Girl in Bristol tries her hand at Moroccan Cooking at the Little Kitchen in Brislington …
You’ve probably all gathered by now that I like eating. Actually, that’s probably an understatement. I LOVE eating. Some would go so far as to say I’m obsessed with eating.
When it comes to the cooking part though, I’m quite the novice. I mean, it’s not that I don’t like cooking, I do. I find it to be very therapeutic and rewarding. But when you’ve been at work all day, or when you’re short on time, cooking does easily become a massive chore. Thus, I usually resort to chucking a veggie burger in the oven which is later accompanied by a spoonful of hummus and veggies. It’s tasty, but not exactly adventurous cooking.
However last Friday, I was given the chance to extend my limited cooking repertoire when my friend and fellow foodie Shonette (see her amazing blog here) invited me to Little Kitchen’s Moroccan cookery class. So of course I jumped at the chance. Plus, I love tagine.
The Little Kitchen in Brislington is a relatively new business, its owners Madeline and Claire providing courses and workshops for kids to adults. Groups are kept relatively small and a variety of different cuisines and foods are covered from cupcake decorating to Caribbean cooking. There’s a small herb garden out the back which is frequently used and the main kitchen/ workspace area is at the front of the venue overlooking the street.
When we arrived, the rest of the group were in the herb garden sipping on fresh mint tea whilst Madeline and Claire talked about their experiences in Marrakesh and the things they learnt there about Moroccan cooking. The tea was surprisingly sweet and wonderfully refreshing, giving us the reboot we needed before we all moved swiftly into the kitchen.
We started with the taboon flatbread, a favourite of Shonette’s and mine. The ingredients were already laid out in plastic containers, presented so we could distinguish between the different spices easily whilst Claire and Madeline took it in turns to teach us about how to how to knead the resulting dough properly.
We then placed the dough in oil and left it to rise before we moved onto the chicken mkfoul tagine and warm green pepper and tomato salad. In pairs (“Team Faffy” was clearly the best pair) we slowly went through all the pre-prepared ingredients, whilst Madeline and Claire taught us how to release oils from the spices, blanch tomatoes and brown chicken. It was interesting to learn how much of an impact such small details have upon the overall flavour and texture; I certainly won’t just bung all the ingredients into the pan in future!
By quarter past 9 we were ready to eat after the Little Kitchen staff had set the table, lit candles and turned on the Moroccan music to set the mood. The lemon-infused cous cous was brought to the table and everyone proudly spooned their chicken mkfoul tagine, warm green pepper and tomato salad and freshly baked taboon flatbread onto plates whilst the staff washed up (don’t you wish cooking could always end that way?). For the next half an hour, the group devoured the fruit of their labours and chatted before the session was rounded off and we were sent home with a lemon to ferment for future cous cous dishes at home.
I’m so glad I went on a sporadic trip to Little Kitchen. Madeline and Claire were friendly and easy to follow, the class allowed us to try something a little different, we broadened our cooking skills and we had fun doing it! The whole process also gave us a greater appreciation for what goes into the dishes we have when eating out; the precision and talent behind it.
Chefs of Bristol, I salute you.
153 Wick Road, Brislington, Bristol, BS4 4HH