Ready, steady, cook!

This month, Karin Ridgers takes a cooking class

We all have those go-to dishes that we rotate on a regular basis. Perhaps these are a handful of recipes that we don't even need to think about how to make or how long they take to cook - they are so embedded in our minds.

My go-to mains seem to be a mix of popping something in the oven and bumping it up with an array of vegetables prepared in various ways.

These tend to be my giant fully-loaded veggie burger - with tonnes of steamed veggies, a super cheesy vegan pizza, a warm buttery bowl of organic pasta with a huge salad, and my throw-in-anything-that-needs-to-beeaten veggie curry.

I am not a follow-the-recipe kind of woman. I am a throw-it-all-in and guess when it is ready, busy, working mum who checks emails while stirring. However, during this unprecedented year I have seen more people experimenting with their cooking and baking, and I felt that this was something I wanted to explore, too.

I needed to take it further, and more than just going through the recipes from my collection of unopened recipe books. And then I thought of the perfect expert… Chef Day Radley. Chef Day was introduced to me several years ago at VegfestUK and I have followed her work since.

During the lockdowns, she has brought us vegan recipe excitement with weekly Facebook live cook-alongs and although she mainly trains people to be professional vegan chefs, she also runs cookery courses for 'regular' people, like you and I.

\"Cooking from scratch brings a wealth of benefits,\" Chef Day told me. \"I have seen my students' confidence soar after attending my courses.\" Day's now-online Home Cook Course is comprised of seven separate categories:

• Luscious Cakes
• One Pot Dishes
• Tasty Tofu
• Healthy Breakfasts
• Vegan Cheese
• Easy Meals
• Delicious Desserts

The courses can be taken separately or all together, and these will teach you 'All of the recipes you will ever need to know'. Just what I needed. Chef Day, told me more: \"The online Home Cook courses give you complete guidance, not just a collection of recipes. Students learn about the specific techniques, ingredients and equipment I use and get a full explanation of all of them.

I am on hand to give support and feedback to my students.\" \"Students can submit images of their recipes to me, to obtain a certificate from the courses.

Students can expect to get a fundamental understanding of a wide variety of vegan cooking. Through this they will feel a greater sense of confidence in the kitchen and be able to cook great recipes every day of the week.\"

I have since started Day's course, and the recipes I have made so far have turned out really well - I have impressed myself! Okay… I am a work in progress, however, that's what it is all about.

Sometimes I rope my son Callum into making something with me, so that we can enjoy extra time together - and he gets time away from the dreaded, but useful Playstation. Sometimes I have even invited my hubby to join in, however, I end up being his assistant…

The Banana Sticky Toffee Pudding with Salty Caramel Sauce sounds very fancy, but the recipe was easy to follow and even more helpful are Chef Day's notes, list of what is needed, techniques and step by step video.

I was particularly intrigued with the Tasty Tofu course. Apart from whizzing tofu up for my own famous quiche and simply mashing in the frying pan for my equally as delicious 'scramble eggless', I was curious to find some new go-to tofu dishes.

Chef Day's omelet is well worth doing the course for alone. How it tastes so creamy and cheesy - with no cheese - is a mystery. Callum said he wants one for daily brunch!

The Tofu Fish is also great fun to make. I have never used batter before and Day's expert guidance meant that they came out looking and tasting incredibly impressive.

\"We all need to cook food from scratch more often - this is key to having a healthier diet. We are gulled into thinking cooking is hard - a lengthy process that is complicated, but it isn't! My recipes are easy and simple to make.

By exploring these recipes and expanding your cooking repertoire, you will be able to see how fun and easy cooking can be.\" Taking Chef Day's course has brought back some fun with food, and even after nearly 25 years of being vegan, I am thoroughly loving learning from someone who has done all of the hard work for us!


For more from Karin, visit veggievisiondating.com and mad-promotions.com


The lifestyle magazine written by vegans for vegans.