Monday, 11 May 2009

Cooking class 8: "Home party" menu

ABC Cooking Studio has changed its setup and none of last month's offerings took my fancy, so it's been a while between lessons. Previously I have been taking the Japanese food class, but that option has now changed to a class in basics, and some of it is a little, well, basic. I decided to go for the entertaining class this time. Let's have a "home party" (so called because urban Japanese rarely entertain at home due to space constraints. For the record, I've never let that stop me).

The menu was two kinds of oven-baked rice croquettes, one flavoured with tomato and Camembert, the other with curry and Camembert; taramasalata with pan-fried veggies; a tomato-based seafood soup; and crepes Suzette for dessert.

I liked the idea of the croquettes more than the final result. Baking rather than frying them increased the likelihood of their falling apart, and more than a few of the ones we made did just that.

The taramasalata (hiding under the veggies) was a bit bland to my taste buds, but my Japanese classmates liked it well enough.

But oh the seafood and tomato soup! I'll definitely be making that again. While it only contained 3 kinds of seafood (prawns, white fish and octopus), the taste was rich and unctuous. The secret, apparently, is to blast it in the oven for a bit after it is finished cooking on the stove.

I will also make the crepes again. Big taste with little fuss: my kind of cooking. And the block of butter and slosh of Cointreau in the sauce have absolutely nothing to do with it (g).

My orange zesting skills from Persian cooking came in handy here. I used the veggie peeler rather than fuss about with the chef's knife as the instructor suggested. Life's too short.

Being Japan, this was my opportunity to learn the fine art of flipping crepes with cooking chopsticks. It can be done*, but I'm not sure why you would bother.

* Lay one chopstick across the frying pan and lift the edge of the crepe onto it with the other. Lift the chopstick with the crepe draped over it and with a rolling motion, gently turn the crepe over.


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