To help us on our way to dinner party success, Michelin star chef John Campbell of The Woodspeen offered us a place at his cookery school for the Chef in the Cupboard course. As a supporter of the charity himself, this was a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness (and hopefully donations too) for a great cause.
We arrived on a bleary eyed Tuesday morning to a welcoming warm drink and introduction to the course. John and his team were with us every step of the way from 8am - 4pm to show us the ropes. With a booklet full of recipes, which came home scribbled with notes, myself and the other food bloggers were keen to do this campaign justice. It was a lovely small group of four - Alex, Connie and Daisy - which proved to be an intimate and informative course with a friendly atmosphere.
The morning began with a bread making class consisting of some delicious fig and anise rye bread and classic white bloomers. It just went to show that it really is worth making your own bread. A first for me though was making my own puff pastry - wow! So mine wasn't quite the best but it hasn't disheartened me to make rough puff again. During the morning we also prepped our pumpkin veloute and the beginnings of our risotto before breaking for a lovely lunch and tour of The Woodspeen kitchen.
As you can see a mouthwatering spread put together by the Michelin chefs...
The tour of the Michelin star kitchen was especially inspiring. The levels of skill and concentration were so impressive and I loved seeing what dishes they had on for the evening. I even spied a Bakewell tart!
By the PM we were set back to work on our dinner party developments. We made our chocolate fondant mixture and learnt how to bring our risotto back to life for the main event. It was great to hear some insight into how risottos are prepped in advance for serving in a restaurant. Like magic! We also tended to our puff pastry whilst the non-veggie option of roast chicken was demonstrated. For my vegetarian dinner party, I took home some delightful goat's cheese and colourful beetroot for my topping.
The Dinner PartyFor the last hour or so, John went through all our notes to work out planning times with the view that our guests would arrive at 7.30. With all my pots and pans prepped, table dressed and garnishes at the ready, I was (fairly) confident in the evening. My friends Katie, Scarlett, Alice and Emma soon arrived bringing flowers and wine and were excited for what was to come. I'd even got overexcited and illustrated some menus!
The evening was a resounding success and particular favourites included my risotto and fondant - which did rise! Most importantly, I'm hoping the latest Host for Hope social media activity has raised awareness of Pancreatic Cancer Month and encouraged others to host their own dinner party too. I've done my bit and donated below - now it's your turn!
Have you raised money or awareness for a charity through your love of food lately? My sister is having a Macmillan Coffee Morning at the end of this month and I'm already thinking about baking recipes...
Note: I was invited to The Woodspeen for a complimentary course, with a view to raise the profile of Host for Hope. All opinions and words my own, for a very worthy cause.