Review by Melanie May
I love cooking classes. No matter how many I do I always learn new skills and techniques and walk away with loads of new recipes ideas. So when Linda Callan invited me to take part in her beginner’s cookery course in Robyn’s Nest Cookery School, I jumped at the chance. Linda and her daughters Emma and Louise teach the best in home cooking and this is exactly the type of food that was missing from my recipe repertoire.
There were five of us doing the course and, although I didn’t know anyone when I started the course, we were all friends by the end. Cooking is a great way to bond with people and with Linda the laughs keep coming making the classes so much fun. That’s why I think this course suits so many different people from singletons like me, to couples who are looking for a new hobby to groups of friends who want a fun and different way of catching up every week whilst learning how to give Jamie / Nigella a run for their money.
The cookery school teaches in a warm and relaxed atmosphere. The course is aimed at those starting out or looking to improve their cooking skills and it is very hands on. Linda leads the way demonstrating techniques and cooking methods and the class practice these skills by making a number of dishes in each class. Through out each class, Linda guides you and shows you brilliant shortcuts and tips but she also encourages you to adapt the recipes to suit your own tastes and needs.
The school itself is so lovely and spacious and is very well equipped with modern induction hobs, big ovens, a demonstration area, large prep areas and top quality pots, pans, mixers and gadgets galore. How did I live so long without a Microplane?
The recipes are numerous; we made so many dishes over the six-week course. Throughout the two-hour class we would all discuss the dishes and ingredients and the methods used, which was a great way to learn and really get an understanding of what we were doing. When the dishes were ready we would sit down and taste all the food and whatever was left over we would pack into containers and take home.
At the end of every class we would discuss what we would like to do or learn in the next class, for example, I wanted to learn how to making frosting and how to cover a cake, so Linda took that on board and we made a coffee and walnut cake with coffee frosting and I learned how to decorate a cake. Something I wasn’t very good at, but now have such confidence doing.
And this was one of my favourite parts of the course. It was totally tailored to our needs and what we wanted to do and get out of the course. Another great aspect to the course was being introduced to loads of new ingredients, anchovy paste is now one of my cooking staples. Until Linda gave us a recipe that included this fish ingredient I had never even heard of it.
Just to give you an idea of how much is covered and the variety of recipes we made, here is what I did over the six-week course:
Spicy lentil soup, celeriac and apple soup, creamy vegetable soup, Italian chunky vegetable soup, chicken stir fry
Quiche, roast pepper salad, lemon drizzle cake
Risotto, spaghetti alla puttanesca, raspberry and sour cream cake
Roast chicken, herby stuffing, perfect roast potatoes, baked buttered leeks, carrot and parsnip puree, brown bread, hazelnut cream cheese dessert
Waldorf salad, coronation chicken, coffee and walnut cake with coffee frosting
Chicken biriyani, riata, chicken korma, chatpata aloo, perfect boiled rice
The course was great fun and I learnt so many new skills, was introduced to new ingredients and the best part, I have the confidence to cook many different dishes from a full roast dinner to healthy brown bread. The recipes Linda gave us I will cook again and again as they are tasty, fuss free and don’t take hours to make. Doing this cookery course has made cooking fun again and improved my cooking confidence. It can do the same for you, too.
The course runs on Monday evenings from 19.30 to 21.30 and costs €480.00. The next course starts on April 18th. For more details, check out the Robyn’s Nest Cookery School website: https://www.cookerycourses.ie