If You Always Do What You've Always Done...Then You'll Always Get What You Always Got

Sunday, 9 September 2012

The Music and Cooking Class

A couple of weeks ago, a friend sent a message to a few of us - would we be interested in a music and cooking class?  Once I'd checked the gig schedule, I was keen.  Cooking classes were on my list of New Things To Do This Year, and after a brief search earlier in the year, nothing had come of it.  This was too easy.  And, what could be a better way to spend a Saturday - music and cooking?!

On our way in, I had to ask: what exactly is happening tonight?  Details were still a bit sketchy...  Canapes.  The a cappella choir, 'Fusion'.  Cooking class with Danielle Dixon (from Masterchef last year).  6-8pm, at Taste in the Valley.  I was suddenly a bit dubious - what if the choir was, you know... not amazing?  Would I need cooking skills?  How precise and dictatorial would this cooking class be?  Agh!!!

On arrival, we could see some of the choir inside already, and I breathed a sigh of relief - I recognised a few, and when I spotted their conductor I knew we were in for a treat.  My favourite choir conductor in Brisbane (Debra Shearer-Dirie), with whom I've worked a couple of times.  The champagne on arrival also helped, and then we had a wander around the store to look at all these (largely unnecessary) gadgets before heading to the loft area.

A beautiful space, set up as a kitchen - the sort of kitchen you might find in a very large house, with a couple of huge tables and seating for many.  Rustic.  And a bench set up with many pasta-makers.  As it turned out, we were making pasta.  But first, music.  We were surrounded by the choir, who sang some early food-related songs before forming an arc behind us, and moving on to more modern food-related songs.  All the music was food-related, although some rather tangentially.  They even included us in one of the songs (when we weren't eating our delicious canapes).  By far the hit of the evening was Fields of Gold, which had a few of us getting sweaty eyes.

Cooking.  But first, explanation.  I was relieved that Danielle cooks the way I do - experimentation.  Recipes are more like guidelines.  Some pasta variations were discussed ('my nonna said...' etc), and pasta-makers as well as what to do and why.  And that was it!  Come and try.  The choir came and chatted with us too, so I got to meet one of the faces I've seen in many choir things.

So, 100g plain flour and 1 egg.  Mix it together until it forms a play dough sort of consistency (ooh, when was the last time I was in contact with play dough?!), knead it a bit.

 Divide it in half, squish it a bit.

Feed it through the roller bit, fold in half, and repeat for 3 goes. 

Then move the setting, one step at a time, up to 7.  It will be quite long...

Slice into 3 bits, and feed through the fettuccine end (or thinner option if you wish).

Take over to large pots of boiling water - it needed about a minute in the water before being removed with a big broad slotted spoon/ladle thingy.

Top with sauce and basil and parmesan, and enjoy while listening to the choir singing again.  Try not to slurp or slop sauce all over yourself or others around you. 

Dessert from Danielle was tiramisu with berries (yum!) but one of the choir, Bec (we go way back) had also made a dark chocolate and pretzel tart.  I think I've missed a word in that, but it's from the Donna Hay magazine and it was ... just... oh my.  The sort of rich chocolate-y goodness that makes you want to take the whole lot somewhere private and just gorge yourself.  I didn't, though.  I am getting the recipe, mind you - watch this space.

As originally hoped, this was a fabulous evening.  We could have paid the same amount for just a concert or just a cooking class, but to have them combined was superb.  The intimate, kitchen setting made it far more special than any vibe you get in a normal concert, and getting expert cooking tips from, well, experts, was handy.  Although I don't see a pasta-maker in my kitchen any time soon.

I would quite happily do this once a month, it was so good.  Fingers crossed for the next one!

Today's photo:

Walking down Ann St this morning, the bougainvillea were just so spring-like, bright pink against a blue sky.

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