Ground Zero

Welcome to my ground zero – the kitchen. The first European Cookery Class weekend is finally upon me, and notations from my ever-ready dictaphone and diary entries in my hefty ‘things-to-do’ book have been coming thick and fast. Although ‘best laid plans’ can be thwarted for both mice and men, mine fell naturally into place yesterday (notwithstanding a few last-minute obstacles).

best laid plans...:

The eighteen attendees live almost exclusively in Holland, and drove the three or four hours for the weekend – with four exceptions. Els drove from northern Belgium, Peter came from Gothenburg in Sweden, La Julia, with her roots in Louisiana, came from Frankfurt, and Sri Devi flew from Hawaii. As is often the case though, our Dutch contingent had their origins in other lands before settling in the Netherlands: for instance, a couple came from Madhya Pradesh in India, a boy was from Suriname (formally Dutch Guyana) and a selection of girls came from Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia.

Some attendees were Hare Krishna devotees, others ranged from a movie producer to fashion designer, a couple of business consultants, a yoga teacher and a lady employed by the US Army.

I had sent my shopping list weeks before, and all the ingredients started to arrive early in the day. Here’s a selection of local produce. The crème fraiche de Normandie is especially delicious. Can you recognise it all? Most packaging in Belgium is labelled in both French and Flemish.

le ingredients:

We assembled at noon to introduce ourselves and get to know our plan of attack for the weekend, then dove head-long into the afternoon. Here Tamara gets her hands dirty squishing a bowl of soaked tamarind ready for the chutney.

Tamara gets her hands dirty:

Everyone enjoyed rolling the poori dough into little balls, adding the customary little ‘dimple effect’ to assure perfectly round breads.

all hands on deck:

We posed for innumerable group photos, switching cameras and photographers in a papparazi-induced frenzy. Here’s one of mine, sans me. Can you pick the sisters?

the gang at the chateau:

This is what we cooked – and it tasted as delicious as it looks. The menu is listed in yesterday’s blog.

today's selection:

We cooked the massive feast in three hours, due in part to my precision planning {trumpets sound} but mainly to the ebullient nature of the attendees. Everyone laughed and cooked and totally enjoyed the experience, and we could taste it in the sanctified food. There’s a lot more fun ahead – part two of our weekend event is being held today.

Lunch - at last!!:
Posted by Kurma on 2/7/06; 2:50:11 PM

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