A few weeks ago I was invited to a cooking workshop at The Woodspeen in Newbury. The Woodspeen is a cooking school and restaurant in the beautiful Berkshire countryside and the building, a 19th century renovated farmhouse was absolutely stunning. The brief for the day was to get hands-on with M&S A/W 18 kitchenware and food preparation products and learn how to create delicious meals for the whole family.
When I arrived I was greeted by the lovely M&S team and a delicious breakfast. We met the M&S development chefs, who were busy prepping our kitchen area ready for the day ahead.
After a light breakfast and good coffee, it was time to get started in the kitchen.
We were shown our menu for the day; to start, velvet houmous with keema mince, sour potato flatbreads, for main, slow cooked lamb shoulder with pomegranate molasses, roast potatoes and baked cauliflower with Persian spices & blackened courgette. For dessert baked yogurt, poached pear & blackberry compote, sweet rose petal dukkah. Delicious!!
After a demonstration from the M&S development chefs, Steve and Laoise, it was over to us to create our versions of the above. I partnered up with Charlotte from The Home That Made Me and first up was the Velvet houmous with keema mince, sour potato flatbreads.
I’ve never made flatbreads before and the ones we made had the addition of fermented potato and it was absolutely delicious! The keema mince was made with soy mince (something you can find in M&S) and lots of spices and for a meat eater, I really couldn’t tell the difference! Finally, the velvet houmous (which is something you can find in M&S) was added to the flatbreads and keema mince, if you haven’t tried velvet houmous you must, it is divine!
Charlotte and I cooked everything and then served our keema mince on top of our flatbreads with a generous dollop of the delicious Velvet Houmous. The idea with this starter is that you put it in the middle of the table and everyone helps themselves.
Next, we moved onto our main course, slow cooked lamb shoulder with pomegranate molasses, roast potatoes and baked cauliflower with Persian spices & blackened courgette.
Charlotte and I decided to divide out the jobs on this one as there was a little more preparation. We got going with preparing our cauliflower, which I would never think to roast whole. First we cooked the cauliflower in boiling water in a pan, then added butter and persian spices before using one of the M&S oven to table range of kitchenware to cook fully in the oven – I say cook fully as we may have slightly blackened ours!
The lamb had already been slow cooking, but we finished it with the pomegranate molasses which were absolutely delicious! The final few dishes were the blackened courgette and some roasted carrots.
Everything was absolutely delicious and all of the flavours worked amazingly to create a really rich and flavoursome dish.
Finally, it was onto dessert and we made baked yoghurt, poached pear & blackberry compote, sweet rose petal dukkah. Look how delicious they looked, almost too good to eat!
I had such an amazing day, I learned some amazing tips to help me with my cooking at home, met some amazing people and also had the opportunity to try out some of M&S amazing AW18 cookware. I definitely had a couple of favourites from the day, so when the new ranges came into store recently I was excited to get my hands on some of the range.
I treated myself to some new utensils, an amazing new pan from the Chef range, a new oven to table roasting dish from the Albany range – perfect for family meals and ones where you want to share and finally some new crockery as after seeing and using the crockery on the day ours looked a little tired!
I am a big fan of a family meal and taking inspiration from my day at The Woodspeen and my new M&S products to help I decided to use some of the things I learned to make a family roast dinner a little more interesting.
One of the things I loved learning to cook at the Woodspeen with the team was the roasted cauliflower. This wasn’t something I had tried before so I really wanted to try this at home. I simplified the recipe slightly using butter and paprika to coat the cauliflower and the cooked it in the oven alongside a delicious beef joint from M&S, roast potatoes with saffron, blackened courgette and vegetables.
The saffron potatoes were also something I picked up from the day at the Woodspeen, I never knew how to make beautifully crispy and golden potatoes before but the tips was to par boil them until they are nearly breaking up (shake the pan so they crumble a little all over), then add saffron mixed with some oil towards the end of roasting to give a beautiful golden colour.
I used our new oven to table medium roaster from the Albany range and it looked stunning and was the perfect for roast potatoes, but would also be good for a family favourite like lasagna or cottage pie.
I loved using the silocone utensils whilst cooking, they have a real weight to them and are so easy to clean, they were perfect for making the blackened courgette in the Chef range frying pan.
We had a delicious family roast dinner and even the girls tried some of the cauliflower which is something they’ve never tried before so I was pleased! We love M&S food, it’s such good quality and everything looked even better on our new crockery.
A big thank you to M&S for inviting me to the cooking day and for enabling us to have this delicious family meal! I will be using lots of the tips from the day for our family meals, especially anything using the velvet houmous!
What’s your favourite family meal?
*This post has been sponsored by M&S*