Atrium Chef Neil Forbes is the kind of man who knows his way around a turkey. He’s the kind of man who gets excited about making bacon. He’s the kind of man who ‘gets on well with’ sprouts. He’s absolutely crazy about food. Some might say he’s absolutely crazy fullstop. He’s the kind of man I like.
Earlier in the year I was wowed by his Seafood Masterclass and Feathered Friends Masterclass so it was with much excitement that I went along to the Christmas Masterclass at The Atrium with 5 friends at the beginning of December.
The sessions begin with a one hour masterclass of demonstrations, tips and tricks from Neil with a few tastings along the way, followed by a delicious two-course lunch. It’s fabulous value at just £24.
Neil started off with a huge turkey. Before we knew it both legs were off and one had been boned stuffed, rolled and beautifully tied up with string. This is a lovely a joint for 4 people and “something you could do at home”. I think Neil overestimates my culinary prowess and the sharpness of my knives. I like my fingers and wish to remain attached to them.
The boning might be beyond me but the stuffing is something I will try. It smelled and tasted wonderful. A lovely mix of: sausage meat, shallots, sage, rapeseed oil, chestnuts, breadcrumbs and salt and pepper.
And I liked his idea of rubbing a mix of cloves, mixed spices and orange zest under the skin of the crown. Simple shortcuts to uber-deliciousness.
Bread sauce seemed to get people very excited. Whenever Neil mentioned bread sauce there was much ooooohing aaaaahing and mmmmming from the audience. I must admit bread sauce just doesn’t do it for me. Neil demonstrated how simple it is to make with bread and milk. The secret is an onion cloute (an onion pinned to a bay leaf with cloves) which adds flavour to the sauce.
Neil then said he was going to make sprouts fun. I was sceptical but with bacon and chestnut they were certainly a lot more interesting and tasted divine.
It was the bacon that got my pulse racing. It apparently also gets Neil’s blood pumping too because he talked for some while about how at Atrium they make their own bacons and hams. It was fascinating. I got lost somewhere around the third day of rubbing salt into the pork. Of course ladies and gentlemen this is “something you can do at home”. If you happen to be married to Neil.
Neil made a wonderful Christmas pudding and although I’m don’t do Christmas pudding I did appreciate the comforting Christmasy aromas. And if Christmas pud is your thing it looked simple to make. The recipe is in the Foodies Christmas magazine which you can pick up around Edinburgh. Blue Restaurant and The Atrium have copies.
We had a delicious roast turkey lunch (sorry no picture) followed by Christmas pudding.
The Fabulous Mr Forbes was a hit again!
If you haven’t been to The Atrium yet you really should. Fresh local produce prepared with passion and attention. Beautiful.
EDINBURGH DIVA RATING: 9/10
MORE DIVA DOES…
Read more in the Diva does… series
I’d love to hear your comments in the box below, tell me your thoughts
If you’ve written a review of The Atrium, please leave a link to your review in comments below.