Monday, 13 August 2012

Jamie Oliver Recipease

I am a big fan of cooking, I'm a huge fan of improving my cooking. A fun way to do this? With a group of friends on a Saturday afternoon at Jamie Oliver's cookery school (with wine...) otherwise known as Recipease.

On arrival we were presented with said wine and waited for the previous class to finish up, they were at one of the actual dining tables tucking into their own made meal. The preparation station was looking ready for action. There are a number of different classes, we didn't get a choice based on when we wanted to do and the size of our group so we were making pasta and our own sauces. Luckily this wasn't to just be boiling some water but actually making the stuff from scratch, something I've never done before.
A serious wedge of Parmesan
Pans an tomatoes at the ready
The 'flavouring' begins
Our chef  takes us through the ingredients
We paired up and took to our places. In front of us was a nice mix of fresh looking tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic (very important), chilli (very important) and some slightly wilted looking herbs.First things first, we had to watch the expert making the pasta and then we would copy.
'Jamie' for the evening
You've got to be aggressive with it...

Starting to roll (on a number 6 if that means anything to you)
He started with his pre measured bowl of 100g double 0 grade flour and a medium free range egg. This to me did not look like it would make pasta, I would be proved wrong of course. After 'being aggressive' with the dough and working it until it was silky smooth (this took forever, at least 5 minutes) before starting to feed it through the pasta machine. This for me was what made it fun, getting to use one of these machines. It is also the reason you wouldn't make this yourself at home - the lack of one of these machines.

The contraption made it able to make a few different shapes, as well as the nifty little pizza cutter type knife that made a crinkled edge, all professional stylee. We of course opted to make all the shapes...
My pasta shapes in their air tight container
The two sauces we made were quick and simple, as ever a lot of the work is in the prep. The tomatoes were all cut to size and the mushrooms were cleaned peeled and chopped. The garlic and chili were the same. This is the thing I find with programmes like Jamie's 30 minute meals, everything looks so quick and easy because his team of minions have already prepped, peeled, washed and chopped everything and laid it into little bowls right in front of him...never mind the tip to Sainsbury's beforehand...
Getting the sauce on the go
The hard work has been done
MM MM Good
We opted to make both sauces. We didn't use as much butter or oil as our illustrious chef, I find it pointless when restaurants and alike make things taste no nice because they're just slathered in butter, sugar, pepper, oil...delete as appropriate. I also don't see the point in all the extra calories. If you are using deliciously fresh flavours there shouldn't be the need to use TWO massive hunks of butter.

With the tomato we added thyme, chilli and garlic with some oil and basil to dress and that was that. The second dish was a creamy mushroom dish to which we had the same ingredients to play with. Our pasta was a little clumped together and didn't really separate in the water. This is apparently because air is the enemy. Once we had rolled our pasta it was supposed to be done quick, not easy on your first time. We had small seal-able boxes to put it in before it went to the boil.

Et Voila
Seriously, check out all that butter at the back!
Adding the cooked pasta to our mushroom sauce
Shave of Parmesan
Done and delish
Banana muffins to finish, we did not make these
Overall the food tasted really nice, I was really proud of what we had done especially as it was pretty simple. I'd like to make it myself at home but realistically with investing in the machine, being bothered to do that rather than use pre-made and the consequent mess that comes with covering your work surfaces and rest of the kitchen in flour I'm just not sure it's feasible.

With Recipease there are a number of other classes they do such as knife skills, steak and sushi. Personally I'd rather do something like sushi somewhere authentic and steak will again depend on things like the amazing pan (which I haven't invested in). As a budding gourmet chef I have a way to go! For a group activity I'd recommend it though. For our £30 we had plenty of wine, of course the meal and I do feel like we learnt something.

Our chef kept reassuring us this would be the best pasta we'd tasted much better than anything dried, having gone through my Italian pasta I beg to disagree, but there is obviously the fun in doing it yourself.
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