Cooking up a Storm! (with Thaikhun Cookery School)
I love food. Sadly for my waistline and ‘shapely’ butt.
There isn’t much I don’t like food wise to be honest (except offal, oysters, mussels, black pudding, haggis…ok, there is a fair bit I don’t like) but one of my most favourite cuisines has to be Thai.
I love Chinese food but there is something really special about Thai food, the fragrant curry’s, the unusual herbs and spices they use, that I really like. That said, I am useless at cooking anything Thai. I don’t know what it is, I think that possibly I’m a bit daunted by all the ingredients and it can sometimes look a bit fiddly or time consuming. More often than not I have just had a long day of chasing a toddler about, as well as dealing with my older two, and I am too tired to even think about cooking something new and exciting. I try my best but sometimes, when you come downstairs at 8pm after putting your kids to bed you really don’t feel like slaving over the stove for ages.
Because of feeling uninspired in the kitchen, I was over the moon to hear from the lovely folks at Thaikhun, Guildford to see if I wanted to go and take part in a new cooking school they have started. I was a bit nervous about it but I put on my big girl pants and said yes. It helped that I could take a friend and I immediately knew who that would be. No, not my husband! Hahaha! You guys. No, my best friend, Chloe. A girls night out accompanied by Thai food. Win!
Chloe is a foodie if ever I saw one. Seriously, this woman knows her stuff. She enjoys food, loves cooking, likes discovering new things and is literally one of the best cooks I know. Very different to myself. Sorry kids. Thankfully she jumped at the chance to come along with me so we got booked on and waited for the day to arrive.
Just before the event, we were told what we would be cooking to whet our appetites. Starter would be Vegetable spring rolls and Main was Thai Green Curry, which is Chloe’s favourite. I am also a fan but only if it isn’t too hot with chili! I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to spice.
The day arrived and we got to the venue 15 minutes before it was due to start so we could sign a disclaimer. I can’t recall what was on it particularly now but I think the jist was that they wouldn’t be held responsible if we were completely inept with a knife and hacked one of our fingers off whilst chopping a carrot nor sue them if you made yourself sick by not cooking your food properly. Both things were entirely feasible with me there!
We were in a group of 9 people and everyone was really lovely. We were all eager to get started and hungry too!
Upon signing our disclaimers, we were bought a welcome drink which was a non-alcoholic mocktail. It was served in a noodle pot with a chili on the side which was different but funky and it tasted very nice. We both enjoyed it. They also bought us over some prawn crackers to chomp on – nom, nom, nom.
After a few minutes, it was time to get cooking!
We had to don an apron and a fantastically flattering white paper chefs hat to turn us into master Thai chefs. I honestly looked so classy folks. The main issue was I had tied my hair up because we were cooking and the ponytail was impeding the hat from staying on my sodding head. It kept popping off and I was having visions of it flying off onto the hob, setting alight and then me being responsible for a mammoth fire. I will tell you all I ‘lost it’ after the starters were made. I still have no idea where it went… (*Bin*ahem*)
We headed over to the demo table to watch the pro chef make his veggie spring rolls and then, after a watch (I literally gazed on in amazement at how quickly the chef could chop veg and roll these things!) and a taste, it was time to get cooking. It was a bit like the Generation Game! My memory is as bad as Dory’s from Finding Nemo so thankfully Chloe had taken it all in and I happily became comme chef. Chloe is a ninja with a knife so she did the chopping and I did the grating/frying. I am an expert with a deep fat fryer. Deep fried Mars Bar anyone?!
I made the first spring roll and it was a little on the small side shall we say. I should have gone bigger but I was being cautious. Chloe made one next and hers was far larger than mine so I decided to make my next one the same size as hers. It was spring roll wars. Being the div I am, my next one was even bigger than Chloe’s! By the end of making 5 of the things, we had 5 very un-uniform (thanks to me) spring rolls. Bigger is better folks. Bigger is better. Paul Hollywood would have given 0 for uniformity put it that way.
The recipe was really simple and we were stunned by how good just a few simple ingredients (veg at that!) could taste. Frying does make most things taste amazing though doesn’t it. After cooking our 5 spring rolls, we were allowed to sit down and scoff them. We thoroughly enjoyed this part!
We then went back to the demo table to learn how to make the Thai Green Curry. This was more complex because they showed us how to make a green curry paste from scratch which was really interesting. However, the best bit is…even they use ready made paste in their currys! Woo hoo! I loved that. So, if you buy your green curry paste ready to go, this dish literally takes about 25 minutes from start to finish. Super quick and easy.
Once it was our turn to have a go, we went back to our work station (it was a large table set up with the ingredients, camping stoves and chopping boards for each couple which worked well). Chloe was once again on chopping duty and I stood and watched, sorry, learnt. I also had a chuckle to myself at the rubber gloves that were put out for us because they were called, Feelers ‘Food mates’. Don’t know why I found that funny, but I did. Simple things, eh?!
The curry was made in no time at all and a real revelation to us both was not to fry the chicken before putting it in the curry. It goes in raw and almost poaches in the curry sauce which makes it really tender and juicy. It was so scrummy.
Luckily for me it was spicy but not too much so I scoffed my bowl full, as did Chloe. Any leftover ingredients that we hadn’t cooked (like veg for the spring rolls) were boxed up in takeaway boxes so we could bring them home rather than them go to waste.
At the end of the session, we were asked to fill in a feedback form and we were all given a lovely goodie bag so we could recreate the dishes at home. It was a really great touch at the end of a smashing evening. With full goodie bags, full tummies and a new found confidence to cook Thai food more at home from scratch, we went on our way and I got home to bend my husbands ear regarding how good it was. I think he was a bit jealous so he pretended to not be too interested until the next day when I made Green Curry for dinner. Then he perked up. The way to a man’s heart and all that…
Myself and Chloe would honestly recommend Thaikhun cooking school to anyone. We learnt a lot, had fun, came away inspired and decided it would be a wonderful thing to do as a Hen-do or birthday party for adults. I know we would happily both go back.
Thaikhun cooking schools are available at various locations across the country. Prices (at the time of writing) are £50 per person which includes all ingredients, sitting down to eat your food, a welcome drink and a goodie bag. Pretty good value for a lifetime of cooking knowledge.
Thank you for inviting us Thaikhun, Guildford. We shall be back!