I like cooking.
The older I get, the more I enjoy it. There’s just something about mixing flavours together, adding a pinch of this, and a dash of that, that I find really relaxing.
I’ve got much better at throwing meals together in the past few years. Food blogging has definitely helped – eventually you can’t help but absorb the information of what flavours work well together!
I love trying out new recipes that I’d probably shy away from doing on my own at home. I love picking up secret chef tips that help make life in the kitchen a bit easier.
Basically: I get to learn, and I get to eat, and (usually) I get to drink whilst I’m doing it. What’s not to love about that!
My latest culinary masterclass was a couple of weeks ago at Jamie Oliver’s Cookery School.
Charlie and I are planning a trip to Japan next year, so it seemed only right that we have a go at cooking up some proper Japanese food before we go!
We kitted ourselves out in clean aprons, washed our hands, and accepted glasses of complimentary prosecco (cheers Jamie!).
Our lovely Chef, Gabby (who is basically Anna Kendrick’s twin!), gave us a quick rundown of what we’d be cooking. Then we pushed up our (metaphorical) sleeves and got down to business!
We started with pork gyoza – small dumplings, shaped like mini Cornish pasties and filled with a minced pork filling.
Gabby had already made the dough for us (by pouring boiling hot water into Tipo 00 flour, which cooks the flour and gives ithe dough it’s trademark elasticity) and she quickly demonstrated how to roll it out thinly, spoon in the filling, and then fold the dumplings like a pro…
Turns out it’s harder than it looks!
You have to kind of pinch and pull as you go along, which Charlie and I both struggled with. But, eventually, we each managed to put together five misshapen stegosaurus-shaped gyoza.
These were fried on one side, quickly and for just a couple of minutes, until they were golden. Then we added a couple of spoons of water to the pan, popped the lid on, and let them steam for about 3-5 minutes.
Whilst they were steaming, we mashed up some sesame seeds in a pestle and mortar. Then we added tahini, soy sauce, mirin (rice wine) and rice vinegar, and mixed it all up into a lovely creamy Gomadare dipping sauce.
Next on the agenda was the chicken teriyaki. This was SO EASY TO MAKE.
You just fry the chicken (skin-side down), add soy sauce, mirin (rice wine) and sake, then simply let it cook down until you have a perfectly cooked piece of chicken covered in a rich and sticky sauce. So yum!
Then we sliced broccoli, mushrooms and courgette, and stir-fried these quickly in another pan.
Handy tip: make sure your pan is super hot before you add the vegetables, then let them cook on their own. Turns out constant stirring is actually counter-productive in stir-frying!
Gabby cooked up a giant pot of rice for all of us, flavouring the water with a hunk of fresh ginger (which we thought was a GENIUS idea!), and we added a cupful of the cooked rice to our vegetable pan, along with a spoonful of soy sauce.
Tip the vegetable rice on to a plate, shred your sticky teriyaki chicken over the top, sprinkle on some sesame seeds and spring onion – and dig in!
We had an absolute blast at this class.
The gyoza were fiddly, but actually pretty quick to make, and they were just so GOSH DARNED GOOD!
I’m definitely going to have a crack at them at home one day soon.
And the chicken teriyaki? SO. FREAKING. EASY. I’d made a variation of soy sauce chicken before, but I’ve invested in some mirin now, so I can make it properly in future.
The class itself was great. Informative, friendly and relaxed. Gabby was amazing – she was so patient, explained everything perfectly, and demonstrated every step for us, so we could follow along easily.
It’s pretty pricey to be honest, at £65 per person, but you can get £10 off if you book with a friend – so it’s worth making it a date!
As I said before: this is all about building confidence. I’m pretty good at cooking steak, so that class wouldn’t be for me – but I’ve got my eye on their Indian feast class, as it’s a type of cuisine I’m not really familiar with, and would love to learn about.
Take a look at their class schedule, and see what tickles your fancy.
Who knows? You might just be the next Jamie Oliver!