Schools In With Babylon Beach

Posted on November 19, 2013

Words: Jo Mills
Images: Nic J.

When Babylon Beach first told us that it was hosting an Ibiza Cookery School and extended an invite for us to join in we had been looking forward to the trip to Can Pere Mussona on the outskirts of San Carlos. Jo gladly volunteered to join in the class and, given that she often rustles a lovely dinner for the troops in the middle of the madness of summer, we were delighted! With an ability about the kitchen, Jo was the natural choice from the Essential team, all we asked is that she come back and tell us her story as well as cooking one of the dishes for us…

Babylon Beach Presents Ibiza Cookery School

Following on from a fantastic afternoon with the Babylon Beach crew for Hendrix’s 2nd birthday and DJ Steve Altman for ‘Fish N Chips Friday’, I was back with the BB crew Saturday morning for the first Ibiza cookery school with Louise Gould. I have been cooking my one signature dish of chicken in pesto sauce for my husband Charlie for almost 20 years, so I jumped at the chance to extend my cookery skills! The classes are held at the idyllic organic farm Can Per Mussona, a short drive from Babylon Beach itself, it’s a perfect setting just off the beaten track with pigs, chickens, rabbits, cows and sheep at the back of the farm amongst fresh organic produce, vegetables and herbs.

Babylon Beach Presents Ibiza Cookery School

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The fully equipped large stone country kitchen complete with spacious worktops in the centre, is the perfect setting for the cookery classes. On arrival we were greeted by chef Louise and Justin from Babylon Beach club who introduced us to the other students. After a cup of tea and a chat it was time to don an apron and take our places at the workstation. On the menu was chicken liver pate, lemon tart and mushroom risotto. As an ice-breaker Louise showed us how to make Parmesan biscuits, a quick and simple recipe perfect to impress at Christmas, we all tried one before starting on our own creations.

Babylon Beach Presents Ibiza Cookery School
Babylon Beach Presents Ibiza Cookery School

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Louise explained we would be starting with the lemon tart so the pastry base would be cooking while we then prepared the chicken liver pate. We was all given a copy of the ingredients and instructions of each recipe to follow with space on each page to make notes if we needed to. All the ingredients are weighed out before hand for us on individual trays underneath the workstation. We started with the lemon pie base, Louise took us through each step explaining what ingredients from our trays should be placed into the food processor. There was a couple of mix ups but that just added to the lighthearted vibe of the class I also discovered how much I need a food processor at home! Using the extra space for notes I jotted down a reminder to add this to my list for Santa!

Babylon Beach Presents Ibiza Cookery School

Being a novice in the kitchen I was thrilled that I had actually made pastry for the first time in my life, as were a few of my fellow students. We popped our bases into the ovens for 15 minutes while we then got on with our next recipe, the chicken liver pate. Starting with the onions, which, as Louise explained, needed to be stirred continuously until soft and transplant, I usually tend to stick them in the frying pan and get on with something else but as she explained it is very important that the onions are not over done as the taste would be ruined. Throughout each step Louise was at hand to help and answer any questions, her approach is friendly and relaxed, which really put everyone at ease. Once all the ingredients are cooked through and the liver was no longer pink, it was time to get the brandy out! I am not a fan of brandy so was not tempted to have ‘one for me and one for the recipe!’ The brandy is then set alight (flambe) and once the flame disappears it’s back on the heat for some extra butter and then a whizz in the food processor.

Babylon Beach Presents Ibiza Cookery School

While our pate chilled in the fridge, Louise took out “one she had prepared earlier” for us to try with toast and a chilled glass of white wine. This gave us student’s time to have a chat and share stories of how we came to be in Ibiza. We are a diverse bunch, including teachers and a break beat DJ, and a couple of friends Gavin and Christina I already knew from Island life, the social aspect of the class is fantastic, conversation came naturally and we all got on like a pate on fire! Back to the kitchen, all feeling rather chuffed with ourselves, we then blended the lemon pie filling, which was poured into the cooled tart cases and placed back in the oven for 40 minutes to bake while we took on the main course – mushroom risotto.

Babylon Beach Presents Ibiza Cookery School

Starting with those translucent onions again, we added the ingredients in stages, guided by Louise who was always close by if we needed some support! Risotto needs your full attention, it must be continuously stirred to keep the rice absorbing the stock which we ladled into the pan – “stir -add -reduce” – became our mantra for the next 20 minutes, along with a rumbling tummy from the delicious smell and slight arm ache from all the stirring, all good for those bingo wings! Once the rice was soft we added a heap of parmesan cheese and sprinkled parsley on the top. Glowing with pride we took our risotto into the dining area and tucked in, the taste was divine! The wild mushrooms had soaked up the flavours of the wine and stock perfectly, I can’t wait to wow my friends with this delicious dish in the near future.

Babylon Beach Presents Ibiza Cookery School
Babylon Beach Presents Ibiza Cookery School

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The tarts had been taken out during our risotto making and were cool enough to add the final dusting of icing sugar for decoration, we placed our tarts on a plate to take home along with our chicken liver pate in a terracotta dish to keep. After exchanging numbers and emails I bid goodbye to my new friends and left with my delicious creations ready to impress the husband! Ibiza cookery school is the perfect way to spend a day in the beautiful countryside of Ibiza learning new skills and meeting new friends, I absolutely loved every minute and found it very therapeutic and rewarding. Louise is a cordon bleu chef so you would be forgiven if you are a little nervous but the way she put the class at ease instantly made it a fun exciting experience from the start. I am most definitely returning for the other weekly classes, next up Asian cuisine… now where did I put my chopsticks?

Babylon Beach Presents Ibiza Cookery School

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