I won’t lie: leaving France three weeks ago after a wonderful break with family and friends was tough. I wouldn’t trade our life here though and I had something to look forward to straight after our return. The team at Marks & Spencer Home had invited me to try out their AW18 cookware. They had planned a cooking workshop at The Woodspeen, a beautiful restaurant and cookery school in Newbury.
It was pouring with rain when I left home so I put away the summer dress and sandals I’d planned to wear and replaced them with jeans, a jumper, wellies and a raincoat. I might have looked like a fisherman lost in Central London, but I was dry!
The day was beautifully planned, starting with pick-up near Paddington station and breakfast to go. The Woodspeen was the perfect cooking school, with a large vegetable patch, lots of natural light, fab cooking stations and a huge table for us all to sit around and chat.
I spent the day with a small group of friendly ladies, putting together recipes with Steve and Laoise, development chefs at M&S, using M&S AW18 cookware and kitchenware as well as fresh produce.
The menu was Michelin star material and I couldn’t wait to start cooking! I paired up with the lovely Miriam at ‘London Kitchen Diaries’ and we worked brilliantly as a team, sharing the cooking and getting our brains together to remember the steps to follow.
First, we made sour potato flatbreads to go with velvet houmous, keema mince, toasted nuts and spices. It was my favourite course as I love food you put in the middle of the table and guests can help themselves to as little or as much as they want. I’ll definitely be making it again.
Look how scrumptious it looked!
Steve and Laoise had prepared the slow cooked lamb shoulder with pomegranate molasses as well as saffron roast potatoes for our main course. We focused on the side: a whole baked cauliflower served with a delicious courgette baba ghanoush. We also put together whole roasted carrots with cumin, yoghurt and pickles.
Dessert was baked yoghurt with poached spiced pear and blackberry compote topped with a sweet rose dukkah.
What a day! The food was out of this world, conversation was flowing and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the products from M&S AW18 cookware we’d been using all day. I already had some favourites:
- everything in the Albany ceramic collection, a range of products that can be taken from oven to table and look great
- the cast aluminium casserole dishes in the Colour Collection
- the pans
- the sharp knives
The new M&S AW18 cookware reached the shelves in my local M&S a couple of weeks ago and I left the shop with a fair few bags! I treated myself to the ivory cast aluminium casserole dish as it’s so light and versatile. Don’t get me wrong; I love my cast iron casserole dish, but it can be hard to clean and it’s so heavy it makes it a tricky one to work with when my children are helping. It’s nice to have something similar, but non-stick and as light as a feather. It’s also ovenproof and it looks great!
My new pan is an absolute dream too! It’s non-stick and so easy to clean! I somehow managed to overcook some chorizo when making chorizo pasta and it still didn’t need any scrubbing afterwards. Result!
As for the measuring cups in the Albany range, I’ve been using them every single day, not only to measure ingredients but also to serve small portions of condiments, for popcorn and I even used the biggest one as a porridge bowl one morning!