It seems that the Chefs of Sydney are taking pity on me and my self-confessed lack of cooking skills. The invitation to attend a Paella cooking class at Extra Virgin Fine Foods in Crows Nest comes as my third such invitation in as many months. Pretty soon I'll be able to put away the 2 minute noodles and cook some "real food" (seriously though, I can cook a little bit, I just get a bit flummoxed when things have too many ingredients or steps in the recipe).
|Owner Mauricio Moreno (picture thanks to Helen Lear PR).|
It's only after we're ushered into the kitchen to meet Head Chef, Vincent that I realise this is a hands-on cooking class - unlike the many demonstration classes I've been to this year! I'm expected to cook my own lunch AND photograph it as well. This is too much for me to cope with and I quickly defer all cooking to my cooking-buddy VegeTARAian to I can take happy snaps. Somehow though we end up having Chef Vincent do most of cooking for us. Nice work team.
So without further adieu, let me take you on a photographical journey of Chef Vincent's cooking!
|We begin by cooking the seafood in a hot hot hot Paella pan - each seafood has its separate turn in the pan.|
|In go the muscles (make sure they all open so you don't die) and then a Soffrito (which you can buy on line) is added to the pan (once all the seafood is removed).|
|In goes the special rice and Tara stirs whilst I take blurry photos.|
|Stock is added to the pan - Vegetarian for us on this occasion, but the others have a veal/vege stock to work with. Their Paella also has a generous portion of Chorizo.|
|A pinch (or two) of Spanish Paprika is added and the pan goes in and out of the oven a few times with more stock being added each time.|
|Set the stove on fire (surprisingly this wasn't my fault - I was on the other side of the kitchen) and char some lemon on the grill (THIS is a great tip - it makes the lemon extra juicy and it's perfect squeezed over the finished Paella).|
|The Paella is dressed with all the delicious seafood and we sit down to eat - really really delicious! The pre-prepared Soffrito certainly makes cooking Paella a much quicker and easier proposition.|
|Enjoy a few extra tasty morsels that we learnt how to cook during the class.|
Once again I've been invited into somebodies professional kitchen and once again I'm overwhelmed by how willingly chefs and restaurant owners open their kitchens to show us the ropes. It's an absolute privilege to be given this opportuntiy - for these people to give up their free time and let me get under their feet, nose about and ask all sorts of questions.