Has anyone else noticed how the city of London has a supernatural way of metamorphosing regular human beings into exotic species of foodie. There are the fine foodies, who wear Michelin stars like jewellery, their life events accompanied by rooftop dinners and sensual cocktails, who speak a language of sous-vide and gougères. There are the street foodies, supported by a padded pair of trainers, traipsing zealously between London’s most renowned markets and obscure corners to find brioche burgers with insanely tender pulled pork, obese Burritos exsanguinating chilli sauce and brownies so squidgy you could sink in them (and I happily would).
There are also the Masterchefs-in-the-making, for whom every sleepy Sunday is an opportunity to cook flawlessly coordinated appetisers at gourmet dinner parties you will never reciprocate, because you know with a heavy heart that your best lasagne simply won’t compare. Certainly, this is the apprehension that stops me from cooking for friends more often. But what can be said of tapas? Can tapas change everything?
Here’s the thing about it that should appeal to those of you who love to entertain and cook but have no plans to serve food in jam jars, on fire or with sound effects. Tapas is all about small portions and sharing plates so you can cook it simply in handy bite-sized chunks. Most tapas dishes can be served either hot or cold and many can be prepared in advance. This gives me ample time to get it wrong and start over. Believe me, it happens. Often.
Learning to cook tapas at Jenius Social
Before blogging, I was the wife who nagged Pumpkin tirelessly about number of hours spent on (his) smart phone. Post-blogging, I myself metaamorphosed into a common species known as hypocrite but I know I am not the only travel blogger guilty of trying to get in a tweet here and an Instagram there whilst on holiday. With Three’s international phone plans, you can use your phone abroad at no extra cost – yes no extra cost (!) in a whole host of countries and with Spain being the latest to be added to the list, I gladly accepted their invitation to celebrate with a feast of tapas at the #ComeDineWithThree event. Supervising us for the afternoon was a charismatic chef from the friendly team at Jenius Social, who has trained and worked all over the world with the likes of Jamie Oliver and Yotam Ottolenghi.
Aside from learning which herbs need sprinkling into the dishes and the correct melange of ingredients that gives the chorizo that intensity and the asparagus that crunch, we learned some useful basics such as the optimal way to butterfly prawns, empty out a pomegranate, even zest a lemon. I got my hands messy marinating the tangy feta, pomegranate and citrus salad, which was bursting with summer colours and nutritional goodness before joining forces with the tortilla-creators.
What I loved about our final tapas meal was the way in which the varying hues, food groups and key flavours drew together to deliver a dinner that was delicately balanced into harmonious equilibrium. We had carbs, protein and dairy, we had vitamins, minerals and natural fats and we were at liberty to take as little or as much as we wanted. That’s part of the charm of tapas cookery. Jenius Social is a charming little space just a stone’s throw from Holloway Road station, where you can participate in group or private cookery classes, attend supper clubs or arrange corporate events. And if you have specific dietary requirements, fear not, the chef told us he takes this as a welcome challenge!
They were impressively accommodating, not at any stage implying we had outstayed our welcome despite the fact that we continued blabbing away amongst ourselves long after the meal was finished. They kindly even boxed up the leftover tapas for us to take home and as the non-beef-eater in the group, this meant I got all the excess chorizo – definitely a winner, not to mention Pumpkin, who took very little time to clear out the contents of my goody bag…And of course, what is a blogger event without the paparazzi, which Three preempted rather well by loaning us super-snazzy Samsung mobiles to photograph our day with. Kristina, Katy and I were given a choice of two different models and I spent the afternoon flirting with the Samsung S5 but frankly, they were preaching to the converted. Apologies to all you staunch followers of the Apple religion but I have been a loyal Samsung user for years and nearly all my blog images are from my Samsung smart phone.I have written before about my experience of cookery classes in Vietnam and Bali but I have always wondered whether I would actually be able to reproduce those tantalising South East Asian flavours at home. But with this quick and easy tapas meal, perhaps even I may be able to play host after all. Who is willing to be my guinea pig and which of these dishes would you most like me to make? 🙂
I was a guest of Three Mobile and Jenius Social for this cookery class but I remain an opinionated little lady and all views, good or bad, are entirely my own.
