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NOW CLOSED Share your best dinner party dishes with Waitrose.com - you could win a £100 Waitrose voucher

(100 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 13-May-12 17:28:35

On Saturday 12th May Waitrose.com sent 12 Mumsnetters and their guests to Waitrose Cookery School in North London to attend a Michelin-star cookery masterclass. They spent the day preparing (and eating) a three course dinner party menu consisting of:

~ Roast scallops, potato gnocchi and truffle emulsion
~ Rack of lamb with braised peas, bacon, lettuce and mint with dauphinoise potatoes
~ Inverted lemon tart, summer fruit salad and lemon yoghurt sorbet

This thread is for their feedback on the day but we'd also like to open this up to all on MN - so if you didn't attend please add your own comments on your favourite dinner party dishes - what's the best dish you've either made for or been served at a dinner party? Everyone who adds their comments to this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one winner will receive a £100 Waitrose.com voucher.

For those of you who attended the event, please tell us all about it. Specifically we'd like to know:

~ What did you enjoy most about the cookery masterclass? Was there anything that particularly stood out for you/your guest?
~ What was the most valuable tip you learnt on the day?
~ Which dish did you enjoy cooking the most and why? Do you think you will you cook any of these dishes again? Have you thought on any twists on the dishes you cooked that you'd like to try?
~ Do you think you'd recommend a class at the Waitrose Cookery School to a friend or family member? If so, why? If not, why not?

Please also feel free to add any other comments you have about the day.

We hope you enjoyed the experience, good luck with the prize draw.

MNHQ

lumbago Sun 13-May-12 17:29:50

you cant go wrong with a nice lemon tart imo.
im crap at pastry but my mate isnt. everyone loved them and not too ££ wither

That's not the main course that we cooked....

~ What did you enjoy most about the cookery masterclass? Was there anything that particularly stood out for you/your guest?

I really enjoyed learning how to make new dishes. The Chefs worked fantastically well as a team and made us all feel very welcome. Although they used 'chef words' they explained the meaning, so we all came away with new vocabulary to bamboozle our friends. grin I also liked that someone else cleared away our cooking utensils/pans to keep the work/cook area tidy.

~ What was the most valuable tip you learnt on the day?
How to present food in such a way so that it looks fabulous as well as tasting amazing. Having the chefs onhand to check and advise while we were cooking was handy.

The best tip was to put the pan on the heat without butter/oil for cooking until just before you need to use it.

~ Which dish did you enjoy cooking the most and why? Do you think you will you cook any of these dishes again? Have you thought on any twists on the dishes you cooked that you'd like to try?

My favourite dish was the scallops, although the flavours of the dessert were amazingly thought out.
I have already organised to have some friends round and will cook the whole menu for them, although probably wont do all of the pudding, maybe lemon tart and the fruit salad with some cream/ice cream.
I am making Scallops for us all tomorrow, again, wont do Gnocchi but will do asparagus, broad beans and peas with maybe some celeriac remoulade instead of gnocchi.

~ Do you think you'd recommend a class at the Waitrose Cookery School to a friend or family member? If so, why? If not, why not?

I would recommend a course, actually have already done so - and I will be back for more.
I learned lots yesterday, despite being an accomplished cook (toots own trumpet) and my friend who is a real foody is desperate to attend a course since I called her last night to tell her all about the day.
The photographs we took yesterday were proof that we made, ate and enjoyed everything.

ah yes, we made sous vide venison, not rack of lamb.

CheeryCherry Sun 13-May-12 18:27:05

Starter....the most delicious creamy garlic mushrooms with slices of home baked ciabatta.
Main.....melt in your mouth hand hand made lasagne (pasta freshly made) with in season asparagus and baby carrots roasted in oil&honey. Side salad too.
Pudd....chocolate orange mousse with home baked shortbread fingers.
Mmmmmmmm!

noseynoonoo Sun 13-May-12 19:21:48

I went on the course as someone who wanted to develop some cooking skills but also wanted to learn more about cooking equipment and serving ware, having just had a new kitchen installed.

~ What did you enjoy most about the cookery masterclass? Was there anything that particularly stood out for you/your guest?

The trainers and other staff stood out as the School’s greatest asset. As someone with basic skills I appreciated the clear instructions given and the patience shown by the trainers. The 'back-stage' crew should be commended to for making it appear seamless.

~ What was the most valuable tip you learnt on the day?

Cooking the scallops at a medium heat rather than high heat. Also, cooking the cabbage with just a small amount of oil/butter.

~ Which dish did you enjoy cooking the most and why? Do you think you will you cook any of these dishes again? Have you thought on any twists on the dishes you cooked that you'd like to try?

