Thursday, March 17, 2011

Highfield Hall: Cooking in Twos

The kitchen at Highfield Hall is a fun place to cook. I blogged about this wonderful restored mansion back in November when it was all decked out for the holiday season. In addition to decorating a tree, I've also done cooking demonstrations over the past few years. While you have all the modern conveniences available  in the kitchen now, the old cast iron stove that was left in place draws me back to the days when the Beebe family entertained their summer guests in the 1870's. How wonderful those events must have been.

Highfield Hall, built in 1878 (photo courtesy of Historic Highfield Hall)

Today Gail Blakely, food writer for the Falmouth and Mashpee Enterprise, runs the culinary program and does a terrific job putting together an interesting schedule of demonstrations, cooking classes, and special events. She asked me if I would participate in a program she's called Cooking for Twos. She explained that the hands-on class would be limited to five twosomes (couples, best friends, any combination of two would do) and they would do most of the cooking. We'd develop the menus, do a minimal amount of prep work, and help as needed during the class. After the meal was complete we would sit down together and enjoy the meal.  Sounded like a great idea to me.

The Cooking for Twos Series:
March 3: English Pub Favorites
March 24: Chinese Take Out
March 31: Regional Italian Specialities

Our first class, English Pub Favorites, was a blast! We had four couples who enthusiastically dove into the tasks at hand.

Menu for English Pub Classics:
Rosemary Walnuts
Welsh Rabbit with Toast Dippers
Bubble and Squeak
Fish Cakes
Beef Guinness Pie
Roasted Asparagus
Banofee Pie 
Gingerbread w/ Whipped Cream

Gail prepared the walnuts ahead of time so we could nibble on them while cooking, and I prepared the gingerbread.

We set up stations for each  item on the menu, along with the ingredients and the recipes. Each couple took over a station and got to work on their contribution to the meal.

This hands-on format was a nice change from the cooking demonstrations that I've done in the past. While I've enjoyed sharing my love of food and cooking with others, this format allowed me to interact with the participants, and get to know them a bit.

The Welsh Rabbit was served as a dip with toast points:

The Bubble and Squeak was a new dish for me, and I loved it as I'm crazy for cabbage. It's kind of an English version of a potato pancake:

The fish cakes, made with cod, were dipped in panko breadcrumbs. They cooked up beautifully with a nice golden crust, and were simply delicious:

Our pastry team did a beautiful job on the Beef Guinness Pie with their own special tribute to Gail. They also prepared the Banofee pie for dessert which we all enjoyed.

Our wonderful volunteer, Joanne, prepared the roasted asparagus and set our lovely tables:


Cooking has a way of opening people up, and as we all sat down to enjoy the fruits of our collective labor it made for a warm, friendly and thoroughly enjoyable meal. It was Gail's idea to set up the tables in the kitchen which  was the perfect place to get to know some very nice people, a little bit better.

Take a look at the culinary schedule of events at Highfield Hall. Gail is always creating new classes, workshops and programs. The mansion is beautiful, and the kitchen is a great place to spend a little time while you're there.


  1. Great blog, good food, great pictures and good fun - keep cookin!!!

  2. Hi Tina,
    Thanks for the kind words!