Would Your Cooking Enjoy a Perk up? Try a Demo Day With Jane Lovett

Last week I was treated by my girlfriend to a day cookery course with Jane Lovett. It was truly a fabulous treat. Jane lives in Northumberland however we were lucky enough to experience one of her cookery demonstrations near Hungerford.

Jane is an experienced cook and food stylist. Having had a classical training at the Cordon Bleu, she has taught at Leith’s School of Food and Wine, run her own catering company in London and, as a food stylist, tested and developed recipes and prepared food for cookery books, magazines and TV.

She is at her happiest when cooking, preparing and eating (!) food and holds the view that cooking should be fun, and need not be frightening or a chore. A good philosophy when one considers we all need to eat three times a day!

She is truly a delightful lady that right from the start made us all feel so comfortable and relaxed. There is no pomposity about Jane or her cooking and when teaching she makes it all appear so easy to do. She produces deliciously tasty, beautifully presented food that we are all capable of cooking.

Of course we all think we can cook and we can but it is so nice to get an injection from someone else particularly someone like Jane Lovett who is a professional. She re-enthused me and sent us home with the recipes she had cooked and we had eaten.

I have written up one of her recipes – Pistachio and Mini raspberry Pavlovas as I have tried it with great success. I will be sharing some of her other recipes like Beetroot, Walnut and Pumpkin seed salad with whipped Feta very soon.

During the demonstration Jane gave us so many ‘cooking tips and tricks’ that I would like to share with you. Many you may already know but some may be new to you as they were to me. And some I had just forgotten so again I needed a ‘refresh’.

  • Never put a sharp knife in a dishwasher or even in the sink as it will dull the sharpness. So just use a hot clean cloth and wipe it down.
  • Never store your sharp knives in a drawer. Always put them in a wooden block or on a magnetic storage strip for the same reason as above.
  • Finally only cut things on wooden chopping boards, again to stop your knives becoming blunt. Contrary to popular belief, plastic cutting boards are not automatically safer than wood. Studies have shown that wood can actually be more sanitary in the long run. People assume that because wood is a porous surface and plastic isn’t, plastic boards are more resistant to bacteria.
  • Invest in a good knife sharpener! Jane recommends this one – click HERE.
  • Ripen avocados in a fruit bowl and then store them in the fridge.
  • To create the avocado fan shape: cut the avocado in half lengthways. Remove out the stone. Cut the avocado lengthways in slices, through the flesh only i.e. not the skin, but leave 1cm at top (thin end) of avocado uncut. Then gently scoop out of skin using a spoon place stone side down on plate. Gently squash down using your hand and it will naturally fan out.
  • When roasting meat make sure the piece fits the tin snugly. Too big a tin means it will not cook as well.
  • Once a piece of meat is cooked remove it from the cooking pan and put on a cold plate for 10 minutes to stop it cooking and then place it in a warming oven and it will stay warm for hours but will not cook any more. (In AGA use your warming oven with door slightly ajar.)
  • When whipping cream if you are not using it immediately and will be storing it in a fridge then under whip it as it will thicken up in the fridge.
  • To store herbs: wrap in damp kitchen towel and then put back in the packaging they came in and pop them in the fridge. They will last a lot longer.
  • To store nuts so they do turn rancid: keep them in pots in the freezer.
  • When making a meringue and placing it in the oven on a piece of baking paper or bake-o-glide then use a small bit of meringue mix at each corner of the paper to stick it to the pan. This enables you to lift the cooked meringue later without bringing the paper with.

So I can highly recommend a refresher cookery course and, of all the ones that I have done, Jane Lovett’s demo day was the best. She understood the daily life of a busy woman and how to make the most flavoursome dishes with the minimum of work.

For more information on Jane Lovett click HERE.

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