Estamos de manteles largos! This is an expression in Spanish that means we bring out the best tablecloths when we have special guests.  And the cookery school received some very special guests indeed!  We had the privilege to be hosts to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as part of the Big Commonwealth Lunch on 22nd of March. 

We had a great informal meeting at the school where our guests were able to chat to some of our members and we learnt that the Duke loves Indian food and the Duchess likes cooking pizza with her children.  She was particularly interested in the classes for families and young people as this is a fundamental activity for all families.  She loved the fact that every week we cook with young families here.

Earlier that morning members of our multicultural groups had prepared some dishes from the Commonwealth and as part of the celebrations our guests helped by doing the finishing touches to the dishes, they decorated the dishes with flowers and herbs and then the cookery school was able to share the dishes with members of the community.

This was an unforgettable experience made more special by the fact that there is Royal interest in our community classes.  If you live in EC1 and want to take part in our classes you only need to come to St Luke’s reception and book any of our low cost classes.

This month we are offering special Easter classes for families and for ‘kids alone’ as well.  You can find all our April classes by clicking here.

Below is the recipe for Kerala rice and Mauritian prawns as prepared by our magnificent multicultural cooks and decorated by the royal couple.  Do try making these at home as they are spectacularly delicious!

Mauritian Prawn Rougaille*

Serves 4

500g raw king prawns (deveined & de-shelled)

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped

2 green chillies (to taste)

200g chopped tinned tomatoes

1 large tomato, chopped

1 spring onion, chopped

Small bunch of fresh coriander, coriander stalks chopped and leaves kept separately

2/3 sprigs of fresh thyme (leaves only)

Salt to taste

Add some oil in a pan on medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic and ginger, let it sweat until soft minutes, add thyme leaves, chilli, fresh tomato and let it cook for a couple of minutes until well incorporated

Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan, coriander stalks and half glass of water leave to cook for 10 minutes

Prepare your prawns, de-shell, de-vein and clean.

Keep checking the rougaille sauce add a little water if it dries out,  then add the prawns in to the sauce, cook gently for 2/3 minutes or till cooked and pink.

Add spring onion and fresh coriander leaves to finish off dish, taste for seasoning, add more salt and chill if required.

*Recipe from Selina Periampillai

Kerala Coconut Rice (Neriyal Chawal)*

Serves 4

2 cups basmati rice (approx. 300g) cooked, rinsed and cooled

3 tbsp. vegetable oil

¾ medium onion

1 ½ tsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. cumin seeds

½ tsp. mustard seeds

12-15 fresh curry leaves

7 tbsp. fresh coconut – or soaked dry coconut (see above)

1 tsp. coarse black pepper

¾ tsp. salt

2 tbsp. roasted cashew nuts coarsely chopped

Heat the oil, add the mustard seeds cumin seeds and fry until they pop (this will be a matter of seconds) Add the cashew nuts. Once the nuts are lightly roasted, add onions and garlic and fry over a medium- low heat for 3-4 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add the coconut, curry leaves and salt to the pan and fry for 5 minutes until the coconut is lightly toasted. Add the cooked rice to the pan and combine gently until the rice is hot

*Recipe from Sheba Promod