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Cordon Vert Vegetarian Cookery Day

Submitted by on November 29, 2013 – 1:49 pmOne Comment

One of the nicest things about working at Suma is that each day, we all sit down for a freshly made vegetarian lunch. This is prepared for us by members of the canteen team, the most famous of course being Pastry Paolo, who is also a Suma driver and part-time cookwear model.

Pastry Paolo


In October, Paolo and the rest of us were lucky enough to be sent on a training day at the Cordon Vert Cookery School at Vegetarian Society HQ in Altrincham –  what a fantastic day.  We all came away feeling inspired and thinking that it had been a real privilege to take part.

The course was hosted by Alex Connell, principal tutor at The Vegetarian Society.

Alex teaches workshops, develops recipes, creates new courses and demonstrates at food shows. The cookery school runs numerous vegetarian and vegan cookery courses at their Cheshire and London venues.

Alex Connell


One of our party has already booked the truffle making course as a Christmas present for somebody – hopefully me.

Our day was relaxed, informative and really fun but what was so impressive was how much we managed to fit in…. and I don’t just mean the enormous lunch at the end!

First up was pizza, and I learned that for the last ten years I’ve not been kneading my dough for long enough, it needs to be ten minutes. I’m looking forward to testing out the new technique next time I make bread in the Suma canteen.

Next Alex demonstrated a couple of dishes – a sweet and sour tofu dish and a paella. He flavoured the sweet and sour with ginger. He showed us a cool trick which was to grate a big pile of ginger onto a plate and then pick it up in your hand and squeeze all the juice in your fist over the pan, the delicious liquid ginger gave the dish a real zip without any fibre. I’ve been using this since in dhals, Thai curries and smoothies too.

The paella tasted great; Alex used sundried tomatoes, gherkins and artichokes with lots of fresh vegetables, which all worked really well. Fredy and I tried this a week later in the canteen – quite a lot more chopping when you’re cooking for 120 but really well received.

In the afternoon, we split into pairs and all made a three-course lunch. We each did something different, choosing between African, Middle Eastern, Mexican, Indian or English. It was lovely to cook in a state-of-the-art kitchen with loads of room – it felt like being on a TV cookery programme!

We spent a couple of hours on our dishes. They were all sooo good. When everything was ready we carried the dishes into the dining room and had a massive feast.  The food was amazing. Mmmm. Hubba Hubba –  a fitting end to a great day. Thank you Alex!

You can try out one of the recipes we made on the day, courtesy of The Cordon Vert Cookery School, click the link to see Alex’s Harira Soup Recipe.

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