As you know … we LOVE a cooking class!
After much research I decided to go with a cooking school called ‘Mamas Lunch’. The class started at around 9 and it was just our ‘8 Feets’ plus one other Italian traveler. Our cooking teacher, Joyce, was just lovely, calm and gentle and patient. A skill that is very much needed when it comes to dumplings I have discovered. Those little pockets of culinary pleasure are an art unto themselves!
We made a dough ball each from flour and water, which all went seamlessly, then let it sit while we made the stuffing. We had 3 different kinds of filling – prawn, egg and chives – pork with ginger and garlic, and chicken with carrot and mushroom.
We then took our dough and rolled it into a long sausage. Next step was to cut off pieces of the sausage while rolling the dough, tricky. The result was a neat little mix of round and square balls – if there is such a thing? (told you it was tricky!) We then squashed the little balls between our palms so they looked a little bit like a disc, then we used a tiny little rolling pin to roll each little disc into what will become the wrappers. Not easy let me tell you. To get them perfectly round you need to roll and flip and turn and slide – fast! Needless to say the only ‘round’ ones were on Joyce’s board!
Once you get them (sort of) round and flat you then put a teaspoon of filling on one side, carefully fold the wrapper over, then do this very delicate seam around the edge. It’s a lot of pinching and folding that looked so easy when Joyce showed us, After a lot of concentration I decided that dumpling making was just one of those skills where the saying ‘practice makes perfect’ is very fitting indeed. Seems we all need a whole lot more practice!
Our final plate was a mix of half moons and quarter ones, plump little dumplings and some that were a little bit on the skinny side. We had a few that looked like wontons and then a few that resembled little UFOs. Joyce was so sweet, ‘everyone has a different style’ she told us!
The 2nd part to our class was noodle making. I have never seen this before and it was fun! Our little classroom went from silence, with heads bent in concentration over our dumplings, to loud laughter and whole lots of twisting and flicking and twirling. The noodles also begin with sausage like shapes. You then roll them on the board with your hands until they get long enough to hold each end, maybe the length of a ruler. At this point you pick each end up and start to flick it up and down. In doing this the noodle gets thinner and thinner, longer and longer, until we ended up with super long, super flexi, and super soft noodles that went straight into the pot of boiling water. The noodles were fun!
In the end we all dined on our assortment of dumplings, which were delicious I must add, and oodles of noodles.
The one thing I just love about cooking classes is that the food you have prepared always seems to taste so much better. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s all the compliments that go around the table, or in this case maybe it was the glass of wine that accompanied our little banquet?
So, dumplings for our Christmas celebration dinner? Ummmm, I think we might need some time to get that ‘practice makes perfect’ thing happening – perhaps we’ll be ready for Christmas 2115?