A Parting Gift

A Parting Gift

Earlier this year, when I finished up my last job, my colleagues showered me with well wishes for our future and some amazing gifts, one of which was a voucher for a cooking class at Culinaire Cooking School in Swan Reach, which is a lovely little town down near Lakes Entrance. Well, what an amazing weekend!

I booked in for the Herbs and Spices class which was to be run over two days. Given that we live just on an hour away, I chose to drive back and forth each day. The first day, on my arrival I was met by a very energetic Christine, and was told that I was to be the only student, how luck was I! Given that we were concentrating on herbs, we headed into her herb garden to gather the majority of the ingredients for the class –

she has so many herbs growing, including lemon verbena, horseradish, tarragon, parsley, sorrel, thyme, marjoram, oregano just to name a few. After a nice cuppa, we got to work, making all manner of goodies including an Asian dressing to be used for our lunch, herb mayonnaises, flavoured oils and vinegars and pestos. I had such an amazing day and went home with a lovely basket of goodies and great enthusiasm about what the next day may bring.

Day two and it was spice day. The morning started with a cup of tea and a chat with Christine and John. Then we started, first up was to identify and group a plethora of spices from all around the world and then we got to use them. Coconut chicken and lemon rice was prepared for our lunch.

We also made a fresh laksa curry paste – so simple, so fresh – nothing like that that comes in jars on the supermarket shelf… Oh and Satay chicken, that you just wouldn’t believe the flavour – again, so simple and fresh. Then there was a mustard, in fact a horseradish mustard. The making of which, was rather funny, given that the day before, when we added horseradish to the mayonnaise, we just couldn’t get the kick that we wanted from it – today it was the opposite. We were using an older piece of horseradish and the more I grated it the more the tears streamed down my face – I said I had horseradish eyes! But boy-oh-boy, the mustard, it is sensational and I think we have used it almost every day since. To finish the day, we prepared a gorgeous sweet spicey wine syrup for fruits.

To my past work colleagues a huge thank you – this was the most amazing gift, I not only gained new knowledge about the use of herbs and spices in cooking, but I feel as if I have a new friend too. Thank you so much Christine, I will be sure to encourage anyone I know, to come and take a course at your cooking school. Oh and I didn’t mention the location, sitting up on a hill overlooking the Tambo river, it is so easy to get distracted by the view from the kitchen through the beautiful garden down to the river.

Feeling inspired, I spent yesterday pickling Asparagus, it is in season and who can resist it at this time of year. The off-cuts have been pressure canned to be used in soups, canapés etc.

And today, a lovely fresh herb sauce (with a little of the special horseradish mustard added) to go with our salmon for dinner.dsc06064-r

While I’ve been having such a wonderful time cooking, Gary has ordered the posts and digging holes for the espaliering of our fruit trees.

Here ends another week in “Tranquility”….

Links:

 Culinaire Cooking School

Pickled Asparagus

Crispy Skinned Salmon with a Creamy Herb Sauce.

Magnolia Bed

Side Rose Garden

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