In relation to my previous post on cooking with Rohani Jelani, this has been one overdue entry ;)
I think you can note my glee every time I talk about the cooking classes with RJ. The classes are not only a wonderful and enlightening experience, but more so because RJ is very passionate about her classes and her recipes. I think many people have experienced buying at least one recipe book or downloading some recipes from the net that do not work. I've tried a handful of them that were pretty tasteless too. Therefore, classes like this is truly helpful for people like me who doesn't cook much and not very adventurous to try anything too tedious.
Rohani Jelani, at work.
I also think that her classes are so wonderful in that I would be told if I made a mistake or things I shouldn't do in the process of cooking a certain dish... things can be rectified during the preparation process to obtain a certain result unlike you making something from a recipe from a book and would be wondering why things don't turn out the way they should because no one can point out if you've made a mistake... heck, in fact, you wouldn't even know what you did wrong.
And, the bonus part about going for her classes would be meeting all these wonderful people who may or may not be a good cook and that you won't feel awkward at all to admit that you haven't been doing this or that since everyone who comes in for the classes have one thing in common - to learn.
i love this simple arrangement at the registration table. they're things that RJ grows herself at her resort-like facility.
they're actually baby chilly plants and lime!
For this cooking session, I attended a class for desserts. I was gonna attend with my mom as a Mothers' Day treat but my dad forgot to inform her that they were supposed to attend a relative's wedding. So, I went alone despite moi not feeling well from a scary health attack the day before.
The thing about going alone is that you will be paired up with some other groups that chose similar type of recipes (you are to be paired with another student and choose 3 recipes from the list). This time, like the first class I attended, the group I was in made 4 recipes instead of 3 because they couldn't find any other students with an identical match. And, this time, I was in a group of 3 students.
With you coming in alone, there would be that risk of you getting paired up with a character that may not agree with you. Although my first class was a blast being paired up with a perfect stranger, this time, I wasn't that lucky. Well, it wasn't that horrifying... but I was nevertheless a little put off by what I experienced.
In the first place, all 3 of us chose 2 similar recipes - the Tarte Tatin and the Gooey-Centred Chocolate Pudding. But moi and another person had chosen to make the Creme Brulee while only one person wanted to learn to make the Baked Cheesecake. Now, I don't have any problem to learn things that I had not intended to learn because additional knowledge is priceless... but I would seriously detest a person who pushes me into doing something that I hadn't even sign up for, just because she may not know how to operate electrical appliances such as the food processor and hand mixer. I mean, the ingredients were literally shoved in front of me when the person had actually signed up to learn this particular recipe... all when I could have helped my other partner who was busy making the recipes that we had indeed chosen to learn. And I tell you, the other partner wasn't keen on making the cheesecake because she wanted to make those recipes that she had chosen. So, who else to shove the ingredients to, right, if not for this 'junior' student who probably looked young-er and easier to push.
To take it in a positive way, I learnt to use the hand mixer for the first time ever and the next time I sign up for RJ's classes, I seriously would want to get a friend to be my partner because I want my experience to be positive in all aspect. Then again, that opportunity might be rare since I'd hate to rely on another person because in most cases, it's better to go alone as you may not be in control of another friend's schedule and priorities when the time comes.
So, here goes... pictures of stuff we all made that day. All of them were lovely recipes and I seriously would recommend you to take up a class because you'd definitely want to keep going for more!
making caramel for the Tarte Tatin (pronounced as, "TAR-TA-TA")
While preparing the Tarte Tatin, I learnt so many useful tips especially on the tools to use. I especially liked the part where RJ taught us a trick on how best to peel apples :)
this one was a mixture for the Creme Brulee. The dark dust-like substance is actually speckles of real vanilla...
While preparing the Creme Brulee, I learnt a few new stuff particularly on several types of vanilla used on baking recipes and how each of them is different.
RJ doesn't leave us alone or just tell us what we should and shouldn't do. What I like about her is that she would patiently come over to your cooking area and teach you what you're supposed to do or how you go about doing something.
here, she made us all see how we should prepare the base for the cheese cake.
this was the area i used in my first cooking class... you see 2 groups with delicious stuff waiting to be completed. Clockwise from the top: Baked Cheesecake (that's almost done), the caramelised apples that's neatly arranged for the Tarte Tartin (waiting to be completed), and that dough for the pastry of the Tarte Tartin (which needs to be rolled with a pin).
here, a zoom in on the cheesecake waiting to be baked ;)
this was part of the process to making the Gooey-Centred Choc Puddings...
In this session, I learnt plenty of useful tips and how the gooey-centred result can be achieved. It was definitely enlightening.
look at everyone's expression... we were all eager to see the first batch of Tarte Tatin fresh from the oven ;D
ain't that pretty?? it was so yummy too...
here, RJ showed us a perfect Choc Pudding...
and how lovely it's gooey-centred portion flowed. heaven!
this was my portion of the Baked Cheesecake for me to bring home...
and since the recipe to the Baked Cheesecake allowed for plenty of extra portions, we all had cheesecake for dessert after that wonderful lunch Wati cooked for us *reminiscing that yummy nasi dagang we had*
The Sunday class ran hours late because we all had a really good chat before the class started (the class really started at almost 11am instead of 9.30am) and since our group was doing 4 recipes instead of 3, we had to continue baking after that hearty lunch.
this was the Creme Brulee.
Guess what my family had for our tea time that lovely Sunday??... hehe...
and this was only captured after it was almost finished... the last bite of my cheesecake with strawberry & mango topping *ooohh yummylicious*
Unlike her other recipes which I've tried making at home, I have yet to make these desserts after that class. I need an electric hand-mixer and to stock up my pantry with baking ingredients and tools before I can embark on this new experience.
Anyways, last Thursday I realised the many missed opportunities to some of the classes that I would have liked to attend but couldn't, and found myself registering into another class, albeit without a partner hehe... I guess Rohani Jelani has truly made cooking such an enjoyable 'adventure' and I would openly face whichever insignificant character that may affect my experience, just so I could learn from her. I guess that experience of being in her kitchen would make you learn much more than you ever would (well, at least for me, that is :D) and I feel that it is worth every second I have. Oh, but unfortunately, I registered a little last minute and was told that that particular class was already full. Nevertheless, I will definitely look out for other classes that I can attend :)
Yup, I am addicted to cooking with Rohani Jelani and I am sure you will too, if you had taken any of her classes.