42 thoughts on “A Spanish Tapas Cooking Class at Jenius Social, London”
Seriously drooling over the keyboard and am tempted to try them out after your nifty little comment that they’re game for people to visit with dietary requirements! xx
Haha, I don’t usually cook food like this at home Kelly so it was a nice change even for me! Yes the chef was so enthusiastic about welcoming different dietary requirements – he kept saying how he loves the challenge and really welcomes the opportunity to think of new exciting recipes ideas so I’m sure they’d be able to whip up some gluten – free magic for you ☺ x
People who can cook are wizards as far as I’m concerned. Your photos are definitely gonna be making a lot of people hungry, it all looks gooooooooooood!
Hehe thanks Frankie! It was tasty stuff and I’d love to take credit for all of it but I can assure you it was very much a team effort as I’m definitely not wizard material 😁 I think this is why husband relished the chance to eat a meal far exceeding what I normally cook!
Wow, you made some amazing looking food! I completely agree that London has a way of making foodies out of people!
Thanks Julie! It was a great class and I always love the sharing plate idea and the chance to taste lots of different dishes! And yes, there’s something about London that can turn almost anyone into a foodie – it’s happened to people I know who I would never have expect! Thanks so much for reading ☺
Ooooh this does look lovely!! Apart from the pork (which I can’t eat), I loveeee tapas – might need to look into doing something like this myself one day 🙂
You should try it Tim – I’m not even a big home chef normally but always have a great time at these cookery classes! I can kind of relate to the pork thing as I don’t eat beef but the good thing about tapas is that there are always so many dishes that you can always pick and choose! Thank you for reading ☺
Everything looks so delicious!! As a self-professed grazer, tapas is right up my alley. And I totally need a lesson on how to empty out a pomegranate–I mean, it’s fun to constantly stain myself (or pay for the already separated seeds in the grocery store), but really I should learn how to do that properly.
I’m a grazer too Heather so I can totally relate! And yes, emptying out a pomegranate sounds like such a simple thing that I’d never have thought it would need teaching but like you say, it’s not a skill I’d ever managed to figure out before and I’d always bought the overpriced pre-packed tubs so I’m glad the chef showed us!
I love how Tapas is made completely to be a ‘social gatherer’ type of food. You can eat it easily and it is food to be shared. 🙂
That’s a great way of describing it Jean – I’d never even thought of that side of it! I’m really starting to love the sharing plate and tapas style of eating – it’s social as you say, you can try so many different things, you can moderate portion sizes and I like the idea of nibbling and grazing. Definitely going to try and cook up a tapas meal at home ☺
Ooo, that tortilla looks amazing! Definitely going to be making that this week…
It’s so easy too Laura! I’ve made a veggie tortilla once at home but never a meat one so it was great to try this out! Let me know how it goes if you do end up making it ☺
We love eating tapas – all the different flavors and textures in smaller shared plates. But cooking? Groan. We prefer others to do the cooking 🙂 That potato-and-chorizo tortilla looks sinfully delicious…
Haha, I do kind of know what you mean Janice and George! I too am more inclined to eating food made by others than my own less delicious meals! But that said, it was interesting to come to the class and learn just how easy it is to make these things! The tortilla was one of my favourite dishes that day as well ☺
Right, looks like it’s round to yours for dinner then 😉 That tortilla looks absolutely amazing, massive kudos to you ;D
You are welcome any time Emily – though the I can’t make any guarantees about whether it will still look or taste like this without a professional chef supervising
I really wish I could reach right through the computer screen and help myself to some of that wonderful looking food. I’ve never made tapas, but I really like that it’s so ideal to make for a party. I hope they gave you recipes so that you could make that at home.
I wish I could reach out of the screen and serve you some tapas Michelle ☺ Yes, we got emailed all the recipes afterwards which is just as well since I’d never have been able to remember it all! It really is a great idea for a dinner party as it can be done in advance, is relatively easy and if you’ve got helpers at home, everyone can do a little bit each ☺
All of this food looks AMAZING. I’ve got really fixated on looking at pictures of food on pinterest at the moment and i’m desperately craving some Spanish food so i’m very jealous of you. Cooking classes look like a lot of fun – I need to try it out!
