There’s no denying the TV viewing public loves a cookery show. But, although I enjoy watching them and pretending I will recreate whatever they are cooking up, I always end up feeling sad that they are yet to invent ‘smellyvision’ and very, very hungry.
So for me, the cooking class at The Urban Kitchen was perfect.
I got to watch a talented cook create gorgeous dishes, plus I could smell the herbs and spices and, even better, eat the end product. Plus, seeing as I helped create the dishes and was given the recipes to take home, I really will recreate them in my own kitchen.
Founder Toral Shah hosts the classes in her own apartment, which has a ridiculously mod-conned kitchen and cupboards so full they would rival any restaurant’s. Pouring our small group a glass of wine each (which she kept fully topped up throughout), Toral talked us through each recipe step by step, getting us involved with kneading bread, crushing cloves, chopping chillies and stirring the bubbling pans of curry (we were there for the classic Indian cooking class, but she also teaches Spanish, Italian, dim sum and more).
Toral is a firm believer in the 80:20 rule – 80% good food, 20% naughty. And these recipes followed that rule, with ghee substituted for small amounts of olive oil and dishes that included lots of fresh veg, garlic – which is good for your immune system and cholesterol levels – and chilli, which is good for your metabolism. But there’s a little bit of cream and butter in there to balance things out and, quite frankly, make it taste damn delicious.
I can testify to that as we finished the class by sitting down to eat our three curries, freshly-baked naan and rich bowl of daahl… MasterChef, eat your heart out.
The Urban Kitchen, Unit 2 The Flag House, 47 Brunswick Court, SE1 3LH
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