One of Edinburgh Foody’s former bloggers took a sabbatical last summer, putting her time to good use by doing a month’s course at the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School (ENTCS) on Queen Street. Some of us aren’t quite that lucky to afford that much time out from our day jobs but it doesn’t mean you can’t learn a new cookery skill if that is your desire.
A group of fellow foodies, bloggers and Instagrammers were invited along to try one of ENTSC’s courses. After all this time, their Curries Around The World course, consistently attracts crowds who will book up as soon as a new date is released.
This group of foodies was let loose in the kitchens and what fun it was. Our teachers, ENTCS’s founder, Fiona Burrell, and native Californian Annette Sprague, were very patient, adapting the recipes for the vegetarians and those, like me, who have a fish and seafood allergy.
Since they opened their doors over 10 years ago, ENTCS have cooked their way around the world, teaching over 15,000 food lovers about skills and techniques as well as the subtle art of blending tastes.
I couldn’t have been happier that the course they let us loose on was to cook a Penaeng Chicken Curry, which included learning how to make a Thai Red curry paste, from scratch.
- 5medium hot Dutch red chillies, stalks and seeds removed and roughly chopped
- 2.5cm / 1 inch root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 lemongrass stalks, outer leaves removed and cores roughly chopped
- 6 garlic cloves
- 3 shallots roughly chopped
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp blachan (Thai shrimp paste)
- 2 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 1/s tsp salt
- 1 tbs sunflower oil
- Put all the ingredients into a food processor and grind into a smooth paste.
- Add 1 tbs of water if necessary.
- Freeze any left over paste in an ice-cube tray ( but probably don't reuse the ice-cube tray)
Just like life is too short to make your own pastry, I feel the same about making curry paste and having found a good one from Bart’s (although Waitrose do a similar version), I usually resort to this. However, this paste was so easy to make a batch of, and the curry was so good, that I now have no excuses to make my own in future.
- 450g chicken thighs, skinned and boneless, sliced into thin strips
- 3 tablespoons groundnut (peanut) oil
- 2 finely sliced shallots
- 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 75ml tinned coconut milk
- 1 large fresh red Thai chilli, seeded and cut into slices
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce or light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 4 fresh kaffir lime leaves (I buy mine from the Chinese supermarket and freeze what I don't need)
- 300ml chicken stock
- Handful fresh Thai basil leaves
- Heat a wok or large frying pan over a high heat. Add two tablespoons of oil then add the shallots and stir fry for 30 seconds.
- Add the curry paste and peanut butter and stir fry for 30 seconds
- Add the chicken strips and stir well to coat. Allow the chicken to cook through (3-4 minutes approximately) and keep stirring to ensure it doesn't burn.
- Slowly drizzle in the coconut milk, stirring all the time. Then add the chillies, soy sauce (or fish sauce if using), sugar, lime leaves and chicken stock.
- Turn the heat to low and simmer for 5 - 10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through
- Stir to mix well, toss in the Thai basil leaves and serve at once.
- Serve with boiled rice.
In fact, I liked our dinner so much, that I went out the next day and bought the ingredients to make my own supply. I’ve frozen the rest of the paste in ice-cube trays (I probably won’t be using that ice tray for anything else in future), which means that I have a ready made paste in the freezer. The rest of the ingredients are mainly store cupboard ingredients anyway, apart from the chicken, so this is so simple for a quick mid-week dinner.
Ten years in the making
The school was founded by Fiona Burrell, formerly Principal of Leith’s School of Food and Wine. She began her career in Edinburgh and has been teaching professional cookery courses for thirty years. In celebration of their 10th anniversary, this well-established cookery school has now launched 10 new courses.
The new courses, which include: a Middle East Workshop; evening Techniques Tuesdays teaching core skills such as how to cook the perfect steak; demonstrations; supper clubs and Fringe events, will add new flavour to the already popular calendar of courses at the School.
Past ENTSC students have appeared on Masterchef, opened their own restaurants, written best-selling cookery books, or worked in the food industry, or just been amateur cooks keen to learn a new skill.
So if 2020 is the year that you’ve decided to master your cookery skills, sign up now to one of their courses, which run throughout the year. There really is something for everyone.
Edinburgh New Town Cookery School
7 Queen Street
Edinburgh Eh2 1JE
Tel: 0131 226 4314