I started the course knowing very little. I could make spaghetti bolognaise (which I admit I can do quite well) and a few soups. Our meals were mostly chicken parcels (very, very yummy) that I got from the butcher (very good butcher - Ray the Butcher (another blog post)), salads (very basic), steamed vegetables and the odd piece of meat (also courtesy of Ray the Butcher).
I wanted to become more confident in the kitchen and I also wanted to know what the heck I was doing. I mean, anyone can read a recipe, but do you know what you're doing? Do you understand any of it? If you follow the recipe, does it turn out well and taste good? It was all pretty hit and miss for me, though thank goodness, The Boy was most kind and very easy to please.
As I said in an earlier post, I had done a bit of research on the whole cooking course thing but left it for a bit. When I was finally ready to dive in, I picked Cooking for Blokes because I liked the course curriculum and I liked that it was a wonderful foundation to the cooking skills that I wanted. I also liked that it was in North Sydney, conveniently located near the train station and close to home.
I cannot even begin to tell you how glad I am that I picked Cooking for Blokes. I have had such fun in the 6 week Level 1 Foundation Course and most importantly, I learned a lot and it has made me want to cook more.
I've discovered a few things about myself over the weeks of cooking classes:
- cooking is darned good fun
- I really, really, really enjoy cooking
- I love, love, love cooking for other people and feeding them (for myself ... not so much!)
- I love that at the end of the cooking, there's something to show for it, and guess what? You can even eat it!!! How good is that???
Anyway, for those of you who are interested, here's where you find Cooking for Blokes:
90 Mount Street
North Sydney NSW 2060
P: +61 438 811 368
F: Cooking for Blokes on facebook
And here's a quick run down of the Level 1 course ... I recommend everyone does it!!!
- Vegetables - initial procedures and preparation
- Stocks - chicken, beef, fish and vegetable
- Puree based soups, basic presentation
This lesson covers an introduction to the kitchen, how to address your work station and important kitchen safety. You learn how to use a knife correctly and practise our skills. We learn how to dice and slice an onion, carrot and celery and learn how to julienne. From there we learn discuss the importance of stock in cooking and we learn how to make a puree soup. The number of soups you can make from this method is only limited by your imagination.
- Blanching and refreshing fresh vegetables
- Basic sauces - tomato and cream
- Principles of cooking pasta
This lesson cover the technique of blanching and refreshing, one of the fundamental ways of dealing with timing in the kitchen. We learn how to skin and de-seed a tomato, how to chop herbs and how to keep our green vegetables attractive. We learn two basic sauces, how to cook dry pasta and put our meal together for the evening.
- Egg based sauces - hollandaise and bearnaise
- Eggs- poaching, scrambling, French and Italian omelettes
- Sweet souffle omelette
All about eggs. We start with making hollandaise sauce, how to poach eggs and then put it all together to make Eggs Benedict. Then we scramble, make a classic French omelette, an Italian omelette and a sweet Souffle omelette with an easy dessert sauce.
- Chicken - jointing and boning a chicken
- Deep frying chicken
- Shallow frying chicken
We learn how to joint and bone a chicken. From the different cuts of the chicken we do some deep-frying of chicken bits for a tasty snack. We learn how to bone out the leg and thigh of the chicken. We make a dish of chicken breast with lemon and garlic, baby potatoes and green beans.
- Fish - crumbing and shallow frying
- Meat - roasting cuts of meat, roasting vegetables and gravy making
- Meat - grilling, pepper sauce
To begin, we learn about a crumbing station, how to crumb fish and then shallow fry. From there we discuss different cuts of meat, bone and stuff a leg of lamb and how to roast. We learn how to roast vegetables and make our own gravy. We look at how to grill a steak.
- Meat - braising method
- Sweet treats - home made ice-cream, caramel sauce, and chocolate souffle
Here we learn the braising method, which applies to wet dishes such as Osso Bucco etc. Then we learn how to make a souffle - it’s easy when you know how. We make the famous Joan’s ice cream and a caramel sauce. We practise our knife skills and a have de-brief of what we’ve learnt throughout the six weeks. Then a big hug and photos.
This is straight off their website and I'm blogging about it because I love it. No other reason.
I'm off to do Level 2 now, it's fancy food, a Masterchef instructor and yummy goodness. I've just finished Lesson 1 and it's AWESOME!!!
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