A head of the forthcoming Christmas cooking session at the Grosvenor Arms, Shaftesbury, one of the ‘Country Children’ Eden, gives us her review of the Halloween cooking morning she attended.
‘I’ve been in the Grosvenor before with my mum and my auntie, it’s quite smart and tidy, I didn’t think it was the kind of place lots of children could make a mess in – but we did! Not in the leather sofa bit with the antlers, there is a big long metal table in the dining area by the pizza oven, there was lots of space for us all.
Suki, the cookery instructor, asked me and my brother to help set up, this was fun! There was lots to lay out before the other children arrived as she liked to have it all ready. Lemons, tomatoes, apples and empty tin cans were just some of the things we put out. Mum was wondering what we were going to make with those things! Then we saw a menu plan:
‘Blood Curdling Broth’ which was a tomato soup – Pumpkin Bread – Spooky Witches cakes – Parmesan Shortbread – ‘Liquidised Toads’ which was Apple chutney
My brother liked all the Halloween names! There was also a chance that we would be able to make a pizza with a real chef from the Grosvenor and put it in the oven, seemed like lots to do between 9.30 and 12oclock!
First of all we had to zest the lemons for the lemonade, this wasn’t on the menu and didn’t take long, just lemon juice and sugar and leave it – we drank it at the end and it was really nice. We all got a chance to cut apples (for the chutney) and tomatoes, for the soup. Once all the children had cut their things up Suki took it all into the kitchen to put it in giant pots to cook on the hotel cookers. We peeked through the hatch, they have a lot of ovens in there and it was very hot and busy so children didn’t go in, but we could smell the soup as it cooked, it smelt lovely, garlic, onions, carrots, stock and tomato purée also went in it – you get the recipe on the menu so I could see what else was added to make it smell so yummy!
Suki was very organised and had the cheesy dough mixture ready for the shortbread so we all got a ball each. Then you could make whatever shapes you liked, there were lots of Halloween cutters so I made bats and pumpkins mainly. Suki and her helpers were really good at chatting to us and explaining what to do and could help you if you needed it. The time was going fast, once we’d laid the shortbread shapes out on the tray they were taken into the kitchen to cook and we all had a drink and warm cookies on our tea break. This was lovely! I had two biscuits.
After our break the table had been cleaned and tidied and made ready for the next thing – the pumpkin bread. We all had a go at getting our hands in the dough and adding ingredients, then we put it in the empty tin cans – my mum had been wondering what they were for! These also went into the kitchen to co2ok. Suki had masses of cupcakes ready done so we could decorate them, she had all the best decoration things, glitter, edible balls, jellies and lots of coloured icing. It was really fun to make them look like owls, that was on you my favourite things. Also the orange icing made them look really spooky for Halloween which my brother liked!
It was good when the Grosvenor chef came out to make pizza with us, we got to roll out our own ones on a board and he talked us through it, I liked this the best – putting the tomato paste on and adding whatever toppings you liked! They had them all ready, lots of cheeses, meats, rocket leaves, tomatoes – whatever you wanted! Then we got to put them on the long board and actually put them in the real pizza oven, I liked how you had to wiggle and shake them to get them in. They do not take long to cook at all. By this time we were drinking our lemonade and the mums were arriving. We all got a brown bag with all our things in and got to have a portion of our tomato soup with the pumpkin bread, which was ready now. The soup was really nice! I don’t even like tomatoes normally but I really liked this and it was nice to know I’d made it. To take home in our bags were our Parmesan shortbreads, our liquidised toads (chutney) our pizzas, cakes and soup and bread.
All the parents couldn’t believe how much stuff you got! We had been busy, the time went fast and as we got to do so many different things it was really interesting. You get to have a proper go at everything and Suki is very good, I’d like to go to the Christmas one next week, it’s fun and you get a lot of yummy stuff!’
By Eden Larke, aged 8.
To book for the festive season visit: http://www.thegrosvenorarms.co.uk/