I find that heading rather amusing: you would too, if you knew that my small home companion is a food-obsessed kelpie cross called Toby.
Actually, I'm talking about Tobie Puttock, and the cooking Master Class that I went to last night with friends Nicky and Cathy, and Cathy's friend Gary. Did we have fun? Just check out the menu, and make your own mind up:
We had lots of fun!
Here we were expecting some tiny tastings and a glass of aussie bubbly, a hall packed full of women (come on, it was going to be all women, wasn't it?) - by which we betted on city girls with HandBags (the capital HB signifying the Large Price Tag it came with). In other words, not our thing.
The words, 'It's gonna be a bun fight' were uttered. But we were delighted to discover that we were wrong.
Maybe it was the buy three tickets get one free offer through Delicious magazine, but the atmosphere was fun, with groups of friends out for a nice evening. We all embarrassed ourselves by scoffing thick chips in the bar before the event and then walking in to see white linen; cutlery; multiple wine glasses at each place. We thought there would be three canapes shared between 100 people, but what we got was a three-course meal, with wines. (Though sadly the Marsanne ran out before they got to us, and the service was not great, nor were they gracious about the wine disasters). But the chips were a good idea: Tobie turned out to be a talky-talker, and so was the coffee-making guy that the sponsors wheeled out first. So we sat happy, drank wine, watched and enjoyed. And there were prizes, but despite my announcement that I was going to win the magnum, I didn't. Phooey for predictions.
Did you know that gnocchi doesn't have to glue your mouth shut? I didn't. And that vanilla, in moderation, tastes amazing with morels.
What's a morel? Here's a picture, in situ, of a morel:
(What, did you think in situ meant in the ground? Sorry.)
You'll be glad to see that it was not all note-taking and tasting, and the doodle-girl in me broke through after the second sip (read: glass) of wine. (The Pod-person above the morel is a result of a rant about someone's workplace; nothing to do with the food). And those who know Tobie will be delighted to hear that his hair registered a '6' on the bouffant scale (this photo, for comparison, is about a 2.5).
Morels remind me of a spectacular summer at my parents' cottage in Canada, when Dad found a wealth - nay - a fortune! - of morels in the woods. I seem to recall very earnest inspection of mushroom identification books, careful par-boiling and a tentative taste, followed by an all-out, no-holds-barred frenzy of morel eating, including morel omelettes and morels on toast. (Remember, Dad?) One bite of the gnocchi and I was whisked back to that summer. Even at $XXX per kilo, that's cheaper than airfare..... Mmm.
I've never been to a cooking class before, and I'm pleased to say that I would go again any time. For techniques and in-depth learning, I'd go for a day or weekend, hands-on course, but for an evening of entertainment and mild learning, in a great atmosphere, and with fantastic company, this was excellent. Next time these classes come to town, I'll be there.