Demuths Cookery School is based in the heart of Georgian Bath, with a view to die. I spent a very happy Veganuary day there last month taking part in their Vegan Fast and Delicious one day course. Demuths has been a very important part of my vegetarian journey, when Mr TS and I moved to Bristol in 1988 it wasn’t long before we discovered Rachel Demuths’ fabulous vegetarian restaurant tucked away in North Parade. Over the next 25 years we spent many happy evenings there with friends and celebrated many special occasions together. Rachel sold the restaurant to her head chef in 2013 to concentrate on her blossoming cookery school just around the corner and I’ve been desperate to attend ever since!
Demuths Cookery School (Pictures by Demuths)
With Veganuary now firmly on the yearly map, Veganism being the fastest growing lifestyle and Vegan ingredients beginning to pop up in the most surprising places, more and more people are looking for simple vegan recipes and tips. Demuths Vegan Fast and Delicious is one of their most popular courses and runs throughout the year, changing with the seasons, using organic ingredients from the garden and from local suppliers. It is suitable for everyone regardless of their cookery skills and whether they are vegan or not.
Everything about Demuths Cookery School is welcoming, warm and inclusive from the tea and biscuits on arrival, to the tutoring and to the meals shared with fellow students. I spent a very happy day chatting, chopping, stirring and smiling and it was a real tonic. Rachel and Lydia were the tutors for this course and both were calm, good humoured and clearly passionate about good food, cooked well. I particularly enjoyed Lydia telling us that, unlike certain TV chefs, she didn’t feel the need to murder garlic by slamming the flat of a knife down upon it when a firm press would do – not as noisy, not as showy, just as effective.
Rachel and Lydia have a fabulous knack of knowing just how much input or otherwise each student needs, there were no assumptions made and skills were demonstrated very efficiently and clearly. It was a joy to be a part of.
Right, onto the menu, what did we cook?! The day was packed with recipes without being overhwelming and moved seamlessly from bread making to pudding without any of us breaking into a sweat!
Vegan Fast and Delicious Winter at Demuths Cookery School
Three Seed Soda Bread
Sun-Dried Tomato and Canellini Bean Pâté
Celeriac and Leek Soup with Kale Crisps
Roasted Squash Falafels with Tahini Dressing
Date and Aubergine Tagine
Rice Pudding with Roasted Rhubarb and Orange
Each dish was simple but packed with flavour, there were no weird ingredients to trip up a new vegan or the vegan curious this was just really good food, simply cooked and beautifully presented. That creamy rice pudding is made with coconut milk and saffron, the cauliflower couscous bursts with the flavours of fresh herbs and those kale crisps are the crispest I’ve ever had. I came away with lots of tips and tricks to improve my vegan cooking – the two most memorable and which I have already put into practice were:
- Use baking powder instead of bicarbonate of soda in your soda bread and lose that slightly acid taste – it works!
- Open the oven door occasionally when you are baking kale crisps – it lets the steam out and your kale will be divine. My smallest boy and his chum will attest to this, their faces were a picture when I made them a batch for after school snacks last week!
The relaxed atmosphere at Demuths and the time to sit, eat, enjoy and talk about our creations made this a really lovely day. My fellow students clearly all felt the same and I don’t think any one of us wanted to rush off at the end of the day! We all left with a little box of leftovers, a booklet of recipes and a big smile – what more could you ask for?
Demuths Cookery School offers a wide range of vegetarian and vegan cookery courses thought the year whether you are beginner, an experienced home cook or a professional chef looking to up your game. There are half day, full day and evening courses and they also offer 5 Day cookery courses, Diplomas and Cookery Holidays – oh how I long to join them on a vegan diploma or a cookery holiday – I’m hitting a big birthday later this year and that would just be the perfect gift (I’m really hoping a family member might be reading this post! Point Dad in this direction if you are!)
Do check out Demuths’ Cookery School upcoming courses – from Sourdough Baking to Asian Street Food, Fermentation to Japanese Shojin Ryori and Mezze to Foraging Wild Plants there are far too many for me to list here!
Disclocure: I was invited to attend the Vegan Fast and Delicious Day Course as a guest, I was not required to write a blog post, all the words and the love shared here are genuine and all mine! I would go back in a flash and really hope to be reporting from Demuths again soon!