In recent years, Sushi has fast become one of my favourite things to eat. But it’s not always been that way. It’s only since I’ve moved to London and there are an abundance of sushi shops and restaurants to choose from that it’s become a staple in my life. So when I was invited by The Avenue Cookery School in Wandsworth to take part in a blogger’s version of their Vegan Sushi and Cocktail Making Class, it really was a no-brainer for me. It sounded amazing and has been something that I’ve wanted to try for a very long time.
The Avenue Cookery School was founded in 2004 and is now headed up by Diana and her family along with other amazing chefs who run different classes and workshops at the school. You can check out their extensive list of workshops and courses on their website. These include; Day courses, week courses and evening courses for a variety of different cuisines and dishes such as; Best of British, Cupcake Decorating, Vegan Brunch, Pasta workshops and of course, sushi classes! (and even better is that a lot of the courses include alcohol!).
I arrived at The Avenue Cookery School in Wandsworth after work on a Tuesday evening, I didn’t know anyone and so this was a little daunting but I received a lovely welcome and a delightful glass of Organic Prosecco by one of the evening’s sponsors, Thompson and Scott and began to chat to some of the other bloggers and influencers that were in attendance whilst munching on some homemade bread, I could tell that this was going to be an enjoyable evening before the word sushi had even been mumbled.
After a little while we were all called over to the main cooking area to start the activities. Diana welcomed us all and explained a little about The Avenue Cookery school and what we would be doing over the course of the night. Diana has been at the school for over 10 years, after 11 years at the Grange Cookery school in Somerset. Her children, Sophie who is the driving force of the business and it’s development and Richard, who was our chef/teacher for the evening, his main focus is on modern cuisine and he’s a self-confessed foodie, so we knew that we were in good hands for the remainder of the evening.
He showed us how to make our sushi in simple steps, this was also made easier by the fact we could actually see what he was doing thanks to his informative explanations and by the giant angled mirror which was placed over the counter. So handy! We were first told how to prepare our rice so that it was ready to be rolled into the perfect sushi, which we did using the hobs that were on our workstations.It was a lovely space to work, very professional looking and ingredients and supplies lurking all around, so you have everything that you could possibly need. There were 5 workstations which each housed 3 people, each equipped with their own hobs and meant that we could have a chat and get to know each other whilst we made our sushi. We also were predominantly working in pairs which was nice as it made it not as scary and less difficult to get it all completely wrong…After all two heads are better than one. My partner was called @VeggieLad and we had a great time!
Whilst the rice was cooking, we all got into the sushi spirit and began to chop up the vegetables for our filling in the specific ways that Rich had demonstrated earlier. I’m not the neatest of people but was actually quite impressed with my chopping skills! These veggies would soon be put into our sushi rolls. Throughout the evening we were taught to make 3 different types of sushi, these were; A Hoso Maki Roll, a Te Maki Hand Roll and a Ura-hoso maki.
We got to work and began constructing and rolling our sushi, it wasn’t as complicated at I had envisaged it being but you definitely needed to have the nack for it to make it work and look beautiful. We used Veganaise from one of the sponsors, Follow your heart to aid the filling. I actually loved this stuff. Think I may be making a substitute from my usual mayonnaise (which I eat with almost everything).
My favourite sushi roll had to be the Ura-hoso maki, it was just a little bit more challenging (eventhough I wasn’t even very good at the least challenging ones) but just looked more like the sushi that I would normally choose at a restaurant. I was actually quite happy with how my sushi turned out, but then after looking around at how other people’s had gone I felt that mine wasn’t really the work of art that I had thought it was… still tasted great though.
We also made a Yuzu Cocktail that we were able to drink whilst rolling our sushi. It was a great touch and I actually LOVED this cocktail and it was crazily simple to make, so I’ll definitely be recreating this at home. It consisted of Big Dogs Vodka, Yuzu, Fentimans Tonic and lemon which was all shook up in a Drink Stuff Cocktail Shaker. DEEEELISH.
We finished eating and drinking at our own pace, giving us time to chat with other bloggers. Then on our departure, we were given a lovely goodie bag to take home with us which contained treats from all of the sponsors and was a lovely touch! I’m so excited to use the Yutaka Sushi making kit! Big thanks to both The Avenue Cookery School for such a lovely night and to the sponsors who made it happen. Also thank you to Rebecca Crew for the lovely images of the evening!