I enjoyed cooking the starter most of all. I will definitely cook this again. The gnocchi will be made this week – I never realised they were so easy to make. My children will enjoy these with a range of different accompaniments and I think my husband and I will have them with something mixed into them prior to cooking.

~ Do you think you'd recommend a class at the Waitrose Cookery School to a friend or family member? If so, why? If not, why not?

I would recommend it to friends. No matter what your competency level I think everyone would take something away from the course. I am converted to the idea of cookery schools and am sure I'll book a course but perhaps might not go back to Finchley Rd due to its distance from my home.

In addition to the answers you’ve requested:
~ I would have liked to know more about the wine – and would probably have bought a bottle of the red to take home.
~ I felt that there was insufficient work space and we kept bumping into the people behind us.
~ I would have preferred a menu that we could make in its entirety rather than having components made for us.
~ I would attend a course on how to use different types of equipment - and then go on the JL website to buy the items I thought were useful.
~ I shall now be looking for Greek basil in my local Waitrose.

Thanks for a great day!

Snapespeare Sun 13-May-12 19:37:48

Favourite 3 courses for dinner party...

Starter, chorizo and brie salad
Main, mushroom lasagne with crisp salad greens
Pud almond shortbread with cream cheese and strawberries.

I'm doing dinner next weekend tho and will pinch cheerycherrys menu. Sounds lovely!

Wiifitmama Sun 13-May-12 20:18:08

I was one of the lucky attendees.

~ What did you enjoy most about the cookery masterclass? Was there anything that particularly stood out for you/your guest?

It was an amazing day overall. Some of my favourite parts included: the magic fairies that cleared up after us between each course and made the per-measured ingredients appear for the next course!; learning about fancy presentation; the attention to detail.

~ What was the most valuable tip you learnt on the day?

There were two: one was that ihave been cooking with extra birgin olive oil which they don't recommend. I should be cooking with light olive oil instead which is good news as it is cheaper! The other tip was about getting everything prepared and cooked that can be and then "finishing off" at the last minute before serving.

~ Which dish did you enjoy cooking the most and why? Do you think you will you cook any of these dishes again? Have you thought on any twists on the dishes you cooked that you'd like to try?

The dessert was amazing and something I would definitely make for a dinner party. It was so impressive to look at and eat but not tha complicated to make as so much could be done ahead of time.

~ Do you think you'd recommend a class at the Waitrose Cookery School to a friend or family member? If so, why? If not, why not?

Yes, definitely. It is very local to me and I have already told lots of friends about it. The all day classes are very expensive, but they do evening classes at a much more reasonable cost. I would love to do another class there! The environment was very nice too... Very comfortable and airy and light.

Woodlands Sun 13-May-12 21:00:56

~ What did you enjoy most about the cookery masterclass? Was there anything that particularly stood out for you/your guest?
My DH and I both really enjoyed the day. We loved the experience of cooking with all the ingredients prepared for us and the washing up whisked away as if by magic!

~ What was the most valuable tip you learnt on the day?
There were loads of great tips. The ones I liked the best were to cut a lemon on an angle if you are going to juice it so that the juice comes out in one stream, and to roll out sweet pastry between two sheets of greaseproof paper. So simple but so effective!

~ Which dish did you enjoy cooking the most and why? Do you think you will you cook any of these dishes again? Have you thought on any twists on the dishes you cooked that you'd like to try?
I really enjoyed cooking all three dishes. I was surprised to find out how easy it is to make gnocchi - I'll definitely try that at home. The lemon tart was also surprisingly simple. We were discussing on the way home whether we would try to cook the whole menu at home - not decided yet. We'll certainly use some of the lessons we learnt about how to present food elegantly.

~ Do you think you'd recommend a class at the Waitrose Cookery School to a friend or family member? If so, why? If not, why not?
Yes, definitely. We were impressed with the set up and the format of the day, with each stage being demonstrated in a theatre while the ingredients were made ready for the next stage. The whole day was seamless. The staff were all professional and knowledgeable but also very friendly and informal. I'd love to go back!

Woodlands Sun 13-May-12 21:02:26

I would agree with noseynoonoo that it was a bit of a shame we didn't get to make all the elements ourselves (things like the truffle emulsion, the celeriac puree and the lemon yoghurt sorbet were all made for us)- but we saw why they did this.

~ What did you enjoy most about the cookery masterclass? Was there anything that particularly stood out for you/your guest?
What a great day! The chefs were fantastic, very warm and friendly but incredibly clear in their instructions and advice. We thought the format was well balanced between learning and then utilising your new skills. It was also lovely having regular pauses to eat our creations.

