Diary Entry of a Cookery Demonstration Virgin
I had always considered myself a fairly competent cook – not brilliant but fairly ok. I could manage a small dinner party or a family lunch. I could even rise to the odd soufflé – ha! Forgive pun. But put it this way – Mary Berry was safe for the foreseeable.
I’d heard about Jane and Judy’s cookery classes/demonstrations some time ago through various friends and I have to admit to sneaking a peek at their blog (and now their website www.janejudyinthekitchen.com )and even ‘borrowing’ the odd recipe from the site. But I’d never considered going to an actual class. Well….this time I did. And what a revelation.
It was immediately apparent that J and J run a very slick and professional operation. The class was full and things kicked off on time. Jane is the leader in the Bromley location but this alternates to Judy when in Essex, with each other acting as support cook and washer-upper accordingly. Jane was warm, welcoming and friendly. As you are in her home (same for Judy), this makes for an intimate and chatty atmosphere and Jane encouraged questions at any time. Usually shy and quiet in this type of situation, even I felt quite at ease to ask anything at all.
This being a Festive demo, Jane then made a delicious Christmas Stollen followed by Beetroot Cured Salmon on Buckwheat Blinis. Both recipes were a massive hit with the class and Jane made them look easy for anyone to achieve at home. Tip: everyone gets generous samples of the recipes, so go easy on breakfast and don’t book lunch afterwards! Judy took over for one recipe (Jane does this in Essex) which was a revelatory Spiced Vegetable Cous-cous – yep, I know it sounds fairly straightforward but it was miles better than any I’ve done before and everyone was as suitably delighted as me! Onto the Spicy Lamb Tagine prep and then we’re into coffee break. Where has the morning gone?? Back for the Lamb Tagine main course which was served with the cous-cous and proclaimed – yes…again, delicious. It just was! The finale was the Chocolate and Fresh Orange Tart – this was my favourite as it was so refreshing and I could already see it on the Christmas table as a wonderful, sharp alternative to Christmas Pud.
Truthfully, I don’t know where the time went. Yes, you can follow the recipes and look at the website (at a later date) for the latest ones. However, for me, by far the best thing about spending a morning with J and J is the tips they give you. No, I’m not going to enlighten you here – book a class and see for yourself! Suffice to say though, that I will never again be covering more of my body with the contents of a piping bag than the cake itself nor will I spend half an hour patchworking my crumbly pastry into a tin – Jane’s pastry demo was a masterclass in itself.
Added to all this, you get to spend a delightful morning in the company of not only two very lovely ladies but you also get to meet a host of other friendly and like minded folk. Don’t sit at home wondering if you should do it – just book a class and go for it! You will learn so much, gain so much and may even make new friends.