Posted by: Joan Spiller | March 24, 2011

Cooking’ scool oops, cool..

So last week I sent my feedback into the crookery school about the Moroccan class debacle.. One really couldn’t call them classes after all..

As I said to them: I’d hoped to at least learn about the basics i.e, spice use or how to make couscous tasty .. not exactly complex things to learn but we didn’t even learn that.

I mean heck “to make flat bread just press it down once it’s proved” (except he didn’t use the word prove lol) using the Edmonds basic bread recipe.

Adjamahard simply had no idea how to teach a bunch of people.. He may be a great cook but that did not a great teacher make..

That said, tonight my colleague Leah and I went back for our “freebie” class.

Let me back up.

After I griped, and a few others did the same – the school did the right thing and offered us all a free class of our choice.

Research done: we opted to pick an Asian cooking class which kicked off tonight.

So Leah and I duly set off armed with a bunch of ingredients I’d certainly never made use of before.

Hoisin Sauce.
Chilli Bean Paste.
Sambal Oelek (OK, I have used that in a recipe from Auntie BBT)
Kikkoman (soy) Sauce
And other oddities I’ve often found myself wondering about but never known how to use so steered clear of ..

Our teacher kinda got off to a good start when she said she was an IT project manager. I mean heck, she has to be a bang up chick – they all are .. grins ..

We were handed recipes that actually aligned with the ingredients we’d been told to bring. WOOT!

We were taught stuff.

How to cut an onion. How to blanch beans. How to steam perfect rice.

OK I knew all those things but it was still very cool to see her think about the basics one should know, when wielding knives and food about in an attempt to cook a meal!


She (Mindi is her name) talked to us all through the course of the evening.

Wandering about giving advice, helping people who were stuck, doing anything that was needed to ensure we all left with a nommy meal and some sense of having lurned stuff. I enjoyed watching her in action.

For me, the reason I embarked on these cooking classes is a) I was asked if I wanted to lol and b) I wanted to learn about the ethnic ‘stuff’ I know nothing of.

I wanted to learn how to make use of spices, of sauces, of blends of ingredients that simply do not make ‘sense’ to my euro-trained taste buds.

So last night I didn’t need to be taught how to cut onions or how to blanch beans or how to cube tofu.

I wanted to learn how to meld flavours and make my meal go “WOW” in my mouth.


We made what’s called “red chicken” basically.

It contains Sambal Oelek (Chilli) veges, chicken (tofu, for me) and coconut milk.

After we’d constructed the dish, but hadn’t quite finished – Mindi says to us: Right, taste your dish.

I confess, I went “mmm meh” when I tasted mine.
Don’t get me wrong, it had a nice heat and was delicious.

But it had no complexity or wow factor.

She then says “OK add your final 3 ingredients then taste it again.”

I did this and went: “WOW

The dish went from spicy tofu / chicken and veges to hummina hummina flavours and gorgeousness.

What did we add?

The juice of one lemon, a pinch of salt and a 1/2t sugar.


Who’d think that those 3 things would create such an impact?
Me. Now.

Of course, anyone who cooks knows the value of acid but this really made me go ‘cool’..

Next week we’re making 2 dishes and I’m so excited.

THIS Is what I signed up for.
Bring it onnnn!



  1. […] post: Cooking' scool oops, cool.. « Because life is for the living.. Posted in General Tags: certainly-never, chilli-bean, class-which, duly-set, kicked-off-tonight, […]


  2. You have to go to school to learn to be a crook in NZ? Here we elect them to public office and they come out as professionals in one term!


  3. You have to go to school to learn to be a crook in NZ? Here we elect our’s to public office and in just one term they come out professional crooks(G)


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