~ What was the most valuable tip you learnt on the day?
I also definitely valued the tip on rolling out short pastry between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper, what a difference it made. The advice on working with the tuille was fab too. Popping it in and out of the oven means you can mess up as much as you like and have another try.

~ Which dish did you enjoy cooking the most and why? Do you think you will you cook any of these dishes again? Have you thought on any twists on the dishes you cooked that you'd like to try?
All the dishes were great but I particularly enjoyed the starter dish and will definitely recreate it for my husband at least. I've also been pondering on other ways to use the truffle emulsion, and I reckon I'm going to try pairing it with beef carpaccio. I will also try elements of the dessert. I'm not usually a dessert cook, but I feel a renewed confidence!

~ Do you think you'd recommend a class at the Waitrose Cookery School to a friend or family member? If so, why? If not, why not?
I would certainly recommend a class at Waitrose Cookery School, it was a fantastic day out and a really valuable experience in terms of the new skills I learnt. The staff were great, the dishes were delicious and I would love to go back myself. I think this particular course was a great introduction but I would like to try something more technical and a little more challenging next time. I was also a bit disappointed not to get more feedback from the staff on our finished dishes. I was hoping for John and Greg style comments!

Thank you MN and Waitrose

DaisyMaisyJessicaEmily Mon 14-May-12 11:37:28

Fruity zingy desserts are much nicer after a meal than rich puds.

My best dinner party was blush a fondue party! Things like that and picky mezze style courses are great.

CMOTDibbler Mon 14-May-12 11:45:37

My favourite dinner party menu is simple, but with great ingredients - this time of year it would be:
amazing fresh asparagus from down the road with great butter, and basted eggs
roast beef (local, rare breed) with great veggies, maple roast parsnips, roasties in goose fat
lavender creme brulee

I do love a raclette too

flamingtoaster Mon 14-May-12 11:57:10

The dish which produced the biggest reaction at a dinner party was when I made a very large Creme Caramel for my DH's boss as we knew it was his favourite. The cookery book I had only had a recipe for a very large one which was then portioned so that was what I made - bringing it to the table whole. DH's boss had never been served Creme Caramel other than in a ramekin so was very impressed!

Other favourite dinner party recipes: a Malaysian Fish Stew recipe given to me by my MIL who had got it from a Malaysian friend.

dairymoo Mon 14-May-12 12:24:12

I was one of the people lucky enough to attend.
My feedback:

~ What did you enjoy most about the cookery masterclass? Was there anything that particularly stood out for you/your guest?
The format of the day was brilliant - it felt relaxed and enjoyable. At the beginning, I was wondering how we were going to have enough time to pull together all of the different elements of the dishes, but the fact that some were pre-prepped ahead of time meant that the actual cooking stages were really stress-free. I agree that it would have been nice to have a go at making, for example, the truffle emulsion, but I felt the demo equipped me with enough knowledge to have a go at home.

~ What was the most valuable tip you learnt on the day?
To have all the parts of the dish 'en place' so that the final stage is just a quick flash in the pan, and a bit of time spent on plating up.

~ Which dish did you enjoy cooking the most and why? Do you think you will you cook any of these dishes again? Have you thought on any twists on the dishes you cooked that you'd like to try?
I thought the starter was amazing, and I will def be serving it to friends soon. I loved the fact that so much of it could be done in advance. I wasn't as keen on the vension 'sous vide', or the black pudding but I'd like to have a go sustituting duck breast for the venison and some kind of alternative sausagemeat for the black pudding.

~ Do you think you'd recommend a class at the Waitrose Cookery School to a friend or family member? If so, why? If not, why not?
Yes, definitely. My mum and I love doing cooking courses and so I am trying to work out which Waitrose Cook School one we'd like to do next.

One last comment, it would have been nice to have some feedback on presentation from the chefs, and also to find out some more about the wines that were chosen to accompany the courses.

A great day all in all - thanks very much Mumsnet and Waitrose.com!

SpagboLagain Mon 14-May-12 12:38:49

I have a favourite dinner party dessert. It's a Delia summer fruit jelly. You make jelly with champagne/ prosecco and pour over berries in a loaf tin, set and slice. It looks amazing, is dead easy, and who doesn't love fizzy jelly? smile

hanahsaunt Mon 14-May-12 12:55:49

Pudding of the moment here is Heston's exploding chocolate ganache; tastes sublime and the popping candy is just fun smile.

