A day away from London with a cooking lesson thrown in is a hard invite to pass up. Rangemaster, makers of the fab cookers, recently hosted a group of Londoners to a day of cooking at the Leslie Water’s cookery school in Yeovil.
A couple of hours train ride from London, we leave the Big Smoke and head through rolling green hills towards Yeovil. We arrive at Leslie’s farm/cooking school/home in time for a late morning cup of tea and a brief intro. Her cookery school is housed in some purpose built converted barns and fully equipped with wall to wall magenta Rangemaster cookers. Leslie runs the cooking school with the assistance of her sister and team of kitchen helpers. Prior to her run on Ready Steady Cook, Leslie had been a tutor at Leith’s cookery school.
Our cooking day starts off with making some bread, namely a Country Herb and Pumpkin bread. Leslie demonstrated a kneading technique which we then applied to our own dough. Soon the group was diligently kneading, chatting and giggling.
After leaving the dough to rise, we start off on our starters a Griddled Peppered Goats Cheese with an Asparagus with Watercress and candied walnut salad. The recipes at the cookery school are usually designed to use all local seasonal produce.
The griddled goats cheese is such a brilliant idea as the pan frying creates a crispy crust and the melts the goats cheese to an oozing consistency. This was then used to top the seasonal asparagus salad. A stunning combination and done is super quick time too. The end result was both tasty and very attractive to look at too.
Back to the kitchen to cook our Scallop and Puy Lentils main course. Leslie shows us how to shell the super fresh locally sourced scallops (from 15 minutes down the road on the Dorset Coast). With the scallops cleaned, we proceed to pan fry the scallops.
Puy lentils is not something I cook with too often so it was nice to learn a new recipe that uses them. The pre cooked puy lentils were then heated up in the pan that was used to fry the scallops, taking on some of the caramelised flavours. Adding the other dressing ingredients like olive oil, balsamic vinegar, butter and basil leaves to pan intensified and integrated the flavours. This warm dressing was then spooned over the scallops and topped with a little rocket.
This was a really impressive looking dish and was delicious too. Definitely one to add to the dinner party recipe list as it was so quick to prepare.
For pudding, we make a very simple deconstructed Rhubard tart. This was made with a very quick pastry base, placed onto a baking sheet in a free form style, topped with fruit and baked. Simple but effective. This was very quick and easy to put together and if you need an idea for a dinner party dish, do try this one. It was delicious.
Both Leslie and her sister are very enthusiastic, friendly and ever so experienced. All the recipes use local and seasonal ingredients and are designed for the home cook to replicate easily at home. There are hardly any cheffy techniques here and even beginners will get great results learning from Leslie.
All too soon, our taxi arrived to take us back to the station. We bade goodbye to the little lambs in the field proudly grasping our freshly baked plaited loaf.
This was one of the better cooking lessons I had been to and glad to say that I learnt some new very achievable new dishes, picked up some tips and made some new foodie friends along the way too. I highly recommend Leslie Water’s Cookery school if you want to learn some new cooking skills in a fun and friendly environment.
For a full range of Rangemaster cookers, check out their website.
The Lesley Waters Cookery School
Abbot’s Hill Farm
Dorset BA22 9SY
Eat Cook Explore was a guest of Rangemaster. All the recipes are courtesy of Leslie Walter’s Cooking School.