Indian cooking at Exeter cookery school #hosted
It’s been a long time coming.
I’ve popped in for events, met the (very) lovely co-owners, Jim and Lucy plenty of times, and followed their work avidly on social media. But last week, I finally got on a cookery course at Exeter Cookery School – and not just any cookery course – a vegetarian Indian cookery course with Nila Ross-Patel!
Exeter Cookery School is the brainchild of aforementioned Jim (former Masterchef semi-finalist) and Lucy (former high powered bi-lingual PA in the City of London) Fisher who moved back to Devon from France, where they had set up a cookery school Cook in France in 2000. Fifteen years later, Jim and Lucy opened the doors to their dreamy open-plan venue on gorgeous Exeter Quay in the summer of 2016 and haven’t looked back!
The list of cookery courses they offer is varied and enticing; from making chocolate to children’s classes and seafood cookery, there are lots of great opportunities to expand your culinary skills. Many of their courses take their inspiration from world cuisines, such as French Bistro Cookery, Italian pasta making and authentic Indian cooking courses, but Exeter Cookery School takes pride in celebrating and using local producers wherever possible.
I went along to their half-day traditional Indian cookery course focusing on Biryani & Pooris. Nila draws inspiration from her mother, who taught her to cook authentic Gujarati dishes from home.
I got in early and was greeted with broad smiles and a really good cup of coffee (always a winner first thing in the morning).
The space is amazing – it’s rustic, yet high tech with plenty of space to observe and create. The group was diverse with some people who had been on several courses and some newbies (like me). We were all very excited to learn. Nila had laid our ingredients out, ready to be prepped then she demonstrated what we would be doing.
She then demonstrated how to make a layered vegetable biryani with a yoghurt and roasted cumin seed and yoghurt sauce, the screen over the demo area made it really easy to see exactly what she was doing.
She started with the basics; roasting cumin seeds and breaking them down into powder. I’ve made a few curries in my time and (I ashamed to say) for the most part, my spices come directly from the storage jar. The smell of the cumin was divine and I’ll definitely be doing it from scratch in future!
For the rest of the spices, fortunately, Nila had some she has prepared earlier…
Jim and Nila prepared the biryani and Nila talked us through the process and shared her vast experience of India.
Then, we were off! Chopping, prepping, bonding and cooking the biryani ourselves (have to admit that I was most worried about how to cook the rice!). And no, I’m not going to divulge the full recipe here – you’ll just have to go on the course.
All that was missing in the making, was a glass of red wine…
When the biriyani was in the oven, we created our sauce and headed back to the demo kitchen to learn how to make pooris (unleavened deep-fried puffy bread) and a spicy chickpea dish.
To make the poori Nila created a simple dough. Kneaded it to the ideal consistency, rolled it, and used a cutter to cut a perfect circle. Then she lovingly placed the dough into REALLY hot oil until this happened…
A perfect, puffy poori that tasted as good as it looked.
The course was jam packed with cheffy tips, tricks and techniques that can easily be taken home and applied to day-to-day cookery. I’m going to be buying a place for my hubby to go to the next full day course!
Exeter Cookery School is located on Exeter Quay just off the piazza. Parking is easy with street parking nearby and a carpark a few metres away.
Upcoming courses to watch out for (there are lots more on the website)…
One Day Seafood & Shellfish – 19th July
Half Day Children’s Cookery 9-11 year olds (pizza & meringues) – 1st August
Half Day Children’s Cookery 9-11 year olds (mini pasties & shortbread) – 5th August / 24th August / 24th October
Half Day Children’s Cookery 12-14 year olds (goujons & choux pastry) 1st August
Cheese making with Louise Talbot (part I: Mozzarella / Halloumi / Ricotta) – 25th August / 17th October
Half Day Indian Cookery – 5th October
One Day Indian Cookery – 29th August / 18th October
Exeter Cookery School can be found on Exeter quayside at 60a Haven Road, Exeter, Devon, EX2 8DP
For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or head to: www.exetercookeryschool.co.uk
Disclaimer: I was given a free half-day session in exchange for coverage.Tags: Exeter, exeter cookery school, indian cooking