It’s chaos everywhere; one person is running around with smoked eel trying to remove all the bones, the other is rummaging through the racks beneath the kitchen counter searching for an empty pot, someone else is peering over my shoulder to see if I maybe have the gelatin powder, while on the other side of the kitchen a few folks are stirring and chopping. (not necessarily in that order)

It’s really not that easy cooking with a large group of people. Did you know that? You would think that maybe all those hands would make the job lighter, but I’ve found sofar that it actually makes the job at hand harder. Trying to concentrate over measurements is virtually impossible if chaos is all around you.

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But then again I wouldn’t want to miss it for the world. It’s great fun and yes, we have more failures then I would care to mention here, but we laugh about it, eat it anyway and move on to the next dish. Our group is usually around 14-15 people which is a large enough group. Some have a lot of cooking experience, others have virtually none, but we all help eachother and in the end it is about sharing the experience, having a good laugh and a fun dinner at the end. Our cooking club is now over a year old already and still with the same folks except for one. No one ever really misses a session unless on holiday or away for work, but we’re all pretty faithful. It’s only once every two months to I guess that makes it a little easier to plan into any one diary plus the dates are fixed at the beginning of the year so we know where to keep the diary empty!

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Last Friday was our first session in a different location. We had some disagreements with the owners of the previous place. Let’s just say that we were forced into doing things we didn’t want to do so that was end of story. Luckily we found a new place immediately as this is the same cooking location were Tom and I have done countless cooking courses over the last couple of years so we know the place. It’s a much older kitchen (and arguably it could be a little cleaner) but it’s a good location with a lot of atmosphere and in the middle of Amsterdam so close to the Albert Cuyp market.

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The menu this week was a smoked eel with fried herbs, shrimps with risotto, watercress coulis and crispy ham, escalope milanese with tomato and courgette and strawberry soup with vanilla icecream and caramel sauce. Not too complicated you would think, right? 🙂

Well, the starter went a bit wrong, so we had eel soup instead of the turned little pudding it was supposed to be. Actually that was the only real failure, the rest of the dishes were pretty much ok.

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But the highlight of the evening really was the delicious dessert of strawberry soup, homemade vanilla icecream and caramel sauce…. So for that I will share the recipe with you; well for the soup as the recipe for the icecream was changed at some point and I don’t want to give you false information!

Strawberry soup

Ingredients:

  • 1kg sweet strawberries
  • lemon juice
  • 1/3 dl water
  • sugar (to taste)
  • 1 pinch salt

Directions:

Puree about 2/3 of the strawberries with a little bit of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Add some sugar if needed. The rest of the strawberries you can use for decorations.
Strain the strawberries through a sieve and put into a deep, cold plate. Garnish with the rest of the strawberries and ad a ball of icecream in the middle.

Note

Well ofcourse this recipe is so simple you can hardly call it a recipe but that doesn't make it any less tasty!

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Don't mess with the chef!

Don’t mess with the chef!