Saturday, August 11, 2012

Weekend Cooking: A Spanish Cooking Experience

All through July, my Weekend Cooking posts all had a French theme, and that was a deliberate choice. Today is the first of my August posts that has a Spanish feel to it, but not the last! This time though, it isn't necessarily a deliberate choice but rather just the way it worked out!

One thing that I have always wanted to do is to go to a cooking class, and a couple of weeks ago, I almost did that. I say almost because what I did do was a Spanish cooking and eating experience but the host, Fiona, was very quick to assure us that it was not a cooking class as such because a lot of the preparation had already been done for us.

The evening was run through a company called Team Cuisine who do a lot of team building and team cooking exercises, but they also run cooking events through some of the big voucher companies (like Scoopon or Cudo). It was one of these events that we signed up to! 

After making our way to a non-descript looking building down a laneway on the edge of the CBD, we were shown into a commercial kitchen. Inside there was a cup or two of sangria waiting for each of the participants, and then five workstations where the ingredients were ready for us to cook and, most importantly, eat! I think there were about 13 participants in all, which as a group size worked out well as it meant that none of the work stations were crowded, and we all got enough to eat!

I was meant to be attending with four friends, but two pulled out because they were sick which was a shame. Of the friends who did attend, one is a big seafood fan like me, so we started with the Salt and Pepper prawns. The other doesn't normally like prawns, but even she liked these ones. This was probably my favourite of the night, and so easy to do! You could also throw a few chilli flakes in the mix for a bit of a variation.

About to start cooking
Salt and Pepper prawns - Yum, and so easy
Next up for me was potato cakes. Our host also shared a number of time saving tips along the way. After all if it is okay for Nigella (Lawson - domestic goddess) to cheat and take short cuts, then why shouldn't we!



Potato Cakes with Creme Cheese & Dill
Another easy option, this time Chorizo slices topped with a couple of different varieties of dip and sprinkled with freshly grated parmesan. The recipe is actually with pesto and smoked paprika, but the dips were definitely a tasty alternative. I think one was a spicy pumpkin dip, and I think the other one was something spinachy.

Chorizo Bites
One of the other favourites amongst the group as a whole were the Feta and Tomato Topped Mushrooms - again surprisingly easy to cook.

Whoops! Forgot to take a photo of the finished dish before I ate them! 

The last recipe that I tried was pork meatballs. Whilst it took the longest to do it was very tasty, and is one that I can definitely see this being one that my son would like to eat.


Spanish Meatballs with Garlic Mayonnaise
In addition to getting the recipes of the food that we ate on the night, we also got a couple of other recipes to try at home too. There were also some mini toasts with dip that were available to try. One of the dips was a cannellini bean dip/spread/thingy that was really delicious!

I guess the most important thing that I got out of this event was that with the preparation done, the cooking part of the process was actually very easy to do, I could do these at home, and in fact ended up cooking the salt and pepper prawns when I was away last weekend! I cooked them for a Saturday night event with a group of friends and then cooked the rest up for a posh snack on Sunday night (just to use all the prawns up or at least that was the main excuse).

Overall, we really enjoyed the experience, and I am pretty sure that we will be looking for a chance to have a similar experience with another type of cuisine in future!



Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. For more information, see the welcome post.  


**As always, please excuse my dodgy photography**

33 comments:

  1. What an opportunity and what fun. The food looks absolutely awesome. And you're now a prawn expert! I'm going to have to pay closer attention to my newspaper--maybe someone around here offers classes.

    I always do the prep work before cooking. It really does making cooking easier and more relaxing.

    I sure hope you take another class; I'd love to see what you learned.

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    1. I really hope we do too! It was a lot of fun.

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  2. I'm so hungry now. I love Spanish food and need more chorizo in my life

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    1. Chorizo fried up, a little dip on top and sprinkled with parmesan! Yum!

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  3. These classes sound like fun, thanks for taking us along.

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  4. Wow! Everything you made sounds delicious.

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  5. This looks like fun. The only cooking class I've ever been to was in Vietnam where we learned to make those fiendish little rice paper rolls. It is not easy to get the filling to stay inside!

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    1. Now that just sounds difficult!

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  6. Oh yum, delicious tapas :) Please post more on Spanish food xD Your cooking class (even with the prep done, you COOKED!) looks like it was great fun! And now I'm going to look for a recipe for those delicious potato cakes...

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    1. This is a very similar recipe for the potato cakes

      http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/nigella-lawson/potato-cakes-with-smoked-salmon-recipe/index.html

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  7. looks like great fun...and those meatballs look delicious.

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  8. Everything looks delicious and it sounds like such a fun evening. I've gone to cooking classes with a group of friends, such fun, especially with a cocktail to start!

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    1. I was definitely glad to go with friends as it did make it so much fun.

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  9. I do like the look of those prawns. Fantastic idea to do a class. have a great week.

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    1. They are very, very tasty Carole!

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  10. I'm especially drooling at those potato cakes. What a great experience. My dream is to have a sous chef do all the prep work for me :). Olé!

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    1. Jama, it would be fabulous to have sous chef on hand all the time at home!

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  11. What fun! Seafood is a favourite, love salt & pepper prawns or scallops or calamari. Don't think I've ever come across a simple recipe or I'd make them. It all looks so delicious Marg, I'm drooling!!

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    1. Sheree, the salt and pepper prawns are seriously easy.

      When I made them again I used about a cup of cornflour plus about 2 teaspoons of freshly ground salt and a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper (although I kept adding pepper until I could see the flecks.

      Fry them until pink on both sides and then enjoy!

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  12. I love baking and trying out new recipes, but I have a hard time forcing myself to try new cooking projects. It's odd - I LOVE eating, so why wouldn't I want to venture beyond my tried and true? I think I need to find and sign-up for one of these cooking experiences. It sounds like just the push I need...

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    1. Cecelia, it was quite empowering to feel as though it is easy to do new stuff!

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  13. Looks delicious, Marg! I love tapas, and shrimp is one of our favorites. Will have to weasle some of the recipes from you... :)

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  14. Replies
    1. It all looks good, and tasted great!

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  15. Oh wow, that sounds like a lot of fun. And the bonus of having someone else do the prep work. With that done, you get to have all the fun.

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  16. I don't know how many times I make something and plan to take a picture of it but don't think about it until after it's been devoured. This class sounds like a FANTASTIC experience!!! What fun.

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  17. I am trying to do better taking food pictures, but I often don't think until the end... And sometimes the waiters look at me weird. haha

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  18. Fantastic!!! My husband loves Spanish food but I rarely cook it. These recipes look very approachable.. your prawns look perfect!

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