I was recently invited to try out the new cookery school in the North of England – Outcook Home Cookery School, based in Alnwick. I jumped at the chance to attend the Decadent Dinners class with fellow blogger, Kate from High Tea and Heels.
The classes were taught by professional chef Emma, who was full of knowledge, top tips and was just plain lovely.
There was five of us in the class and we started off the day, really relaxed with a cup of tea and a look over the menu. We then stepped into the kitchen and got cooking straight away. The kitchens themselves were gorgeous – well they would be, as Outcook is based above Outlook – a premium kitchen store in the town.
We started with something ‘simple’ – blinis – put proper ones, not the ones you see in the M&S ads, but real pint-sized morsels of loveliness. What’s great, is that the day is really relaxed and though I immediately fell behind (I blame my faulty scales, which were of course quickly swapped!), everyone’s on the same page and just there to have an enjoyable day, whilst picking up a few cooking techniques.
Outcook, not only provide you with the ingredients on the course, but all the trimmings, so these blinis were served up with fresh smoked salmon from Swallowfish (great local fishmongers from Craster) and creme fraiche. Not only that, they gave us a glass of Champagne to enjoy with it!
We then tried our hand at mussels, which to most of the people on the course was a great dish to try, as most of us were too nervous cooking this ourselves at home. Emma answered all our questions about washing, choosing mussels and the dangers of cooking with fresh seafood. Our mussels were served up in a chilli and Champagne sauce. Throughout each step, we were given tips from chopping up garlic to how the mussels should look when cooked.
In the fun but packed morning, we also rustled up chocolate pots, with Cointreu cooked oranges and a classic Dauphinoise potatoes. These were all made on the day but packed up so we could enjoy them at home later that night. A full day of meals – all on one cooking course, with all the ingredients thrown in – fantastic value for money.
By the way, as professional and careful as ever – I did pause to pose. Those fingers are thankfully, not missing!
We had a break for lunch, eating up our creations – mussels as well as trying our teacher’s Dauphinoise potatoes, both amazing. PLUS all served with wine, provided by Outcook. Eating and wine makes me so HAPPY!
What was so so lovely, was that two of the people on our course had been given the cookery school experiences as a birthday gift and one of their chefs had specially created a birthday cake as a treat. It was such a nice surprise – and a delicious dessert for our lunch!
We were given a bit of a break to look around the sweet little town of Alnwick before heading back into the kitchen for some more mastercheffy work. We got to work on a BIG lush salmon, fresh that morning, delivered to the school from Swallowfish. Here’s me giving the fish a buttery massage.
We then all worked together on making the perfect Hollandaise sauce, one with lemon and one with white wine vinegar, with a bit of insider knowledge on how restaurants deliver this. We got to sample both sauces for a mini taste test and enjoy it with some perfectly cooked asparagus.
Another small thing that I haven’t mentioned about the day, is that the kitchen is full of helpers – there to give a hand and to do ALL the washing up! Hurrah!
Finally, we headed homes, with our bellies full, our minds full of knowledge and a bag of delicious food, we’d made ourselves to enjoy later.
Here’s my evening meal of salmon, salad and Dauphinoise potatoes…
Overall, the courses are very well put together. Everything is provided for you, even the aprons and Tupperware, so all you have to do is turn up – though I’d recommend bringing a cardie. Thought I’d be boiling hot in the kitchen but it was a wee bit nippy – although Outcook provided you with a non stop supply of tea and coffee all day!
The courses are great for beginners to those who are wanting to impress their guests with more of their cooking flair. As two of the students that day demonstrated, it’s also a great present. Ideal for someone who might have everything. It’s a great day out, with friends, as a couple or a bigger party.
Myself – I’m sure I’ll be booking in again for the chef Emma’s speciality – game!
View all the courses and find out more about Outcook on their website here: www.outcook.co.uk