In a few weeks time, I’m moving in with my best pal Ellie. After over a year of living alone, it’ll be nice to have someone to drink with in the evenings and look after me when I’m hungover on the weekends. It’ll be great to have someone to let me in when I inevitably forget my keys, and I am so excited to steal all of her clothes. But I’m most excited about the fact that she is an incredible cook. Like, seriously excellent, and she has promised to keep me well fed!
But obviously, relationships are give and take, and I can’t rely on Ellie to feed me ALL the time (apparently) so I need to bring something to the arrangement, and aside from the occasional free meal out that I’m luckily able to provide, I am going to have to up my somewhat pathetic game in the kitchen too. Living alone has mostly meant a diet of pita bread and hummus for the last year, but now thanks to Avenue Cookery School I can add pasta (and eggs benny) to my repertoire!
Avenue Cookery School reached out to me back in September to invite me to their Boozy Blogger’s Brunch which was superb, and then again before Christmas to invite me to try my hand at pasta making, but this time instead of heading to their gorgeous kitchens in Wandsworth, I’d be heading over to the kitchens by Old Street.
I arrived late, as per usual, because the Old Street roundabout is the absolute worst, and Head Chef Diane had already begun the demonstration. Luckily she wasn’t too far in so it was easy to catch up – she was showing how to mix together the eggs and flour together. Alongside her colleague (and son) Richard, she demoed how to make a pear and ricotta ravioli, showing technique required for the rolling, folding, filling and cooking. And then it was our turn.
Rolling out the dough was a fun challenge. There is a definite knack to it which Diane and Richard were able to assist with when it all started to go wrong (which was when I gave it a go) but eventually we got it right – stretched and rolled out to a thin consistency that you could just about see through, though of course, you don’t want to go too thin to avoid splitting when in the boiling pan.
Once at the right consistency it was time to create and add the filling. This was a pear and ricotta filling, mixed with a few chives and a squidge of lemon – all sweet and creamy.
We were extremely over-generous with our filling, using it all up on five ginormous ravioli which we boiled up for about 5 or so minutes!
And with the remaining dough, we chose to make tagliatelle, which involves a sharp knife and a bit of precision cutting.
The pasta was cooked and it was time to plate up for our family style dinner with the rest of our classmates. Diane had prepared for us a stunning beurre noisette sauce which was sweet and rich and filled with walnuts. With a little bit of rocket, I generously covered my pasta with it and took my place at the table.
I enjoyed three of our five ravioli (as my sous-chef was going to enjoy a bowl of the tagliatelle, too!) which I washed down with my BYOB tin of gin. The team had supplied us with some crackers as it was Christmas and some delicious sourdough bread which they had knocked up quickly (turns out it is extremely easy!) for the table. Needless to say, I was extremely full of delicious food by the end.
I’d say I feel confident enough to make my own pasta from scratch now, so I can try and give Ellie a run for her money in a few weeks when we move in together. Luckily for me, Avenue host a glorious variety of cookery classes, from Clean Eat classes to Indian Street Food, and from Dinner-In-A-Dash to Easy Canapé Making. They also have a few Valentine Specials on the horizon, and right now you could enjoy a January Detox Class.
There’s something for all levels of skill, and there is currently 15% off all January courses, so if your New Year resolution was to learn how to cook, your solution is here at a discount!