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chicken thighs at Big & Little Cooks

Learn to Cook – Beginners Recipes

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Bolognese; Lemon and thyme chicken thighs; sautéed new potatoes and veg medley; herb veloute

Beef Bolognese

Ingredients – Serves 6

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 rashers smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 2-3 sprigs rosemary leaves picked and finely chopped
  • 500g beef mince
  • For the bolognese sauce
  • 2 x 400g tins plum tomatoes
  • small pack basil leaves picked, ¾ finely chopped and the rest left whole for garnish
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 1 red chilli deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
  • 125ml red wine
  • 6 cherry tomatoes sliced in half
  • To season and serve
  • 75g parmesan grated, plus extra to serve
  • 400g spaghetti


Put a large saucepan on a medium heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil.

Add 4 finely chopped bacon rashers and fry for 10 mins until golden and crisp.

Reduce the heat and add the 2 onions, 2 carrots, 2 celery sticks, 2 garlic cloves and the leaves from 2-3 sprigs rosemary, all finely chopped, then fry for 10 mins. Stir the veg often until it softens.

Increase the heat to medium-high, add 500g beef mince and cook stirring for 3-4 mins until the meat is browned all over.

Add 2 tins plum tomatoes, the finely chopped leaves from ¾ small pack basil, 1 tsp dried oregano, 2 bay leaves, 2 tbsp tomato purée, 1 beef stock cube, 1 deseeded and finely chopped red chilli (if using), 125ml red wine and 6 halved cherry tomatoes. Stir with a wooden spoon, breaking up the plum tomatoes.

Bring to the boil, reduce to a gentle simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 1 hr 15 mins stirring occasionally, until you have a rich, thick sauce.

Add the 75g grated parmesan, check the seasoning, and stir.

When the bolognese is nearly finished, cook 400g spaghetti following the pack instructions.

Drain the spaghetti and either stir into the bolognese sauce or serve the sauce on top. Serve with more grated parmesan, the remaining basil leaves and crusty bread, if you like.

Garlic and rosemary sautéed potatoes

Ingredients Serves 2

  • 400g of new potatoes
  • 2x clove of garlic
  • 1x sprig of rosemary
  • 1 tbsp pomace olive oil
  • Knob of butter to finish
  • Seasoning


Cut the potatoes in half, do not peel.

Boil some salty water, potatoes will go in for about 5 minutes, depending on size. They need to be medium.

Allow to air dry, this will finish cooking and will get rid of the excess moisture.

Get a non-stick pan on medium heat, add oil and get it really hot.

Sautee the potatoes until golden, add butter, crushed garlic, chopped rosemary, let the butter foam and serve immediately.

Spiced chicken thighs

Ingredients Serves 1

  • 2 chicken thighs
  • 1tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/4tsp chilli flakes
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1tsp ground oregano
  • 1tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper



Cut the chicken into 2cm cubes, add into a mixing bowl with all the above ingredients.


Soak wooden skewers in water for 20 minutes to protect from burning.

Thread the meat onto skewers.

Cook on barbecue or pan-fry and finish in the oven instead, until chicken is cooked through.

(12-15 minutes in the oven.

Saffron and herb velouté

Ingredients Serves 4

  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 1onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed)
  • Salt
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • Pinch of saffron
  • ½ bunch of chives
  • ½ bunch of parsley
  • ¼ bunch of basil
  • 3 cups vegetable stock (hot)
  • ⅓ cup of double cream 
  • freshly ground peppers


Heat the oil in a large pan set over a medium heat until hot.

Add the onion, garlic and a pinch of salt and cook gently for 5 minutes until softened. 

Add the wine and saffron, boil for 2 minutes to evaporate the alcohol. 

Add the cream, stir well, and cook for 2 minutes Do not boil. Add all the herbs at this point. Blend with a stick blender until smooth. You can pass the sauce through a fine strainer for extra smooth results.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

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