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Kent Cookery School - Cookery School

Food and Travel Review

Food and Travel Review August/September 2013Old red-brick buildings, a courtyard and broad stretches of green - Kent Cookery School looks every bit a private country estate. An amble through the grounds reveals quirky shops, a restaurant and the school itself, which, on the day of our visit, is welcoming guests for a lesson in Moroccan cuisine.Inside the farmhouse kitchen the coffee has just brewed and shortbread biscuits have been laid out. Former army chef Danny Davies is ferociously sharpening his knives. Thankfully, his teaching style proves to be less militant. We start by preparing carrots, onion and garlic, and chopping lamb shoulder for our tagine. We then add olives and apricots - and brown everything together on the hob. 'There's no such thing as sealing meat, you're actually sweating the liquid out,' Danny thunders over the sizzle of onions. 'It's such a misconception - spread the word!'Tagine in the oven, we fry yellow courgette and add it to clementine segments, tomato, cucumber and pomegranate seeds for a side salad. A mix of colours, and of sweet and savoury, it's classic Moroccan flavours at work. Main course sorted, we turn our attention to our dessert; plaited, aniseed challah bread and mahalkra (honey cake). Both involve a standard yeast blend, so we each mix dried yeast with lukewarm water and a little milk, and set our bread creations aside to rise while we sit down for lunch.Filled up on tagine, we saunter out to the kitchen gardens to see what's growing, and pick mint leaves to brew Moroccan mint tea. Being able to directly source the ingredients you're working with and spend time in a spectacular setting adds an extra dimension to the course. Back in the kitchen, we split our mixture in two. For the honey cake we add egg, flour, orange-flower water and vanilla, and knead with saffron butter before shaping into pretzels, frying and dipping in molten honey. For the aniseed batch, we follow a similar method, adding anise seeds to the wholeflour mix. I launch a first attempt at plaiting and get more than a little stroppy when half the dough flies out of my grasp. 'Test to see if it's densely packed,' Danny urges, with barely concealed chortles. 'Give it a prod and squish out any air pockets.' My second effort vaguely resembles the snake-like twist we're after. On the third, I turn pro. JB. £125.

Our Specialities

What you can learn at our cookery school

  • Bread Making
  • Children's Courses
  • Fish & Seafood
  • Global Cuisines
  • Pastry, Cakes and Puddings

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