With the festive train fast approaching and looking for some foodie inspiration, I jumped at the chance to trot off back to school, dear Reader. Cookery school to be exact – following a wonderful invitation from Season Cookery School at Lainston House, part of the Exclusive Hotels group. Considering that this was the first time in goodness knows how long that I have been allowed out without my 7 and 3 year old chaperones, you can imagine I was more than a bit excited.
Lesson of the day – bread making.
Season Cookery School runs a variety of cookery courses to suit all skills, levels and interests. From courses to help you impress your dinner guests to knife skills and something perfect for this time of year – Christmas cooking for the day itself or festive feasts over the course of the week of Christmas. Bread making was a perfect choice for me though, dear Reader as I have been keen to brush up on my dough skills for some time. A great opportunity to learn some more tips and tricks to have me baking with success every time at home.
The school kitchen has a wonderful layout and setup and all in the grounds of the stunning Lainston House Hotel – ooh it was like walking into Masterchef kitchen itself, dear Reader!
Harriet Mitchell, our chef and teacher for the morning (much less scary than Monica Galetti), made sure that we got cracking with our prep and was exceptionally good at taking the recipes step by step, demonstrating each process and explaining the theory behind using particular techniques. Fresh yeast was a new one for me but the results were far better than my attempts with dried yeast at home – definitely a top tip and much easier to find in the shops than you think! Simply ask your local bakery or supermarket instore bakers.
A wonderful selection of recipes to work on, plenty of time to ask questions and for good measure, a bit of time sitting by the oven door with everything crossed GBBO style! Amazing how competitive all of us on the course became with each other!
Afterwards, lunch and a chance to taste our efforts. A fabulous morning with plenty of laughs that has left me armed with ‘cheffy’ knowledge to go home and experiment with in my own kitchen. Thanks so much to Sylvain Gachot, Cookery school manager and Harriet Mitchell, Chef de Partie at Pennyhill Park. I shall certainly be popping in a request to Father Christmas for another day at Season Cookery School. I do hope I have been good enough, dear Reader!