Last week, I was invited to the #GBCCookSchool by Great British Chefs to cook up a 3-course meal with Michelin-starred Skylon Chef Adam Gray at the Cookery School.
I have always been a great fan of the Great British Chefs website and their many cool recipes and some life saving How-to videos. So it was really exciting to be invited to a masterclass with them and watch a Michelin-starred Chef show us some cool tips and tricks.
After nibbling on some cheese and yummy starters washed down with a glass of bubbly (oh alright I confess – several glasses of bubbly!) we gathered for the demo by Adam Gray. Assisted by his sous chef Damon Stokes, he showed us how to expertly fillet fresh Cornish mackerel.
He then used a wafer-thin slice of bread and wrapped it around the fish dabbed with a little mustard and then lightly pan-fried in Rapeseed oil.
I have used Rape seed oil before it has a strong nutty flavour probably only less overpowering that it’s bright yellow colour but as the Chef rightly informed us it has half the saturated fat content of olive oil making it lower in cholesterol and also it has 10 times more Omega 3 than olive oil. Besides hailing from Northampton too, the locally produced rapeseed oil (Farrington’s Mellow Yellow) has the Chef’s seal of approval, as expected he is as proud a supporter of British produce, as he is of seasonal ingredients.
Served with a delicious Rhubarb Relish and a Pea Shoot & Sea Kale salad, these really elevate a simple dish to Michelin-star quality by combining otherwise unusual ingredients to create an imaginative dish.
Image Courtesy: Great British Chefs
The sea kale is something I had never tasted before and like me was quite a discovery in a new taste sensation for me and a few other bloggers. Chef Adam Gray showed us how to serve the Crispy Cornish Mackerel chopped at a slant and plated with the relish at the side adding a final flourish to a posh looking yet easy to prepare crispy fish finger starter – easy if you can master filleting the mackerel that is!
It looked ever so easy but that wasn’t the case as we were all about to find out when later a few enthusiastic bloggers got to try their hand at it with the Chef showing them how to wield their knives and expertly handle the fish even if it was a delicate small mackerel or a large meaty specimen.
After that, we formed 3 groups and set out to make Ticklemore & Goat’s Cheese Fritters under the watchful eye of Chef Adam and Chef Damon. Coated in panko breadcrumbs with a generous sprinkling of fennel seeds, I busied myself with adding 2 coats of the egg wash and breadcrumb mixture to the fritter while the others chopped up the delicious heritage tomatoes seasoned with lovage – an intriguing herb and in taste aptly described by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall as ‘ The flavour is like parsley and celery combined with a hint of aniseed and curry’. We used Sharpham farms goats cheese and combined it with some soft cheese resulting in a delicious and rich fritter that tasted fabulous served on a bed of fresh salad.
Moving on to the dessert we made individual portions of Flourless Citrus Cake served with English Strawberries and Vanilla Yoghurt. This is by far one of Chef Adam Gray’s most popular recipe on Great British Chefs, a completely gluten-free cake it is one of those recipes which is perfect for cooking along with kids and helping them master some basic skills.
While our cakes were baking in the oven, we once again huddled around the demo kitchen and watched while some brave bloggers volunteered to learn how exactly to wield a knife and fillet a Cornish Mackerel.
The flourless cakes were delightfully light and soft and the fresh strawberries mixed with Tiptree strawberry jam relish was a perfect accompaniment to the dessert. The vanilla-infused yoghurt added an interesting dimension to the dish.
This was the second in a new series of Masterclasses by Great British Chefs. Held at the Cookery School, where Rosalind Rathouse and her team hosted all of us and made sure that we were well looked after, it was a great experience. The Cookery School itself is very well maintained, as is evident from the spotlessly clean kitchen and work surfaces and eco-friendly practices.
Needless to say, the event was even more fun because I caught up with blogger friends Vaishali and Heidi, also finally go to meet Deena Kakaya and Felicity Spector in person. It was lovely to see some more familiar faces like the lovely Miriam and Alexandra too.
*With thanks to Great British Chefs for inviting me. No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.