I recently had the opportunity to go to the Skinny Bitch Cooking Class, run by Tess Ward. For those not familiar with Tess, or her alias The ‘YES’ Chef, she’s a twenty-something Cordon Bleu-trained kitchen hottie, who’s big news. And the Skinny Bitch Cooking Classes are her first foray into the London cookery class scene. I’ve known Tess for about a year now, so it was great to go along and support her first class.
Before we began we were treated to some gorgeous canapés, prepared by Tess. These included smoked mackerel with pink grapefruit and blue cheese and walnut on endive leaves. Whilst we nibbled, Tess demonstrated how to butcher a chicken into eight pieces. This is something I taught myself at uni, as a way of saving money, and highly recommend anyone to give it a go.
Following the butchery we began the class by pairing up and setting to work mixing the batter for Tess’s Chocolate ‘Lighter than Air’ Cookies. It’s a very simple recipe and results are gooey, chocolately and completely moreish cookies, without a smidgen of gluten.
Chocolate ‘Lighter than Air’ Cookies
- 150g toasted almonds, chopped
- 225g icing sugar
- 30g unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon of fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
Method (makes 8-10 large cookies):
- Preheat oven to 180*C and position racks in the top and bottom third
- Line a large baking tray with parchment paper and grease with a little olive oil/butter
- Add the almond, sifted icing sugar and cocoa powder into a bowl with the sea salt. Add the egg whites and vanilla and stir well until combined.
- Spoon the batter onto the prepared trays in mounds of 2 tablespoons each, allowing lots of room between the cookies.
- Bake until they puff up, about 10-12 minutes. The tops should be glossy and cracked.
- Slide the cookies onto a cooling rack and let them cool for 5-10 minutes.
Once these were in the oven, we moved on to making our main course, consisting of Oven Baked Chicken Thighs, with Yogurt Herb Sauce, Kale & Green Bean Market Salad and Cinnamon Spiced Sweet Potato Chips. All recipes were simple and easy to follow, with Tess demonstrating each before we got started.
Kale & Green Bean Market Salad
- 150g kale
- 150g green beans
- a big handful of rocket
- small knob of ginger, grated
- zest of 2 oranges
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
- 50g roasted hazelnuts, chopped
- a small bunch of chopped parsley (optional)
- Wash the veg thoroughly and ‘top and tail’ the beans
- Fry the ginger in a little oil, add the orange zest and toast lightly (be careful not to let this burn!)
- Add the green beans and cook on a high heat for a couple of minutes, or until they soften slightly, then add kale.
- Continue cooking on a high heat until the kale starts to wilt then add the balsamic. Don’t let the kale soften too much – you want to keep some texture.
- Continue cooking for a minute or two, so the balsamic begins to caramelise, then remove from the heat.
- Leave until you are ready to eat before mixing in the rocket and parsley. Dress with the remaining olive oil, hazelnuts and season to taste.
When all of the elements of the meal were finished, Tess showed us how to plate it up and we sat down to our well-earned dinner. The meal was fantastic, with the crispy chicken thighs complemented by the spiced sweet potato, tangy greens and cooling yogurt dressing. What’s more, I learnt some heady little tricks and flavour combos that I’ll being employing in my own cooking from now on.
If you’d like to join Tess on her next Skinny Bitch Cooking Class on 27th January visit this link. Tickets are £65, which includes all food, drinks and canapés.