Yesterday I dragged my sorry self out of bed, crossed town and went to a cooking class in Dalston. It was actually the last thing I wanted to do, I could’ve easily whittled the day away in anticipation of the football (doom) but it looked too good to pass up.
Perfumier and chef Louise Bloor took the class and brought a right old box of tricks along. I still have the El Bulli kit stashed away somewhere – having invested about two hours in a culinary attempt at chemical warfare to make some totally tasteless rhubarb pearls. This is MUCH quicker: just order bottles of edible essential oils and away you go. The cucumber is really strong – and cucumber vodka cocktails are right up there for me (wondering if I can now do away with the real stuff altogether? I think I’d do quite well going on a space mission just fiddling around with lots of anti-static bags full of strange foodstuffs and pipettes). Anyway think of this oily, earthy approach as the poor man’s Noma, a good substitute for those times when you can’t be bothered to trit-trot down to your local coven or coast and go a trespassing for things that may or may not be wholly pickable/legal/edible.
Chef cooked up asparagus with bergamot and nasturtium; borscht with tarragon ice cubes and guaiacwood (really smoky); rose meringues (which sound awful but were tres delicate) and rosemary and orange blossom ice cream. Not all these flavours come out a bottle – we were treated to a few methods how to distill and bring out the intensity of ingredients. Louise runs a monthly supper club here.
Definitely worth checking out the events that are held in the garden. They really do rustle up some good ‘uns, even I’d struggle to top them on obscurity. The Kurdish Refugee cooking class was pretty good last year! And if you happen to be in the area you should drop in, it’s a top spot – garden, allotments and lots of picnic tables. Unless my gaydar is really off colour, many of the gardeners appear to be ladies inclined to ladies so if that’s your thing, it’d make a great change from the Candy Bar.
Fragrant Supper Club, held monthly in N1