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Modern vegetarian cooking from aubergine to zhoug

Julia Noakes feels thoroughly spoilt as she finds out how to flambé and deep-fry at London’s Waitrose Cookery School

    Class: Modern vegetarian cookery

    Expectation: To learn some great vegetarian recipes and gain new kitchen skills.

    On Offer: A morning of hands-on cooking — and eating — and an afternoon of demonstrations with the opportunity to assist.

    What we did: We worked in pairs cooking an artichoke and green olive tart, spiced aubergine ragout and Sri Lankan cashew nut curry, after first seeing them demonstrated. The chefs teaching us were impressive and the recipes easy to follow. Our basic ingredients had been prepped for us, which was a luxury, and I particularly enjoyed feeling like a pro, flambéeing the artichoke and green olives for my puff pastry tart and deep-frying polenta chips.

    After lunch we were shown how to make pasta dough and fill it with spinach and ricotta filling, as well as how to prepare sweet potato samosas.

    Who was there: The class takes up to 24 participants but only 12 were there on the day. The workstations were well equipped and spacious and the staff particularly attentive and friendly.

    Nosh: Plenty. Pastries, tea and coffee on arrival and a lunch of our cashew nut curry followed by the aubergine ragout with polenta chips. Wine flowed. Later in the day we sampled pasta with a delicious fresh pesto, and samosas with a spicy zhoug dip.

    Takeaway: A folder of all the recipes we made plus a few other essential recipes. You can take home all the food you have made, as I did with my artichoke tart – even I couldn’t eat it all at the class. You also get a signed certificate.

    Verdict: I had a really enjoyable relaxed day and learned many new skills. I would certainly make the dishes again.

    Top tip: Sharp knives are far less dangerous than blunt ones, so you should sharpen your knives each time you use them.

    Kosher: NoCost: £145

    Contact: Tel: 020 7372 6108 or visit www.waitrose.com/cookeryschool

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