I love to cook!
I love to cook and share my love of cooking. It is an experience of the heart, mind and senses.
After sixty years of fine tuning how to make food taste as good as it can be, I concluded that good food comes from good ingredients. Nothing can be better than fresh, local, seasonal and, whenever possible, organic foods.
When I’m getting ready to cook, I look in my garden, my refrigerator, my freezer and my pantry. My inspiration often comes from fresh and seasonal produce as they are at their best. I source my ingredients from my own garden, surrounding farms in Mt Alexander Shire, local green grocers and Asian markets.
With the ever increasing challenges of our climate crisis, I am passionate about keeping my footprint small and in minimising my carbon contribution to our atmosphere.
With this principle in mind, my cooking classes will be plant based. In all classes I will offer suggestions on how to substitute meat in place of plant based protein. And in response to requests from previous participants, some classes will have a focus on how to use sustainable Australian fish and seafood.
The cuisine showcased will be from places throughout Southeast Asia, with occasional Japanese influences being incorporated.
During our classes we will discuss and explore the cultural implications on the ethnic groups who originally developed the dishes we explore.
All classes will be partially hands on and partially show and tell. In order to maximise your experience, classes are limited to a maximum of eight participants. This creates a class environment that is friendly, casual, interactive and intimate.
I am so excited to offer cooking classes again. During the hiatus due to COVID19 I took the time to reflect and plan on how to better hold these classes. Success to me is when participants go home and apply the information and experience from class in their own cuisines.
In addition I found a co-teacher, Carol Angove whom I greatly admire and respect. Carol tells me “My love of food started when I was very young watching my mum cook amazing food. We lived on a small farm and I grew up using fresh produce to create delicious food. I followed my passion in the 80s opening a restaurant in Castlemaine and then cafes for many years. I believe food feeds the soul; it is a way to show love and generosity through your creations. I continue to cook, explore new and exciting things and bring pleasure to my table and now team up with Duang to share with you.”
In Carol I feel like I met a sister from different parents. We share similar values especially around food; where it comes from, who grows it, what to do with it in order to bring out the best feature in that food. And best of all we both love to cook. We both cook simply and enjoy creating delicious food at the end.
Together we will share what we know and enjoy making with you in the following classes:
6th June: All About Dumplings (fully booked)
14th June (Sunday) All About Dumplings (fully booked)
20th June: A Complete Thai Dinner from appetiser to dessert (fully booked)
4th July: A Complete Japanese Dinner from Basic to Complex (cancelled due to COVID-19)
18th July: Chiangmai to Luang Prabang, northern Thai and Lao foods (fully booked)
25th July: Chiangmai to Luang Prabang, northern Thai and Lao foods
If a class quickly becomes fully booked, I will offer an additional date for that class.
All About Dumplings: As difficult as it is to choose which dumplings to make, from this class you will learn how to make 4 different fillings and at least 4 different ways to fold, pinch or wrap them. You will also know the basis of good dumpling sauces and actually how to make them. We will show you how to adjust the quantity of ingredients to perfect your very own sauces. After wrapping and folding and pinching the edges, we will cook them together and enjoy them for lunch; plus you’ll have some to take home. For dessert we will make the Chinese rice buns filled with custard.
A Complete Thai Dinner from Basic to Complex: Our intention for this class is to provide tools and tricks for everyone to feel confident in understanding and creating a Complete Thai Dinner for family or guests. We will show and explain the basic essentials of a Thai pantry and where to get them and how to use them. Then together we will make an appetiser. We will have at least three main dishes: curry starting with making the paste, another method of cooking protein, and a vegetable dish which may be a salad or a cooked vegetable. Cooking perfect rice is also essential in this class. Of course, no meal is complete without dessert. Some people say that Thai desserts need developed tastebuds. We want to assure you that our dessert is tried and tested and we have yet to find someone who looks the other way!
A Complete Japanese Dinner from Basic to Complex: (Cancelled due to COVID-19.) Typically presentation of Japanese food is similar to the Spanish Tapas... several small dishes to share over conversations and a beverage. This is why we say Basic to Complex. We will show you how to make the basic common condiments such as dashi, pickled ginger, ponzu and more. Together we will learn about Japanese rice and noodles and we will make traditional dishes. Examples include Okonomiyaki, Chawanmushi, grilled fish or meat with tangy wasabi marinade and teriyaki tofu. If time allows we will try making nigiri (Japanese rice balls). Then we will end with a dessert using green tea.
Chiangmai to Luang Prabang - Northern Thai and Lao food: first a disclaimer, I am from Nan which is in the north of Thailand next to Laos. This is why I am so passionate about sharing this cuisine. If you know Thai food, let me assure you that northern Thai and Lao food is a world away from the common Thai food experience. For example coconut milk rarely, if ever, makes an appearance in this cuisine.
Sticky rice aka sweet rice or glutinous rice is the staple of our food. So we will learn how to cook this type of rice which is completely different from the jasmine rice of central Thailand. Northern Thai and Lao food is often known as farmers food; more vegetables, more lime, more herbs, and almost no oil. The most basic dish is called Nam Prik of which there are dozens of varieties. We will learn how to make 2 or 3 of these and they are mostly made in a mortar and pestle. It will be difficult not to make twelve dishes, but with the time constraints we will be disciplined. I can disclose though that no matter what, we will make Jackfruit curry although they are only available in cans. We will also make Miang Kham. (I am sure you will ask Dr Google.) You will leave the class with your head raised high as you will know real northern Thai foods not available in restaurants.
Most of the ingredients will be from surrounding farms, local, seasonal and fresh. We use organic produce whenever possible. Some ingredients will be from the garden less than 10 metres away from the kitchen.
Class Hours and Sharing of food and beverages:
All classes start at 10:30am and typically runs for 4 to 4 ½ hours. A light snack is served with homemade kombucha on arrival.
After class, we will sit down and enjoy lunch together with your beverage of choice: wine, beer or homemade kombucha.
Class and Booking Policy:
Maximum number of participants = eight.
If too few participants have registered, the class will be cancelled with a full refund offered, or you can choose to attend one future class within twelve months from the cancellation date.
If you need to cancel, please do so up to one week prior to the class date; otherwise a refund will not be available.
Class will be cancelled on extreme weather warning days. It will be rescheduled or a full refund provided.
Wear comfortable clothing with toe covered shoes.
Aprons and knives are provided in class. If you have your favourites, please bring these along.