In continuation of my birthday celebration, my friends organised a group of us to attend a cooking class held at the newly opened Cultural Tastes cafe in Mt Hawthorn. They had told me that they wanted to take me out for pastries at some patisserie, but the surprise came when I was blindfolded as soon as I got into the car. The next statement that came was “I have known you for a long time, do you trust me?”. It was quite bizarre. I was led to some backyard, blindfold taken off and popping sounds came from everywhere. “You are here for a cooking class, not pastries!!” was the next statement. Yay, I was excited! Thanks guys for really surprising me!! I had no idea whatsoever! :p
The cooking class was of traditional spanish tapas, right up my alley (I fell in love with spanish tapas after dining at Pata Negra a couple of times). Our cooking teacher is Manuel Martinez from Spanish Catering (www.paellasandtapas.com.au). A friendly and entertaining chap (he loves his Spanish music and dance!), he welcomed us and started explaining what we will be cooking that afternoon. We will be preparing 6 dishes! Wow! All recipes are written by Manuel personally and a copy given to us to take home!
Dish 1 – Almogrote (soft paste made mainly from cheese and tomatoes, used as a dip)
A great thing I found about this class is the tips given by Manuel, for example, he told us about the specific paprika powder to buy that will help with the authenticity of the dish!
Dish 2 – Spanish Chorizo cooked in natural cider
Manuel showing us how to slice the chorizos :)
Another tip of which cider to use to bring out the flavour in this dish.
Our hard work paid off. Final product. I love chorizo!
Dish 3 – Melon and Jamon Serrano (a type of dry cured Spanish ham)
Jamon is quite an expensive ingredient, approx $50-$60/kg. I have never eaten jamon partnered with a fruit before so this is something different.
Dish 4 – Tortilla de patatas (Spanish potato omelette)
Manuel taught us how to flip the tortilla de patatas from the frying pan onto a plate and back. Very handy!
Dish 5 – Ham rolls filled with sweet egg
This is probably the hardest dish to make! I have never seen a dish quite like this. To make the sweet egg, the egg yolk (separated from the white) was squirted onto the boiling sugar syrup, put into ice water and dried with baking paper. The sweet egg is then wrapped in ham slices.
Dish 6 – Croquetas (small fried food roll)
The croquetas we made were filled with oven cooked chicken. There are a few steps to go through before completion, such as refrigeration of the mixture overnight, rolling the mixtures into balls, frying etc which made this the most tedious and time consuming dish. As there was a time limit to the class, Manuel showed us how to prepare the mixture and rolled his pre-made croquetas mixture.
Final product. (Note: I made this dish for a dinner party after the class and it was a success! Everybody loved it. Yay for a good recipe!)
We took approximately 3 hours to finish ‘cooking’ all the dishes, with help from Manuel of course. All dishes were served in the small shaded garden at the back. Nice to sample our ‘hard work’ in a lovely environment!
Manuel also prepared some meatballs and champagne sorbet to accompany our meal. Thanks!
While waiting for our dishes to be set up, we had a chat with the owners of the cafe, Lisa and Dave Hill, and browsed the store as we had a $20 gift voucher to use. The cafe not only serves food + drinks and provides an avenue for the cooking class, it also retails cooking books, culinary related items, travel and lifestyle books and giftwares! Amazing place. I bought the Adam Liaw’s Two Asian Kitchens cookbook. Sadly to say though I have not attempted any of the recipes yet. I also spied at the cake cabinet and bought myself a banana, coffee, chocolate and walnut cake ($7.50). It was such a delicious cake, freshly baked, moist and lots of ingredients. Love it!
Some pictures of the store…
The friendly and enthusiastic owners…
Overall it was a very fun, informative and entertaining cooking class! Wine and beer are BYO, however drinks were provided when we asked. Lisa made a concoction of fruit juice for us. It was yummy!
It’s worth enrolling in this class. This particular tapas class costs $90 per guest. They have a Spanish seafood paella Create and Dine class coming up. Why not give it a try? (Refer to their facebook page for contacts and information).
Narration by: Miss L