John Lewis invited me down to First options Studio in Hoxton for a special event Seasoning and Flavouring with Cole and Mason. Rachel Green was on hand to cook us an amazing lunch and talk us through the importance of seasoning and flavouring. I even made my own dips for the afternoon, which was surprisingly so simple (but took some work) to make and ate it with the delicious lunch Rachel made us.
Confession, I, rarely cook at home, one it’s too much effort, two so much food gets wasted. So I jumped at this special chance to learn from a real chef for tips. The representatives of Cole and Mason gave a brief introduction about themselves and the new products they were launching. Rachel Green came out shortly presenting her basket of seasoning and the importance’s of flavour. Amongst the basket we found truffle salt and smoked salt. The smoked salt left a delicious vanilla aftertaste.
I learned the word to describe the taste of blood is “metallic” and salt is a must to use at the beginning for cooking to enhance the flavour. Pepper is used at the end to give the punch.
Whilst she was talking I did had a play around with the Cole & Mason Precision Windermere Pepper Mill it was amazing how you can turn the switch of the dial to creating 3 different textures, from coarse to fine.
After Rachel’s speech, we were led to the kitchen to our surprise we were told to put the aprons on. I felt like I was walking into a TV kitchen studio, all the appliances and ingredients were nicely laid out with flower arrangements.
Rachel showed us a demo of her peas on toast recipe. WOW, the ingredients were so simple, just frozen peas mixed with some seasoning and it blew us all away. I will post a recipe soon.
We all were give one of the granite pestles and mortar to use and had access to the same ingredients. The very first dip we all had to make was guacamole; my version had avocado, garlic, and lemon, pepper and salt. The garlic press was another amazing gadget; it took the hassle out of peeling the skin. I chucked the whole thing in, and it was finely dispensed.
It was interesting to go round everyone tables to taste their dips we had different taste buds and made our dips according to our taste. The dip only took 5 minutes to make with the granite pestle and mortar. The ingredients crushed within seconds, and a smooth paste formed.
Rachel handed us two different cups of cabbage soup, both had chicken stock, one was not seasoned and tasted like garbage. Tasteless, without a hint of the chicken stock, whereas the other one all the flavours was there.
Our next dip we created was a mayonnaise, egg yolks, garlic, salt, pepper and some lemon was used in my creation. This one took a bit of work, as you have to add the oil in tiny drops to make it thicker. The ceramic pestle and mortar made the mayo super smooth.
The last dip we all made was pesto, who knew you needed a whole basil plant pot to create a small bowl. I can proudly say I used my dip for the lunch Rachel whipped up.
Rachel made a marvellous lunch using ingredients from her farm, luscious roast lamb, and fillets of salmon.
We were all treated to some of her special pepper cake, with blackberries. I shall post some of Rachel’s recipes for everyone in the upcoming weeks. I learned heaps from Rachel and the John Lewis team, thanks for having me.