At the Kitchen – Seasonal Blog

As the sun goes down on yet another summer and autumn leaves begin their descent, we can’t help but question why the importance and huge potential of the four seasons is underestimated by so many people.

At the Kitchen are staunch supporters of seasonal cooking, as demonstrated by our events, supper clubs and workshops that evoke the spirit of the respective season.

Like it or loathe it, we’re heavily influenced by the four seasons. Whether it be the cold snap of winter or the crisp sunshine of spring, the climate and weather dictate the way that we live our lives and cook in our kitchens.

Seasons don’t only signal a change in the weather. From a culinary perspective, each phase of the calendar year presents the opportunity to experiment with new recipes, uncover new foods and enjoy the wonders of serving up delicious meals for family and friends.

However, while there are many devotees of the endless possibilities presented by the four seasons, there are others who are less amenable to widening their scope. We believe that those in the latter category are missing out on the opportunity to sample delightful cuisine.

Granted, there are sometimes people who are less receptive to experimenting with new recipes. Nonetheless, we’re certainly advocates of the view that everyone should embrace the wonders of each season and how they can enhance your cooking and broaden your sense of adventure when it comes to trying new foods.

For instance, winter is arguably the season that has the most profound effect on the way we cook our food and entertain our dinner guests. Not only do we crave stodgy comfort food to warm up as we seek refuge from the cold outside, but Christmas time also falls within the winter months, a seasonal celebration whereby food takes centre stage.

This year, At the Kitchen is delighted to be hosting a range of exciting events to celebrate the festive season: a Christmas Party for local freelancers on the 5th December, Festive Wines and Canapes on the 6th December, as well as a Seasonal Supper Club on the 13th.

Whether it’s Christmas or another seasonal event during the calendar year, we enjoy the all-encompassing experience of transforming At the Kitchen into a space befitting of a particular celebration – this isn’t limited to the types of food that are served to guests. At the Kitchen tie our events in seasonally with scheduled workshops, supper clubs and events, paying attention to intricate details such as table decorations and which drinks are served.

The sense of occasion is what makes seasonal activities an enthralling experience; because the events occur on an annual basis, there’s a sense of exclusivity and added excitement. Moreover, a range of niche skills can be learned from season-specific events. Our autumn foraging event not only highlighted how to search for wild food resources safely but also provided tips on how to turn fresh ingredients into delicious meals at a minimal cost.

Such is the breadth and underlying potential of seasonal activities that we’ve devoted copious amounts of time across the course of the last eighteen months attempting to fine-tune and refine riveting experiences for our clientele; while some have been more successful than others, there are plentiful opportunities sprinkled throughout twelve months.

Healthy January provides a window to focus on cleaner eating, with many indulging over the Christmas and New Year period, while we’re keen to introduce events and workshops to coincide with well-known occasions such as Mother’s Day and Easter.

In addition to the more recognisable events, there are a whole host of diverse events taking place as the seasons’ change, with many presenting the perfect opportunity for a food-inspired twist. For example, the blossoming popularity of real ale is typified with Cask Ale Week, with the celebration a chance to recognise beer as an ingredient for a host of dishes, as well as a tasty beverage.

Alternatively, fans of the sweet treats can earmark 5th June on their calendar, with National Donut Day set to make fans of the fried confectionery hot under the collar at the beginning of the summer months.

The assorted events are perfect for At the Kitchen and we’re looking forward to pencilling in more exciting events and catering for more food enthusiasts.

To book your place at one of the upcoming events here at At the Kitchen, call 0161 282 2050 or email to share your ideas for a seasonal activity with us.

Chicken and Leek Noodle Soup

A restorative chicken soup perfect served with cheese and mustard toasties!

Serves 6
Hands on time – 20 minutes
Total time – 40 minutes

1 x 1.2kg free range chicken
3 carrots
2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
2 onions
1tsp black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
½ bunch flat leaf parsley
3 sprigs rosemary
1 bulb garlic, halved
1tbsp olive oil
knob of butter
2 leeks , finely chopped
150g green beans, topped and tailed
grated zest and juice ½ lemon
150g medium egg noodles

1 Place the chicken in a large saucepan with one of the carrots, all the celery, 1 of the onions, halved , the peppercorns, bay leaves,  half the parsley, saving the other half for adding at the end,  and rosemary and halved garlic bulb. Season with a teaspoon of salt and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer very gently for 1 hour until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the heat and leave to cool until possible to handle. When cool enough remove the chicken from the stock and set aside to cool further.

2 Whilst the chicken is simmering away chop the remaining carrots and onion into small cubes. Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan and add the leeks and the chopped onion and cook gently for about 5 minutes until beginning to soften. Stir in the carrots and cook for a further 5 minutes .

