I love cooking but I can’t say i’m good with a wok. More of a cake girl myself.
You definitely couldn’t call be a wok star but after my lesson with School of Wok, I definitely left feeling like one. After my class I tapped my toes around Chinatown looking for inspiration for my next cooking adventure.
Having lived in China, I always found it a little embarrassing wandering around the food aisle in Sainsburys, knowing that I could make something so much better than the random can of Sweet and Sour sauce that I was about to buy.
And so on a quest to become a Chinese cooking queen, I spent a Saturday taking part in a group ‘Cook your own Chinese banquet’ class. I was a bit nervous because it can be quite daunting having to make conversation with people who you’ve never met before especially when you’re holding cleavers.
But after a brief introduction, we were all good friends ready to get stuck into cooking Chinese food.
The first part was knife skills. We were given giant Chinese cleavers and shown how to use them. We were taught different methods for cutting vegetables. Just you wait until I cook my next pepper – I got this under control!
Then we started getting peckish with all of the food around us so we cooked our first serving – prawn toast. I haven’t had it in ages and it was such a treat.
Once we’d had our little (actually rather large and delicious snack) we got stuck into two big dishes – pork fried rice and chicken with cashew nuts. And then we even got to make Wontons – it was good to understand how to fold the pastry and make them look authentic.
When we were done cooking the three mega dishes, we sat down them along with a Tsingtao beer and got stuck in.
It was interesting to see why people had decided to come for a class – many had been given them as a gift and had travelled from great distances – one even from the Isle of Man.
After lunch – which made me feel so full I never wanted to eat again – we got stuck in on making spring rolls. They were one of my favourites as they were a lot easier than you’d think and of course they’re a bit flashy if you want to show off to people.
Then we moved onto the Chow Mein followed by Sweet and Sour pork – an amazing recipe that took me back to some of my first days in Hong Kong. I have to say, it’s always good to find something that reminds you of your travels and this was definitely the one for me.
We sat down again and tried to eat but this time we could all only manage a couple of mouthfuls – thank god for the doggy bags and endless amount of vegetable spring rolls. I am set for days.
After finally admitting defeat, it was time to ask any last questions about cooking Chinese food – thanks for the tip about the Wonton soup. I can’t wait to make it.
We all had one last sip of our beers and then waved goodbye, all of us carrying giant brown paper bags crammed full of food.
And the funny thing is, this evening I cooked myself Chinese tomato and eggs with rice. Maybe I am going to be a wok star after all!
Thanks to the School of Wok for letting me come down and play chef. All words, views and pictures are my own and I hope to replicate the delicious food I made in the near future. Don’t expect me to hold a dinner party though!