Salad, of all things.
What do normal people do on Sunday afternoons? Napping, sleeping, resting, massage, all come to mind, and after the previous day's hectic schedule of eating and eating, it took the propulsion of a rocket to release me from the gravity that was tying me down to the OSIM chair, to attend the cooking class at the cooking house. Organised by BabeinthecityKL, it was another feather in the cap for the social schedule of the food blogging fraternity. However, either Sundays are really rest days, coz the response of the floggers for a cooking class seem far less than those for free food, or food tasting. Let's see, there was Babe, Teckie, Foodielianne, Jackson, and Me. Five.
Both Jackson and I were exhausted, and were both saying we regretted signing up for the course, on the way there. He wasn't his usual ebullient self, so I guess the pot luck at Big Boy's (which I didn't get an invite to) must have sapped him of all his youth.
We arrived early, coz he insisted on picking me at 2pm, when I TOLD him that 2.15pm would be more than okay to get there on time. However, most people were there already. Located in Desa Sri Hartamas, in one of the clusters with easier parking, it's fairly easy to find.
We proceeded to the registration, and to my utter surprise, the lady manning the registration looked at me and asked, "what are YOU doing here?". Goodness, it turns out that she (the proprietor's sister) was my classmate of yore. And oddly enough, one of my earlier culinary idols. She is the kind of gal that every hungry man dreams of marrying. Ace-ing her home science classes, and exuding that domestic flair that eludes some other ladies who can't tell a wok from a fork..... Of course we got into light hearted banter, that removed my sleepiness faster than a double espresso could. Catching up over the last 15 years while other people were waiting to register wasn't a good idea though.
The "classroom" is really my dream kitchen. Large work tops, everything within handy reach, ....sigh, this is MY dream set up for a cooking school. [Have I turned a froggy shade of green?]
The instructing chef, Ryan Khang, I swear, evoked numerous giggles from the group of girls who were also attending the class.
He gave us an introduction to the 4 kinds of salads that he going to prepare, namely, Mango, Avocado and Prawns in Passion Fruit and Chardonnay dressing - served with radicchio, iceberg lettuce and rocket leaves and Pomelo; Duck Breast in Tangy Kaffir Lime and Palm Sugar Vinaigrette - served with lettuce, mint and coriander; and Thai Seafood Salad With Zesty Kasturi Lime, Lemon Grass, Extra Virgin Olive Oil Dressing - with tomato, onion and multi greens.
I shamelessly cut and pasted that entire menu from Babe's blog. Babe, you don't mind ya. Well, yes, like any chef, an explanation of ingredients and where to buy them was helpful, as some of the young lasses there looked like they've never stepped into a wet market in their entire blissful existence. An array of herbs and fruit were laid out, like words from a dictionary waiting to be weaved into an exotic poem, or music notes like taugeh, waiting to be composed into an emotion evoking opus.
Strangely, people were not tripping over themselves at first, to volunteer to be hands on. I guess everyone was a bit shy. Jackson said he had to take photos, and couldn't get his hands dirty. I then voluntereed to squeeze the limes, which needed brute male strength... so much so I accidentally squirted one of the girls.
I love that Ryan uses so many local ingredients, and probably the only imported stuff were the meats, (duck from France and tenderloin from Oz), extra VIRGIN olive oil, red wine vinegar and Maple Syrup. Even the passionfruit apparently are from Cameron Highlands. Oh, and the Chilean Chardonnay.
We have above, our own Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson....
Ryan was very accommodating, answering lots of questions from the floor, and seemed to take everything in his stride, though initially expressing that he was stressed coz of the presence of food bloggers. Hey, we're bloggers, not chefs la, no need to be stressed. I think he realised that soon enough. Or perhaps the fumes from the chardonnay simmering on the pan calmed his nerves.
The wonderful thing about watching a cooking class is the tapestry of ingredients, under the magical guidance of the chef, that evolves into the final product that looks so absolutely delicious.
The Duck Breast salad - I agree with most, that I also would have preferred the duck a bit more cooked, or more thinly sliced. Twas hard to chew thru that fairly thick chunk, but it was well marinated, and tasted very good. The dressing was nice and tangy, and complemented the pomelo well.
Beef, mushroom and peaches, all my favourite stuff. However, this is one occasion where the parts on its own I felt were better than the sum of the parts. (Hmm, I think BAbe forgot to mention the beef one in her blog...I think she no eat beef...like Jackson). Good quality ingredients, and enough as a main meal actually, with all that meat.
This was my favourite salad. Prawns with avocado and mango and passionfruit. The dressing was just right, and complemented the combination the way good make up complements a bride. Were I to have to replicate one of the four, I'd choose this.
I don't have any decent photos of the last salad, (no, they're not indecent coz the salad was not dressed), but if a picture paints a thousand words, let me try with the 1000 words. Basically a seafood combination, prawns, squid, and crab, served in a large lettuce leaf.
More about the cooking school. They offer an impressive variety of classes, in a very pleasant and professional atmosphere. I love their set up and look forward to attending more classes here, especially of the baking sort. The price of courses are also very reasonable. The salad course was priced at RM80. Considering a 2 hour blind man massage would have cost this much, I think it was darn good value for money. Get to eat some more.
For more information, you can log on to their website. The url is http://www.thecookinghouse.com/