Just a standard Tuesday evening

No, that’s actually a lie. Last night was anything other than a standard Tuesday night. I had the opportunity to attend a masterclass with Tom Aikens at L’Atelier des Chefs on Wigmore Street. And I grabbed it with both hands and I’m so pleased that I did.

As I always am, I was a bit apprehensive about going by myself but I’m getting over that. I’ve even been to the ballet by myself so I’m practically a pro. However, it was one of those lovely occasions where it felt like everyone was expecting me, even though no one knew me. That was everyone from the guy who works for L’Aterlier and told me where I needed to go the moment that arrived to the lady from Pinterest waiting downstairs who went to get me a glass of champagne while I put coat and bag away. It just makes it so much easier. And any evening that starts with a glass of champagne is starting the right way in my opinion.

So after talking to a lovely lady called Sarah who writes a blog called ‘Taming Twins’ and sipping champagne, we were invited through into the kitchen where we would be working in groups of 5. I would say that I lucked out with my group; I met some great people who I felt an instant connection with so hopefully I’ve made some new friends as well as learnt some new recipes.

All of the recipes were fish recipes which is brilliant because I love fish. It made me feel a bit like being back at school and I’m definitely not to used to cooking with other people but it worked well. I also definitely like to take charge. I don’t even mean to, it just seems to happen. It might be from a reluctance of other people to come forward but someone’s got do it right?!?

The format of the class was that you made a dish as a group and then you ate it accompanied by a rather splendid glass of Chablis. It would perhaps have been nice to be able to take the wine into the kitchen with you as I do like to cook with a glass of wine in hand but then again it’s probably a good thing that you couldn’t from both a consumption and a finger retention point of view. The knives were definitely sharper than the ones in my kitchen despite my best efforts. And yes, it does make a difference.

So apart from Chablis, what was on the menu last night? First up was beetroot marinated salmon, beet dressing and pickled baby beets. It was totally delicious and I was converted to the marinated salmon which previously I haven’t enjoyed raw. The texture was lovely and the balance of flavours a delight. I did shy away from shaving the salmon into wafer thin slices. I know where my skills lie and it’s not this.

The second dish was baked scallops with sauce vierge. Now I will confess to picking out the green olives because I’m sorry, I just don’t like olives. I’ve tried them enough times to know that I don’t like them. With the exception of the olives I loved the dish but seeing as scallops are one of my favourite things we were also going to be onto a winner with this one really. It’s also a beautiful looking dish.

The third and final dish was seabass with herbs, peashoots and orange, a dish that combines another two of my favourite things, seabass and peashoots. I think that Charlotte and I probably ate more peas than we cooked but fresh peas are just so good. Another winning dish in my opinion that, like the other two, is achievable in your own home and kitchen as they don’t require any specialist equipment.

So all in all, a rather fabulous evening hosted by the really rather lovely Tom Aikens. If I have the opportunity to go any more events like this then I will definitely be signing up because I thoroughly enjoyed myself last night.

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