The first practical cooking session on Sunday 2nd August was eventful from the moment the first pair arrived till the last. So many delicious dishes were created and shared, and the mouth-watering aromas permeated throughout the kitchen, spilling into the preparation area and even out into the car park! I was on hand to provide cooking tips, as well as health and safety guidance to ensure all dishes were cooked according to plan.
On arrival the participants helped themselves to refreshments, which included two types of cupcakes on offer (oreo and blueberry) baked by Joy, the mother of Jasmine, one of the bite buddies cooking on the day.
Once refreshed the bite buddies worked in their pairs to gather their ingredients and equipment to start prepping for their cooking session.
In the preparation area, vegetables were chopped, fruit was juiced and zested, and dry ingredients were measured. Any fresh meat or fish prep was carried out in the kitchen. #Tip: to prevent cutting your fingers when using a knife use a fork to secure the vegetable or fruit you are cutting.
Before the cooking commenced Craig inducted the bite buddies on filming, advising on the best way to capture the cooking of their particular dish, in regards to angles, shots, narrative and positioning.
First up to tackle the kitchen were Cerine and Winta, with their 50/50 puff pastry and spelt flour based pizza base, topped with chicken and stir fried vegetables. The magic in this pizza was the homemade pesto the pair created. Parmesan cheese was substituted with extra oregano to complement the flavours in their topping. #Tip: Always use a separate chopping board when working with raw meat, and remember to wash your hands after handling raw meat.
Another morning duo, Madeehah and Jannette, created a light but flavoursome fish tagine, served with couscous and coriander, presented in a colourful tagine bought during Jannette’s Moroccan holiday. It was only that morning that Jannette had unwrapped the tagine pot for the first time, as the cooking session was its christening! #Tip: when adding food to hot oil for frying, always put the product in the pan from the side not directly in the oil – this will prevent splashing.
These delicious savoury dishes were followed by some sweet desserts to start off the afternoon. First was the ‘Choco-berry sponge cake’ made by Jasmine and Vas. With their awesome team work they produced a layered chocolate sponge cake, filled with blueberry jam and topped with Summer berries and Oreos. #Tip: to prevent splash back of the sponge batter when whisking – place cling film over half the bowl and continue whisking tilting the bowl towards you, the cling film will catch the splash back.
Khusro showed Lalitha how to make his popular dark chocolate dipped coconut macaroons. Making these delicious morsels was simple. Most of the time was spent on cooling the macaroons and coating them with the dark chocolate and double cream sauce. #Tip: use two spoons to roll macaroon balls in chocolate coating – this makes it easier to get an even coating.
We even had a family recipe, dating back to the 1950s – ‘Sputniks’, which Jan taught 7 year old Hassan how to make. Hassan enjoyed listening to the popping of the Rice Krispies, and found the stirring of the sticky toffee mixture challenging as you need to mix it quickly before it hardens. #Tip: running the knife under warm water before cutting the cake into bars – will make it easier to slice.
The first cooking session finale ended with a surprise birthday celebration, as Ellie, turned 10 on Monday so the bite buddies still present at the cooking and filming venue surprised her with an adorned whiteboard, balloons and the obligatory embarrassing sing-song.
Once Ellie and mum, Karen got over the shock surprise they whipped up their ‘Perfect Paella’. The kitchen was filled with the delicious smokiness of the chorizo, paprika and saffron making everyone impatient to dig in. The paella chefs will be going on a family holiday to Spain so are looking forward to seeing how their dish compares. #Tip: Gibraltar bred, Craig (Video Editor) advised on adding lemon wedges as a garnish, to provide an authentic feel to the presentation and taste.
The entire day was busy, yet relaxing and filled with fun and laughter! Everyone enjoyed the meals they created and were eager to share their creations with everyone else. The next session will be on Sunday 9th, and we are all looking forward to seeing more delicious dishes being created.
Join us next week for the update on the final cooking session.
Alicia (Cooking Tutor)