I’m rubbish at making bread. Cakes, quiches, pies, I can happily churn out these things with varying degrees of confidence, but bread? Forget it. I can’t even do it using a machine (my crust is inevitably anaemic and the texture all dense and doughy). As for the “longhand method”, I can’t be done with all that kneading and proving and knocking back – life’s too short. So I was dead chuffed to find this recipe from Dan Lepard. Involving no kneading whatsoever and just a few ingredients I’ve made it about five times now, each time with great success. And I just adore the fact that you bake it in a saucepan.
Let’s face it, a lot of cookery classes can be a bit of a let down can’t they? Far too often you have all the exciting, fun bits done for you, while you’re left feeling more than a little bit patronised and relegated to stir, perhaps. Like some sort of small child, “your” finished dish is praised and cooed over, even though you both know that you haven’t really made it at all.
Thankfully, the Hashi cooking class is nothing like this. Yes, some of the stuff is prepped (after all, you’d be there all night otherwise) but there is an immediate feeling of engagement and passion – I came away feeling like I’d genuinely learnt something new and useful. In Reiko’s beautiful Wimbledon kitchen, along with Su-Lin, Carly, Kavey , Cara , Denise and Luiz Hara (her trusty assistant for the evening) I learnt how to shape gyoza correctly (instead of my usual Cornish pasty type creations), how to balance flavours and the best place in London for sashimi-grade fish (Atari-ya). We cooked up a garlicky beef tataki with creamy sesame sauce, some of the finest gyoza I’ve had in the West, zaru soba with velvety spicy aubergine and her signature dish of scallops with creamy spicy sauce on sushi rice. All this was washed down with copious amounts of green tea and a selection of fine wines to match, lovingly chosen by @winesleuth.