I’ve been popping down to London quite a bit recently, but my trip to the Underground Cookery School has to be, by far, the best out of them all. Me, and nine other fellow bloggers headed down to the minimalistic, quirky venue, tucked away amongst the vibrant City Road. As we descended underground, we left the hustle and bustle of London and rolled up our sleeves.
We were greeted with prosecco and canapés, my ideal greeting. The canapés were delicious, freshly made by the chefs – something we didn’t have to worry about preparing. Taylah and I were a little early as we were so excited to get started but the chefs and Annaliese were all so friendly and got talking to us. They even put us to work with preparing some asparagus.
Once everyone arrived, we got aproned up and had a quick team talk. This, we were informed, was an opportunity to learn some key skills in terms of prepping fish and lamb. So despite the fact that we didn’t cook anything ourselves, we marvelled at our work when tucking into a perfectly(?!) filleted sea bass.
We were split into two groups. First thing for our group, the chocolate torte. The chef, Matt Kemp talked us through each step and got each of us to complete one of the stages. I was trusted with melting the chocolate and butter together, a very technical job and I am pleased to say, I think I excelled myself. Matt was really consciencous to make sure we were all able to keep up with what was going on whilst completing our own stages and taught us some fab techniques. The one I particularly liked (and will attempt to use in the future) was the folding in of the egg whites. He flicked his wrist quickly, instead of doing big, labour-some folds like I usually do. The finish product, accompanied with clotted cream with raspberry ripples running through it looked like this:
It was absolutely delicious. A wonderful dessert that took hardly anytime to make – even if though there was 5 of us making this single cake, do not fear, a solitude cook can still make this gooey, warm chocolately heaven.
Next up, we moved on to prep the main. We were presented with a rump of lamb. Initial thoughts: help, what, really, me? But Matt talked us through it, then showed us, explaining which bits to feel for and how to use the knife. There were also a few other chefs including watching to make sure we didn’t ruin a good rump in seconds. We trimmed it down, removed the fat and voila, ready for cooking.
Of course, as required, prosecco was at hand throughout the entire preparation of the lamb. The chefs beautifully put the lamb with potatoes, a jus and some long stem broccoli.
Finally we prepped the sea bass, our starter. Of course, after having watch the chef fillet one side of the sea bass I set to work and immediately thought, HELP I’ve forgotten everything you just showed me. The small group meant that he was able to come round and talk us through it again, checking for bones to make sure choking was off the agenda. We then had a quick taste test of the lemon, lime, olive oil, dill and paprika dressing. “Hmmm yes some more lemon I think ahh yes that’s perfect” I thought. “Bloody hell more oil” said the chef so it appears my palette requires a bit more refinement.
Served with British asparagus, the dressing and some chilli, the skin was lovely and crisp. I have even bought some sea bass ready for filleting, house mates WATCH OUT.
Overall, I had a really enjoyable evening and learnt some valuable skills. The opportunity to meet other bloggers was also really nice, fuelled with a constant supply of wine and nibbles. Brimming with exciting goodies and full tummies we left happy with our experience, and of course, hoping to come back soon.