Tante Marie

Tante Marie Culinary Academy Essential Skills Cookery Course

Tante Marie Culinary Academy is the UK’s oldest independent cookery school. Renowned for its professional Cordon Bleu Diploma courses, it also offer shorter leisure courses and Gap Year programs. Tante Marie runs a bespoke course at St Catherine’s. The course is taught on site, allowing the girls to enjoy all of the benefits of Tante Marie’s inspirational, accredited training, at St Catherine’s, under the guidance and support of Tante Marie Culinary Academy’s qualified teachers.

The course is taught in small groups of sixth form students with the emphasis on learning a life skill in an enjoyable and relaxed atmosphere. The content of the Essential Skills Cookery Course is similar to Tante Marie’s full time four week Essential Skills course, adapted to approximately thirty (2½ - 3 hour) sessions spread over three school terms starting in January each year, with the final assessment and graduation just before the Christmas break.

As well as teaching a real life skill the Essential Skills Cookery Course is valued by a considerable number of ski chalet operators and other companies offering gap year and vacation employment with which Tante Marie has excellent links. The course also counts as a qualifying activity for the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award.

Students learn a range of essential skills across all areas of cookery such as the preparation of sauces, soups, eggs, pasta dishes, fish and seafood, meat and roasts, poultry, vegetables, salads, canapés, desserts, pastries, cakes, biscuits, bread and ice cream. During the course students apply these skills to some delicious Tante Marie recipes ensuring that by the time their course is finished they have a toolbox of essential cookery skills which will remain with them for life. In addition to this, students will benefit from improved time planning and, organisation skills and hygiene and cleanliness – areas which will benefit the students in all walks of life.

Students meeting the requirements will earn the Tante Marie Essential Skills Certificate and those who wish will enjoy support and guidance from Tante Marie as they progress into a Gap Year.

Tante Marie 

The Tante Marie students prepare and cook Pancetta and Blue Cheese Risotto and Magda biscuits. 

Pancetta and Blue Cheese Risotto

  • 900ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 50g butter
  • 100g pancetta or streaky bacon, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 225g Arborio rice

To finish: 225g Gorgonzola cheese, cubed and 25g butter
Place the stock in a saucepan and heat through. Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan. Add the pancetta and onion and cook until the pancetta is pale golden and the onion is transparent and golden brown. Add the rice and stir over the heat for a minute. Add about one third of the hot stock and cook gently until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid. Add another third of the stock and cook in the same way repeating with the remaining stock.
When the rice has absorbed the last of the stock - this should take about 20 minutes, the grains should be plump and have a slight chalky bite to them. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

To serve: stir in the butter and Gorgonzola and serve as the cheese begins to melt.  

Magda Biscuits

 Ingredients:  For The Filling:
  •  100g butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 100g flour
  • 1 level tsp baking powder
  •  50g plain chocolate
  • 2tsp coffee essence
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 50g icing sugar
  • vanilla sugar to flavour
  • icing sugar to dust

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 200 C. Grease some baking sheets. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa together and stir into the butter to make a stiff paste. Knead until smooth.

Cut into even sized pieces and roll into balls approximately 2.5cm in diameter. Place on the prepared baking sheets and flatten them with a fork dipped in cold water. They will spread a little. Bake for 10 minutes.

Leave to cool on the baking sheet for 1-2 minutes to allow them to harden, then place on a wire rack to cool.

To make the filling: Put the chocolate and coffee in a basin and melt over hot water. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy and beat in the chocolate. Add vanilla sugar or rum to taste and sandwich the biscuits together with this mixture. Dust the biscuits with icing sugar just before serving.