When I launched my workshops a Claremont Farm a couple of months ago I was obviously hoping I would find people interested enough to come along :-)! But I have been genuinely surprised and thrilled at the enthusiastic response and positive feedback I have received from all the lovely people that have attended. The first two workshops sold out and such was demand I have arranged another Workshop for the 18th of November – which again on paper is full.
When I first advertised the workshops I gave a rough outline of what I was offering but had not finalised the details. So I thought I would write a little post to give you more of a feel for what the workshops are about.
September & October, are the hight of the chilli ripening season in the UK, so my table decoration was easy! I was able to display the “Scoville Scale” in chillies, and run through all the varieties from mild to super hot with everyone over coffee.
Whatever workshop you attend I will always provide a hearty brunch, on this occasion it was Shakshuka, made with fabulously fresh eggs from Raby Eggs; Cheshire Tomatoes via Fine Fruits, fresh Harissa made with my chillies of course and topped of with some super tasty micro greens from City Veg, and served with my home made bread.
After brunch everyone got to make there own batch of Harissa, adjusted to their own heat level preference. I aim to make the workshops a relaxing experience and try to alternate the more hands on tasks with demonstrations and tastings ! I do quite a bit of talking – but try to make that informative – sharing everything I have learned about growing and cooking with such a wide range of flavoursome chillies.
I always like to include one salad and, or a fresh Salsa. Many of the Peruvian varieties I grow are perfect for salads, having a crisp texture and wonderful fresh flavours. I was a little apprehensive about how my Venison Blackberry and Hazelnut salad would be received – but thankfully everyone loved it. I used the wonderful “Rocoto Chilli”, it has thick juicy flesh, and if all the membrane and slightly frighting black seeds are removed, it works perfectly in this dish.
Then everyone got to make Tortellini, there was a little bit of a “cheat” involved, but it makes it a relaxing and achievable experience for everyone, they may not have all been perfect, but they were all edible! I made a tomato and basil broth to go with the Tortellini that was already in everyones goodie bag so they had a kind of “Fakeaway” ready to go!
To finish off I demonstrated how to make a simple but super tasty “Quesadilla”, which was devoured with relish!
Everyone took home a “Chilli Gourmet Goodie Bag”, which included a selection of fresh chillies, a 14 page recipe leaflet with all the recipes we made on the day plus many more. And some fabulous Chocolate Chilli cookies made specially for me by the super talented Squidges bakery.
Obviously chillies are highly seasonal in the UK and thus my workshops in the New Year will take a slightly different approach, but you will still be able to get to sample a wide variety of chillies. I will also be including a chilli growing guide, please see individual workshops for details.
I big thank you to the amazingly creative Beth Edmondson for coming to my first workshop and taking all the pictures included in this post today.