Every Saturday morning at Covent Garden Market in downtown London Ontario there is a free cooking demonstration at 11:00 am. I’ve been meaning to go for a few years, have tried a few times and not gotten there early enough as it is a small venue and once it is full the doors are closed. A few weeks ago I finally made it in time. I even got there before the doors opened at 10:30 and was able to nip back downstairs to the market to pick up a coffee to take in with me.
The guest chef that day was Ellen Laing, a farmer at “Orchard Hill Farms”:https://coventmarket.com/merchants/orchard-hill-farms/, an organic and seven generation farm, and a chef with Killdeer Food Co. I learned a lot from Ellen about making pasta dough. She made a Pici Pasta Dough which she paired with Arugula Pesto for a delicious pici dish. No fancy equipment needed here as you roll out the dough into long strips.
The second dish Ellen made was an Egg Yolk Pasta Dough and Charred Green Onion and Cheese Ravioli Filling. For this one she did use a pasta machine to roll out the dough. For both doughs she used a food processor to mix the dough and help develop the gluten.
Most of the ingredients for the pasta sauce and filling were from the Farmer’s Market downstairs. That’s a feature of many of the cooking demonstrations. The chefs provide the recipes so you can follow along and take notes as they cook. As a bonus you can sample the dishes that have been prepared. These were delicious and I will be giving them a try.
This past weekend I made it to another session and this one was all about how to brew coffee for the best flavour. Rachel, the roaster (not to be confused with barista), from “Las Chicas Del Cafe”:https://laschicasdelcafe.com/ in St. Thomas had a lot to teach us about how she roasts the green beans they source from Nicaragua and the differences between brewing Chemex (pour over) and French Press (cafetière). We could definitely see and taste the difference between the two brewing methods used for the same coffee – Las Chicas Bourbon City Roast. To complement the coffees the roaster provided brownies on each table which went very well with the coffee.
It’s a family business with generations of coffee growing in their history starting with their grandfather who planted Arabica Typica on his father’s farm. Next time I’m in St. Thomas I’ll check out roastery in the old railway station and try the decaf.
On Saturdays there is two hour free parking at meters on the streets downtown within walking distance of Covent Garden Market or you can park under the market for two hours free if you make a purchase at the market and get your ticket validated. The classes are on the second floor but there is an elevator.