Yesterday was the first day of the cooking class that Tom and I had been looking forward to for months and it really exceeded our expectations!! It’s a 6 week course; every saturday for the next 6 weeks we will be spending the afternoon in the kitchen you see above which is located in Amsterdam.
I had a familyshoot in the morning, so I was a little anxious that it would take too long and we would be late, but I was home on time to go to Amsterdam. Ofcourse we did not take into account the dramatic parking facilities that you can (not) find in the centre of Amsterdam, so we spend 10 minutes looking for a parking spot. Finally managed to find one at the Hobbema kade (for a “meager” 20 euro!!) , but then – obviously – still had to walk to get to the studio, so we arrived a little past 12. Class was planned to start at 12.30 with lunch beforehand, so actually right on time.
The group is quite large; I think about 13/14 people, but it seems to be a fun group. Our teacher is Rob, who had two restaurants and basically spend most of his lives cooking or at least doing something with food. The aim of the course is to teach us to start cooking without recipes or cookbooks, by giving us the basic tools needed to be able to make decisions on how to cook something or what to throw in the mix.
The first lesson was all about cutting, techniques on how to hold your knife and how to cut various vegetables. We used leek, onion, carrots and a potatoe to practice. Ehhmm… maybe not look at the photo for the best technique though…:) Then Rob showed us how to make a good mayonaise base, how to make a roux, how to make the best home made fries from the potatoes we had all been cutting. I made a fabulous mayonaise which is now in the fridge here, so I have to think of a good way to use it this week, as it will not last forever… Making the mayonaise was actually quite simple; just a little vinegar, an eggyolk, some mustard, stir untill it starts to form bubbles a little, then slowly add the (sunflower) oil untill it starts to bind and then you can pour the oil in quicker untill you have a good consistency. You can then add whatever you like to make a mayonaise to your taste. Basic flavour would be to add salt, pepper and some lime… Anyway; I might think about something to use the mayonaise with this week, so I can take some good photos of them as the ones taken during the course are obviously not the best ones.. (taken with my little compact with very bad light in the kitchen…)
The lesson ended with everyone baking their fries (first prebake ofcourse!) and eating them with our own lovely homemade mayonaise! We learned an awful lot in just one afternoon, so much so that we will probably forget half of what we learned right away. During the kitchen session you don’t really have time to write stuff down and Rob tells so much that it is hard to remember it all, but I think the keyword here is practice, practice, practice!
The next lesson are all gonna be about finding the perfect ingredients (how to spot a good chicken from a bad chicken) and how to prepare them, cut them, filet them etc. Next lesson is going to be about birds and vegetables, then meat, then sweet stuff and at the end we have to prepare a three course dinner per two persons from scratch. Going to the market buying fresh produce and then making something out of that!
He has already shown us the importance of making stock as a base of quite a lot of things (ragout, sauce, soup) and how to make one. Well kind of….
So now we have a week to make sure we are going to use our knifes in a proper way without cutting of our fingers and trying to use the stuff we learned… and finish of my mayonaise… If anyone has any good tips on what to do with mayonaise other then eating it with fries…?
Today we’re going to have a luxurious lunch at a restaurant in Haarlem. Friends of ours invited us as a kind of belated birthday present so I’m really looking forward to it!
More to follow!