5 cook and chill residential breaks

13 January 2012, 12.59 pm

The new year is a great time to plan a break to look forward to where you can relax and learn some new culinary skills, says Helen Sutcliffe.

A delicious combination of cookery and gardening skills is available at The Walled Garden Cookery School, (right) situated three miles from Newquay. There are only three courses here this year, so early booking is recommended. Each stay comprises a busy five-day course jam-packed with mouth-watering recipes and local ingredients and even a couple of trips out. The setting, Tresillian House, is beautiful, and for a small supplement guests can bring a non-cooking partner/spouse who can join in breakfasts and dinners, without any of the hard work! Courses cost £1,250, also available three-day Christmas prep courses for £675.

Make sure you are never at a loss when hosting a dinner party again with Orchards School of Cookery five-day residential course for Designer Dinners. Hosts Isabel and Lucy Bomford take you through all aspects of catering for larger numbers, including advance prep, which wines to choose and the all important rescuing triumph from disaster. Accommodation in the Georgian farmhouse and surrounding cottages is complemented by a range of sporting facilities on site. Each day ends with a dinner party catered by two of the students, with an early finish on Wednesdays to allow guests to pop in to nearby Stratford-upon-Avon to visit the RSC. Also available are ‘Off to University’ courses to prepare school leavers for self-catering. Designer Dinners £845.

The Yorkshire Wolds Cookery School  combines the popular setting of a beautifully renovated farm with a modern kitchen. Offering classes covering seasonal dinners, fish skills and a range of masterclasses from bread making to tapas, this school really does have something for everyone. Chef Ali Bilton also offers a range of special interest courses, such as Gentlemen Please, Mother’s Day gifts and the Generation Game (bring a relative!). Accommodation is in fresh, modern rooms, and offers a chance to walk in the surrounding country.

For a fork-to-field experience further south, Trill Farm hosts courses which offer the visitor an opportunity to reconnect with the source of food and explore seasonal, local food, gathered from the fields and hedgerows in the surrounding area. Situated on the Devon-Dorset border the Living Nutrition courses each have a different focus, and will send you away full of ideas and recipes. Courses start at £245. For more info on accommodation email zoe@trillfarm.co.uk

If you just fancy a quick break with a bit of cooking thrown in then Ballyknocken Guesthouse, outside Dublin, is an ideal retreat. Well-known (in Ireland) television chef Catherine Fulvio hosts an impressive array of one-day options that will leave you tempted to book in to the sumptuous accommodation to round off your day. As the weather gets warmer why not try the Barbecue and Outdoor Cooking course – we can always dream of summer. From €85 to €115. Accommodation from €59.50 pp.

Click here for more residential cookery courses

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