Over canapés at The Cookery School on London’s Little Portland Street, I said to Jorge: “Can making your own pasta really make such a difference? Seems like a lot of effort to put in when you can buy a bag for a few pounds in Waitrose.”
Turns out, it definitely does.
Last week, we were invited by Chris and the Cookery School to learn how to make tagliatelle from scratch. About 25 bloggers and travel writers gathered in their pristine basement kitchen tucked away from the rush hour of Oxford Street around the corner.
Rosalind, the charismatic owner of the Cookery School, gathered us around and started teaching – something that is obviously a real passion for her. She runs the place with a dedicated staff (including John who helped with the demonstrations and gave our group a few pasta-making challenges) and they value organic ingredients and sustainability – all good stuff.
Our menu for the night was tagliatelle with asparagus and wild garlic leaves, seasonal leaf salad, tiramisu, wine and coffee and tea with chocolate nut clusters. We’d end the evening with a sit down dinner, served up restaurant style with tablecloths and all by the Cookery School staff.
But first, we had to make it!
Split into teams of six, we set out feeding the pasta dough through the machine, stretching it thinner and thinner until it was so long that four of us needed to support it as it came through. I’m still not sure I’d want to attempt it on my own, but it was great fun with a group and the results were delicious – definitely not something you could grab off the shelf in Waitrose.
There was also garlic and garlic leaf chopping and asparagus slicing to be done for the main dish which was topped off with parmesan at the table.
The cooks gave us a hand with final preparations and we set about the task of making tiramisu for dessert, carefully dipping just-baked Spanish fingers in espresso and rum, layering with cream and topping off with a dusting of chocolate. Important lesson: Double cream quickly turns to a chunk of butter and buttermilk if you mix it too much, which two of the groups (including ours) managed to do.
It turned out to be one of my favourite blogger events in London so far. The Cookery School staff were amazing and obviously enjoy their work.
And of course the blogger community in London never fails to be fascinating. Among others, we met Kerry Christiana, the humble travel writer extraordinaire who has written 12 books for Lonely Planet; blogger and PR guru Belen who has Vogue España on her CV and writes Londres 101 about London in Spanish; and Cassie who was an absolute joy to chat with and runs the popular blog A Girl Has To Eat which is full of fabulous restaurant reviews and much inspiration.
Photo by TikiChris
We were sent off home with big goodie bags full of the products they use at The Cookery School. I hope to go back soon for one of their classes! Thanks again to The Cookery School, Chris and all of the bloggers we met for a memorable night out.