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New Cooking Classes: Handmade Pasta Class & Feast Available to Book Now

So you know all of that fresh hand made and hand rolled pasta that I have been obsessing over? And the new classes that I promised? Well, here they are! I am scheduling 3 (small) classes only, and they are longer than normal too, running for a full day so that we can cover a lot of pasta ground. They are in Lambeth in central London this time, in a lovely kitchen that has a great prep area and dining area. As with all my classes, this is very sociable, and the price includes wine and a proper pasta feast.

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Busiate, Malloreddus & Orecchiette

Handmade pasta is such a joy, and once you get the hang of it, very easy and speedy. It tastes much better than most you have had too. I am very excited to share everything I have learned and to feast with you.

The class incorporates lots of my Italian travels, and some classic pasta dishes that you know (Tagliatelle with Ragu from Emilia Romagna) and some you might not (Malloreddus with Sausage Ragu from Sardinia). We will make 8 pasta shapes in total & 8 dishes incorporating them all. You will learn how to make all of the sauces too. We will finish with a pasta feast, and you can take the rest home, of course.

  1. Tagliatelle (Bologna – served as is traditional with ragu)
  2. Tortelli (Parma – Tortelli d’Erbetta, a fresh egg pasta dough stuffed with ricotta & greens in a butter sauce)
  3. Garganelli – (Emilia Romagna – served in a prosciutto & pea sauce)
  4. Passatelli (Emilia Romagna – a pasta made of egg, breadcrumbs, nutmeg & parmesan, served in chicken broth)
  5. Malloreddus (Sardinia – served with a sausage ragu)
  6. Orecchiette (Puglia – served with broccoli and anchovies)
  7. Busiate (Sicily – served with Trapanese Pesto)
  8. Spaghetti alla Chitarra (Roman style in a classic carbonara with guanciale)

Sounds good, eh?

Places are limited to just 12 per class. Book now on PayPal (links below), or contact me by email (niamh at eatlikeagirl dot com), to arrange a direct payment. Classes run from 10.30am to 4.30pm and include hands on tuition, lunch & wine.

Note: this is obviously not a vegetarian class, but if vegetarians are interested, I can look at adapting it. Just email me.

Please see Terms & Conditions at the end of the page before booking.

Full Day Handmade Pasta Class on Saturday 18th October 10.30am – 4.30pmbook this class now on PayPal

Full Day Handmade Pasta Class on Saturday 8th November 10.30am – 4.30pm – book this class now on PayPal

Full Day Handmade Pasta Class on Saturday 29th November 10.30am – 4.30pm – book this class now on PayPal

Reviews of previous classes:

Comfort & Spice Class Review from AT Culture / Diary of a Food Perve

Bacon Masterclass Review from Simply Splendiferous (with lovely watercolour illustrations too!)

Bacon Master Class – Gastronomical Heights

Foodycat: Bacon Masterclass with Eat Like A Girl

Terms & Conditions

Ticket dates are not transferable – once you book / commit to a particular date, you are tied to that date. These classes are very expensive to run, deliberately small and are only profitable with a full attendance. I have had terrible problems with people changing dates multiple times and then cancelling and demanding refunds. If you can no longer make the date I can try and help you find someone to buy it from you, or if there is a waiting list, sell it to someone on that list.

If the classes don’t sell enough to meet my costs, I reserve the right to cancel the class, with a full refund, at a weeks notice. I am confident that this won’t happen with these classes, but it is best that I say so, just in case.

Thank you and sorry to be painful about this, but I have learned the hard way.

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Pellegrino Artusi & A Recipe for Perfect Pasta Dough (Photo Illustrated)

Pellegrino Artusi, Casa Artusi, The Art of Cooking Well in Forlimpopoli & A Recipe for Perfect Pasta Dough (Photo Illustrated)

Pellegrino Artusi is widely referred to as the father of Italian cuisine. Penning the first pan Italian cookbook, (self) published only 20 years after the unification of Italy in 1891 and in the language of the new unified Italy (which was the dialect of Florence), when he was 71.

Artusi’s cookbook, Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well, featured over 475 recipes gathered from Italian home cooks on his travels as a business man. 15 editions were published before he died 20 years later, with many further recipes added (finishing with 750).

Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well was predicted to be a commercial failure by Italian publishers at the time, and they refused to publish it, but it was a tremendous success. It has been in print since publication, and is in almost every Italian home. It has been translated into several languages also (it was translated to English in 1997). 200,000 copies were sold in his lifetime and many more in the 103 years since then.

