Wednesday, 6 July 2011

My First Cooking Class!

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Today I taught my very first cooking class! Wow! What an experience!

I was invited to teach six 10 year olds to bake brownies and cookies at Catherine's birthday party. My initial reaction was panic. Then fear. Then "oh-dear-God-what-have-I-gotten-myself-in-for?!?!" You see, for those of you who don't know me, children kinda freak me out. I'm not really a "child" person and do not have a single maternal bone in my body. I feel like I'm really no good at interacting with children (although my dear teacher husband Sous-Jeff disagrees) and they just scare me. There you go.

But, I'm on a new path of following my passion, and that path just happened to intersect with a pack of 10 year olds. So in the spirit of trying anything once, off I went to teach not only my first cooking class, but to teach children!

Thankfully, Agata came along with me, to act as my kitchen hand while I ran the class. We arrived to meet six shy girls, a little unsure of what was going to happen. Two and a half hours later, we left six girls on a total sugar high, with cocoa powder and melted chocolate up to their elbows and all over their faces, grins from ear to ear as they compared their cookies.

The girls paired up and we made a batch of brownies each. They were a very well behaved group of ladies, paying extra special attention and being very careful with potentially dangerous kitchen tasks such as chopping butter with their little butter knives and melting the butter and chocolate over simmering water on the stove. Team work was fantastic here!

So that the girls could give their own flair to their brownies, we had a big range of goodies for the girls to decorate theirs with - marshmallows, white chocolate chips, jelly beans, Smarties, mint filled chocolate squares, Maltesers and sprinkles! Yum!

10 minutes into the brownie making, the girls were already pleading with me to let them lick the spoons - they hadn't actually even added all the ingredients to the mixture at this point, so the second the mixture was into the baking trays, spoons were licked and faces and hands were coated with chocolate. I may have gotten involved too. Don't judge me. 

With the brownies in the oven and Agata the kitchen angel having done the dishes, we got to work on the cookies. One of the young ladies in the group had an egg white and nut allergy, so we decided to make egg-and-nut-product free cookies! We put the mixture together in two groups of three girls, then split the mixtures into small bowls so the girls could each add whatever they wanted. 

The cookies ranged in variety from sprinkles-and-Maltesers, to marshmallows-and-jelly beans. Some of the poor cookies (like the marshmallow ones) got a little gooey and flat in the oven, but regardless of how they looked, they tasted delicious, and they were completely the girls' creations, so they were winners too!

Ag and I left the party before the brownies were cut up and devoured, but they smelt incredible, and looked very pretty :)

It was so fantastic to see young kids getting involved in the kitchen - not because they were being forced to, but because they wanted to. They were even paying enough attention to what they were doing that they were able to tell me if their mixtures were smooth or grainy, too gooey or too dry. I had such a great time; it was indescribably fun sharing my passion for cooking. Really, really fun. And I can't wait to do it all over again!!

You can check out more of the classes I'm teaching at Amore Cucina's website - including High Tea, Chocolate Decadence, Cooking for Blokes, Gnocchi Workshop, Italian Christmas and more!

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