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Last week I spent time out at the Weber Grill Academy in Copenhagen. This venue is beyond amazing, with a BBQ glitter ball hanging from the ceiling as you walk in and countless BBQs set up for indoor cooking. As with much of Scandinavia, they achieve effortless coolness – how do they pull off cool so much better than us Brits?


Along with a selection of other cookery schools from the UK and Ireland we learnt how to grill, bake, roast and smoke on gas and charcoal barbecues. Amongst the recipes we covered were pizzas and puddings, beer can chicken and bruschetta.

The evening was spent outside practising our new skills. A cool evening was warmed up with countless grills fired up to create our evening meal and we sat down to enjoy each course expertly matched with a fantastic wine.

The purpose of the trip was to ensure we were all set up to teach the Weber Essential Course, which is now available with the Emsworth Cookery School. Our events will be held down in Southsea, making use of the fabulous cooking facilities at the Portsmouth High School. Fingers crossed for some warm weather to get us barbecuing this summer.



Details of the Weber barbecue course are available on the Weber site. Please note all bookings are made directly with Weber, but do give me a ring if you have any queries.

UPDATE – we’re also now running BBQ Marinades & Sides and BBQ baking classes in Emsworth, plus the Weber range has extended to include BBQ Classics, Seafood and Winter Warmers.





Raspberry and orange victoria sponge

posted by Barbara Crick on Tags:




Raspberry and orange Victoria sponge

Once you’ve mastered a classic Victoria sponge you can start getting creative! In our Crazy about Cakes class we make a chocolate orange version complete with Terry’s chocolate orange segments on the top – amazing! 

Here we are replacing the milk which normally gets used with some orange juice and dropping in some raspberries. The result is a pretty and tasty cake, simple to make but sure to impress! 

This method goes back to the old fashioned scales, where you balanced your eggs against the other ingredients to be sure you had the right quantities. It’s also great if you have your own eggs which have much more variability in their weight than supermarket ones!



3 eggs

butter, softened (for quantity see below)

caster sugar (for quantity see below)

self-raising flour (for quantity see below)

splash orange juice

handful raspberries (frozen actually work better than fresh as they hold their shape)

for the filling

200ml double cream (mix with a little mascarpone for added richness if you fancy)

zest 1 orange

3 tbsp raspberry jam

3 tbsp orange curd

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/ fan 160°C.

2. Weigh the eggs (in the shell). Whatever this weight is, you will need the same amount of flour, caster sugar & butter.

3. Weigh out the required weight of butter & caster sugar into a large mixing bowl. Then cream these well together.

4. Weigh out the required amount of flour in a separate bowl.

5. Stir in 1 egg & a tablespoon of the flour. Repeat with the other 3 eggs. Once combined, add the remaining flour & continue to stir until well mixed. Loosen with a little splash of orange juice.

6. Transfer into the cake tin, dot in the raspberries and put in the oven. The cake takes about 20-25 minutes to cook, but check after 15. When it is cooked the sponge should feel bouncy when you push on it and if you insert a knife, it should come out clean.

7. Whip the cream to soft peaks for the filling, stirring in the orange zest. Cover 1 side of the cake with jam, topped with cream and then the orange curd on the other side. Sandwich together and serve with a little icing sugar dusted over the top.


Best eaten within 24 hours!



I’ve been serving this soup as one of the lunch options for a number of our recent courses and its been receiving some fabulous praise so I thought I’d share it with them.

One of the ingredients you might not have come across is coconut powder yet. I found it recently in the World Food aisle and it’s amazing! Three tablespoons of this stuff mixed with 175ml of water makes the equivalent of half a can of coconut milk. So 1 packet lasts for ages even with the amount of Thai curries we eat! This is the one I use – Maggi coconut powder

Sweet potato, red lentil and coconut soup

Super simple soup

1  onion, diced

1 large sweet potato

300ml vegetable stock

100g red lentils

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp turmeric

2 tbsp coconut powder

to taste salt & pepper

Normally my soups start off with gently frying off the onion, but not this one. For a lower fat version (and quicker too!) everything gets put in a large saucepan and simmered until the sweet potatoes and red lentils are soft. Then whizz with a handheld blender or in a food processor until smooth. Depending on the size of potatoes, you might need to add a little more hot water or milk to loosen the soup.

This freezes well so make a big batch and have it ready for those cold evenings!

Super healthy smoothie

posted by Barbara Crick on Tags: ,


Smoothies are a quick and healthy way to start your day and can be ready nearly as quickly as cereal. A few key ingredients to hand mean you can create variety of smoothies to suit your mood – greek yogurt, bananas, frozen berries, lime, apples orange juice and oats can all be mixed in different proportions to create some beautiful smoothies which are some much fresher than shop-bought versions.

Smoothies can be made using bleeder attachments on food processors and free standing mixers, or dedicated machines such as the Magimix Blender.

So why not begin the New Year with the resolution of a smoothie to kick start that health campaign!

Melon, mint & lime smoothie

a refreshing taste to wake your tastebuds in the morning

3 tbsp Greek yogurt

half cantaloupe melon

half lime, juice only

about 10 leaves fresh mint

Simply throw all of your ingredients into your blender and whizz until you get to the desired consistency. If you like a thicker smoothie, add half a banana.

