Last week I had the pleasure of meeting and cooking along with a chef I greatly admire – Russell Brown.
Self-taught Master chef Russell Brown owned and ran a successful little restaurant called Sienna in Dorchester, Dorset. It was awarded 3 AA rosettes and a Michelin star in 2010. Only very recently has he closed shop to pursue a new venture – Creative about Cuisine.
We started out by preparing the ricotta in a process very similar to how I make paneer at home. Reminded me of all the times growing up when Aai would show us how to expertly get the paneer out from the vessel and hang it to set in a soft muslin cloth – which usually was engineered from her and aji’s ( nan’s) old cotton sarees’s. Chef Russell strongly suggests using distilled vinegar to split the milk to ensure that the end product is not affected by residual odours which may lurk around when anything else is used – lime for example.
While Russell recounted his adventures from his recent travels to Italy he showed us how to make the pasta dough. Then as our dough was resting Russell showed us how to make a delicious vegetable sauce which really was the highlight of the evening. It was so good with the pasta – almost like an edible silk scarf.
I was making Angolotti for the first time and it was great to really get hands-on with using the massive rolling pin to flatten the rested dough before passing it through the dough attachment on a KitchenAid. Pipping the ready ricotta mixture was great fun and gives more precise results than filling ravioli parcels with any kind of stuffing. Why? Well, the pipping ensures an almost even filling provided the fluted cutter is wielded almost symmetrically across the stuffed pasta sheet.
The dessert was Raspberry and Mascarpone mille feuille and we had a team working furiously in the background to make it for us while Chef Russell showed us how to make the raspberry gel. I can never forget the taste of the gel on my palate – it sets almost instantly as it lands on the tongue – weird and fabulous at the same time.
In 3 hours flat we had made fresh ricotta and fresh pasta learnt how to make a delicious sauce to accompany our pasta and filled and cooked the agnolotti too.
At GBC cook school I have had the opportunity to meet and cook with some acclaimed chefs who have shared tips from their vast experience working across the best kitchens across the world. As a home cook and a writer, it is always a great pleasure to meet accomplished chefs and learn invaluable tricks and sample the brilliant food they cook. Working alongside some of my close blogger friends and getting an opportunity to meet more like-minded journalists and food enthusiasts is definitely a plus.
I have to also mention the lovely Rosalind Rathouse and her efficient team at the Cookery School. A spotless, well-maintained kitchen is the least one can expect from Rosalind who is a stickler for perfection and hygiene.
I am now quite determined to explore the joys of home made pasta by recreating Chef Russell’s delicious agnolotti and vegetable sauce sometime soon.
*With thanks to Great British Chefs and Chef Russell Brown for an invite to a truly memorable evening. Many Thanks to Rosalind and the team at the Cookery School. All opinions expressed are as always my own. No monetary compensation was provided for a positive review.