3 Strain the chicken cooking liquid and measure out 2 1/2 litres and pour into the saucepan with the leeks and carrot and bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. You can freeze any remaining stock.

4 Remove the meat from the chicken and chop into pieces. Add this and the green beans to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes.

5 Crush the egg noodles into pieces and add to the pan and simmer for a further 5 minutes until softened. Finally stir in the lemon juice and zest and taste for seasoning, adding a little more salt or pepper if needed.

6 Finely chop the remaining flat leaf parsley. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle the flat leaf parsley over the top to serve.

3 simple summer desserts

Apricot and Orange Flower water Fool

Serves 4

  • 500g ripe fresh apricot, halved and stones removed
  • finely grated zest and juice of 1 large orange
  • 140g golden caster sugar
  • 150ml water
  • 1/2tsp orange flower water
  • 500g carton mascarpone
  • 142ml carton double cream
  • 2tbsp finely chopped pistachio nuts to serve


  • Put the apricot halves in a saucepan with the orange zest, juice, sugar and water. Shake the pan to combine, then simmer, uncovered, over a medium heat until the apricots are soft. This should take about 10-15 minutes.
  • Tip the contents of the pan into a blender or food processor and whizz to a purée. Decant into a bowl, stir in the orange flower water and leave to cool .
  • Soften the mascarpone in its tub by whisking it vigorously with a fork. Whip the cream in a bowl – you want it softly whipped not stiff. Fold in the mascarpone with a large metal spoon, then lightly swirl in the apricot purée to make a pattern.
  • Spoon the mixture into six wine glasses. (At this point, they’ll keep in the fridge for up to a day.) To serve, scatter over the chopped pistachio nuts .

Peach and Raspberry Friands

Makes 9

  • 100g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 125g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 25g plain flour
  • 85g ground almonds
  • 3 medium egg whites
  • finely grated rind1 unwaxed lemon,
  • 85g raspberries
  • 2 nectarines or peaches, halved and finely sliced


  • Preheat the oven to fan 180C/ 200C/gas 6. Generously butter nine non-stick friand or muffin tins. Melt the butter and set aside to cool.
  • Sift the icing sugar and flour into a bowl. Add the almonds and mix everything between your fingers.
  • Whisk the egg whites in another bowl until they form soft peaks. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, tip in the egg whites and lemon rind, then lightly stir in the butter to form a soft batter.
  • Divide the batter among the tins, a large serving spoon is perfect for this job. Gently press in a few of the raspberries in the top of each along with a few slices of the nectarines or peaches. Bake for 15-20 minutes until just firm to the touch and golden brown.
  • Cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out and cool on a wire rack. To serve, dust lightly with icing sugar.

Almond Baked Golden Nectarines

The filling for these nectarines is a delicious almond frangipane using crushed amaretti biscuits . Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Serves 6

  • 6 nectarines, halved and stones removed
  • 100g amaretti biscuits
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 1 medium egg
  • 3tbsp flaked almonds
  • juice 1 large orange
  • 4tbsp dry Marsala


  • Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/gas 6. Place the nectarines in a single layer in a shallow roasting tin cut side up.
  • Place the amaretti biscuits in a food processor and blitz until you have coarse crumbs. Or place in a plastic bag and seal .Then , using a rolling pin crush the biscuits until you have coarse crumbs. Place in a bowl and add the butter, ground almonds, sugar and egg and mix together well.
  • Spoon the mixture into the cavity of the nectarines piling high and then scatter the flaked almonds over the top. Pour the marsala into the bottom of the tin with the orange juice and about 100ml water then bake uncovered for 20 minutes until the topping and filling is golden and crunchy and the nectarines are tender.
  • Serve warm with the juices spooned over with scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Recipe – Roast Beetroot and Carrot Quinoa Salad With Grilled Halloumi

roast beetroot

Roasting beetroot and Carrots really intensifies the sweetness which works wonderfully with the cumin and lemon. Pack up any remaining salad for your lunchbox the next day.

Serves 4

Prep 15 minutes

Cook 40 minutes


350g beetroot

500g carrots

1tbsp cumin seeds

3tbsp olive oil

200g Quinoa

225g pack Halloumi cheese, sliced into to 8 pieces

grated zest and juice from 1 lemon

28g pack flat leaf parsley

40g flaked almonds


1 Preheat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Wash and remove the tops from the beetroot and carrots and dry with kitchen paper. Cut each beetroot into quarters and chop the carrots into thick rounds and place in a roasting tin . Add the cumin seeds and a tablespoon of olive oil and toss everything together well. Roast for 35 – 40 minutes until the beetroot and carrots are golden and very tender.


