Wednesday, 26 March 2014

{REVIEW}: The Underground Cookery School

I was invited to a bloggers event hosted by Currys at the Underground Cookery School in London two weeks ago. Despite having a lab assessment that same day, I just couldn't say no! I may have snuck out of the lab a little earlier than usual. Shhh.

This was my first bloggers event and meeting people as passionate about food as I am was refreshing and great fun. Finally a group of people who understood why I get so excited about food - I could get used to that.

We were a pretty varied group of food and lifestyle bloggers - there were restaurant reviewers, supper club holders, recipe developers and some had even been blogging for years and years. I was slightly worried I would be the amateur of the group and everyone else would be pros with awesome ninja knife skills and evolved taste buds. But the evening was really laid back and consisted of demos from our enthusiastic chefs and an opportunity to get stuck in ourselves.

Located just a quick two minute walk away from Old Street station, the school was really easy to find. Google map may also have had something to do with it. My first impressions? As the name would suggest, the school was of course underground, and the fun and quirky industrial kitchen interior is definitely a winner! I'm tempted to paint my dining chairs red.

Upon arrival we were greeted with drinks and nibbles, and dressed ourselves in aprons with #currysinthekitchen printed across the top. We were encouraged (and even rewarded) to photograph and share on our social networks. For once I got to photograph my food without impatient sighs and complaints - oh the freedom!

Before we were let loose in the kitchen, I helped myself to an orange and carrot juice aka 'starter in a glass'. I'm not a fan of carrots but with the tang of the orange cutting through it, it actually wasn't too bad. I didn't dare try the celery though. Also don't even get me started on the risotto balls - I wanted to quietly slip them all in my handbag and slowly walk away.

The menu for the night consisted of a curry and a pear souffle. Now, being of South Asian descent, curry is a staple in our household. Some of my friends laughed at the idea of me creating something I've eaten more often than I can count, and even I had to admit it was pretty funny. I get so bored of curry that you'll rarely see me order one when eating out. But, would you believe I've never actually made a curry before? My Mum makes the best curries with the perfect blend of spices and packed with lots of flavour, and so as you can imagine the bar was set quite high!

In the excitment of it all I may have made a bit of a mess of my curry with a spill, or two, woops. But what I did manage to keep in the pan smelled incredible. With ginger and chillies blended with a mixture of mustard, fenugreek, coriander and cumin seeds, and drowned in organic tomatoes and coconut milk, how could it possibly not?! 

Next was the souffle station. I've never made a souffle before - in fact I've avoided it on purpose because errr they're scary and so so hard to make! Atleast that's what I thought, but the chef made it look so easy.

Our first task was to separate the eggs. Now I'll admit, I don't find this the easiest of tasks, and usually opt for my handy little egg separator thingy. But, with 10 others watching and snapping photographs, it was a little more daunting. Umm, talk about pressure! Because let's face it, none of us wanted to be the one who got it wrong ... After letting a couple of other bloggers go first, I stepped up to the plate and boy did I feel a winner when I managed to do it without letting any yolk, or any shells for that matter, escape. *Dusts off shoulder*.

After whipping the egg whites with sugar and folding in the pear puree in a beautiful little Kenwood mixer (I need to get me one of those), we then took turns to scoop the mixture into ramekins ready to be baked. As our dishes cooked, the room was a hub of activity and conversation flowed easy. It was nice to finally put faces to blogs and twitter names. Although you had to be careful not to come off so stalker-y ... which isn't easy to do when a large part of your life is online! It was also nice to add a few more blogs to my feed and meet so many other lovely foodies.

Eventually it was time to take to our seats and enjoy the fruits of our labour. We felt torn between mood lighting and lighting for photographs. Yeah, blogger problems. I don't think I've ever sat at a table before where I wasn't the only one photographing my food!

I was eager to try the curry and wondered whether it would live up to my high expectations. And you know what? I think my Mum would have been proud! It wasn't as hot as I usually like it, but I was pleasantly surprised with the results. It's a shame I finished the whole thing because it sure would have been nice to return with proof. I guess I'll just have to recreate it at home. And, if you'd like to try it for yourself then see below for the full recipe!

And the souffle? Just look at the rise! It tasted a little 'eggy' and I couldn't really notice the pear, but boy did it melt in your mouth and feel lighter than air. And now that I've gotten over my fear of souffle I think I'll try my hand at another.

After prize giving of some shiny new Currys toys to a few well deserved winners, it was sadly time to call it a night.  I had such a fab time making new friends, learning new tricks and eating some delicious food. I'd like to thank Currys and the school for inviting me, and to all the wonderful organisers and bloggers who made it such an awesome night!

The school is great for parties, and even corporate events, and I would definitely encourage it to anyone looking for something fun and delicious to do. If you'd like to learn more about our night just search #currysinthekitchen or even check out Currys blog post!

Chicken Curry

THE RECIPE: Serves 4.

2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp tumeric
2 cardamom pods
3 onions
2 cloves garlic
3 chillies
2 thumb size pieces of root ginger
1 tsp chilli powder
1.5lb diced chicken
3 tins chopped organic tomatoes
1 tin coconut milk

1. Dry fry all the seeds and pods until toasted. Place in a pestle together, and pound until a powder is formed, and set aside.

2. Fry the chicken until coloured on all sides, and set aside.

3. Gently fry the onions in a pan. When golden add the ginger, garlic and chillies. Now add the curry powder, then the chicken, and the tomatoes. Cook for 30 minutes on the hob, or in the oven at 200C/400F/Gas mark 6.

4. Whilst you want a thick consistency, don't let the curry dry out too much; consequently add the coconut milk during the last 10 minutes in order to achieve your desired consistency and flavour. 


Miss C Flash said...

Looks like you gad a fab time, lucky you :- )x

ThisGirlBlogs said...

It was great fun! :)

cheri said...

It sounds like you had a really great time, lucky you!

ThisGirlBlogs said...

It was such a fab night! :)

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