Before I left my job and headed to Shropshire for the week, I spent an evening with the lovely John Lewis team at the Waitrose Cookery School in King’s Cross learning how to batch cook as it can apparently you can save up to £1,493 per year instead of buying your lunch! I’m all for saving money now I’ve gone freelance and with being at home most days, batch cooking will save a lot of time too.
The cookery school itself was pretty darn lush which was totally expected of Waitrose! I did work for Waitrose for 5 years so I know how high their standards are with everything so I was really looking forward to seeing what we’d be cooking up and what I can take away and use in my day to day life.
We were greeted with a glass of Prosecco that was kept topped up all night which was awesome, and luckily didn’t affect my cookery skills! Before the class kicked off I met up with the other lovely bloggers that were there and it was great to see some old faces and meet plenty of new ones too.
We learned from the lovely team how to make a really basic tomato sauce that can be used in so many ways and can be frozen so you really can make the most out of what you cook up. Our sauce base was literally made up of a glug of olive oil, chopped garlic, with a 400g tin of chopped tomatoes and some fresh basil leaves. As we were batch making we used 3 times these amounts to ensure we had enough for a good few meals.
We were also taught valuable knife skills that I’ve always wanted to get good at so I’ve been practicing those at home whenever I get the chance. So, we mixed our sauces up and left them to simmer for around half an hour to thicken up. If you’re using the recipe for one batch, 12 to 15 minutes will be plenty of simmering time.
To go along with our sauce we made fresh pasta, yes, you read that right, I made my very own pasta! And I loved making it so much that I’ve actually purchased my own pasta maker to wow my friends and family with! Here’s how we made 150f of pasta dough, seriously it’s so easy I’ve wondered why I haven’t given it a go before!
100g of Superfine 00 Grade Pasta Flour
1 Medium Free Range Egg with
1 Medium Free Range Egg Yolk.
Method – if using a food processor
Place the pasta flour in a food processor and, with the motor running, add the egg and yolk. Stop blending when the dough comes to a coarse breadcrumb consistency-don’t overwork the dough to a single mass. Remove the coarse crumb from the processor and bring together by hand. Knead for 5 minutes until you have a smooth dough.-it should be supple and slightly soft but not sticky. Wrap the dough in cling film and rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Roll out the pasta dough with a pasta machine until wafer thin and silky, then cut out into the desired type of pasta and for use that was tagliatelle.
Method – if using your hands!
Place flour on your work surface. Make a well in the center and crack in the eggs; add a sprinkle of salt. Gently beat eggs with a fork, incorporating the surrounding flour, until batter is runny. Bring remaining flour into the batter using a bench scraper until dough forms a ball. Mix in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if the dough feels too stiff. Or you can pop the flour into a bowl, stir in the eggs and sprinkle with the salt then mix. Knead the dough with your hands by flattening the ball, stretching it and folding the top towards the center. Keep turning and repeat until dough is soft and smooth. This can take about 5 to 10 minutes. Shape dough into a ball. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave to set for around half hour minimum. Dust work surface with flour. and stretch out the pasta until it’s ready to be run through the pasta machine.
Look at that beauty, I’m so proud of it.
So from there, we made the basic sauce we cooked up into a Puttanesca style sauce which meant adding dried oregano, dried chilli flakes, 20g of Anchovies in oil with 200g of fresh chopped cherry tomatoes and 35g of Kalamata olives. Another super simple sauce that tasted so divine.
We then chucked the fresh pasta into boiling water for a few minutes then tossed into the sauce, topped with parmesan and devoured.
Just look how good that looks!
We also watched the team create pizza with the sauce we had made and then we spiced it up a little to make some Shakshuka which I will be making at home and sharing how to very soon!
Thank you for an incredible night out and for showing me how easy batch cooking can be, I can’t wait to get going with it at home!