2 Meanwhile place the Quinoa in a saucepan and cover with water measuring about  4cm above the Quinoa. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Turn of the heat , cover and set aside.


3 Heat another tablespoon of oil in a non stick frying pan and add the halloumi cheese in a single layer and cook until golden , about 2 – 3 minutes then turn and cook the other side .


4 Place the roasted vegetables in a large bowl . Fluff up the Quinoa with a fork and add to the bowl with the lemon zest and juice, the remaining tablespoon of olive oil , the chopped flat leaf parsley and toasted flaked almonds. Season to taste and toss together gently. Serve spooned onto serving plates with a few slices of the halloumi cheese on top and a spoonful of thick Greek yoghurt.

For more recipe inspiration or just delicious food served to you, check out our classes and events here

5 Tips To Get Your Teenagers Cooking


Eating healthy food from an early age instils good habits and sets your kids up with the nutrients they need to develop both physically and mentally. However, with fast food and sugary snacks and drinks so readily available, busy teenagers might see cooking as too much of an effort.

Inspiring your teens to cook will help them to nurture their independence and ability to create nutritionally balanced meals when they move away from home. Here are five tips to get them cooking, so that they are kitchen-competent before they fly the nest.

1. Get them involved

Encourage your teens to cook a meal for the family. Ask them what they fancy having for dinner and let them find recipes that they might like to try – but make sure they’re doable. Dishes that can be prepared in around 30 minutes and involve only basic utensils or techniques will offer an almost instant sense of satisfaction.

2. Make it stress-free

Help them gather the ingredients and cooking equipment they will need for the meal they have decided to cook for everyone. This takes away the panic of rummaging around for the small saucepan when they need to be making sure that they don’t burn the rest of the food.

3. Give them responsibility

Put them in charge of the food shopping and let them choose ingredients they might want to add to the meal. When it comes to preparing the dinner, give them some guidance before starting, but try not to interfere too much and take over. This will relieve the pressure of being watched and make it their own project rather than yours.

4. Be positive

Positive reinforcement is important to anyone trying to learn something new. This will give your teens a confidence boost in their cooking abilities and in themselves. Either whilst eating the food or after, tell them what you liked about it and encourage them to share their thoughts on the food and cooking experience.

5. Book a teen cooking class

To nurture their enthusiasm, ask if they want to try out a cookery course. A dedicated teen cooking class will help them develop their skills and learn tips and tricks alongside other people their age.

We run courses exclusively for teenagers at our cookery school in Cheadle Hulme, Manchester. They promote healthy eating to the younger generations while teaching them useful techniques that prove creating mouth-watering dishes can be an enjoyable experience. We cover both main courses and desserts in a fun, engaging environment after school – and offer flexible booking options too.

If you have any questions, get in touch on 0161 282 2050 or email us at

Lights, Camera , wheres the photographer gone…..

Great day yesterday and brilliant to finally be doing a photo shoot in the new space. Photographer Craig Robertson loving the space and fab to try out the new Fisher and Pykel hobs. It was always the plan to use the building for photography shoots as well as cookery classes and events so great to see it in action. The high pitched roof means there is plenty of room to move about he loves getting up high on the ladder to do some overhead shots. Typical though it was a gorgeous day with lovely daylight coming into the building and he goes and decides to block the window and set up all his lights !!

For the love of Crabeye beans….

I picked these beautiful looking dried beans up from my favourite food shop in Manchester called Venus Food . It is is a Turkish, Greek , Mediteranean Supermarket full of fabulous ingredients and I could spend hours browsing the aisles. Crab eye beans may be more known as borlotti beans but also Rosecoco, Saluggia and Roman beans. They have a delicious creaminess and perfect in soups and stews. Cooking dried beans is a lot simpler than you think it just requires a bit of pre planning. They need soaking overnight and so as long as you remember to get them soaking then the cooking part is pretty easy and straight forward. I encourage you to give them a go as they are a lot cheaper than the canned and a small amount of dried beans once soaked goes a long way.

A bit of sun has not only finally encouraged the blossom out but everything else has just come out to play too. The morning dog walk is a great excuse for a bit of foraging and I have been waiting for the wild garlic to finally get underway . Just a modest handful (lets not over harvest it ) is all you need to add to an omelette or stir into a soup. It lends itself to making a brilliant pesto which I added walnuts to instead of pine nuts as they give a real creaminess to the finished pesto. Its delicious stirred into this hearty soup/stew and just looks so goddam good .

