Pastry making class week 1 – Quiche

quicheIf you have read my blog before you will know that I love going to baking classes run by Sarah Brigden from babyCakes. Classes I have  previously gone to include cupcakes, decorative chocolate, desserts and high tea. This year, Sarah is only running classes through Tuart College, with the classes being held at the Mirrabooka Hospitality Training Centre. Her second series of 6 week classes (one night a week) this year is on pastry making, something I really wanted to learn more of, and after enrolling in the class last year (and convincing my friend Kelly to come along with me), I was really looking forward to going to the first class. 

The Mirrabooka Hospitality Training Centre is located at Mirrabooka High School and was only recently constructed to provide students with the opportunity to complete certificates in hospitality while still at high school. The centre includes a café/restaurant, barrista/bar area, seminar/function space, commercial kitchen and ancillary support and storage facilities. It is the commercial kitchen where the after hours short courses take place, with 16 individual work stations, commercial equipment and a demonstration area at the front. It is a great place to be learning and cooking.

Our first class was on savoury pastry, making a quiche. I have made quiches before, both with and without pastry (you add a pastry mix to the quiche mix instead). I have used both shop bought pastry and made my own pasty in the past. I have to say that the pastry we made with Sarah was the best I have ever made for a quiche. The pastry had a lovely savoury flavour and crisp, crumbly texture. It was also quite easy to work with. As always, a big thank you to Sarah for allowing me to share her recipes on my blog.

I made the quiche again at home and the pastry worked just as well as in the class. The great thing about quiche is you can use whatever filling you want. It is a great way to use up ingredients from the fridge (ham, roasted veggies, small amounts of cheeses – the list is endless). I have included the recipe for a bacon and leek quiche here, however I also made some with mini roma tomatoes, asparagus and goats cheese.

Mini quiches made in class
Mini quiches made in class

Click here for the recipe

Filled pasta cooking class and Mushroom and goat’s cheese tortellini

I like filled pastas such as ravioli, tortellini and angolotti but I don’t like buying the pre-made versions of these as I have no control over what has gone into the filling, and I often find they are too salty for me. So I was really looking to going a class at Matters of Taste to learn how to make these types of pastas.

My first attempt at tortellini at home – Mushroom and goat’s cheese tortellini

This was another technical class where we learnt how to make the pasta and the three different filled shapes, and we each got try making each of these shapes. I was a bit nervous about trying the tortellini but found it easier than expected. As a group, we also made three different fillings and sauces (with each group of three responsible for one sauce and filling). I had a lot of fun and left filled with confidence about trying these at home.

Spinach and ricotta ravioli from the class.
Spinach and ricotta ravioli from the class.

The next night, I decided to make the mushroom and goat’s cheese tortellini that I had recently seen on Masterchef – The Professionals. I used the pasta recipe that I learnt at Matters of Taste rather than the one from the Masterchef recipe, as I am now familiar with that recipe. However, as that isn’t my recipe to share (having received it at a class) I have included the Masterchef recipe for pasta below (the only real difference was my recipe used three whole eggs only and slightly more flour).

Another dish from the class - Roasted pumpkin agnolotti
Another dish from the class – Roasted pumpkin agnolotti

Making pasta at home by yourself is quite time consuming and is definitely not for every night. I found this filling a bit difficult to use as it didn’t hold together well, but that may be because I added the goat’s cheese at the end as I’d seen on TV rather than mixing it through as the recipe stated. I was still happy with the results and loved the creamy goat’s cheese with the earthy mushrooms and silky soft pasta. I’m not a huge fan of the brown butter sauce however, so next time I think I’ll try a different sauce.

Chicken prosciutto tortellini from the class.
Chicken prosciutto tortellini from the class, my favourite of the three we made.

