Cooking Experience Days Out

For those who like to cook (or just eat)

Books for Cooks (London) — I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume and variety of cookbooks on display at this Notting Hill bookstore. Tucked in the back of the store is an on-site test kitchen where recipes are put to the test daily Tuesday - Saturday. The day we visited the featured menu was vegetarian. We were treated to celeriac mustard soup, lentil with beans and sweet potato and a choice of white chocolate raspberry, lemon cake or apple and cranberry crumble. The three-course meal featuring recipes from Books for Cooks own cookbook and the Happy Pear came to £7. The tables were full by noon - arrive by 11:45 am to guarantee a seat and food is served until it is gone.
Ginger Pumpkin Chocolate Fish (Walton on Thames) — For seasonal cooking demonstration done in style, visit Burvale House, a beautiful Regency home in Surrey. The proprietor and chef, Shelagh Klein, has brought her theatrical background into the kitchen. Our private class included instruction for six dishes followed by a sit down lunch complete with wine and dessert. The sticky toffee pudding made in a bundt cake pan was a standout and I learned how easy it is to make fancy parmesan crisps and smoked trout pate. Book early since dates are limited. Sit back and enjoy the show of food being made with such fun!
Jamie Oliver Cookery School (London) — While I am not much of a cook (regrettably), I find myself drawn to classes where I am surprisingly cooking, though with welcome help. At our Vietnamese street food class, someone has bought the ingredients, laid them out pre-measured, along with the required kitchen utensils. I was also partnered with someone who would check my work and the staff did the cleanup. Under these ideal circumstances, their motto that ‘anyone can learn to cook and make great food’ while still somewhat far-fetched in my case, encourages me to keep trying.
For more: Download the London via Surrey Book App

Valentine's Day

Three ways to get your chocolate fix

Choccywoccydooah (Multiple) — If you are a chocoholic like me, this is the place to get your fix. The store is literally filled from floor to ceiling with chocolate. For a special treat, book the secret room above their flagship shop in London. I am not exaggerating when I say that they will serve you more candy and chocolate than you can possibly eat in one sitting.
Monty Bo Jangles Truffle Bar (Reigate) — There are simply no words to describe these award-winning French cocoa dusted truffles. A limited selection is available from local grocery stores, speciality shops and on-line. The full array can be found at their first and only retail shop and truffle bar in Reigate. In addition to truffle sampler selection (choice of six), they serve up decadent made-to-order truffle hot chocolate, crumpets drizzled with truffles and thin crepe-like pancakes made with melted truffles and topped with whip cream - well worth a trip!
W + H 'Well + Happy is is all about health, happiness and chocolate. They all go hand in hand, and in our opinion should never be separated' - a motto I can get totally behind! They are best known for their raw chocolate bars that are made without refined sugar and are dairy- and gluten-free.  These guilt-free treats can be found on-line, in Selfridges food hall, healthy cafes as well as in fitness studios and spas.
For more: Download the London via Surrey Book App

February Fashion Fun

Three London fashion anniversary events

Diana : Her Fashion Story (Kensington Palace) — Opening February 24th, the exhibition covers the most iconic outfits worn by Diana, the Princess of Wales, from her first public appearances in the 80s to those worn in the 90s. Highlights include the blouse worn for her engagement portrait to the velvet evening gown worn while dancing with John Travolta at the White House. A temporary 'White Garden', including daisies, narcissi, tulips, and white roses will be installed spring and summer 2017 to complement the exhibition and commemorate the 20th anniversary of her passing. 2031 666000
Kensington Palace State Apartments, Kensington Gardens, London W8 4PX

London Fashion Weekend Festival (London) — London Fashion Week (LFW) is one of the highest profile fashion events in the world and one of the 'big four' (New York, London, Milan and Paris).  LFW is limited to members of the press, buyers and celebrities.  However, London Fashion Week Festival February 23-26 is open to the public.  Both events have moved to join the 10th edition of London Fashion Week Men's at The Store Studios.  Activities include catwalk shows, pop-up shops and talks.  This year's event even features a limited edition tote bag designed by Dame Vivienne Westwood.
The Store Studios, 180 Strand, WC2R

Prêt-à-Portea (The Berkeley) — Designers and delectables featured in the Autumn/Winter 2016-2017 collection tea include 10 of the best creations from the last 10 years. Burberry’s classic trench coat, Dolce & Gabbana's owl design dress, Manolo Blahnik’s pointy toe stiletto and Moschino’s ‘yellow M’ handbag are just some of the fashions that have been made into biscuits, cakes and other sweets. As part of the the 10th anniversary celebration, a new book Prêt-à-Portea, High-Fashion Bakes & Biscuits has been released. Masterclasses to learn secret recipes and baking techniques behind three of the items from the tea are on offer through the spring with The Berkeley's head pastry chef, Mourad Khiat. 2072 356000
Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RL

For more: Download the London via Surrey Book App