What better way to kick off the Christmas weekend, than a mince pie master class at Jamie Oliver’s Cookery School, in Westfield Shepherd’s Bush. Some said we were a little bit mad for heading down to one of London’s busiest shopping centres on Christmas Eve, and a Saturday to boot, but actually it was plain sailing all the way down.
Jamie Oliver’s Cookery School is actually at the back of Jamie’s Italian and has a similar comfy, urban chic vibe. It was said on Graham Norton’s show earlier this year that Mr. Oliver is the UK’s biggest selling non-fiction writer – only to be beaten by J. K. Rowling in the fiction category.
There’s a whole selection of classes to choose from, with a range of prices, which recently included some festive lifesavers such as learning how to do the full-monty Christmas dinner to our mince pie master class. Although I was gutted that we were having the class on Xmas eve rather than earlier in the month as it would have stood me in good stead for the work’s annual mince pie bake off, where I’m pretty sure I’ve come joint third (out of five) for the last two year’s running.
To be sure my offering to the work’s bake off – a hybrid mince pie meringue tart – would have looked shameful against the mighty pies we walked away with after our 90 minute class. After a festive glass of prosecco, ‘on Jamie’, we had our aprons on as our Italian chef demonstrated the first steps to Jamie’s classic mince pie recipe.
Our chef had cheery and easy to follow instructions. The class was well paced with short demos that quickly had us copying the techniques. First up, our short crust pastry made with just one egg (I’ve definitely been using too much liquid in my pastry) and we were lining our muffin tins with rustic grease paper, both incredibly hipster like and making the pies easy to remove from the tin.
Once we assembled our pies, with full lids pressed down at the sides with a fork to get that proper pie look, our chef ran through the steps to make the mincemeat – something that had already been prepared for us. One of the best bits about the whole experience, you felt like a TV cook with the ingredients weighed out for you and lined up in stainless steel crockery ready for your to get going. It was also nice to not have any clearing up!
The only downside was that normally we have the recipe emailed to participants following the lesson. This makes it easier for people to follow the demonstrations rather than try and take notes. But as this mince pie recipe,# comes straight from Jamie’s latest Christmas Cookbook – we’ll be required to purchase a copy for the recipe! (A bit of a swizz considering we’d already handed over £70 for the privilege of the lesson).
We’ll be back….
This blog is becoming more and more about my food celebrity crushes! We’ll be going to Jamie’s Cookery School in the Spring for Tom’s belated birthday treat, but this time we’ll be making filled pasta – one of our faves.