A lot of my friends and family call me a lucky person. You may call me a jammy git, but over the years, I have won a fair amount of competitions and prizes, including many books, tickets to U2, and a top prize of an IBM laptop. (A huge prize for a poor postgraduate student). I don't have any secret to my success though - other than the fact that I enter competitions. It takes a second to pop your name in the draw and you could very well win. It's amazing the amount of people who will say that they have no luck, but how can you win if you don't enter?
Twitter has been a great mechanism for winning competitions. Until recently, my top Twitter prize was a 2 night stay at the lovely Sheen Falls Lodge, but that was all changed when Máire Flynn of The Tannery Restaurant, Townhouse & Cookery School rang. It turned out that I was one of three lucky Twitter winners who had won places on the Mediterranean Magic course. Máire had been struck by a string of last-minute cancellations, and generously offered the places via a Twitter raffle.
We were a little late arriving at the Cookery School on the Saturday morning, which meant that we were able to sit with a cup of coffee in the kitchen, while Paul Flynn and the other attendees picked supplies from the garden. The kitchen in the school is an amazing bright space, which used to be a convent music room. Our particular class was going to be a demonstration class, but hands-on practical classes also on offer for the more dedicated students.
|The demonstration counter|
|A wider view of the bright and airy room (#spotflynny to the side)|
Watching Paul work was an educating experience. I'm no slouch at multitasking in the kitchen, but Mr Flynn is a whole different level. This shouldn't come as any great surprise, given his long experience in the cheffing game. He chatted and entertained as he chopped, diced and whisked his way through the dishes. We spent the morning watching him make the dishes for our lunch, including a fabulously fresh gazpacho, a vibrant Tuscan bread salad and a warming Moroccan chicken. Dessert was a wonderful Orange Almond Cake doused in a spiced orange syrup.
|Panzanilla - Tuscan Bread Salad|
|Orange Almond Cake|
As the dishes were completed, Paul and his lovely assistant piled them on the kitchen worktop and we then helped ourselves before taking a seat in the calm and serene dining room. Generous glasses of wine, and a common love of tasty food ensured that there was plenty of chat over lunch. We were treated to a visit from Twitter royalty in the form of Paul's wife and business partner Máire, along with their two angelic little girls. The Tannery is a real family business.
|Lunchtime in the elegant dining room|
After lunch, we were more than a little sleepy, but Paul seemed to have gained in energy over lunch and he launched into Round Two of cooking. He churned out aubergine rolls with red pepper sauce, a comforting ham, cheese and potato cake, all finished off with an exotic and spiced fruit salad. Of course, we had to sample all this before we could depart! We rolled out of the Tannery holding our recipe booklets, hugely inspired by Paul's attitude to flavours and freshness.
|Spiced fruit salad|
|Ham, Cheese and Potato Cake|
If you are interested in taking a course with Paul at the Tannery Cookery School, then you can check out the website below for more information on upcoming courses. If you want to make a weekend of it, it's also possible to combine a cookery class with a stay in the lovely Tannery B&B, as well as enjoying a meal in their famous restaurant. Or perhaps, given the proximity of the Christmas season, a trip to the Tannery Cookery School might make the perfect gift.