(So, you know, the message being if you believe in something strongly enough, take a risk and make it happen. You never know, do you?)
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Last Call for Sunday Bacon Club Xmas Presents!

Sunday Bacon Club has proved a very popular present for Xmas this year, so if you are stuck for a present for a bacon loving friend or family member, look no further! I can send you a voucher by email ASAP after you have booked it.

What is Sunday Bacon Club?

The Sunday Bacon Club will run from 11am – 3pm (it is Sunday after all, and I know most brunch fans love a lie in), and will consist of

– arrival drinks / snacks

– 3 hour long masterclass with previews of recipes from Project: BACON, and also including some classics from past classes (chipotle bacon jam, maple candied bacon, bacon fudge). The classes are 100% hands on, and you will make everything you make yourself, and from scratch, with support from me and chefs that I hire to support me

– brunch, glorious bacon brunch, with a bacon bloody mary and wine

The venue is the very spacious and smart Underground Cookery School. Brilliantly located a 5 minute walk from Old St station, this school is a lovely sociable space with everything we might need to help make bacon even more brilliant. There is a great dining space for brunch too. Finally, they are licensed, and so I can serve you lot wine, while you cook.

If you want to book, you can email me, or you can book via paypal or email me at niamh@eatlikeagirl.com. Christmas present? I can send you a snazzy voucher, just let me know.

Sunday Bacon Club – Sunday 16th February – book on paypal now

Sunday Bacon Club – Sunday 30th March – book on paypal now

Reviews of previous classes:

Comfort & Spice Class Review from AT Culture / Diary of a Food Perve

Bacon Masterclass Review from Simply Splendiferous (with lovely watercolour illustrations too!)

Bacon Master Class – Gastronomical Heights

Foodycat: Bacon Masterclass with Eat Like A Girl

Terms & Conditions

Ticket dates are not transferable – once you book / commit to a particular date, you are tied to that date, unless there is a serious issue that could not be avoided.  I have had terrible problems with people changing dates multiple times and then cancelling and demanding refunds, which makes these classes a nightmare to run. If you can no longer make the date I can help you find someone to buy it from you.

If the classes don’t sell enough to meet my costs, I reserve the right to cancel the class, with a full refund, at a weeks notice. I am confident that this won’t happen with these classes, but it is best that I say so, just in case.

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Announcing: Sunday Bacon Club (A Bacon Masterclass & Bacon Brunch) – Book Your Place Now

I love teaching my bacon masterclasses. Over the course of the 3 hour class everyone chats, and gets to know each other, but then everyone has to go home. Bacon is a terrific social glue. With the general excitement about the class, the quirkiness of the recipes, the smells (oh, those smells), then finally the deliciousness as you eat it, it always seems a shame to just go. So, I looked into ways that I could extend the classes.

What to do? Evenings are too short once you leave work, so I looked at Sleepy Sunday and thought, well what about a class then? Followed by brunch? When there is no time pressure, and people can relax, and have some wine while they cook, and then after with brunch? Sounds good, doesn’t it? 

The venue is the very spacious and smart Underground Cookery School. Brilliantly located a 5 minute walk from Old St station, this school is a lovely sociable space with everything we might need to help make bacon even more brilliant. There is a great dining space for brunch too. Finally, they are licensed, and so I can serve you lot wine, while you cook.

Now you know I love brunch. I previously ran a Brunch Club to celebrate the launch of my first book, Comfort & Spice, (which has a whole chapter on it, and so does my next book Project: BACON too). I ran a pop up Brunch Cafe at Irish Music & Arts Festival Electric Picnic (and won an award for it too!). This time, we will have bacon waffles and eggs and buttered greens. A bacon bloody mary to wash it down? So many ideas, a whole bacon brunch chapter to eat through. Sunday Bacon Club? Bring it on.

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Announcing Bacon Masterclasses for the Autumn: Book Now for Early Bird Rates

Aveqia - new space for bacon masterclasses in Farringdon

Aveqia – new space for bacon masterclasses in Farringdon

NEW BACON MASTERCLASSES FOR SEPTEMBER THROUGH TO DECEMBER

New classes! Huzzah.

A wonderful new cookery school in central London, Aveqia, has approached me to teach my Bacon Masterclasses there. The school is very central, based near Farringdon and is beautiful. The original school is in Sweden and the same elegant Scandinavian design has been used here, and as you would expect, it is a thoughtfully designed and very useful space. Those Swedes know what they are doing.

