* The 63rd World Science Fiction Convention

It’s a fiesta of all things sci-fl, featuring the announcement of the Hugo Awards, the leading accolades for excellence in the field of science fiction and fantasy. With guests of honour Greg Pickersgill, Christopher Priest and many more. SECC, Finnieston Quay, Thu 4—8 Aug. * GOMA Book Group

Unlike many other groups, this lot only discuss one book per session. 80 that’s plenty of time for a friendly debate/bloodthirsty punch up in the name of literature appreciation. Gallery of Modern Art Library, Queen Street, Fri 5 Aug.

* Meditations in the Hidden Gardens

Give your mind a rest in the serene environs of the Hidden Gardens with a spot of meditation in the Sri Lankan style, led by Venerable K Rewatha. The Hidden Gardens, Tramway, 25 Albert Drive, Sat 6 Aug.

1 Champagne Tasting Sadly, £2.50 fizzy wine is not as good as the real thing, so you may as well stop kidding yourself. Find out why, while enjoying a five-course meal. Indulgence gone mad or what? Bar Gando/fl, 64 Albion Street. Tue 9 Aug. .

What sOn

Flame academy

Can’t boil an egg? Capable of burning a salad? Then take Sarah Overton’s lead and head to cookery school as Glasgow goes gourmet.

1 best it‘s done with passion. imagination and a

willingness to experiment. The results can

lelight the senses. satisfy our appetites and leave us with a warm. contented afterglow. However. a few fumbling disasters in the kitchen department can have us reaching for ready—meals or leaving all the effort to somebody else. Learning to cook is not only an essential skill for life but also a potential source of great enjoyment. Anyone can do it and once you know the basics. cooking becomes an opportunity to be both creative and generous. After all. sharing a meal with friends has to be one of life's immense pleasures.

But how do we learn to cook if our parents do it all for us'.’ At my school. home economics was regarded as a doss subject in which we learned little more than how to make beans on toast and liccles cakes. I remember spending a whole term concocting a recipe for oat biscuits on a budget of 50p per batch. hardly the stuff of dinner parties. In the end. like many

people I turned to books and discovered the joys of

making soups. stews. curries. risottos. bakes and cakes from Nigel Slater. Gary Rhodes et al. I’m no expert but I love to chop. simmer and poach so going along to the Cookery School in Glasgow was to be a treat for me.

First off. we introduce ourselves. The group is eclectic. We are young professionals bored with convenience food. soon—to—be-freshers whose grannies fear we will waste away at university. absolute beginners and mothers who‘ve been cooking for 30 years. In spite of these differences. there's a feeling of equality. Brian Hannan. who runs the

school. says ‘cveryone is effectively a beginner because everyone chooses a course with dishes they don‘t know. The class works at the same pace because the food needs a certain amount of time to cook. no matter what.‘

The chef taking the class is approachable and encouraging. He intersperses instructions with anecdotes about professional chefs getting things wrong soothing news to us when our group effort at tarte tatin turns out to be something of a disaster. He gets us started straight away lhotlglt. kneading bread. feeling for changes in texture. tasting our risottos and asking for suggestions to add to the flavour. It‘s all very hands-on and. best of all. when each dish is complete we sit down to enjoy it.

Once you‘ve learnt the ropes. August brings many opportunities for food lovers to cast off their aprons and let the professionals have a shot during the food and drink festival. (iourmct (ilasgow. The Highland Park Food & Drink Festival from 20—22 August in George Square looks set to be the highlight with Jean-Christophe Novelli. Nick Nairn and Antony Worrall Thompson demonstrating their talents. There will also be exhibition stalls with tempting samples of fine food as well as the opportunity to taste whisky and champagne with the experts. Bon appetit.

The Cookery School, Peckhams Building, 65 Glassford Street, 0141 552 5239, www.thecookeryschool.org. 43 restaurants across Glasgow are offering a £15 set menu to celebrate Gourmet Glasgow. Book online at www.visitscotland.com/dinearound.

4-~i 1 Aug 2005 THE LIST 13