Last week I was kindly invited to spend the day at The Woodspeen cookery school in Berkshire. I was asked to take part in the Chef in the Cupboard course so I could learn to put a dinner party together. The day was hosted by John Campbell and his fantastic team. The day was all in aid of Pancreatic Cancer UK and their Host for Hope campaign.
The idea behind the Host for Hope campaign is to host a foodie themed event for your friends, family or collages with the aim to raise awareness and money for Pancreatic Cancer UK.
Pancreatic Cancer UK is the only national charity fighting pancreatic cancer on all fronts (support, information, campaigning and research). You can find out all about the small but fantastic and dedicated team behind the charity on the website as well as making yourself aware of the signs and symptoms.
I spent the day with 3 other bloggers; Connie from Connie Consumes, Emily from Recipes and Reviews and Alex from Gingey Bites. A really lovely group of foodie bloggers which I hope I’ll have the chance to meet again. Be sure to check out their blogs if you haven’t already, these girls really know their stuff.
I loved every second of my day at The Woodspeen. It was one of the most educational and exciting blog events I’ve been to. The fact it was all in aid of a very important charity makes it even better.
I’d been looking to get involved with a cookery course this year but hadn’t got ’round to it. I can safely say that from this experience I’m now keen to take more and improve upon my skills. I’ll be sharing a full post about my day at The Woodspeen cookery school soon.
I think it’s time to get onto the dinner party food, don’t you?
Go Go Go!
The dinner kicked off with a pumpkin veloute and a few slices from the bloomer loaf. I’m a very big fan of anything with pumpkin in and so were my guests. This went down very well and I’ve been ordered to make it again very soon.
I particularly enjoyed making the bread at my day at The Woodspeen. I’m keen to give it another try very soon.
Next up was the wild mushroom risotto, something I’d never made before. This was absolutely delicious and it didn’t take long for everyone to gobble it all up.
Have you made a risotto before?
Then it was time for the main, a chicken tart made with rough puff pastry. Mine didn’t turn out quite how John’s did but I was still very pleased with the delicious results.
I’m keen to make another batch of pastry this week, I’ll let you know over on Twitter if it turns out well. It really is very easy and tastes much better than the stuff you buy in the shops. We also had a big bowl of greens but my photo came out a little blurry, I’ll add one in if someone else managed to snap one.
Cheese board anyone? They all said yes, of course.
You can see my beautiful rye bread and lavash in the photo below. The rye was filled with dried figs and ground star anise. The lavash had a good crunch to it and both worked so well with the cheese. Both of these were very fun to make, I hope I can push myself to create them again.
To end the dinner it was time for the chocolate fondant complete with berries, chocolate soil and vanilla crème fraiche. My presentation skills may not be the best but I can assure you that this was a real treat.
One person couldn’t make it to the meal so I filled the ramekin with the pudding and popped it into the freezer. You can cook them straight from frozen, I’m sure Phil and I will enjoy that later this month.
Everyone thought the meal was over. I’d cleared away the plates, whilst everyone was chatting over the last drops of wine. I returned with this tray of beautiful chocolate truffles. A few rounds of Nespresso later and everyone left with the promise to donate to Pancreatic Cancer UK.
My Host for Hope dinner party went down very well, even if I do say so myself. I was especially pleased because it was one of the first I’ve hosted and it certainly won’t be the last. As I mentioned earlier in the post I’ll be sharing a second blog post all about my day at The Woodspeen.
Do you think you’ll get involved with Host for Hope this year? Over the last 2 years £40,000 has been raised for the charity! You could host a dinner party for friends or keep things simple and host a bake sale at work or even raffle off a rainbow cake. There are no rules, just make sure it’s full of foodie fun and all in the name of Pancreatic Cancer UK.
You can pick up a fundraising pack which includes; balloons, bunting and everything else you need for your foodie event. Don’t forget to let me know if you get involved, I’d love to see a few photos.