Sarah Hardy takes part in Curious Cooks, a free online cookery class with Richard Knights of Byfords of Holt in North Norfolk
Well, what a fast and furious 45 minutes! Richard Knights, head chef at the popular restaurant (and posh B&B) Byfords of Holt, has run his virtual Curious Cooks classes for almost a year to keep us entertained in lockdown.
Last night I took part in his Burns Night special, creating two easy Scottish dishes in about 45 minutes. It’s all pretty straight forward, you join in via Zoom or Facebook and, despite a few early technical difficulties, it was fun to cook with Richard’s cheerful face in front of you.
You receive the menu and that all important list of ingredients a few days beforehand so you can shop and get your ingredients prepped and ready to go before the class starts.
And then you’re off! Richard goes at a fair pace and did deviate from the recipe a little – typical chef behaviour, I guess!
We started with a traditional Scottish soup, Cullen Skink, made with onions, potatoes, milk and smoked haddock. It was a bit of a ‘chuck it in one pot’ number which always suits me very well. Richard was much quicker than me and seemed to have a much faster hob – I was heard to shriek: ‘Hurry up you blasted potatoes,’ a couple of times. And I let my soup simmer a bit more as I do like a mushy number!
Next up was a fairly decadent pud – cranachan – made with whisky, of course, oats, honey, raspberries and cream so it’s not a good one for the waistline. Again, the key is to have your ingredients all ready, especially your cream whipped up – which I hadn’t so I got a bit behind! I did enjoy the concept of adding whisky to taste. And yes, you are correct: my dish was very alcoholic.
I thought my roasted oats were a bit horrid – I think I needed a hotter oven – and the dish was probably a little too creamy for me. I guess there are versions around with creme fraiche or something similar that no self respecting Scot would approve of!
If I did it again, I’d use more raspberries and forget about the oranges – I certainly didn’t bother to remove their skin.
Overall, it was lovely to cook alongside others and Richard is a very engaging host. The two dishes were just right for our supper. I think they were meant to serve four but my husband and I made light weight of them – all the soup went and most of the pud.
I think these classes are a great idea and a perfect way to pass some lockdown time. Well done all!