While reading about the history of Swinton Park and the description of the cooking classes, I envisioned myself strolling the lushYorkshire grounds on my way to meet Chef Rosemary Shrager. Yes, Rosemary Shrager teaches at Swinton Castle a few times a year! On her website she refers to herself as the castle chef. I've always loved her cooking!
I long to book myself into one of the castle's 30 rooms and get down to the basics of cooking with Chef Shrager. The website offers this description of her classes:
The two day residential cookery course is designed and run by Rosemary Shrager and concentrates on the classical preparation of food, and mastering the essential techniques. These would include patisserie, baking, sauces and soufflés, boning and filleting, amongst many others.
The two day courses are themed on various styles of cooking, such as French & Italian, Mediterranean Food, Fish and Seafood and Modern British.
The courses start either on a Sunday or a Wednesday afternoon at 4.00pm and the first cookery session ends that evening with dinner served in the Cookery School. On the second day the class will cook morning and afternoon, with lunch and dinner served in the Cookery School, and free time in the afternoon to relax and enjoy the hotel's facilities (such as a treatment in the spa) or take a stroll in the grounds. The course ends on the third day after a morning's cooking and lunch served in the Cookery School.
A typical selection of dishes for dinner on a Modern British course would be :
- Seared Sea Bass on a Bed of Saffron Risotto served with Parsnip Crisp
- Roast Duck Breast with Jerusalem Artichoke Dauphinoise, Pak Choi and Ginger and Walnuts
- White Chocolate Mousse with Raspberries topped with Bitter Chocolate Mousse served with Coffee Anglaise
A typical selection of dishes for dinner on the Mediterranean Food course would be :
- Rosemary Focaccia
- Seared Tuna with Hot Sauce
- Roast Loin of Lamb with Garlic Sauce and Provençal Gnocchi
- Red Fruit Jelly with Basil and Sauterne Sabayon
- Orange and Almond Tuile
All that lovely food, a castle in Yorkshire, and classes with a top chef. Sounds fantastic. Swinton Park offers a number of food related classes and events. All that information can be found on their website, as well.
Here is an absolutely beautiful recipe from Chef Scrager for Chicken and Potato Pie:
- 500 g puff pastry
- 4 large chicken breasts, boned and cut
- into thin strips
- 720 g peeled potatoes, thinly sliced
- 130 g butter
- 3 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons tarragon leaves
- 2 tablespoons chives, chopped
- 2 egg-yolks, lightly beaten
- 240 ml double cream
- Oven 180ºC/350ºF/Gas 4
It helps to have a baking-mat, in which case don't bother to butter the tray but put the pastry directly onto the mat.
Turn the potatoes in half the butter over a gentle heat until they are just tender - don't let them brown. Remove them from the pan and allow them to cool in a large bowl. Meanwhile, soften the shallots in the remaining butter and add the herbs and chicken, turning it over a steady heat for a few minutes until it is partially cooked. Mix it all carefully with the potatoes, season to taste and again, allow it to cool.
Roll half the pastry into a circle about 36 cm in diameter and put it straight onto a lightly buttered baking tray. Brush the edges with egg-yolk then pile the mixture in the middle. Roll the rest of the pastry into a slightly larger circle and cover the pie with it, sealing and crimping the edges. Cut a little circle in the top (about 10 cm diameter) to make a lid, leaving it in place. Brush the whole surface with the rest of the egg-yolk.
Bake the pie for about 50 minutes, checking that it's not too brown - in which case turn the oven down slightly. Heat the cream. Take the pie out of the oven, remove the lid and pour in the boiling cream, lifting the mixture gently to allow it to permeate the pie. Return it to the oven for 10 minutes.