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What’s cooking, good looking?

November 29, 2010

Last Friday I thought ‘sod working, I’d rather cook’. And I just happened to have a lovely invite from Alastair Instone of School of Food to attend one of his cookery classes. Alastair said he’d give me a lesson in cooking fish, and that’s just what he did.

First up, here’s the talented man himself:

We started off with our culinary victim: a fresh sea bream from the local fishmonger.

Alastair taught us how to check for freshness, scale and gut the fish.

Then came the clever bit of filleting it. He made it interesting, fun and surprisingly easy.

Next up were the recipes. He taught us three ways to cook the fish. First up we poached the bream with basil, using an invaluable trick of wrapping it in cling film – definitely a trick I’ll be using again and again. We served this with new potatoes, shallots and bacon. And of course we then demolished this delicious plateful.

Next we did an incredibly simple baked fillet of sea bream with tomatoes. This would be a perfect supper dish in the summer, and as easy as opening a bottle of cold white wine on a warm summer evening…

Again, we left not a bone on the plate before making the final dish, pan fried sea bream with a butter sauce. So simple, so good.

And yes, I licked the plate when noone was looking.

The best thing about these types of cooking lessons from School of Food is that Alastair comes to your home to teach you, bringing any kit you might be missing. For me, learning to cook in my own kitchen gives me the confidence I can recreate the dishes when he leaves.

The two hour lesson was really interesting, fun and with lots of tips and ideas that I’ve taken away in my mental notebook. It’s also extremely good value at just £50 each for a perfectly sized group of 4 people. A great way of spending an evening after work with friends? Learning, cooking and eating – seems pretty good to me, and all for less than you’d pay for supper in many London restaurants. 

Alastair runs sessions on sushi making, pasta, canapes and lots of other things. Check out his website to find out more.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Andy Enright permalink
    November 29, 2010 6:12 pm

    Al is definitely the Daddy and I have heard other good things about his services.

    My mother could ruin a Domino’s Pizza by

    a). looking at it
    b). by carrying it up the stairs

    I might have to call upon his services.

  2. Clare Thompson permalink
    December 1, 2010 1:37 pm

    That sea bream has a very expressive face. Photo 1 – looking resigned to its fate; photo 2 – a bit shocked at getting knifed in the back end. And is it a trick of the light or is it waving a fin at me?

    However, the end result(s) look utterly delicious!

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