Thank you Sophie! I hadn’t eaten tapas or Spanish food in such a long time till this class so the greedy monster in me definitely made an appearance! Cooking classes are really good fun, I’ve tried them abroad and here at home in England and can honestly say I’ve enjoyed every single one so would definitely suggest giving it a go if you ever fancy something a bit different ☺
Lovely to have finally met you, Shikha. I’ve been to Jenius Social a couple of times and really enjoyed it
Suze | LuxuryColumnist
Oh that’s great to hear you enjoyed Jenius social too! Which classes did you try? It’s funny, after I published the post, I found out that by complete coincidence, a good friend of mine had been there on a cake making class just the day before I was there! Such a small world! It was so nice to meet you too Suze. Hope we can catch up again soon ☺
Love Spanish tapas, they cheer up every meeting in a bar! Thanks for sharing this post, Shikha 🙂
Haha, that’s true! Tapas bites really are so colourful and full of flavour Lily ☺ Thank you so much for reading!
The food looks so nice! Lucky you that you got to bring home Chorizo 🙂 Never realised that about 3, should check out what their deal is in Ireland.
Ash | Liakada Travel
Yes I only found out a few months ago myself Ash and now am kicking myself for how helpful those Three international phone plans would have been on my previous travels if I had realised earlier! The food was delicious and it was nice cooking it as a team in a small cosy group where we all got a chance to chat and mingle as well as cook!
Wow! What a great and unique opportunity and so much amazing food! It all looks so good! Personally, I would love to make the tortilla.
Thanks Constance! I’m glad to hear so many people like the look of the tortilla as it was one of my highlights that day too! I’ve eaten tapas several times on restaurants but never made it myself so it was a great opportunity! Thanks so much for reading ☺
Hmmmm… I would love to try some of this food. It looks delicious! Your potato and chorizo tortilla sounds a little like a fancy version of something I make at home. Anything with chorizo is usually a winner! Those figs look amazing too. 🙂
You’re so right about sticking chorizo in anything and it tasting good Katie! And I’d never really though of myself as a fig person but I loved it with the balsamic and Parma ham ☺ I’ve only made tortilla once before at home but definitely going to try again now!
All that food looks so vibrant and delicious – and your pomegranate salad would really hit the spot. Tapas is such a great idea for supper with friends. The photos are superb too.
Aww thanks so much Suzanne ☺ I always love reading your foodie posts so I’m delighted you liked this! The pomegranate just has such a refreshing way of lifting a dish. The class made me realise I don’t use it nearly enough as an ingredient on either sweet or savoury food. Such a colourful and healthy addition to a meal!
This looks like so much fun! I love taking cooking classes, and Spanish tapas are one of my favorite things! It all looks so delicious, and the ingredients are so fresh – yum!
Thank you Katie! It was delicious and so fresh as you say! I love doing cookery classes too but ill be honest and say that sometimes in the past when I’ve left them, I’ve ended up wondering whether I’ll ever be able to reproduce them at home – but this tapas class, I actually felt perhaps I could as it really was less complicated than I had imagined!
Those dishes look so colourful, who wouldn’t want to be greeted at those for a meal! I love making tortilla but I don’t think I’ve ever made one that looked that good, and your salad sounds delicious!
I’m very happy with Three’s new at home plan, great for blogging on the road! (that’s why I switched).
Rachel honestly I wish I’d known about this tariff earlier – it couldn’t be more useful for travel bloggers as you say! The only tortilla type dish I had made in the past had sweet potato and spinach. That was nice too but I definitely preferred this one and I love feta anyway but I’d neve before thought to do a bit of simple marinating like this to give it a whole new life! I’ve no excuses not to recreate some of these dishes now! Thanks so much for reading ☺
Oh my goodness – I shouldn’t have read this post when I was hungry! Tapas is my favourite food ever and all of these dishes look amazing. I’m definitely going to have a go at making that salad. Really glad I booked Spain for our mini-moon now 😉
The salad is so easy Emily, so fresh and summery ☺ I liked the fact that it all looked and tasted impressive & yet was reasonably straightforward to prepare! Super jealous of your San Sebastian break – it’s going to be an absolute foodie heaven and I can’t wait to see your pics!