Tucked away in the heart of Bristol's Brislington, an unassuming shop front shines bright along this residential street on an autumn evening. Inside, nine eager foodies prepare to cook up a Caribbean feast at Little Kitchen Cookery School. And feast we did.
Little Kitchen were finalists in the Crumbs Awards 2017. Up against some stiff competition, they did very well to make the finals. The school has been running for 3 and a half year by co-founders, Claire and Madeleine. Madeleine comes from a food and cookery teaching background and Claire is the previous owner and cook at The Food Warren.
I had brought my mum along for a mother-daughter mid-week new experience. There were three sets of couples, one other person and us. And what a lovely bunch we were. The do-it-ourselves menu was as follows:
Sweetcorn Fritters with a pineapple dipping sauce
Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges
Claire was taking our class and she really was lovely, friendly and welcoming. She tutored us so well (despite not feeling too well) offering tips, tricks and alternatives we could try at home. I learned that All Spice comes from an actual All Spice tree, and is not a blend of spices (or is that just me who thought that?). I also learned a new way to chop onions and prep sweet potatoes. The kitchen assistant was lovely and friendly too. She attended to our every need and ensured that all equipment and ingredients were set up and cleared away at the right times. Or it certainly seem that way.
I have attended some (not so good) cookery classes before where you just watch demonstrations, which to me is such a bore and not how you learn to cook! Claire demonstrated how to cook each bit step by step and we followed her, cooking in pairs and learning-by-doing. It was a very hands on experience, and Mum and I loved getting stuck in and getting our hands messy.
The equipment was good quality with enough workspace for everyone. One of the ovens wasn't working properly, which they explained had just been installed that day - just typical when you need them to work, hey! Everyone was saying how wonderful the knives were. Made chopping up veg a breeze. I now realise I need to make an investment and update mine!
We got to eat the fruits of our labour at the end with a lovely group of people. The jerk chicken weren't all ready at the same time, which was a bit of a shame because half the group started eating before the rest of us. But I'd rather that than come down with food poisoning, and all good things come to those who wait!
For me, the sweet potato wedges were the star of the show. We learned how to get them really crispy and tasting great. The fritters were also a big hit. I have already made them at home and tweaked the recipe to make them suitable for vegans - click here for the recipe.
The chicken was oh so very tender, juicy and delicious. You could tell the chicken was good quality and the marinade was full of flavour. Claire offered an alternative vegetarian variation using halloumi instead of chicken, which sounds like a great Flexi Tweak!
The slaw was delicious, crunchy and vibrant but if I were to make it again, which I'm sure I will, I would not use so much sugar, if any at all. I make a similar slaw and don't add any. But this is just my personal preference.
A lovely touch was that a lot of the ingredients we used like the mint and chilli peppers had been hand picked from Little Kitchen's garden. I also like that you could bring your own drink. It wasn't a big booze up, as it was a "school night". But I did enjoy my kiwi and lime cider with my sweetcorn fritters!
I would say (and this really is a nit pick!) it would have been good to have a wash basin near the cooking area to wash our hands and surfaces when handling raw meat and vegetables. That said, the evening was fantastic and inspired me to cook more Caribbean food.
I will most certainly be back for second helpings at Little Kitchen. As you can see, I was one happy camper >>
It makes a great "date night" for couples, or a fun evening out with family/friends/colleagues. I have already promised my boyfriend we'll learn to make pizza together (his favourite food). There are so many courses to chose from we really are spoilt for choice.
Thank you Little Kitchen. I'll see you again very soon!