I recently visited Hambledon Vineyard in Hampshire where they produce remarkable British sparkling wines. I’m a massive fan of English wines and really believe we produce some of the best wines in the world. They are often made with love in small vineyards and have so much more character than many I have tasted from elsewhere. I’m more used to the wines from Kent, particularly enjoying Chapel Down in Tenterden, but it’s brilliant to have found something even more local. In fact, it only took me 15 minutes to reach the vineyard from Emsworth!

Whilst it is often true that English wines may cost more than your average bottle in the supermarket, I am much happier drinking superior wines on a less frequent basis!

Hambledon Vineyard offer tours for small groups for £10 pp – which can be redeemed against any wine purchased. The bottle of Mill Down I bought is reserved for a special occasion – I just need to think of a reason to celebrate asap!


My first blog! Here goes with a review I recently wrote for Chawton House Library.

Cooking People: The Writers Who Taught The English How To Eat – Review

Following the recent success of our cookery demo and talk for Sophia Waugh’s new book, Cooking People, cookery school owner, Barbara Crick, gives her verdict on a foodie’s guide to home cooking over the last few centuries.


I’m probably not the only one with a Mrs Beeton cookbook on their shelf, passed down from a relative and looking rather battered around the edges.  The one I have isAll About Cookery, a new edition from 1909 (after Mrs Beeton’s death). The book gets pulled down from time to time and I read with amusement the tiny typeface, look over the colour pictures (yes, colour pictures!) and work out how a modern cook would recreate the dishes.

So I would consider myself reasonably familiar with a Mrs Beeton cookbook, but I have absolutely no idea who Mrs Beeton was, or indeed any of the other historical female cookery authors. This is where Waugh steps in with her Cooking People: The Writers Who Taught The English How To Eat, adding flesh to these characters and drawing a colourful historical context to their books.

Her relaxed style of writing makes the reader feel like they understand why the women wrote these books and what their readers gained from them. I love the wayWaugh is not shy to mention the more scandalous tales from these women’s lives, details which these days would be worthy of front page tabloid coverage.

Following on from the overview of the five female authors, Waugh reproduces a selection of their recipes. From these I’ve created a shortlist of dishes I now have on my ‘must do’ list- Elizabeth David’s Fasoulia (haricot beans cooked in vast amounts of olive oil with herbs, garlic and tomato), Hannah Glasse’s Mushroom Sauce for white fowl (plenty of cream in this one!) and Eliza Acton’s Venetian Fritters (these sound like some kind of rice pudding with fruit added then made into patties and fried in butter – yummy).

Waugh’s love of food comes over in her writing and her personal asides connect her to the cookbook authors she is discussing and makes you feel how real they were. The authors all targeted the mass market (previous books had been aimed at the high class cooks in stately homes and the like), with recipes that are written to reassure the average reader that they can cook nutritious meals on a modest budget. Sound familiar?

These women were the Nigella Lawsons and the Delia Smiths of their time and the books they wrote shaped the way our predecessors cooked and ate. Their names may not all be well known, but nevertheless they should be recognised as crucial in our country’s culinary development.

This book provides the reader with a condensed version of the history of English food through the examination of five authors whose lifetimes cover 1622 to 1992. Modern cooks (and eaters) love knowing the provenance of their food, so if you want to extend your food knowledge into the history of our nation’s food, this is essential  – and enjoyable – reading.

The book is available from Chawton House Library at a special price of £15 (RRP £20) with proceeds helping support the charity’s work. To buy a copy call 01420 541010 or email info@chawtonhouse.org.


Barbara Crick runs the Emsworth Cookery School in Emsworth, Hampshire.


Lemon curd cupcakes

posted by Barbara Crick on Tags: ,


Food often brings back memories, and for me, lemon curd reminds me of the pot my Mum bought back from Harrods. It was a real treat and I remember it to this day! These cupcakes use that favourite flavour of mine to create a beautiful sweet treat, I hope you enjoy them.


for the cakes-

2 eggs
see below caster sugar
see below self raising flour
see below unsalted butter
about 3 tbsp lemon curd
splash whole milk
half lemon, zest only

for the icing

75g unsalted butter
125g icing sugar
2 tbsp lemon curd



1. Firstly weigh your eggs (in the shells), make a note of this weight and put the eggs to one side.

2. Whatever the weight was, weigh out the same amount of unsalted butter and caster sugar. Beat these together.

3. In a separate bowl, weigh out the self-raising flour. Crack the first of your eggs into the butter and sugar mix, along with a spoonful of the flour. Stir in and then repeat with the second egg.

4. Once both eggs are in, add the remaining flour. Then add a splash of milk to loosen the mixture (the amount you need depends on how thick your mixture is, you are looking for it to be ‘dropping’ consistency).

5. Add the lemon zest and stir well.

6. Transfer into 12 cupcake size cake cases. Add a small amount of lemon curd to the top of each cake.

7. Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until golden at 180C/ fan 160C.

8. For the icing, beat together the butter and icing sugar. Add the lemon curd and stir well.

9. Once the cakes are cooked and cooled, cover with icing.

Makes 1 dozen cupcakes