
More French classics. Another useful French menu to extend your range of cooking – and eating – experiences. A different menu means demonstration of different techniques of course, so you’ll learn new skills.
Breaking a few rules (!!), we’ll explore taking classic Indian flavours and using them in a modern context, to give a fresher, lighter, approach. The focus is on finding bold, lively tastes – as always.
If you’ve never tried making your own fresh pasta, this is for you. We’ll cover sauces to go with it, and other authentic Italian classics. We finish with Jo’s famous Tira Misu.
I’ve been much more enthusiastic about Italian food lately, and feel we should make more, following their philosophy of true flavors, top ingredients, and enjoyment. Here we feel the influences from the Piemonte region where we’ve enjoyed the food from around Alba.
French Country Lunch
Like your romantic idea of how a mythical French grandma would cook, well she would have cooked it maybe 30 years ago, she’s resting up in the retirement home now, regaling the other old ladies about the lunches she used to cook when all the family came round, and she made her special [menu censored, to be revealed when you arrive] which her family still go on about.
Catalonia (top right bit of Spain, going into the bottom of France as far as Perpignan) has as you would expect lots of seafood and those lovely Mediterranean flavors of sunshine and oil, mixed in with their own ideas – lots of almonds, a bit of punch (they’re not shy), and a few flavor combinations of their own they’ve come up with – and are fiercely proud of.
During my experiences in Spain (pilgrim walk to Santiago), tapas were definitely the highlight of Spanish food, and convinced me to come home and re-create some of the tastes I liked best.
A food close to my heart, we’ll cover some well-loved classics as well as new ideas. This class ranges from simple, light and fresh to rich and indulgent. (Don’t worry, you still get a ‘proper’ lunch)
Pies, Sweet and Savoury
What’s not to like. A range of different sorts of pastry, using ideas from different cultures, and a range of fillings…well everyone loves pies, come and learn a new range.
Not quite no-cook, but more how not to worry, here’s how to invite people over and make sure everyone enjoys themselves – including you. It’s about how to make really simple food well, with little variations so everyone thinks you’re terribly clever.
I was tempted to call this Things Mother Should Have Told You, because it’s how to make things everyone loves to eat – but you might have thought you “couldn’t do”. Like make really good cheese scones, or a ‘proper’ cake (and no it won’t sink in the middle). There are a couple of techniques you need, so if you weren’t paying attention in Home Ec, now’s the time for Remedial Pastry.
Southern Italian Lunch
Imagine a little Italian grandma, with black dress and stout shoes, and the lunch she’d cook you – first she’d get you to help roll out the pasta, then she’d fuss around with the sauce, then someone turns up with their speciality dolce. Well come and see how we do it, we may have to imagine the grandma, but the food sure will be the real thing.
Our own ancestry (for a change), but only the good bits, not too much stodge here, just some insights into how things were done when there wasn’t a supermarket – or often even a neighbour handy. So a bit of resourcefulness required, you had to make half the ingredients too, let’s try that.
A brief survey of food from Italy round through Turkey to the Middle East, focusing on the small tasty things – so from mezze to antipasto, we’ll enjoy a wide range of flavors from the sunny Mediterranean.
Not for the faint hearted, we will use more elaborate recipes and techniques. With some recipes, you have to put more in to get more out – let’s try some of those things which you’ve always wanted to try but been put off.
Lunch to Impress
Something special, for when you want to make an impact. Slightly more challenging maybe, but the rewards…the food…the smells…the flavours…
Following a particular interest for me, I want to show you how some things in food have changed dramatically, and yet some things are exactly the same. As tastes and fashions have changed, and with advancing technologies and new (to Western folks) ingredients, some foods have been left behind, but some have come round again and again, but with different forms.
Favourite Small Things
Little nibbly things need to be punchy and make a bit of a statement, so in this class we look at techniques and recipes which will deliver – little crunchy things, little squishy things, little spicy things – things which will make a splash before dinner or at a drinks party.
As a teenager I spent a year in India and Pakistan, but it wasn’t until Stephen and I went back there that I developed a taste for the food, and appreciated the subtle use of spices, the variety, and the taste. Now I love it, and think the breadth of range makes it one of the great cuisines of the world.
Food from the Maghreb
Moroccan and Algerian food, rather more ‘authentic’ than the Moor-ish class, complete with the perfumed desserts, French influences, and distinctive spice blends.
French food doesn’t have to be complicated and take ages – only if you want it to. Here, we make simple tasty food, using recipes which are less than 3 pages long, and I will make sue there’s plenty of practice and particularly good instructions. So relax and enjoy yourself…
Taking bread to the next level, we’ll look at more elaborate or subtle recipes, like combining yeast dough with layers of butter to make stunning pastries, and different sorts of yeast starters. Nothing we can’t handle, of course.
More French classics, and adaptations of some of the things which I’ve enjoyed in France recently; here we look at some old traditional recipes and newer versions of real French cuisine.
A great way to entertain, and great food too – sweet things with maple syrup, bagel-based treats with bacon. And of course, hollandaise sauce.
The Moors were Arabs whose influence spread from the 700’s to the 1500’s westward from the Middle East through North Africa and up through Spain, leaving a strong influence behind – in food, always a unifying factor. Come and see the differences and similarities between the different regions.