On arrival there is a bar, before going to the teaching space with lots of room to cook and also to eat after. This is why I love it, the kitchen is large and spacious with lots of room and all the kit I could need, even a paco jet for making maple bacon, bourbon & vanilla ice cream. After we can all sit down at a large communal & very sociable space to eat and indulge in some bacon bloody marys.

The classes will be hosted on Saturdays only, and I am expanding the class concept to include a sit down brunch after the Bacon Masterclass. The classes are more expensive to run but I would still like to keep the classes accessibly priced, so I am going to be offering the first 6 early bird places for £75 with the remaining 10 places at £95. The prices must unfortunately go up to meet my increased costs.

Aveqia Cooking School in Farringdon, London

Aveqia Cooking School in Farringdon, London

Each bacon masterclass will start at 10am with bacon jam on toast and tea / coffee and finish at 2pm after brunch with a bacon bloody mary. There will be 3 hours cooking. All classes are hands on and you will have a lot of support. The recipes are explicitly detailed and even where complex, very easy to follow. I am there to help and teach at all classes, of course. Cooking is core, but there are not just about cooking, they are also a lot of fun. You will be comfortable, I can promise you that.

Sounds good? I think so.

The recipes will vary, but the core recipes will be:

– chipotle bacon jam
– candied bacon
– bacon jam fudge
– candied bacon marshmallow creme

The classes will be on:

Sat 21st Sept
Sat 26th Oct
Sat 16th Nov
Sat 14th Dec

So, please email me at niamh@eatlikeagirl.com and I will send you details on how to pay and book you in. The classes will have a maximum of 16 attendees and I will need a minimum of 10 to go ahead. Hopefully, that won’t be a problem.

Project: BACON - under 4.5 days to go

Project: BACON – under 4.5 days to go

With regard to Project: BACON, I still need your help and will blog a detailed update later. There is only 4.5 more days and 43% funding to go.

Two Bacon Masterclasses have been sold – one at a butchers shop in Ireland and the other at one in Northern Ireland. I am so excited about these. The class concept is flexible – if you want me to teach more than 6 and up to 16, this is still possible for the same £540 once the ingredients can be provided and a space.

Please support this by buying the book in advance, buying a Xmas Bacon Box (think selection box but with bacon) or simply subscribe to The Bacon Post for £3. If I don’t raise the full £20,000, it fails and all pledges disappear, then the book simply doesn’t happen and won’t be written. So, if you are thinking that you might just wait until February when it comes out, that is a high risk manoeuvre – for you and me :)

You can pledge here – every penny counts.

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A Little Cookery Course

Raspberry, mint & ricotta tartlets w/ honey

A friend recently asked if I would consider running a cookery course for his wife’s birthday. She loves food, but doesn’t like to cook so much, and likes the kind of food that I make. I was very flattered but, I’ve not formally done anything like this before so was a little reticent to begin.

When I was in university, a flatmate used to follow me around the kitchen with a notebook and pen following my culinary movements. It used to drive me crazy, but we’re still friends :) I worried for this reason, that, perhaps I haven’t the right temperament. A  birthday present is a very big deal after all. I agreed, but insisted that no finances would change hands. I had been asked to do this before but hadn’t explored it due to time constraints. I thought it was worth a try. If it worked well, I’d consider doing it again, and if it didn’t, we’d hopefully at the very least have a nice meal and some good wines.

Once we agreed on a date, I relaxed, and didn’t worry too much. I thought we should definitely have some pork in the mix, some shellfish and a quick dessert. At first I thought that prawn curry might work, but then after some discussion we agreed on pork belly. At this stage I could make it in my sleep so wasn’t too worried. We settled on scallops for starters. Dessert was another issue as they really aren’t my forte, primarily because I rarely have them and am more inspired by savoury things, however, I did make one blackberry tart with mint, ricotta and honey recently, and loved it. So, that was it, we were all set.

The days building up to it were phenomenally busy, things always seem to happen this way! On the morning, I was struggling to complete an online task that had been deferred for longer than was healthy, and by the time it came to go to Borough Market, I hadn’t had time for lunch and was a little frazzled. Not the ideal start. I was really keen that the evening should be a worthwhile birthday treat and that they would not regret it.

We met at 3pm and wandered around Borough with our shopping list. We hit our first hurdle, I should have asked if she liked blackberries. She wasn’t a big fan so we switched to raspberries. We sped around the market, knocking off most items from our list: hand dived scallops, pancetta, chorizo, pork belly, salad stuff, herbs, ricotta, and the birthday girl had spotted some samphire and was keen to try it so we threw it in. Time to dash home, picking up lentils on the way, and get started.

