Recently my friend Hannah and I went to a vegan cooking class at The Avenue Cookery School in Wandsworth and we had the most wonderful evening.
Whilst I do not like labelling myself as vegan or vegetarian (because I’m not strictly either; I have a mainly plant based diet with the occasional bit of chicken, fish and dairy), I feel strongly that increasing your intake of plant based foods leads to a better diet and makes you feel healthier and happier. This being said, for people new to plant based eating it can sometimes be tricky knowing what to eat, and even I am always looking for new recipe ideas, so this class was perfect!
Here’s what we got up to…
The evening started with a talk given by Diana, the chef who runs the school. She explained a bit about the school and then went on to show us some techniques for chopping different things like onions and peppers. Something I do all the time but have never actually known the ‘correct’ way so this was great to see!
She discussed the recipes that we would be working from and then we got started with the cooking. We worked in groups to prepare a starter, a main and a dessert.
The space was so well set out; open plan with 3 different kitchen areas and a dining area.
For the starter we made an aubergine and sundried tomato pâté that involved roasting the vegetables first before blending with chickpeas, seasoning and a few other things. Absolutely delicious, and even more incredible when spread on top of Diana’s homemade bread.
The main course was a sweet potato and white bean chilli. I love a good vegetarian stew, but what made this so nice was that we coated the sweet potatoes with cinnamon, cumin and paprika, then roasted them before adding them to the stew.
Then dessert, my favourite! We made a peanut and chia seed pudding which had a spiced apple layer topped with a nut crumble.
There was such a lovely atmosphere in the class. It was very relaxed, not formal at all and working as a group meant you could get chatting to people as you were cooking. Quite a few people came alone and it would be a great thing to come to if you wanted to meet some more people in London.
Lastly, my favourite part… the eating! A dining area was set up, so we plated our food and sat together and ate our wonderful creations. I left with a very full, happy belly.
My only regret was not thinking to bring a spare tupperware so I could take some leftovers home for lunch the next day! I guess I’ll just have to make the dishes again then…