Reviewed by Emma Rogers
Today, I made sausages! Now let me qualify that by saying I am not a good cook, nor do I enjoy cooking, so I knew today was going to be a challenge for me especially as I didn’t know anyone.
The Cookery School at Little Portland Street is just off Oxford Circus in London. They run various courses in cooking, baking and all-round kitchen stuff like knife skills. I decided to try out the sausage making class to learn something new, and test my limited skills. Turned out it was more educational than I thought.
The class is only about 16 people. There’s a head chef, then a kitchen hand and 2 sous chefs who help out. I was emailed the recipes beforehand for the 5 sausages we made. Chef John took us through some simple skills first for what we would need. We learned about how to cut sage properly, and how to slice onion. This was needed for the onion gravy that was simmering throughout the afternoon and accompanied our sausages at dinner. Did you know that when you grate lemon zest, it’s only the colour you take off, not the peel?
Next, we were given a tray of unprepared ingredients to work in groups. We cut the sage as we were shown, I grated the lemon zest and the recipe told us how much we would need to make enough for 16 people to have dinner. After all that prep, it was down to mincing the meat for the main ingredient. We were working on turkey sausages where other tables had Italian sausage, pork and several others. There were three mincers lined up, and having never used one myself, we were all shown how to mash up the meats. It seemed to take ages, but we managed to force all the meat through the mincer, leaving light fluffy pieces ready to mix with the herbs, breadcrumbs and oil.
Chef John showed us how to thread the sausage skin onto the mixers as we made little patties to fry and try the mixtures to make sure we had enough seasoning. With John’s help, we added more to the gigantic bowl of mixtures while John explained that you have to overseason at the preparation stage because the seasoning lessons with cooking. Each team spent time working the meat through the machines, carefully making the round of sausages each. John talked us through the various cooking times, some sausages for frying and others for the oven.
While this testing and tasting was going on, the sous chefs were setting up the tables for dinner! The chefs were busy in the kitchen making the onion gravy (with vegetable stock and flour to make it thick and creamy) and mashed potato with pieces of squash. Beers were poured all round as we waited for each sausage to cook.
“Which are your favourite 3?” John asked a we were tucking into each recipe. Everyone had a different favourite, which is just as well as everyone wanted their sausage to be the best! Talking to the other delegates on the course, some people had been gifted their experiences, whilst others wanted to meet new people having recently moved to London. There was a mixture of ages, but mainly people who were eager to learn more about cooking and all were surprised to learn so much in just a few hours.
Cookery School at Little Portland Street has a variety of courses available at different prices to suit all kind of experience levels, or anyone who wants to give a unique present this Christmas!
RRP: £125 (Sausage Making Class)
For more information or to book a class visit www.cookeryschool.co.uk.
Cookery School, 15b Little Portland Street, London, W1W 8BW | 020 7631 4590