For some strange reason, my husband figured the best thing to buy me for Christmas was a days cookery lesson. I don’t know why? I’m very much a traditionalist and hundreds of years ago burnt offerings were all the rage!
So last Friday I hung up my notepad and scuttled, not enthusiastically I have to say, along to the Glasgow Cookery School. Now I don’t say unenthusiastically because I thought it was a pants present (although some of those would have been nice too), but because I have been writing so solidly recently that I forgot what the world outside looked like and had to be pushed out the door to do something different with my day.
When I got there I quickly felt at home. This might have been because I sat behind the table where the welcome tea and coffee was laid out and looked ready to serve them to people as they walked in. Being a Mum, I can’t stop the “I’m only here to serve” mentality and so had to work hard to prevent myself from saying “one lump or two?” to everyone that lined up for a cup. Which was just as well, because there were no sugar lumps and this could have lead to some unfortunate assumptions…
When the first lesson was patiently and precisely delivered by Executive Chef, Danny McArdle and we were all sent to our benches to copy everything we’d just seen, I waited to be shouted at in a Gordon Ramsay style-e as I flicked a garlic clove at my unfortunate student-next-door Susan in an attempt to crush it in one devastating blow with the wrong end of the knife. But there was no shouting. I had made it to the next round without being told, “get out of my f*cking kitchen.” Which was amazing! But Susan was sweet like that 😉
Seeing me struggling with the age old, “why can’t I chop at high speed like the chefs on the telly” problem, Danny came over, turned the knife round the right way (without laughing at me) and proceeded to give me another demonstration of how great he was at it. Marvellous! I still can’t do it but I know HOW to so that’s the main thing. Not Danny’s fault; I’m a lost cause when it comes to slicing root vegetables at home with my Argos kitchen knife, regularly flicking vegetables all over the kitchen floor – to the cats’ delight! Until he runs up eagerly, sniffs it and walks off in disgust as if to say,
Which is pretty much what the kids say too when I serve it.
But not anymore! I made what I labelled two tone soup; which is not a starter for 80’s punk rockers but an interesting way to present leek and potato soup, making one part with the dark and one part with the light parts of a leek. Which was innovation in itself to me, as somewhere there is a huge bin full of the dark leaves I have thrown away, believing dark-leaf-leek-disease would befall us all if I cooked them.
“Get closer to the dish,” Danny instructed, as I attempted the decorative fresh cream swirl on the top, which actually turned into the Mark of Zorro by the time I’d finished. Still pretty to me though. I took a photo and sent it home to my other half with an “ooh, get me” text. He didn’t… as usual. 😉
Being only five feet tall there were other problems with my day that was no one’s fault and gave me a giggle. Like going to the massive stock pot which towered over me like a great power station chimney and not really knowing what I was scooping out because I couldn’t see in it. And also complaining bitterly that I couldn’t see in the pans on my table top cooking rings, which Danny (again patiently and without smirking) pushed nearer to me because they weren’t on a lead, as I’d assumed. All in all, I was having the time of my life.
I cooked muscles, (I like it spelt like that) instead of just admiring them from afar (cheeky) and learned how to stuff Stornoway black pudding inside a breast of chicken without it coming out of the other side, which always left me wondering how the hand sized chicken portion could take 30cm of stuffing until I turned it over and found nothing inside and 30cm of pudding on the floor. Enter the cat again…
And all under the watchful eye of a brilliant chef with a sense of humour, something I didn’t know existed and now I’m going to get complaints but come on! I’ve only seen them on the telly. Or in Tescos being arrested…
So thanks to Danny and the lady helping us all that day whos name I foolishly didn’t scribble down in my sneaked in notepad. (Yes, I did take it with me, like all good writers do).
An awesome experience; try it sometime. I may be back. There are cocktail classes!