I was thrilled to join an intimate masterclass gathering at NOVI Cambridge – part of the scandi-haven’s celebration of the seasons. This session involved the incredible Katie of Allotment, fresh off the back from a month’s placement in the pastry section of The Fat Duck, Katie was brimming with advice, inspiration and charm as always as we mandolined, dip-dyed and decorated our way through the festive session.
Katie talked us through what to choose, how to slice, and new techniques such as latticing (seen on the beetroot below) and we all got to have a go on her industrial kit. We talked about how you can use beetroot and blackcurrant to dip dye the dried fruit – this was particularly stunning on the apple and pear slices. We discussed flavour, making clementine dust and the principles of decoration.
We learnt how to fill and ice our thyme and clementine cake to a ‘semi’naked’ style and became pros with a palette knife. It was a lovely mix of guests including Tracey, a trained florist who built the most impressive dehydrated wreath design even including glistening damson jam. Being greedy I made half home-made orange curd and half damson jam, and created two clusters of decoration that reflected the filling. It made a wonderful surprise at a friend’s birthday the next day!
Safe to say most of the group left adding a dehydrator to their christmas list! But you can achieve the same with home tools such as an oven, a wooden spoon to prop the door open and a peeler!