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10 October 2015

"Wild and noble vegetables" cooking course: the best tips and tricks for autumn recipes (Part 1)

With the first falling autumn leaves the concentration falls apart and the wish to stay in warm bed gets stronger with every day. On one of those weekends recently I would have really preferred warm home coziness rather than going for a walk. But not this time :) As I already mentioned before, I got a lovely present from my husband - a cooking class in one of the best restaurants of Hamburg. I was so anxious, excited and curious that I could not find a place the whole morning. I was thinking about the people, who will join the class, the whole process (how will it look like?), place (will that be a special kitchen or the real one?) and overall about the event. And finally the time was to leave. My husband joined me as a photographer and a big fan of gourmet recipes. Through rainy streets we walked to Apples restaurant calming down our expectations. The course started with a glass of champagne in Apples Bar. In a nice atmosphere we were getting acquainted to people who joined the group until finally we were welcomed in the real kitchen of the restaurant. Just to be there and feel the atmosphere was already a big chance. And here are the main ingredients we were using to prepare a 4-course dinner... Except of a bowl of patience,  2 cups of curiosity and 1 kg of love, of course ;)

Pumpkin, porcini mushrooms, beets, brussel sprouts, venison...All in all pure autumn surrounded us during the whole day. Chef de Cuisine of Apples Restaurant, young, energetic and full of enthusiasm lady -  Julia Eckerstorfer - was kindly guiding us through a big world of professional tips and tricks in the Big Kitchen. The main topic of the class was "Wild and noble vegetables". 

It included 4 course-menu preparation:
Course 1: Pigeon Breast, Colourful Beets, Pistachios, Wild Herbs, Elderberries
Course 2: Sarsnip Soup, Duck Ham, Porcini Mushrooms
Course 3: Roasted Venison steak, Hokkaido - Pumpkin, Brussel Sprouts, Grapes, Rosemary
Course 4: Dessertvariation - Family Style

I have to admit that it was my first time taking a cooking course. And this one was a long-expected as we had to make a reservation a year in advance. So once I entered the restaurant, I was so overwhelmed and wanted to find out every single secret they use to cook such exquisite dishes. Finally I was there, in a nice company of real gourmets and professional chef. We were granted professional aprons and had a very creative mood for the upcoming cooking. It was full of unexpected taste combinations, interesting tips and tricks, new flavors, ideas and recipes. The process itself was always interactive. Our 'teacher' helped each of us to learn how to cut a pigeon to get a nice breast part. This was especially useful for me as I never knew how the correct process should be step by step. And this one may be used for chickens and any other poultry. We were asking a lot of question while preparations and cooking, as it became more and more exciting. By the way, my vocabulary also improved and I got to know some 'kitchen vocabulary'. For example, did you know, that the whole process of preparations is usually called 'mise en place'? 
Preparing a perfect Goose breast
So many colors can happen only in the autumn season: red, orange, white, yellow.. and these are all beets. So cute and so tasty!
Sprinkle of salt and beets are almost ready to be placed in the oven...
I know you might be already very curious and will definitely share some tips and tricks with you in one of my next posts. Meanwhile you may have a look on the process itself. 

The course took about 3 hours and then was finished by a 4-course dinner with all the participants. This was apparently the most pleasant part of the day. As usually, very friendly and high-level service of restaurant Apples, was complemented by delicious dishes. And you know the feeling, when you eat something enormously tasty and you know that you cooked it?! By the way, pictures of the final courses will also follow a bit later. 

Overall, I enjoyed the course very much. 
New professinal apron, hand-made chocolate, CD with all the recipes and steps, precious tips and tricks from Chef of Apples restaurant, and happy full us after 4-course menu. Better idea for your Saturday?! No way ;)

See you in my next posts and enjoy the weekend.  
In combination with home-made honey, olive oil and some vinegar these tiny colorful beets became unbelievable.
Yes, this is me... Smelling, touchinh, tasting... Trying to feel with all my senses :)
Cutting a pigeon to get a perfect breast part...
Hokkaido pumpkin is perfect because it may be cooked not peeled.
Sarsnip soup was a totally news for me... Never tried, never cooked, never imagined that perfect creamy taste
Guess why brussels sprouts are right beside the grapes

Even dandelion leaves were in the herbs mixture... Who could ever think of  it?!