Sunday, January 5, 2014

Pantry Staples Class with Saee

Most cooking classes these days are about cup cakes, bread, desserts or cuisines like Mexican, Thai, and the ever popular Chinese. Learn 5 easy pasta recipes, 6 simple salads, 3 desserts in a jar recipes, 5 healthy main courses -  the list goes on and nothing captures the imagination any more. And one day Saee said she was thinking of doing a Pantry Staples class - I leaped up at the idea and told her I was coming for sure.

Saee's been taking bread workshops for a while now under her own My Jhola brand and even has customised classes where an interested student can Bring Home My Jhola and learn in the comfort of their own kitchen using equipment that they have instead of an overly professional and sometimes intimidating studio kitchen.

The Pantry Staples Workshop was one of the most informative and fun workshops I've been to in a long time. We made

Spicy Tomato Ketchup
Basil Walnut and Parmesan Pesto
Pumpkin Seed butter
Saffron and Cardamom Lemonade Concentrate
Strawberry Vanilla Jam

The hubby loves jams and has a collection of home made jams sitting on the shelves. His mum made jams at home and his sister makes some amazing jams too. Saee regularly sends over jams that she's made as do other foodie friends like Rushina. In fact, US based food blogger Niv Mani also brought over some of her own home made jams all the way to add to his jam collection! When I saw the Strawberry Vanilla Jam on the list for the workshop I knew I had to attend this one :)

Gourmet foods can easily be made at home and Saee's workshop was a demonstration of just how easy some of these are. You don't need any fancy equipment or gadgets, neither do you need any special utensils or vessels. We're also becoming more aware of the presence of artificial preservatives and flavourings in commercial foods and many of us would like to be able to cut those right out of our diets. This workshop showed how easily that can be achieved.

Most ingredients are now commonly available and are not prohibitively expensive any more. Basil, for example, is now available with most local vegetable vendors and if, like me, you shop online it's not a problem at all. It's the same with almost all the ingredients that we used in the workshop so one doesn't have to worry about not being able to make the same stuff at home for lack of ingredients.

I came home with a bag full of goodies and a head full of recipes. The biggest surprise for me was the Pumpkin Seed butter. I have a million food related hangups and can shut my mind to a whole lot of things. If there's a healthy label attached, it doesn't help matters. I didn't expect to like the butter and though I was interested in the process of making it I was fairly confident it wasn't something I was going to try out myself. Well, I have changed my mind. This is something I could easily enjoy slathered on toast in the mornings!

Here's a look at what we made-

Walnut Basil Pesto with Parmesan

Pumpkin Seed Butter

 Spicy Tomato Ketchup

Chunky Strawberry Vanilla Jam

Saffron Cardamom Lemonade

(Lemonade Photo Credit - Saee Koranne - Khandekar)

Keep your eyes peeled for Saee's next workshop. Trust me, you will learn interesting things and you'll have a whole lot fun too! 

Marathon Bloggers Project 52 2014

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