BornSicky Mon 14-May-12 13:04:25

my favourite food is all relatively simple, but social food, so I love Raclette... plates of meats, cheeses, salads and new potatoes and the fun of assembling your cheese/meat in the grill pans and then pouring over hot, buttery potatoes...

and i like comfort puds in the winter... treacle tart and custard, or apple crumble and cream.

but in the summer - i love fruity dessert...tarte au citron raspberry sorbet. a really quick and nice dessert is crushed digestives with sliced apricots and clotted cream!

i was served an amazing yotam ottolenghi goats' cheese tart which was heavenly.

PineappleBed Mon 14-May-12 13:20:26

Oh favourite dinner party menu...

I think it would have to be:
- homemade pate with toast, butter and watercress
- duck with orange polenta, sticky sauce, smashed new potatoes and veg
- big slab of chocolate mocha cheese cake
- coffee

Lie on sofa, hold stomach, groan

Firawla Mon 14-May-12 13:24:58

I didn't go to the event but just having a look at the site now because it sounds quite interesting, i feel tempted to do the morrocan or vegetarian ones but whether or not i would get round to organising childcare and actually going im not sure.
But as for dinner parties, my cooking is quite crap! so i do worry about when i have to feed people as my food will not be that good so actually seems like quite a good idea to go on a course and learn a menu that i would feel confident in doing because of learning it from professionals - although non of the items listed from the course the mners went on, is really something i would make (apart from the lemon tart) because we normally have asian food. if i go for dinner most people normally give biryani, but i cant make biryani (i have tried and failed, it comes out rubbish) so i have to make normally either lamb curry or roast chicken, rice, dal, + vegetables etc etc

I am another lucky attendee here & thanks to an amazing uncle of the DC's I was able to take DP with me. I was excited, he was nervous. We both had an awesome day.

~ What did you enjoy most about the cookery masterclass? Was there anything that particularly stood out for you/your guest?
The staff were all amazing, talented, personable and fun.
I really enjoyed the luxury feel to the day - not just regarding the cooking, but the overall feel was one of a real treat, high quality from start to finish. Nothing was too much trouble for all the staff, who worked well as a team to look after us throughout the day.
Also using the kitchen workstations was incredible - airy & light, well equipped and thoughtfully set out, with everything you need to hand. Inspired me to do some de-cluttering in my kitchen.
There was lovely attention to detail with fresh coffees, and iced drinks available for us.

~ What was the most valuable tip you learnt on the day?
So many little things - cutting citrus on a slant, how to make a really flash sausage roll, the concept of mise en place may seem glaringly obvious, but it was great to see that in action (esp for DP who tends to cook one thing at a time smile), you can buy truffles in a jar and make the most awesome mayo on the world with them. And of course I CAN cook a sublime 3 course meal. ME, MOI!

DP is quite a good cook but has NEVER used a recipe despite encouragement from me (he cooks what his Mum or brother taught him & cooks what he knows). He skipped out of class at the end of the day, talking about how he now feels like he could follow a recipe and make it work, which for me was the hugest achievement of the day (seismic shift there).

~ Which dish did you enjoy cooking the most and why? Do you think you will you cook any of these dishes again? Have you thought on any twists on the dishes you cooked that you'd like to try?
The scallop, gnocchi, truffle starter was a winner & I will def make this again. Will be making the black pudding, serrano ham sausage rolls too. And I will try the pudding too. Not overly keen on venison and don't have a sous vide, but a friend does and I now feel confident enough to experiment a little more with that.

I will experiment with tarts/pastry in the future. Although we didn't make the pastry (as it needed time to rest/chill etc), it was amazingly delicious and I'm inspired to explore pastry further.

All my ice cream will be served with tuilles in the future smile at the very least.

~ Do you think you'd recommend a class at the Waitrose Cookery School to a friend or family member? If so, why? If not, why not?
Oh yes I would & I have already. I have brought cookery classes as gifts in the past and I think a class here would make a lovely gift. Waitrose combine learning, talent and knowledge with a fun day of gastric pampering very well.

Thank you very much MN & Waitrose!!

HateBeingCantDoUpMyJeans Mon 14-May-12 16:10:40

Sounds like it was a fab day envy

The best things I've served, probably homemade pate and homemade bread ( not via a bread maker!) with a friends homemade chutney. We quite often have had pâté in our circle of dinners but they've always been bought so was did impress them (yes's easy to impress!)

I also made mojito sorbet once, it's a drink that has is significant for tge group. If there is something you can make that has meaning I think it works well for a dinner party.

Best thing I have had served is a cherry and choc trifle. I hate so wasn't looking forward to it, had just been told trifle for pud. So when it was served it was a pleasant surprise and is now something I make every Xmas.

OvO Mon 14-May-12 16:33:32

I've never been to nor held a dinner party. Woe is me. So I don't even have a favourite dinner party dish.

<gets out tiny violin>

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