I’ve spent most of the weekend on my feet but couldn’t be happier as I was in my element doing my thing at the official launch weekend of Central Street Cookery School. Londoners, be prepared to be very excited about this fabulous new cookery venue; Central Street Cookery School is part of St Lukes Trust, a vibrant community hub in EC1, and is already attracting a lot of interest from talented local chefs to run classes and events.
I went to check out the venue a couple of weeks ago and knew from the moment I stepped in there that this was going to be a unique place. The space is light and open, with a bright and funky design aesthetic and all the toys any chef could need. With delightful community food gardens planned out the back, this place is set to be a culinary urban oasis.
As a charity-run cookery school all the proceeds from private events go towards community cookery projects, so the concept behind the venue is something really special. I was thrilled to be asked to take part in the open weekend which was about Food as Art, linking to the Finsbury Arts Festival which was going on around the centre over the weekend.
The buzz on Saturday was amazing, with a real mix of people coming by to sample some food and find out more about the school. Juicing, cake lolipops, ‘eat your own plate’, raw spaghetti and an amazing gingerbread tea set were the main activities on the day. There was also a pop-up kitchen shop with an array of modern and ‘vintage’ cookbooks and donated culinary knickknacks looking for a new home.
My contribution was to make raw courgette spaghetti which was tossed in a pumpkin seed pesto sauce. To make the courgette noodles I used a gadget called a spiralizer (purchased from www.ukjuicers.com) which generated a lot of interest. The finished dish itself challenged a few preconceptions about raw food and the idea of ‘pasta’. Most people were excited to try the dish and even those who were dubious were thrilled with the taste and texture. Part of the secret to the success of raw pasta is to create a really good sauce, something to delight the tastebuds and also serve as a marinade to slightly ‘cook’ the noodles. I decided to make a pumpkin seed pesto because I love to mix up the nuts I use in my pestos and go beyond the pinenut, which although delicious is not the most budget friendly ingredient. Pumpkin seeds have a great nutrient profile and add a really earthy type of nuttiness which I love. I also used a combination of chives and basil and would encourage you to experiment with different combinations of herbs when making pesto.
I had a few people asking me for the pesto recipe, so here it is:
Pumpkin Seed Pesto
1 cup of pumpkin seeds
½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 large bunch of chives
1 large bunch of basil
2 cloves of garlic
A large pinch of sea salt (+ more to taste)
½ cup water (+ more if you require a thin pesto)
- Place the pumpkin seeds in a food processor with the ‘S’ blade attachment and blitz to produce a ground seed mixture.
- Next add the olive oil, chives and basil, garlic cloves and salt and blitz again until you get a nice chunky paste.
- Add water to thin the pesto down to your desired consistency.
- Check for flavour and add more salt to your own taste.
I’m really looking forward to holding classes at Central Street and my first scheduled class should be on 23rd June, 11am-2.30pm:
Decadent Raw Desserts by Supernourished
This class will introduce you to the basics of creating naughty but nourishing raw food desserts. All recipes are naturally gluten and dairy free and use natural sweeteners and other wholefood ingredients. Think chocolate brownies, luxurious cheesecakes, fabulously fruity summer tarts and pots of mini desserts to wow friends and family this summer.
Please email me to pre-register your interest in this class. The cost will be £100 per person
Central Street Cookery School: www.centralstreet.org
Gingerbread tea set by www.maidofgingerbread.co.uk