The best evenings start with a glass of prosecco, in my humble opinion, so we indulged. In hindsight, this may not have been terribly clever, but it was a birthday celebration. We started with the spice rub for the pork belly (recipe here), preheated the oven, prepared the pork as I always do, some boiling water on the skin to start the crackling, pat dry, and rub in the spice rub. Placing it in the oven dish with some carrots and garlic as a vegetable trivet, it was good to roast.

We started it at 230 degrees celsius for half an hour. While this was happening we switched our attention to the homemade sweet shortcrust pastry, which when complete, we stuck in the fridge to chill  for an hour or so. For 6 small tarts sift 225g plain white flour, add 2 tbsp sugar and 110g very cold butter cut into cubes, and with your fingertips blend until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. At  this stage, add one egg blended with the same amount of water, a little at a time until the pastry pulls together but is not too wet. It’s best to use a knife for this stage.

At this stage the timings were looking good, the half hour for the pork was just coming to an end, and it was time to open the door, review the impressive crackling and turn the heat down to 170 degrees, for 45 minutes with a glass of cider.

Just one problem – where was the impressive crackling?! This was one piece of unenthusiastic meat. I’ve never had this problem before, in fact I am extremely proud of my crackling, and there’s photographic evidence to prove its existence. How disappointing, but I knew we could rectify by sticking it under the grill after it had finished roasting for a couple of minutes at a high heat. I started to get anxious though, and continued to drink wine with the birthday girl. I must remember to remove the wine from the equation (on my part) next time.

Moutabal on toast

Moutabal on toast

At this point we veered off course, although I don’t regret that. I had an aubergine and we started discussing moutabal, so we decided a quick snack would not go astray. This went down very well, as long as you don’t taste the aubergine skin before peeling it off. I was reliably informed that it tastes of cigarettes! I started to feel better, with that stubborn uncrackly pork skin glaring out the little glass door and taunting me from my oven.

Skillet bacon jam with heritage tomatoes on toast

Skillet bacon jam with heritage tomatoes on toast

Another brain wave – you’ve got to try my bacon jam that I bought from the US! It’s GREAT! Did I mention the wine? It is great, and we really enjoyed it on toast with some bright yellow heirloom tomatoes. We were now two unplanned appetisers in. Not too shabby, also not too clever, people were getting full. Normal people don’t eat as much as greedy me.

Scallops with samphire & pancetta

Scallops with samphire & pancetta

We persevered, now having a glass of champagne and prepared the scallops, removing the veins but leaving the roe. We had rinsed the samphire in several changes of water to reduce the saltiness somewhat and fried some diced pancetta and garlic before adding the drained samphire. At this stage, we started to chargrill the scallops for a couple of minutes on each side, taking care not to overcook them, as they are best still spongy and tender in the center. We gobbled these up, served in the shell with a squeeze of lemon and with a glass of lovely birthday champagne. This, for me, was the star dish of the meal.

It was time to turn our attention to the pastry once more, rolling thinly (perhaps a mm thick), and lining buttered tartlet trays (we used 4 inches across) with a layer. We blind baked these for 10 mins, covering each one in greaseproof paper and a layer of rice. I’d usually use dried beans here but had run out. We added the lentils and some cider and water to the pork (a glass of water and a glass of cider), and let this cook for another 45 minutes. We mixed the ricotta with the raspberries, and some mint, sweetening with honey. This was a nice mix but the raspberries are a lot more bitter than the very ripe blackberries I had tried, and in my enthusiasm I added too much mint. It was a little too fresh but nothing a little honey couldn’t help with. And we continued with some delicious red wine.

The pork was done, hurrah! I tortured that crackling, no friend of mine, with a couple of minutes iunder the grill and watched with glee as it blistered. Having rested for 10 minutes we served it on top of a bed of lentils with a rather tart salad on the side.

Almost there! All that was left to do was to fill the pre-baked pastry shells with the ricotta mixture, and bake for a further 5 minutes. Served with a drizzle of honey, we were finished.

Time to relax, and review. Imperfect at a first attempt, but really enjoyable. I’d do it again, with more planning, less wine, and perhaps less lengthy dishes. Prawn curry might have been a better option after all. But, that’s what this was, a trial, and a lovely evening with friends. I just hope the birthday girl enjoyed it, I certainly did.