I am still on cloud nine about the Masterclass with Marco Pierre White, and I will explain why....
I am in no way a cooking expert, in fact I would actually say I am a better baker than a cook. But I have always loved watching (most) cookery shows and if I see something I think I would like to eat I often try and make it myself.
Ever since I can remember I have been a 'fan' of Marco Pierre White and this is mainly down to the fact that he uses ingredients that I would have in my home! I have eaten at Frankie's in Knightsbridge, the restaurant he shares with Frankie Dettori. I also had the best meal of my life in The White Room, which is one of the Restaurants on board Ventura the P&O cruise ship, the restaurant was created by Marco. I will always remember the deep fried duck egg served with asparagus. It still amazes me now that it had a runny yolk, yet it had been deep fried!
So after a very sleepless night, I got up Tuesday morning very nervous! Today I was going to meet someone I have the highest respect for. Thoughts going through my head are - is he going to be waving his knife at me, and am I going to go as red as a tomato because I am embarrassed, will I even be able to string a sentence together?!
So I leave my children in the safe hands of my sister, and walk to the nearest train station. on the 50min journey to London those thoughts are still running through my head! When I get off the train at Waterloo east, I walk over to Waterloo and grab a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato (starbucks is a real treat for me, we do not have one near us, I wish we did). Then I checked my twitter and saw that Helen from The Crazy Kitchen (a fellow winner) was already in Wandsworth, I was very grateful as I didnt want to be the first there!
So I got to Wandsworth (walked around in a big circle once!) and met Helen outside of where we would be meeting Marco. The first thing I saw was Marco's car and his legs hanging out of it! Eeeeek! I was standing just a few feet away from Marco Pierre White!
We were lead inside, sat down and offered a drink. Everyone was very friendly and chatty. Two of the other winners Mel from Chef Mels Kitchen , Helen from Fuss free flavours were there, unfortunately the other 2 winners could not make it but the founders of BritMums Susanna (A Modern Mother) and Jen (Jenography) came in there place for a few hours.
Marco came in and said hello, he was very nice. His tone just put everyone at ease, he asked where were all from, took an interest in what we were saying and was very chilled out. Relief came over me at this point! I knew then that I would not need to worry about all the things I had been worrying about all morning!
We were then ushered into the kitchen area, sat down and got our notepads (and cameras!) at the ready! There were cameras filming everything throughout the day, but I didn't really notice them.
Marco came out, had another chat with us all. We all got to ask him some questions, one of the things he said that stuck with me was 'I am a great believer that when I am at home, I am exactly the same as yourselves - I want to cook a quick meal with store cupboard ingredients' and going back to what I said at the beginning of this post, that is exactly why I like him as a chef.
The first dish he showed us how to cook was Turkey bolognaise, we use mince a lot in our house so I loved this alternative to Beef. Marco explained to us that he uses stock as a seasoning rather than just a stock, this made sense, he uses the Knorr stockpots. I have used them before and sometimes have found them to be too rich but I now know its because I was using them the wrong quantities (oops!). He surprised us all by adding dark chocolate to it! It was only a small amount but actually it really did make a difference and gave it a different depth of flavour. I also noted that he advised to put in flavours such as chilli, chocolate and parsley at the end of cooking so you can identify each individual flavour.
Next Marco told us he would be making a Turkey Waldorf salad, he explained that Waldorf salad was one of the first things he learnt to make when he was working at Hotel St George (Harrogate) in 1978. This was a really fresh dish, using left over turkey. It was light and very refreshing, something I can see me making to go along side a summer bbq! He explained that he never throws away celery leaves, he chopped them up and added them too the salad.
It was a very simple dish and he advised us 'The more you put in, the more you take away so keep it simple'
This ethos was used in the next dish too, he made Turkey and leek casserole. We were all surprised at how flavoursome it was considering that very few ingredients were used. We also were surprised at how quickly it was cooked. Marco used left over turkey so I suppose that quicken'd it up but the whole casserole only took 20mins at the most! A real winner for me as a busy mum of 2!
The next dish was something that to be honest I had been dreading! That sounds awful and incredibly ungrateful of me, but the dish was turkey Thai green curry. I am not a fan of curry, I will happily make it for my husband and my son but the look of it puts me off so I do not tend to eat it myself.
But thankfully Marco has changed my opinion on curry! Yes I did think it was a little to hot for me (but then he did add 5 chilli's to it!) but I would be happy to eat this again with less heat! This was another very quick meal, it was cooked in just under 20 mins.
I had noticed that Marco had used fresh parsley to dress every meal so far, I also noticed that he had been soaking it in water before using. I asked him why he put it in the water and he said it was so that it did not wilt when it hit the hot food. Very useful tip I thought.
The last meal of the day was Turkey Milanese, this was so so yummy (as were all of the other dishes!) but by this point I was so full up I only managed a few mouthfuls! I was surprised I could even walk!
We then had photos taken...
Then another surprise was that we were all given a copy of Marco's cook book (Marco made easy) which he gladly signed for us all. I asked for mine to be signed to my children, which he was happy to do, he even drew them a picture of pluto!
That was the end of my dream come true day! It was totally awesome, Marco was so lovely and friendly. Yes he did have that knife in his hand almost all of the time, but it wasn't scary at all! Oh and I'm not ashamed to admit that yes I do still think he is very charming, there is just something about him that makes him easy on the eye*blush*