Click here for the recipe

A collection of cooking classes – Summer Swirl cupcakes, Lamb butchery and pasta making

No matter how much you think you may know about cooking, there is always some new trick or technique that you can pick up from a cooking class and I continue to learn new things whenever I go. You can read about the technique of pasta making, for example, but until you actually feel the pasta dough, you never know exactly what the end result feels like for the best pasta. Over the past few months I have attended a few cooking classes from cake decorating to meat butchery and thought it was  time I shared them with you, before I head off to the next one tomorrow.

Click here to read more

Death by Chocolate Cupcakes

Not much baking this week, as I spent a few nights in the beautiful south west of Western Australia for the Margaret River Gourmet Escape. I got to meet some amazing local and international chefs and try some great food. I had a wonderful weekend of food and will definitely be going again next year. Unfortunately it is now back to reality, with lots of unpacking and laundry to do before I head back to work tomorrow.

I did, however, cook my Death by Chocolate cupcakes a few weeks ago for a work morning tea, so it is now a perfect time to share the recipe. This is another recipe from Sarah Brigden at babyCakes that works every time and the cupcakes always disappear very quickly whenever I cook them. Like the citrus coconut cupcakes, these don’t contain any butter and are oil based. Again, the mix needs to be made the night before or at least a few hours before cooking to create light cupcakes (it will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge or two months in the freezer before cooking). The recipe does not contain any eggs, so it is good for anyone with an egg allergy/intolerance. As with any recipe using chocolate, use a good chocolate that you like. If you like a dark/bitter chocolate, use that in the ganache and dutch cocoa in the cake mix. I usually use normal cocoa powder (not drinking chocolate) so that the cupcakes aren’t too bitter and a 50% professional baking chocolate (that I get from babyCakes) for the ganache for a rich chocolate taste without the bitterness.

I have also made chocolate orange cupcakes using this recipe by replacing the vinegar and some of the water with orange juice and adding orange zest to the cake mix, as well as orange liquor to the ganache. If I’m making the citrus coconut cupcakes at the same time, I like to use some of the raspberry swirl frosting on some of the chocolate cupcakes as well.

If your oven has hot and cold spots like mine, turn the tins around during cooking so that you get an even bake. As long as you don’t open the oven every minute, opening it a few times isn’t a problem.

Click here for the recipe.

Cake decorating class 4 & 5 and Jungle animal cupcakes

So I have finished my first cake decorating class at Cupid’s Delight and from it I have learnt the following:

  1. I don’t like covering cakes and boards in fondant. I can do it and the end result is pretty; I just don’t really enjoy doing it.
  2. I do like making flowers and figures out of fondant/modelling paste. It reminds me of when I used to make dollhouse miniatures with my Grandma.
  3. I think the first thing I should have been taught is the art of transporting the decorated cakes/models.
My very first decorated cake!

Click here to read more

Citrus Coconut Cupcakes with Raspberry Swirl Frosting

A few weeks ago I reminded Jerome that I was going to be going to a cooking class that night, so would be home later than usual. His response was to question why I was going to a class as I already knew how to cook. Which, of course, is a lovely thing for him to say. However, while I can cook, I certainly don’t believe I know everything there is to know, and since I like cooking, I want to know more!

There are so many reasons why I enjoy going to cooking classes. There is always room for improvement, new tips and tricks to learn, the chance to meet others who love cooking, new recipes to try and I just really enjoy going to cooking classes. Especially the ones that Sarah runs at babyCakes. It is also a good opportunity to try something that you think might be too difficult to try at home (like the White Yule Log that was a lot easier than I thought).

Some of the first classes I went to were Sarah’s cupcake classes and the results are amazing. The cupcakes are moist and don’t dry out. I have altered the recipe slightly and added lemon as well as the original orange and lime, as I love citrus. Since I started making these (and her death by chocolate ones which I’ll post next week), I can no longer get away with bringing a bought cake into work, as everyone expects these cupcakes now. I’ve had a few people tell me they don’t like cupcakes, only to convert them after they have eaten these. Click here for more and the recipe