Thursday, 7 July 2016

Hayward's Foodie Workshop - Let's put the 'Lad' in Salad!

Last week the wonderful folks at Hayward’s invited me, and a ‘lad’ to a cooking workshop to showcase their products and get a chance to use some of their ingredients in ways that you never thought you could use them.

In order to celebrate a bit of summer cooking, and to also to educate people (men in particular) on how to put the ‘lad’ in salad!

Armed with my ‘lad’, Robin and I set off on a journey which little be known to us would heighten our senses, and end up providing some absolutely tasty treats!

The event took place in the wonderfully quaint Central Street Cookery School near Old Street.  After wetting our whistles with a nice cold beer, and nibbling on some cheese and crackers, our host for the evening Charlie from Hayward’s went on to give us a bit more of an insight to the wonderful world of pickled veg!

Hayward’s have been expertly pickling vegetables since the 1800’s, and this is not your standard pickled onion or gherkin affair – there is a plethora of exciting things to cater to all tastes.   Are you a fan of something a bit sweet & mild? Something a big tangy?  Or are you running with the brave and enjoy something a bit hot and spicy?   Thanks to their fabulous tang-o-meter you can have whatever you want!

We participated in a fun little icebreaker where the tang-o-meter took precedent..  After being given a bowl of what seemed like innocent looking pickled onions, it turned out we playing a game of Russian roulette where half were mild and tangy and the other half were extra hot!
Never one to turn down a challenge we dug into the bowl using a rather interesting pickled onion implement, we proceeded to test our fate! 

  I was faced with a gloriously tangy onion, however Robin wasn’t so lucky and straight off the boat was hit with the spice!  Was very fun watching the room to see who was hit with the chilli bomb and seeing the expressions on people’s faces.   I didn’t want to miss out on the chilli kick, so I delved in until I found one,  and it definitely did what it said on the tin, or jar in this matter!  It was spicy and fantastic, and went well with a lovely bit of cheddar!

Once our senses were back to normal, Denise our wonderful chef for the evening did a few demos of some of the things we were going to be cooking, to show us how versatile these pickled wonderments really were!  She is such a hoot, being from the midlands she shared lots of anecdotes of her own use of pickles, and gave us a few funny family stories to make us giggle along the way.

First up was a Picalili Curry.  Now I have never been a fan of the bright yellow stuff, so was quite hesitant on this one, but I am not going to lie, the smells coming from the stove were fantastic – and the finished product was a very pleasant surprise indeed!   Those of you who know me, will know that coriander is my most hated thing in the world, so I was a little sad to see it being served up with masses of coriander on top, but Denise being the fabulous person she is made a special version without, what a treat!!

Next, was a Caramelised Onion and Goats Cheese Tart.   Although a pretty simple recipe, this was one that truly blew my mind!   Never in my life did I think of using a jar of traditional pickled onions to make carmalised onions.   Gone are the days of slogging away and crying whilst you chop up an abundance of onions – it’s already done for you!   Teamed with a bit of butter and some sugar, they make the most amazing sweet caramalised onions – which works amazingly with the rest of the tart ingredients – if they make it that far, as you could literally eat them straight out of the pan!

Finally, she showed us how to make the dish that Robin and I ended up cooking ourselves,  BBQ steak and slaw.   Again another simple recipe, but it packed a huge flavour punch read below for more details – but its definitely a recipe that its going to be served at my bbqs going forward!

Now it was my favourite part of the workshop.   When we got to get our hands dirty, and make something tasty!

Armed with the recipe, Robin got to work and made the slaw and I got to making the marinade and cooked the steak.   The slaw was made from pickled onions (again, never would have thought to put them in a coleslaw), apple, carrot, the ingenious addition of pickled red cabbage lemon and some Greek yoghurt.   The best thing about this recipe, is that it really fits in with the healthy recipe theme of my blog so watch this space for the full recipe, because I am definitely going to be making this one again!

We did have a laugh cooking the steak though , we shared our station with another couple who were making the same recipe, and not being able to get the hang of the electric hob, may have left the heat to high so not only did we create a lot of smoke, but our partners pan set on fire!  Luckily no eyebrows were harmed in the making of this dish, but was quite an experience never the less!

With our steak resting nicely on the side, we had a little taste of the coleslaw – and i must say, Robin did a cracking job it was delicious, and couldn’t wait to get it all on the plate and devour it!    One perfectly cooked steak later (even if I do say so myself :P) – minus a couple of slices, had to test it was edible of course! We presented our food – and stood back with grins on our faces, proud with how wonderful it looked!

Once everyone was finished their recipes, we put them all on a table in the kitchen area and all admired our work.  What an array of amazing healthy exciting food!   Who knew you could make such wonderful things from something that is usually a staple in anyone’s cupboard!

This is the full list of the recipes we made, click on the name to be taken to the recipe:

In my eyes, the event was a massive success!  Not only did it confirm my love of pickled onions, it gave me an insight into using normal every day cupboard staples to create exciting healthy meals!

Thank you Haywards for a wonderful evening, you definitely opened our eyes to a wonderful world of exciting ingredients, and definitely helped us put the 'Lad in Salad!'

We also managed to snag a goody bag full of pickled heaven, so watch this space for more exciting pickle recipes!

Cheers!   Lucia & Robin

Thank you to Fordtography for the wonderful photos!

I was not paid to attend this workshop, all reviews on the products are  unbiased and based on my own experience of the day.

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