After decades in the restaurant trade, chef Stephen Jeffers is making it his mission to impart his years of accumulated knowledge to enthusiastic home cooks.
His successful Forestside Cookery School offers all manner of classes from Thai street food, to takeaway classics and even caters for children’s birthday parties.
Stephen’s latest book ‘Great Food Made Simple’ is a compilation of handpicked recipes taken from the hundreds of menus he’s crafted over the years.
We were lucky enough to be invited to try some of the dishes he’d chosen at a special supper club at the School.
Here’s our menu for the night…
We’d both consider ourselves pretty handy around the the kitchen, but on first glance, there were a couple of dishes that we’d
never dream of attempting.
I told Stephen I had enough difficulty eating my summer roll (as my maladroit chopstick control saw the filling squeezed out
onto my lap).
I couldn’t imagine making one.
“But sure it’s just a salad in a rice paper wrapper!” he replied.
Which pretty neatly sums up the spirit of the book.
All of the recipes have been designed to be approachable – not requiring
either great technical skill or hours of painstaking preparation – but nonetheless delicious.
The subtly-spiced Vietnamese yellow fish curry was undoubtedly the standout dish of the night but would it taste as good at home, rather than by a professional?
“Yes,” says Chef Jeffers. “When the ingredients are really good, the recipe doesn’t have to be complicated to be really delicious”.
With a couple of meaty hake fillets from Mourne Fishbox waiting in the freezer, I’ll have to give it a go.
Below are the other plates we were treated to during a very pleasurable evening of eating and conversation.
If you like the look of any of these and fancy giving them a try, you can pick up Chef Jeffer’s new book ‘Great Food Made Simple’ at forestsidecookeryschool.com – you can even buy individual chapters in digital form on the website if you’re short of shelf space!
He’ll be at the Moira Speciality Fair on Saturday 18 August, where he’ll be doing a live cookery demonstration – including recipes from the book.
As a bonus, he’ll also be taking a knife-skills seminar afterwards, but get there quickly – it’s first come, first served!