Before Christmas, I attended what was possibly the hippest thing I’ve done to date. Hidden in a corner of Manchester’s edgy Northern Quarter, on a street I didn’t even realise existed, a rather wonderful thing happened at a place called Form Lifestyle Store. Pippa Middlehurst (no less than the WINNER of Britain’s Best Home Cook 2018) hosted a workshop – teaching us her wonderful skill of making Chinese-style dumplings, from scratch.
You know the kind. Steaming hot and fragrant little morsels of goodness that you’d usually find on the Dim Sum menu in your local Chinese
As kids, we were brought up on Chinese food at the weekends. In my house, it was just me, my mum and my sister. Being a single mum was by no means easy and come Friday night the last thing mum wanted to do was cook another meal for us all. So from a fairly young age, we started trying things from the local Chinese takeaway – sesame prawn toast, Singapore noodles and hot and sour soup with prawn crackers were my absolute favourite. Or crispy chilli beef with soft noodles and
So it’s no surprise that it was my mum who got me into Chinese dumplings and dim sum. There’s something so comforting and satisfying about a fresh, hot, steamy parcel dipped into a salty soy sauce and eaten straight from the chopstick – whole in one!
But Pippa has her own childhood experiences with Chinese food – which she’s talked about a lot since winning the show and I find utterly fascinating. She’s from Salford, and when she was a kid, her Grandad used to take her to the Asian supermarket in Liverpool. They’d roam the aisles then stop for lunch in China Town and she’d try a range of Sichuan meals. Blown away by their intensity and spice she soon found her mum’s cooking boring. So she started to teach herself how to cook Sichuan meals from scratch. And hence her obsession was born.
If you want to give Sichuan cooking a go, then I urge you to start with her recipe for Dan Dan Noodles. I have eaten this dish four times now: twice cooked by Pippa at her Supper Clubs and twice made myself at home myself. It was the vegan version each time and I can honestly say this is one of the most fun and satisfying meals I’ve ever made or eaten. It’s now a firm favourite in my house and I can’t recommend it enough!
But if you fancy having a go at the next level stuff – book yourself on to one of her dumpling-making workshops. You will not regret it. Pippa so lovely, a great teacher (they are easier than you think!) and she also offers some fab tips on how to navigate the Asian supermarket!
Her sweet potato jiaozi dumplings are vegan-friendly and absolutely PACKED full of flavour. Honestly, it’s quite astonishing. You make 10 dumplings in the class and take every single one home with you to pop straight in the freezer so you can enjoy them at your own pace. During the workshop, you get to eat the batch that Pippa makes as a demonstration – so don’t worry, no one goes hungry!
During the class, she shows you how to make the dumplings from start to finish, including the dough, filling and intricate folding technique. Then she demonstrates how to cook them – which you can also do straight from frozen – making them (I can confirm) the most perfect little snack when you get home on a cold winter’s evening. From freezer to piping hot and ready to eat in less than 15 minutes.
The workshop is perfect for any food lover who’s keen to learn a new skill. It’s also a certified way to really impress your mates at your next dinner party or gathering!
For all the juicy details, see her website (pippyeats.com/events) and follow her on Instagram (@pippyeats) where she releases all ticket information on her workshops, Supper Clubs and shares her amazing Asian recipe inspiration!