Posts Tagged ‘Greek Cookery Class London’

Mousaka making at the Greek Cookery Class

February 1, 2012

There is a reason why I rarely teach mousaka in the class, it’s very time-consuming, tiring for the students mainly and it tests your patience. But also the hard work makes it difficult for me to find a second to take pictures of what the students cook and what they achieve.

For this class we used just over 2,5 kilos of aubergines per tray and we made two trays of mousaka.

You can use potatoes as well, it’s making the cooking slightly easier but then you lose some of the taste the aubergines give to the dish. So we started with slicing, salting and draining over five kilos of aubergines, to make the frying process easier.

While the classes started as a fun thing and a way of introducing the real Greek food back into the London scene, they have also taken a slightly more serious approach in that I do talk about how to eat and cook healthier as well. As I said both in the beginning and at the end of this class, mousaka is not something we should eat every month…. With all the cheese and milk and eggs that go in it, and all the fried aubergines, its taste is divine for sure, but it should probably be a treat for maybe once in a while. And though frying is to be avoided generally, if you are going to fry something, do use a really good extra virgin olive oil, as it stands a better chance to avoid giving you too much smoke to inhale or burning your food. Opposite to what a lot of people believe, it is the healthiest oil to use when frying. However, if we are cooking a dish like mousaka, we might as well get it right, with all its glory and forget about the health aspects for just this once.

The other step for the mousaka is to make the mince. This is probably the easiest bit, you just have to be careful to have a mince sauce which is not too runny, or it will ruin your layout of the mousaka and drip through to the bottom of your tray.

We do a sandwich of aubergine slices with the mince in the middle before continuing to the final step, which is the hardest and most feared by many, making the Greek béchamel sauce, which is poured over the last layer of aubergines.

But before the béchamel, we need to refuel. I had baked some bread ahead of the class to offer it with some extra virgin olive oil but I had also made a Greek favourite dessert, mpougatsa, (=μπουγάτσα) a semolina custard like cream between crispy fyllo pastry sheets that is served with icing sugar and cinnamon, or syrup when it’s also known as galaktoboureko.

And here below are the individual portions that were served during the cooking session to keep everyone going for a little while longer.

 

On top of the mpougatsa, one of my students, all the way from Spain, brought some Spanish authentic jamón to share with the class. So I served it with some extra virgin olive oil and the home baked spelt bread with nuts and seeds. Thank you Mauro for the unexpected gift!

Just like it’s important to have a thick mince sauce, it’s crucial to have a thick and smooth béchamel. Thick so it won’t slide through your layers of mince and aubergine and burn at the bottom of tray with your mousaka dish and smooth, well who wants lumps of flour balls in their mouth? Therefore, it’s important to get started with a creamy base of flour and butter before adding the milk and the rest of the ingredients. Also, there’s a lot of whisking going on, for a very long time.

Apart from the mousaka we made two salads as well, one with rocket leaves, orange wedges and extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice plus some sprinkled almond flakes on top and then a fresh beetroot salad with yoghurt, walnuts and fresh garlic.

When you’re so busy cooking a demanding dish, it is nice to make something that requires less effort as side dishes. Besides, serving a rich dish like mousaka requires simple and light and refreshing dishes to go with.

Everyone had two portions of mousaka after the cookery class which lasted a few hours and everyone also got to take home a big portion of the dish. My sponsor Total Greek Yoghurt also offered pots of yoghurt for each participant to take home in a cooling goodie bag.

Thank you Total Greek Yoghurt, Fage and Kenwood for sponsoring the classes with your products.

And a big warm thank you to all the students who joined and join the classes to learn how to cook some of the lovely food Greek cuisine has to offer, both known and unknown dishes.

What’s really exciting is this email I received a couple of days ago from one of my students saying he had invited his family over and cooked the dishes he learnt at the course and chose to make the mousaka as the main! I was very proud and happy at the same time, because the classes are about cooking together and eating together, but also about taking home the skills you’ve learnt and making the dishes again to your loved ones!

For more pictures, updates and info on classes join the mailing list on greekcookeryclass(AT)gmail.com and keep an eye out on www.facebook.com/GreekCookery

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Greek Cookery Class course – learn to make dolmades, imam baildi/papoutsaki and bake bread!

