A couple of weeks back, the lovely folks at John Lewis invited a bunch of bloggers to join them at the Waitrose Cookery School for an evening of cookery and cocktails. Designed to be an event to inspire us in our own cooking, we had a marvellous evening of cooking, chatting, and generally getting festive.
Blogging in the age of snapchat and insta-stories requires all phones to be at the ready!
For the cooking tasks the lovely Gerry and Shauna would demo a dish, and then we would return to out mini-kitchens to replicate what we’d seen. I had the most fun cooking with my little team. Above you can see the wonderful Charlie folding up duck parcels in pastry – these were rich and satisfying little morsels!
As well as these we made decadent, cheesy risotto balls and the most awesome cranberry and dark chocolate biscotti which I’ll be working on my own version of soon – perfect for gifting! In the meantime, the recipe for the biscotti gorgeousness is as follows:
HAZELNUT AND CHOCOLATE ORANGE BISCOTTI
50g blanched hazelnuts
120g Leckford white plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp cream of tartar
35g dried cherries
25g orange dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 large free range egg
½ orange, finely zested
1. Preheat the oven to 180C, gas mark 4.
2. Place the hazelnuts onto a baking tray and toast in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until golden. Remove and leave to cool. Do not snaffle any to eat (so tempting!).
3. Place the remaining ingredients into a large bowl. Mix well together to form a dough, adding a splash of water if the dough is slightly dry. Tip onto a floured surface and gently knead until soft. Divide into 2 and roll each into a sausage shape.
4. Line a baking tray with baking paper and lay the sausages on top, making sure they are well part. Place in the oven and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown and firm to touch. Remove and turn the oven down to 140C, gas mark 1.
5. Leave to cool slightly, then slice each roll at an angle into 1cm thick slices.
6. Place the slices onto a lined baking tray, return to the oven and bake for a further 12 -15 minutes until firm and crisp.
7. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool. Place in an airtight container until required.
Charlie gives excellent cooking poses (I’ve done food events with her before and the girl can truly work a camera!). As does Miss Katy, of course!
The cookery school was such a great space to work in – it was lovely to be able to work as teams to create some really yummy dishes!
Once everything was in the oven it was time to enjoy the beautiful Christmas tree (how adorable is that little camera ornament?) and to sip on a beautiful cocktail designed by Matt, our mixologist for the evening.
I had such a lovely time at the event and left feeling inspired – the cocktails particularly got me thinking and I’ll be working on some concoctions of my own for our festive drinks and dinners. John Lewis is such a big part of Christmas in our household, and this event was a terrific way to kick off the festive planning and preparations!
Disclaimer: I was invited to this event and hosted by John Lewis for the evening. All thoughts, opinions etc are my own, as ever.