Crabeye Bean, Red lentil and Pancetta Soup

Serves 4

100g dried beans such as crabeye, pinto or red kidney beans

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

70g cubed smoked pancetta

pinch chilli flakes or 1 fresh chilli, finely chopped

1 tsp sweet paprika

350g carrots, (peeled weight) diced

200g red lentils

500g passata

1 tsp runny honey

600ml vegetable stock

For the pesto

Large Handful wild garlic leaves (about 50g)

30g walnuts

glug extra virgin olive oil

3tbsp fresh parmesan

1 Place the beans in a bowl and cover with cold water and leave to soak, covered , over night.

2 Drain the beans and place in a saucepan covered with fresh water about 6 cm above the beans and bring to a simmer and cook for 11/2 hours . Keep an eye on the water level and top up with extra water as you go to stop it drying out .

3 Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion gently for 5 minutes until beginning to soften. Stir in the pancetta and cook for a further 3 – 4 minutes .

4 Add the chilli, paprika and carrots and toss all together. Stir through the red lentils then pour in the passata, honey and stock and stir together well. Simmer gently for 25 – 30 minutes until all very tender .

5 Whilst this is cooking make the pesto – place the wild garlic and walnuts in a  food processor and whiz until you have a coarse paste. Tip out into a bowl and stir in the olive oil and parmesan and a pinch of salt.

6 Drain the cooked beans and stir into the soup then simmer for a further 5 minutes then test for seasoning and add a pinch of salt and some ground black pepper. Serve in bowls with a spoonful of the pesto .


Vegetarian and Vegan Cookery Classes

We are really busy putting together some great classes and events and wanted to let you know about a class I am really excited about. The first of our Vegetarian and Vegan classes starts on Saturday 12th May 10am – 3.30pm and am so thrilled to have on board chef Bex Shindler from The Mindful Kitchen.

The day will be filled with great inspirational vegetarian and vegan recipes packed with fresh seasonal ingredients. Whether it’s a creamy tart or a flavour packed curry we have plenty of ideas, hints, tips and advice for eating a plant based diet.  Bex will be joining us in sharing her wealth of knowledge and experience for truly vibrant, nourishing and delicious food. The Mindful Kitchen is a plant based Catering Service which offers menu development plus public and private events . I can’t wait to do this class with Bex its going to be really interesting and great fun, you will love it! Look forward to seeing you on the 12th.

To book onto the class go to

To read more about Bex and The Mindful Kitchen go to

Something for the Weekend

Friday at last and looking forward to the weekend, but its not all rest and play, we have a  busy week ahead of us, so as I’m getting prepped for next weeks classes i thought i would get you in the mood for the Pie and Tarts class. Hope you enjoy

Spiced Sweet Potato and Tomato pasties

The pastry for these patties is so simple to prepare and the result is a delicous crispy light pastry perfect with the spiced filling.

Makes 6

Prep 25 minutes
Cook 40 minutes

For the pastry

  • 175g butter
  • 300g plain flour

For the filling

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1tsp ground turmeric
  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2tsp cayenne pepper
  • 250g sweet potato, cut into 1.5 cm cubes
  • 1tbsp tomato puree
  • 300g tomatoes, chopped roughly
  • small bunch coriander, roughly chopped
  • 4tbsp ricotta
  • 1 medium egg, lightly beaten
  • 2tsp Black onion seeds

1 For the pastry place the butter in the freezer for about 20 minutes until it is very hard. Sift the flour and a pinch of  salt into a mixing bowl. Hold the butter using a piece of parchment paper and coarsley grate it into the flour working quickly. Stir the butter and flour together , sprinkle with about 6 tablespoons of very cold water and mix to make a dough adding a little more water if needed. Wrap in cling film and chill for about 30 minutes.

2 Make the filling by heating the olive oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion for about 6 – 8 minutes until really softened . Add the garlic and cook for a minute longer.  Stir in the spices and stir well then tip in the sweet potato.

3 Add the tomato puree and cook for a minute before adding the chopped tomatoes and about 150ml of water  and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes until the sauce is thickened and the sweet potatoes are softened but still holding there shape. Set aside to cool.

4 When ready to make the pasties roll out half of the pastry (easier to handle if you do it half at a time) and using a  saucer cut out a disc measuring 18cm. Repeat with the remaining pastry until you have 6 discs.

5 Stir the coriander into the sweet potato mixture. Spoon a heaped tablespoon of the mixture onto one side of the pastry disc and top with a tablespoon of the ricotta cheese. Brush the edges of the pastry with a little beaten egg and then fold over the pastry to make a half moon shape sealing the edges either with a fork or pinching the pastry with your finger and thumb. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.

6 Brush the tops of each pastie with a little more beaten egg and sprinkle withonion seeds. Bake for 20 minutes until golden and crispy.