KitchenAngel’s Crash Course on Cooking with Confidence

5 Jul

I consider myself an enthusiastic cook:  always keen to try new recipes and ingredients (especially on unsuspecting dinner guests) and preferring home-cooked food over takeaways any day.  I’ve never professed to be an accomplished cook though primarily because I never learnt the basic techniques that recipe books and flashy TV chefs never bother to explain.  This is exactly the problem that Lynn Angel addresses in her once-off “Kitchen Confidence” course – a pre-requisite for any other class at the Kitchen Angel Cookery school for good reason even if you think you already know how to cook!

Lynn gets into the nitty gritty of equipment and preparation techniques, allowing her students to actually practice what she’s preaching with us all while cooking a meal that we can enjoy at the end of the class.  She encouraged us to use all our senses to assess the food during the cooking process as opposed to slavishly following recipe timelines.  I had several light bulb moments during the evening but one that I think will change my cooking forever was learning how to hold a(n appropriate) knife and chop in an efficient and easy way (so THAT’S how the TV chefs do it!).  I have also had the fear of God put into me about some of my (numerous) ingrained bad habits like using processed “stock” cubes and my liberal use of olive oil to cook absolutely everything because I thought it was good for me. It turns out that healthy real chicken flavoured liquid (sans chemical cube) is actually easy to achieve in 15 minutes  in the microwave using, wait for it, real chicken pieces! Also my beloved olive oil is better used for drizzling, dipping and flavouring than to fry up anything.  It turns out that olive oil has a relatively low “smoke point” (the heat at which nasty chemical changes begin to happen), so miniscule amounts of grapeseed or peanut oil is the far healthier (and cost effective) solution.  While I have known this in the back of my mind for some time, actually using the grapeseed oil myself has finally convinced me.

There were five of us in the class ranging from a “retired” wine writer, to a professional guitarist to an IT nerd (that would be me) and we quickly warmed to the relaxed atmosphere of listening, learning and doing, all punctuated with the odd swig of wine and tasty morsel.  By the end of the evening we’d created a beautiful dish from simple ingredients: potato, spinach, tomato, chicken and garlic, which was bursting with individual flavours due to the respect we’d cooked it with, without seasoning everything to death.

Kitchen Angel Dinner

For more of the tricks and trade secrets you’ll  just have to attend yourself.  More info and details about the class schedule are on the Kitchen Angels website.   Now to check when the next Italian Flavours course is scheduled 😉

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