Last year, for Christmas, my now husband bought me a cooking course at Leiths. I know some friends/family were offended on my behalf and expected me to promptly, upon opening the gift card, shove it down his throat and mutter the words bon appetit.
However, I did specifically ask for it so instead met the gift card with glee and excitement then shoved it in the kitchen draw that holds cocktail umbrellas, lots of keys that have no lock and takeaway flyers.
After a busy year of planning and having a wedding, finding and buying a house, I only recently came around to having time to go on the course.
Leiths is famed for being one of the most prestigious cooking schools in London, if not the UK, so courses ranged from bread and cake making, to Indian cuisine and everything in between. But for me the choice was clear.
As previously discussed, I have an entirely unhealthy and obsessive relationships with pasta.
This is a slightly abusive union as is well known, it has a deactivating quality that makes the diner want to curl up and have a little nap immediately after eating it.
This characteristic is so threatening and dangerous that Fillipo Marinetti, a writer who founded the Futurist movement, sought to ban pasta in 1930 because it "led to lassitude, pessimism and general absence of get-up-and-go".
Whilst this is true, a night out on the vino rosso leads to, the more dangerous, face-in-pillow syndrome and I certainly wouldn't want to do away with that.
So, throwing all pasta caution to the wind, I attended Leith's pasta workshop, armed with tupperware and an only slightly dirty apron.
The instructors were affable, patient and made the phrase 'waiting for the pop' (very posh pasta-making terminology) seem almost totally serious.
I've attended a few courses over the years but nothing quite as informative, or, extensive as Leiths.
Our group of thirteen watched the instructor prepare three pasta dishes from scratch, before, in pairs, recreating each one ourselves, with help provided as and when needed.
We made a betroot and goats cheese ravioli, a fresh flower open lasagne with a creamy mushroom sauce and parsley ravioli with prawns.
|Wild Flower Open Lasagne w/ Mushroom Cream Sauce|
Whilst these recipes will exist in cooking books, the art of making pasta seems to be something you need to be guided through. No book can quite tell you the exact science of what the dough should feel like when it's ready, or, the best technique for using a pasta machine. It's the sort of thing you need to learn in person from someone who knows what their talking about so, unless you have an Italian Nonna locked away in the cupboard kitchen (you shouldn't do this) Leiths is the next best thing.
All the items were helpfully packed away before the workbenches were turned into a dining table so that we could eat one of the items we made and glug some wine to recover from all the hard work.
At £140 for the day course it's not cheap but there are a few extras thrown in, coffee and pastries on arrival, wine with lunch, a recipe book and the luxury of having someone else do all the washing up.
What's more, having never made pasta before, in just under five hours I learnt the recipes from memory. Now, I can make pink/flowery pasta at home which really does make me feel very clever indeed and who can put a price on that?
For courses visit Leiths
|These look like plasticine Stegosaurous but are actually ravioli|
|Betroot and goats cheese ravioli|