I personally find the smells of Asian food irresistible, so when the opportunity came up recently to preview the Summer Cookery Courses at the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School, I was keen to pop along.
Fiona Burrell and her team are extremely knowledgeable about international cuisines and have put together an extensive selection of courses, which start this month and cover the nation’s favourite dish – curry and all its iterations. They also look at other typical foods from around the world, dropping into countries such as Japan, Vietnam and Thailand, and closer to home the Mediterranean flavours of Spain.
Chef Jess took us on a whistle-stop globetrotting tour of the Far East, as well as nearby Spain.
The Far Eastern experience began with a mouth-watering Penang style curry with prawns. One of my favourite dishes.
She began with the easy process of making your own Thai red curry paste, which formed the basis of the dish. Despite there being five chillies mixed into the paste, it was pleasantly mild, contrary to the explosion I had expected.
The combination of the Thai red curry paste, peanut butter and coconut milk created a sauce with a sweet edge, which flavoured the prawns and was the perfect accompaniment to the sticky rice.
Moving closer to home, Jo had made a trip to Lupe Pintos in Tollcross to buy some of the key ingredients to support the pork and chorizo empanada, which is also known as a Galician Flat Pie. Lupe Pintos is a great stop for chorizo, sweet smoked paprika and also the special flour (masa harina) used for the pastry.
Being partly Spanish, I have a strong affinity to chorizo and absolutely loved this dish. The meat, spices and red peppers cooked together to create the filling were very flavoursome and took me back to childhood holidays visiting family in the North of Spain. Jo was also very adept at rustling up the pastry and creating the pie within the blink of an eye.
This could be an alternative starter served with a salad, or the perfect addition to a picnic over the summer.
A variety of course topics and demonstrations can be found online at: www.entcs.co.uk
Prices typically start in the region of £155 for a full day’s course.
- 20g/ ¾ oz fresh yeast or 1 tsp dried yeast
- 3 tbsp warm water
- 350g/12 oz strong white bread flour
- 125g /4½ oz masa harina
- ½ tbsp salt
- 50mls/2 fl oz white wine
- 100ml/3½ fl oz extra virgin olive oil
- 50g/2 oz lard, chopped up into small bits
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 egg lightly beaten, to seal and glaze
- 100ml/3½ fl oz olive oil
- 250g/ 90z soft cooking chorizo, finely sliced
- 500g/11b 2 oz pork loin, finely diced
- 4 onions, finely sliced
- 2 red peppers, finely sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- tsp sweet smoked paprika
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- Salt and pepper
- Mix the yeast and water to a paste in a small bowl.
- Put the flour, masa harina, salt, wine, olive oil, lard, beaten egg and yeast paste into a bowl and stir the mixture to combine. Bring it together in the bowl and it should form a soft and quite sticky dough.
- Knead the dough for a few minutes until the dough is smooth.
- Place it back in the bowl and cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for about one hour or until doubled in size.
- Meanwhile for the filling: heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the chorizo and fry until the fat begins to render and the oil is orange.
- Take the chorizo out of the pan and in the same pan brown the pork in batches. Set the pork aside with the chorizo.
- Then sweat the onions in the same oil until they are getting soft and then add the peppers and continue cooking until they softened too. Add the garlic, paprika, oregano and tomato puree.
- Stir in the pork and chorizo and season with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 200 0C/ 400 0F/gas mark 6.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out half the dough to a 5mm/1/4 inch thick rectangle. Put onto an oiled baking sheet.
- Pile on the filling and spread out evenly leaving a 2cm margin around the edge. Brush the edge with a little beaten egg.
- Roll the remaining dough to the same size and lay over the filling. Crimp the edges together, twisting over the dough to form a rope like edge.
- Brush the entire empanada with beaten egg and pierce the top with lots of holes.
- Leave to rest for 10 minutes and then bake for 20-30 minutes or until the crust is nicely browned.
- 5 medium hot Dutch red chillies, stalks and seeds removed and roughly chopped
- 2.5 cm/ 1 inch root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 lemongrass stalks, outer leaves removed and cores roughly chopped
- 6 garlic cloves
- 3 shallots roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon blachan (Thai shrimp paste)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- Put everything in a food processer and blend to a smooth paste.
- 450g (1lb) cooked prawns
- 3 tablespoons groundnut (peanut) oil
- 110g (4oz) finely sliced shallots
- 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste or 1 tsp Mae Ploy Thai red curry paste
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 75ml (3 fl oz) tinned coconut milk
- 1 large fresh red Thai chilli, seeded and cut into slices
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce or light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 4 fresh kaffir lime leaves 300ml chicken stock
- Handful fresh basil leaves
- Heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat. Add two tablespoons of oil, then add the shallots and stir fry for 30 seconds.
- Add the curry paste and peanut butter and stir fry for 30 seconds. Slowly drizzle in the coconut milk, stirring all the time. Then add the chillies, fish sauce, sugar, lime leaves and chicken stock.
- Turn the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Return the heat to high, add the prawns and reheat for 2 minutes.
- Stir to mix well, toss in the basil leaves and serve at once.