I woke up with nothing to do in a city where there is everything to do. Feeling a bit uncertain, I remembered something I was hoping to accomplish while in London: take another Ateliers des Chefs class. The first one I took with them was in Paris last year, and it was a fantastic and affordable experience. I had my sights set on checking out the London studio, but with their strict one-month in advance booking policy, I'd forgotten all about it. I hopped on the phone with them, they had room for one more, and I had something to do today.
What we created today reminded me of a jazzed up version of fish and chips. There wasn't a deep fryer in sight, however, so if that's what you're after, I'd suppose you'd be quite disappointed with this menu. The food was tremendous though and it literally only took the 30 minutes that the class called for (look out Rachel Ray).
Shortly thereafter, we sweated the shallot in some butter until it was sufficiently brown. The instructor added a splash of water to slow up the cooking process because the cast iron pans were quite hot, a technique I hadn't thought to do before. After that, we added in diced pancetta and the room was instantly enveloped in a smokey, bacon'y perfume. In went a good clip of peas, followed by the herbs, and perhaps a cup or so of chicken stock. It bubbled away for a bit and then we removed it from the heat to prep our frying pans for the fish.
It never ceases to amaze me that there is a takeaway from each of these cooking classes I take. Today, it was just how much some people need that carrot dangled in front of them when it comes to cooking. I guess it does pay to drag your children into the kitchen when they're small and give them the tasks that you don't want. I'm sure Sheila had me wielding a knife, and most certainly a potato peeler, at the age of four. Tomorrow, I'm venturing to Notting Hill for another class on Spanish tapas. Small plates, big learning...brilliant.