Making rock cakes with ‘nana’ has led to a life-long love of cookery for Barbara Crick.
As a child she liked nothing better than helping her grandmother with the baking and learning all about the ingredients.
And now she is a wife and mum, she’s inviting people into her own kitchen to pass on her knowledge and skills.
Barbara is running a series of cookery courses in her Emsworth home with the aim of earning some money and encouraging people to cook with confidence in their own kitchens.
She says: ‘The idea is for people to come away with skills, ideas, recipes and a bit more confidence so they can enjoy cooking for family and friends. We’ll use equipment that they might already have or can aspire to have in their own kitchens.’
Course titles include University Food Survival, First Steps in Preserving, Lunch Club, Cake Baking and Autumnal Afternoon Tea.
For children there’s, among others, Pre-school Cookery, Fun with Finger Food, Half-term Young Chefs and Bonfire Night Spectacular.
The courses are of varying lengths – from an hour and a half for the youngest cooks through to lunchtime, evening, day and weekend courses. Some involve cooking as a group and sitting down to enjoy a meal, while others allow participants to prepare dishes to take home. Ingredients and equipment are provided.
Barbara believes the home is a great learning environment for budding cooks. And she’ll be going through all the basics, as well as the science of cooking.
She says: ‘I’m keen to get across different knife skills and little things like chopping an onion without it making you cry. But I also want to talk about the science, why things happen, the use of raising agents. Baking has to be very exact and I want people to appreciate that and have the confidence in what they’re doing.’
Barbara’s nana didn’t just get her to help when she was a little girl, she encouraged her to learn about the ingredients and memorise them. Barbara has loved cooking ever since and has achieved several diplomas and qualifications, including the Cordon Vert Diploma from the Vegetarian Society and a Sugarcraft City and Guilds.
She says: ‘I find it enjoyable. Cooking is a fun thing to do with your children, it’s great to give them an early start and it means that you know what’s going into your food which is likely to be more nutritionally balanced.’
· To find out more, visit emsworthcookeryschool.co.uk. But in the mean time, here’s Barbara’s rock cake recipe.
Nana’s Rock Cakes
Makes eight to 12 cakes depending on how large you like them!
225g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
115g butter, softened
85g caster sugar
1 large egg, beaten
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp golden granulated sugar (optional)
1.Turn oven on to 200C/fan 180°C and prepare a baking tray by greasing and lining it.
2.Rub the flour into the softened butter until it resembles breadcrumbs.
3.Stir in the sugar and raisins.
4.Add the egg and milk to the mix and combine well.
5.Create eight to 12 heaps with the mixture on a baking tray. Top with a little golden granulated sugar (if using).
6.Cook for 15-20 minutes.
Where better to learn home cooking than in the home? RACHEL JONES finds out about a series of courses designed to get you in the kitchen.