A Perfect Friday or A Cooking Class At Leith’s

For my birthday, my husband bought me a gift voucher for a cooking class at Leith’s called “Flavours of the Pacific Rim”. I had already been to a knife skills course there before and really enjoyed it so was really excited to go back. I don’t work Fridays and the idea of no work, A in nursery and a cooking course was basically my idea of heaven and I wasn’t disappointed!

Leith’s was founded in 1974 by Prue Leith and Caroline Waldegrave, it offers professional (Lorraine Pascale is an alumni for example) and non-professional courses and a lot more (they have a shop, organise corporate events etc). If When I am rich, I will definitely be hiring one of their chefs to come to my house! They are based in West London and so off to Shepherd’s Bush I went on a rainy August Friday morning.

The school is at the end of a very pretty street, I was nosing into the houses as I went along


The class was from 10 til 2.30PM and I have to say I was exhausted and elated by the end. Anyway back to the beginning! They provide tea, coffee and freshly cooked pastries, whilst you are waiting for the class to start


All sorts of people go to these classes the first lady I met was house-sitting in Brixton (she lives in France most of the time) and then I was paired up with an American and a Anglo-American couple, I was really lucky, my group was really fun, we had a seriously good laugh, Tom, who I was paired with was super enthusiastic, I thought he was going to jump into the oil to eat a wonton at some point!

I won’t go into all the details of each recipe but point out the tips (I have provided photos of them all). After a safety briefing, we went off to start making dessert in the nice big room that was at the perfect temperature (I thought it might be stuffy). Our main teacher for the day, Jess was really great. She was very clear, hands on, miraculously seem to manage to spend time with all of us (we were 10) and had amazing eyelashes!

Everything is prepared for you, all ingredients weighed out etc

The menu we were about to make was as follows:

  • Deep Fried Wontons with Nam Prik dipping sauce and miso dipping sauce
  • Pan fried duck breasts with plum and teriyaki sauce
  • Sesame soba noodle salad
  • Mango and passion fruit pavlova

We started by making the pavlova as it takes 1h30mins to cook, here is the recipe:

img_0469The key tips I retained from this part are:

  • use  metal instruments and make sure they are grease free
  • older egg whites work betterimg_0374
  • start by beating the eggs slowly and remember to incorporate all the mixture and go round the sides or there won’t be an even consistency (Jess’s eagle eyes spotted I was making this mistake)
  • You can use some of the mixture to stick the baking sheet down in the corners
  • Always add icing sugar to the cream or it can taste a bit too savoury

Nope we didn’t do the over the head test but apparently mine was a really good consistency! I took to a party the next day and it was a great success.

Here is one the others made (I decided to not eat mine or the day but had some of theirs!)

And here’s a video of the cream whipping action:

We were then take through the wonton recipe including a little chopping demo:

The wontons were DELICIOUS! Fiddly but seriously delicious, so more-ish.


The top tips for these amazing babies are:

  • You have to remove a  lot of the layers from the lemongrass and discard the top 3rd, what’s left should be pliable, soft and thin. I had clearly not been discarding enough! You can use the rest to add flavor to sauces etc but you cant eat it.
  • Expel as much air as possible to avoid exploding wontons! and make sure there are no holes
  • Wrapping them isn’t easy, use water to stick the edges together and aim for a “moneybag” shape.

We checked the first one but it was still raw inside so we turned the oil down so the inside would cook but the outside wouldn’t burn. The next ones were perfect and delicious!


The main tips for the super easy sauces was to peal the ginger and roll the limes before juicing, both super efficient!

Finally, we made the duck, its sauce and the soba noodle salad (which was a doddle).

Here is the duck recipe and the beautiful meat:




The duck was all about the rendering…I had never rendered any meat but it is so easy and worth it! You basically just get rid of the fat by really slowly heating the duck to get rid of as much fat as possible, you need to start with a cold pan and then wait about 8 mins on a low heat. I turned mine up a bit too high so it was slightly burnt…

We then put it in the oven and made the soba noodle salad , which could not have been simpler and prepared the delicious teriyaki, plum and red wine sauce:

And here it is all coming together:

I had such a great time, I’m really considering doing their Cooking with Confidence evening course and will definitely do some more day classes. They are super professional, friendly, organised and make it all seem so easy. If you like cooking, you can’t go wrong with Leiths!

Linking up with Honest Mum’s Brilliant Blog posts because it really was a brilliant day!

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

The Langham’s Children’s Afternoon Tea

I love the Langham, I love afternoon tea and now I’m a mum so I was really excited to be invited by The Langham hotel to the preview of their soon to be launched (August 1st) children’s afternoon tea in partnership with Hamleys based down the road on Regent Street.


