Culture Night is a highlight of the year for many people. Thousands of people across the country celebrate an evening of creativity, unique experiences and glimpses behind otherwise closed doors. This year it returns once again on Friday September 22nd with over 3,000 events taking places. I was lucky enough to be invited along by Conway Communications and Dublin Bus for a sneak peek preview recently. Continue reading
I grew up in Rush so Lambay Island was right in front of my eyes my entire childhood. At one point during an obsessive Famous Five phase I was convinced Lambay was in fact Kirrin Island. I was devastated to find out the truth. I would never row a little boat to the island, discover treasure, drink lashings of ginger beer and foil a plan by some ruthless thieves to steal the aforementioned treasure. Continue reading
Back in May last year I took it upon myself to improve my cooking skills. I wouldn’t exactly starve in the kitchen but I wouldn’t blow your mind either. I had some holidays to use up from work so I decided to take a week off and embark on Cooks Academy Essential Cookery Course.
The course runs for five days from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. each day and is described as follows:
‘Spend a wonderful week cooking and learning here at Cooks Academy. Because we stream participants of different abilities, this course will suit you either as a total beginner or as a cook with experience. You will learn the basics of classical cooking along with a concise discovery of cooking methods and techniques giving you the background to enable your skills to mushroom in the future. A great course if you’re taking a break from your hectic work for a week’ (from Cooks Academy website)
The first day we got to meet the team from Cooks Academy. All very professional and personable. There were about 15 of us taking part for the week so over a batch of freshly baked scones and mugs of tea we started chatting and began to get to know each other.
We were given a book of recipies and a plan for the week broken down by day of what dishes we would cook. It averaged about 8 differant meals a day including everything from soups to mains to desserts. The first morning also included some of the basics like knife skills, a tour of the kitchen and actually showing us various kitchen untensils and how to correctly use them. It was surprisingly helpful that bit.
After the introduction we were asked to get ourselves into pairs as we would be working together for many of the recipies. It was all a bit like being picked for teams in PE. A little bit of shuffling about. A bit of looking at the ground and then a few ‘will you work with me’ in hushed tones. Everyone managed to find a friend and I was paired up with an excitable young lad who was rearing to go.
The format was the same for each day. One of the chefs would demonstrate the dish right in front of us and talk us through the process while giving us tips on how to improve our cooking and answering our never ending stream of questions which I’m sure they had heard a million times. Once that was done we were let loose in the kitchen to recreate it ourselves.
For all of the dishes the staff had already set out all the ingredients at our work stations. This was really just so we could fit all the dishes in and didn’t have to waste time measuring out ingredients. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume they figured we would be able to do that ourselves at home. Maybe they gave us too much credit!
Throughout the week we made a great mix of dishes and usually after we made a dish we went back to the seating area and sat down and ate. It was cook eat, cook eat, cook eat, roll home. Not a bad way to spend a day. Some of the dishes we made are coming up below. Yes they were all made from scratch and all made by me. I was kinda impressed with myself.
On the final day of the course we spent the afternoon preparing just one dish which was a very tasty apple tart. After that the staff had organised an end of course graduation for us which was a really great touch. Everyone was called up by name to receive their certificate and shake hands with the chef, while enjoying canapes accompanied by prosecco. It was a really nice way to finish off the week.
It’s not a great picture, bit fuzzy but was great to take a picture with the entire class, and of course our apple tarts.
The course is currently priced at €450 which equates to €90 a day. Given that every single ingredient is supplied for you, all of which are of excellent quality I personally think it’s great value.Contact Details: 19 South William Street Dublin 2 Ph: 01 6111 666