Local residents will be exceptionally pleased to learn that Jamie Oliver’s Recipease – a food and kitchen shop where you can take part in an assortment of cookery lessons, buy some top-quality kitchen equipment or ingredients, or pick up some ‘food to go’ – has opened on Notting Hill Gate today.
On the corner of Notting Hill Gate and Pembridge Road (where WH Smith used to be – for decades!), Recipease has transformed the site into a friendly and welcoming space with a smart and modern – not to mention exceptionally colourful – interior on two floors. The open-plan cookery lesson areas dominate both floors, although there’s plenty of other areas besides on both floors – the take-away food section on the ground floor; the displays of kitchen equipment and cookery books on the first floor.
I was very lucky to take part in one of the preview cookery lessons earlier this week, making a “Fragrant Thai green curry” – which, although is definitely in my top ten favourite dishes, is not something I’ve ever attempted to make by myself before. (Unless you count opening a jar of Thai green curry paste and pouring it over some chicken…which I don’t ) I had also never been to a cookery lesson anywhere before, so was also keen to see how what these were like in general and whether or not they were as fun as people say – not to mention to see whether I would indeed learn how to make a dish from scratch and pick up a few general cooking tips to boot.
The welcoming lesson space
To begin the class, our two friendly and highly knowledgeable instructors gathered everyone round the centre of the open-plan lesson space to show us the initial part of this dish (i.e. the paste). I’m not going to go into how to actually making any part of the dish here (this isn’t a cookery blog!) but each part of the process was clearly explained, with a bit of background information on some of the ingredients also given (what’s the hottest part of a chilli? It’s not the seeds, as most people think!), plus some advice on things like peeling or preparing and chopping vegetables.
We were then ushered to our workstations and – working in pairs – we got on to making the paste. All the ingredients were very nicely laid out for us, so it was easy to remember what we’d just been shown and to recreate it. The two instructors also went around helping those that need a few more pointers, and answering any questions that people had.
Thai green curry paste ingredients
The early stages of the Thai green curry paste
The next part of the lesson involved showing us how to make a simple salsa that would go on top of our dishes, and then showing us how to cook the curry and accompanying rice. (Or rather, re-heating pre-cooked rice together with some butter, lemon and nutmeg – it’s fully understandable that standing around for twenty minutes while some plain rice boils won’t be in any cookery class!)
Plating up, the class all sat themselves down on a long table to enjoy what we’d just cooked – with everyone given a glass of wine to enjoy alongside their meal. I don’t want to boast about my newly-upgraded cooking skills, but my Thai green curry was absolutely delicious! (And definitely – in keeping with the name of the class – fragrant!) Judging by everyone else’s empty plates, the rest of the class thought the same of what they’d just cooked. As although I do often like to pat myself on the back for meals I’ve just cooked, this curry was clearly down to the excellent instructors and what we had just learnt!
The end result! (With a few poppadoms on top as an accompaniment)
As I’ve mentioned, I have never been to a cookery class before. This, then, was an excellent introduction – not only was it fun, at no point did the lesson drag on or become boring or difficult to follow. In fact, I couldn’t believe that we’d been there for an hour and half when I looked at my watch as we finished eating. What we had made during the lesson – the Thai green curry – was certainly something that I would be able to recreate at home. I was also pleased to take away a number of other tips to use in everyday cooking.
All in all, I’d certainly recommend a lesson at Recipease – there’s a wide variety of dishes to make, including both main courses and desserts, plus specific lessons to extend your kitchen skills. There are also a number of lessons for kids available as well.
If you’re not yet up for a lesson just yet, why not pop down and take a look at what the shop has in terms of ingredients and kitchen equipment (or cookery books), or just to sample some delicious treats!
See more details about Recipease and the classes available at www.jamieoliver.com/recipease/.