I’ve been to the Palm Court for afternoon tea a few times before, the location is great and the room is beautiful as you can see here:

You can take children for afternoon tea in other hotels but as far as I know there aren’t many places that cater to children in particular so The Langham is definitely leading the way! They should also probably lead the way with some chair covers because I fear for their beautiful chairs once little people get their hands on cake! In partnership with Hamleys, the Afternoon Tea is part of a series of initiatives aimed at making sure families have a great time at the hotel, whether staying guests (they are starting some new family rooms and family getaway packages.) or not.

I was the only mum not brave enough to bring their child along (I was also really looking forward to some peace!), the children got to try out the children’s tea and us mums had their Wedgwood Afternoon Tea, which was as delicious as I remembered! It is created by award winning Pastry Chef Cherish Finden, you may know her from “Crème de la Crème”

I mean look at those cakes!!!! I forgot to take a picture of the delicious scones, some of which I was lucky enough to take home (A devoured them!)


Anyway back to the Children’s Tea, here is a copy of the menu:


It was as cute as it sounds on paper, cookie monster went down particularly well!


In The Langham’s own words “For the pastry, Cherish was inspired by the array of characters and storytelling within the Hamleys flagship Regent Street store to offer children a chance to emerge into an alternative reality of carefree fun” .

They have thought of everything including cutlery and the obligatory pens and paper!

All the children seemed to really enjoy it, one little girl even said it was “the best tea party ever!”. I definitely think it would be a great idea for a birthday or just a special treat! The tea is available every day at 1pm, 3.15pm and 5pm during the summer holidays, it costs 27.50 pounds and includes a complimentary Hamleys bear. I hope they keep it going afterwards because I would love to take A for her second birthday or at Christmas.

I will leave you with one last picture of the amazing cakes and I seriously recommend the Children’s Tea if you’re planning on treating your children this summer! Thanks again Langham, parents and children alike are in for a treat! And Aly (http://allmumstalk.com), Tushna (Marylebone mums) and Mia (@Miakulla), your children were all well behaved and very cute, lovely to meet you all!


I was invited by The Langham and the Afternoon Tea was complimentary but all opinions are my own.

It’s another world out there

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Hello everybody!

what a bad blogger I have been… My only excuse is four days in France at mum mum’s where the internet connection is slow and I tried to switch off. Not only did I switch off but realised a few things…

My mum lives in the middle of nowhere in France, literally you can’t even walk to a shop! I live I’m Islington, where there is a Tesco 30 secs away. There is a bar/restaurant about 10 mins walk from her house but if you want to go anywhere else, you need to drive, get on a bike or put on comfy shows for a long walk!

It was so nice to:

  • Sleep in real darkness and silence (I slept 11 hours one night!)
  • sit but the fire
  • read my book
  • be surrounded by nature
  • see my “freres” that I rarely see
  • go shopping in a supermarche (sorry can’t find the accent on the ipad) they have about a million different yogurts for example
  • Eat a raclette
  • chat with my mum in the kitchen
  • watch French TV
  • relax relax relax

and it made me realise what a crazed commercial expensive life one can lead in London, how nice it would be to be live nearer family and how noisy London is and how much stress that causes.

It was so relaxing, I came back fully refreshed and now want to buy a country house! I am not done with London but definitely getting tired with it, also a sign of getting older I think 🙂
Linking up to #allaboutyou allaboutyou


So far so good this week

This week is turning out to be a great week and here’s why:
Monday: I found out one of my best friends from Uni is having a baby! That makes 3 girlfriends expecting 2014 babies we subsequently booked afternoon for next week to celebrate, exciting!
Tuesday: The Taste , Anthony Bourdain is a legend! Chef Ludo’s accent is totally sexy, I can’t resist confident funny men especially those passionate about food! As for Nigella, basically I would be her slave if she wanted me to. I love her hair, her voice, her clothes, her attitude and especially her food and cook books. My signed version of Feast is one of my most treasured possessions and most used cookbooks
Wednesday: impromptu dinner with a very good friend at Machiavelli in covent garden, food was nice, table not time most comfortable but the lovely staff made up for the limited menu. She lived in the US for a year and I am very glad to have her back, she’s being sworn into the New York bar in 10 days and I’m very proud of her
As for the rest of the week, on Friday I’m off to see maman in France, can’t wait to see her and eat delicious food!

I hope all of your weeks are going well!

Domestic Goddess Friday Night

imageimage image image image image TGIF 🙂 On the way home tonight, I had a sudden urge to cook a proper dinner. I have realised I usually make some kind of  “one Le Creuset pot wonder”, chillies, stews etc but tonight I got inspired and am cooking roast pork, mashd sweet potatoes and braised peas and lettuce. See the action above ( I need to figure how to out one pic and then make one comment, not just have a bunch of images one after the other…) Not bad for a Friday night!

Dinner turned out delicious, I used sweet potatoes because my husband is obsessed with them, he goes to cross fit, for those of you who know what that it is you will understand…I think he’s actually starting to get addicted but more on that later….

have a good weekend all!