January 24, 2012

Each Greek Cookery Class is more than just a class and you’re more than just a student. Well, the classes are held in a friendly and warm atmosphere, I work you very hard, sometimes without a break, but if there is a break that we manage to sneak in there are extra tastings and treats of things that are off the menu!

Mousaka made by Greek Cookery Class students!

Mousaka made by Greek Cookery Class students!

This year started with a small course of three sessions where we made Gigantes, Kleftiko and Mousaka! But apart from that the participants made crispy fried courgettes, tzatziki, bulgur, lemon roasted and garlic potatoes, beetroot and yoghurt salad, various traditional seasonal salads and got to try home made kourabiedes, home baked bread, extra olive oil tastings, mpougatsa, baklava and other treats all made by me.

But the joy of each class has been to sit down after 4 hours of cooking or so to eat and taste a meal around the table without the rush to eat fast and leave!

The classes are a bit about bringing back the culture of eating, without stressing around all the time.

We’ll be continuing to cook more authentic Greek food and sitting down eating and discussing together after each cooking session.

This time the course will feature three different dishes and meals:

29 Jan Dolmades

5 Feb Imam Baildi or pappoutsaki

19 Feb Bread baking

The classes are hands-on and you’ll get to learn the skills for cooking these classic Greek dishes that so many of you love. I’ll show what ingredients to use to make each dish a success, we also talk about how to make our meals healthier! And apart from the mains we’ll also be doing different Greek sides/meze and salads in every class to pair with every main to create a meal and there will be other goodies to try out during the class as well, and dessert if you behave 🙂

The cost for the full course is £195 per person for all three sessions. All ingredients, 4,5hr tuition, tastings and meal are included plus a doggy bag to bring some food home after every class. To book contact me via email to arrange payment for your space/s. The 3 week course can be given as a present as well. Advise on booking whether there are any allergies/intolerances. All sessions are open to vegetarians, just let me know on booking whether you eat meat or not.

If you wish to attend one or two out of the three sessions the price will be £80/class, remember each class lasts for about 4,5 hours (eating included).
Book via: greekcookeryclass(AT)gmail.com

The course is held close to Liverpool Street/Old Street stations. Location details only to paying customers and closer to the date of each event.

Pre-payment only.

The course is informal, good fun and you get to meet people who share the love of food and cooking/eating together. To sign up, email me back with your name and anyone else you’d like to sign up on the email below. But it’s absolutely fine to just book yourself in, as many people do join these events on their own!

greekcookeryclass(AT)gmail.com

First come first served, so please book early to avoid disappointment!! I also offer personalised gift vouchers if you want to give the class/course/supperclub as a present to your loved ones.

For pictures and info and to get a feel of what we’re up to visit us to see our previous 50++ classes and Greek Supper Clubs on:
www.facebook.com/GreekCookery and check under photos or visit the https://greekcookeryclass.wordpress.com/

Looking forward to cooking together some of the best Greek food in London.

Press and testimonials:

Your chef Elisavet, devoted to Greek food, has received much acclaim for her traditional home-cooking style. Elisavet’s food has been served at Riverside Studios in London for a Greek festival and she has been featured in Red Magazine (June 2010), Foodepedia and ITV’s Britain’s Best Dish where Michelin starred chef John Burton Race said her lagana bread is “absolutely first class” and the prawn dish she cooked live on ITV was “cooked to perfection!” Also Eating East has given her food and supper club 4**** stars out of 5 in their review: http://www.eatingeast.co.uk/2010/09/22/greek-foodlovers-supper-club-2/

Elle Decoration magazine (September 2011) recommends Greek Cookery Classes as the authentic Greek cuisine experience and Business Traveller US magazine lists both her Greek Supper Club and Greek Cookery Class among London’s top alternative dining places. Elisavet is also the first cook to teach Greek Cooking lessons at Divertimenti Cookery and Leith’s Cookery Schools in London and recently her piece on Greek food in Greece was published in The Guardian.

Private events can be arranged as well, for your work, family and/or friends. Get in touch for separate dates and prices for bringing the Greek Supperclub or cooking class experience to your home or bringing your party to us, or hiring the chef for your private dinner party. Catering is another service offered for your special occasions or office meetings and gatherings.

A thank you to Total Greek Yoghurt and Kenwood for sponsoring with their products.

More details are here: https://www.facebook.com/events/163990180377164/?context=create