REVIEW: Ethical Canapé Workshop at Made In Hackney

1 Jul

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The kitchen counter was laden with a rainbow of vegetables and sauces. A tantalising aroma permeated the air – the smell of goat’s cheese and vegetable tarts baking in the oven. As the hum of excited chatter grew increasingly loud, two eager students added garlic and herbs to a blitz of Salsa Verde. The blender whirled as other students sliced slivers of courgettes and carrots into elegant towers. The class was in full swing and we were on a roll: Making Ethical Canapés was inspiring work.

Under the tutelage of chef and supperclub extraordinaire, Ian Ballantyne, the Sunday workshop at community kitchen Made In Hackney was a delicious extravaganza of flavour, colour and fun.

It was Ian’s first class for adults at the venue, which is dedicated to teaching people (including teens) how to grow and cook healthy food. Occupying two floors, the stylish kitchen is only one half of the not-for-profit organisation. The basement facility is located under their shop above, which is stacked with a magnificent selection of healthy and natural foods.

Stepping into the kitchen, we were dazzled by an array of raw ingredients, from herbs and avocadoes to apples and onions. Ian had us paired up for chopping, slicing and mashing in no time, steadily preparing the ingredients for the next stage – compliling the canapés.

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We started by soaking rice paper wrappers to make exquisite vegetable spring rolls, filled with shredded carrots, spring onions, apple and cucumber. Topped with a sprinkle of one of Ian’s homemade sauces, including a heady garlic concoction, each bite of crunchy veggies and squidgy paper was addictive. Fresh ingredients never tasted so good!

With Ian’s relaxed style and infectious enthusiasm, we were inspired to try bolder combinations. Courgette strips wrapped around tangy goat’s cheese, pomegranate and guacamole? Cool. Bread slices loaded with butternut squash, herbs and onions? Lovely. Cooked potato discs topped with Salsa Verde, apple and carrot? Exquisite.

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Priced at a £5 donation – a definite under-charge for what was worth much more – the workshop was lively and inspiring. We were actively encouraged to experiment, make mistakes, push the boundaries and take risks – a free reign that was liberating and fun!

With only nine students in total, the intimate class was a great way to meet new people and gain new skills. Best of all, the sense of achievement at the end – when we got to eat the fruits of our labour – felt exceedingly wicked! Highly recommended!

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