Thursday, 22 December 2016

Cooking With Friends

On the 8th of November, a group of friends and acquaintances and I - nine of us altogether - met at a cooking school that has opened a bit more than a year ago in my home town.
The building used to be a car dealer's and is therefore very spacious - large enough to hold several kitchen islands and a row of industrial kitchen appliances at the back wall, plus tables and chairs enough for everyone to enjoy the result of their lessons.

I took the photos with my phone; it was darkish except for the lamps right above the islands, and everyone was moving around; that explains the quality (or lack thereof)! Don't I always have a good excuse for producing less than perfect pictures? :-)

The table was already laid for us, but we had plenty to do before we would be sitting down to eat!

We were split into groups to make starters (salad and a soup), the main course (two different kinds of Maultaschen - google it if you don't know what this Swabian specialty is) with two different sauces, and dessert.

Everything was prepared at our stations, and our host - the cook - and his assistant told us what to do. They supervised our work and showed us, when necessary, how to go about it exactly.

Soon, one of the sauces was bubbling away and filling the room with the delicious smell of curry, cream, herbs and fresh mushrooms.

The salad did not take long to make, of course, and the soup was ready to be eaten after a while.

Then it was "hands on" for nearly everybody to create the two types of Maultaschen with their filling (minced meat and vegetarian):

Only after we had eaten ourselves through two large Maultaschen each, we started on the dessert, which was rather unusual for most of us in that it was baked in paper.

First of all, we peeled and sliced oranges and then sprinkled them with a mix of cinammon, crushed amarettini biscuits and a little amaretto.

Then the slices of one orange each was wrapped in a neat little parcel of special kitchen paper - not the same kind of paper you'd use to line a baking tray with, but easier to fold.

The parcels were then baked in the oven for a while, untied and eaten.

I liked everything we made well enough but am simply not a fan of hot fruit, no matter in what shape it comes or how it is prepared. Therefore, I was happy when I was given some chocolates at the end of the meal :-)

We had a lot of fun, but everything took a lot longer than anticipated - mainly because our host, in spite of having hosted similar events many times before, seemed to lack coordination and organizational skills. It was his own kitchen, and yet he kept looking for things and needed to be reminded that something or other was finished. 
What really made me decide not to book any of his events again, though, was the fact that he gave us old, limp chives for the salad at first. Only when I asked to have a fresh bundle did he get rid of the old one. At the price he was asking - 50 € per person! - one could duly expect everything to be top notch, I think.
It was interesting and I enjoyed being with the group, but I won't do it again; at least not at this particular school.


  1. It does look like a fun way to spend time with friends, as well as learning some new recipes. :)
    I would also expect fresh ingredients to cook with, food always looks and tastes so much better when it's fresh.
    The Maultaschen looks a bit like large ravioli. I hope it was as tasty as it looks. I'm with you on the hot fruit, unless it's baked in a pie :D

    1. Oh yes, hot fruit is perfectly alright as part of a pie :-D
      The Maultaschen were really good, both the meaty ones and the ones with the vegetable filling. The sauce with the mushrooms was wonderful, too; so creamy and spicy with freshly ground ginger.

  2. It sounds like a fun event with friends, but quite expensive. Still, the person who hosted must have put a very large investment into it. Yet the disorganization you mention makes me wonder whether he could really have ever been a chef. I'm curious about what he did before. And, of course, I am hungry for Maultaschen!

  3. And doesn't the phrase "old limp chives" sound terribly depressing! Oh, my.

    1. He was never a chef, he's quite frank about that. His former work was selling kitchen furniture and other equipment to restaurants and canteens. Of course I understand he has bills to pay - don't we all! I just think at such a price one can expect top quality.
      Yes, poor old limp chives! Some of them were so old they were already dry...

  4. Well, it sounds like a fun experience, despite the organization skills of your host (or lack thereof!) The vegetarian version looks lovely to me. I have never cooked in a group, except for when family members all crowd together in the kitchen on a holiday! Thank you for sharing your experience here!

    1. When it comes to my own kitchen, I prefer NOT to have it crowded with too many people while I am cooking or baking - I am not used to it. But it isn't a problem when there is one person there with me who does as they're told :-)

  5. I don't know how much 50 euros would be, but it sounds like a lot to me!
    You should give motivational talks to people on preparation and organization.
    Sign me up! :-)
    Ha ha, not really. I might not be the smartest woman on earth, but ding dang, I can plan ahead and think things through before presenting something to a crowd!

    1. It's nearly the same, Kay, around 50 $ and more than I would be spending at a restaurant for a three-course meal where I don't have to do any of the work myself!
      You see, a person who does something like that once a year at home with their friends is not expected to have it all planned and carried out to perfection - although I guess they would. But Mr Cooking-School-Owner has been doing that for a living for 1 1/2 years and should know better, and he should definitely not try to get rid of old groceries like that.

  6. I've had precious little time to read (much less comment on) my favorite blogs this week, but I wanted to stop by and wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas, Meike!

    1. Thank you, dear Jennifer! Merry Christmas to you, too!