Here are some things I like:
- Dim sum
Here are some thing I don’t like:
- Being late
- Travelling over an hour to get somewhere
- Torrential downpours that cause my trousers to be soaking from the knee-down
And as you may have guessed, all of these things to be within the space of about 2 hours last Thursday. I’m still recovering.
Here’s how it happened: I was invited to a Qype-sponsored mini dim sum cooking class at the Angela Malik cookery school in Acton. It started at 6pm, and the end of my work day is 5:30pm – if I leave 100% on time. Very soon, I realised that there was no way that I was going to get from Goodge Street Station to Acton Central Overground Station in a half hour. I would have to travel to East Acton and take a bus. Minimum 45 minutes. But when I got to East Acton, it was pouring rain, the bus that I needed was nowhere to be found and – shocker – there were no cabs anywhere. I ended up having to walk.
Long story short, I walked in an embarrassingly 45 minutes late, soaked to the bone and STARVING. Anglea has already started the class, but her assistants are quick to get me sorted with an apron, a recipe packet and more importantly, a glass of wine.
We spent the next couple minutes learning about the different tastes and complementary flavours for sweet, spicy, salty, bitter and sour. Anglea stressed that making a curry shouldn’t set you back £30 in ingredients because if you don’t have one thing (for example, vinegar) you can use something else from the same taste group (like anything citrus).
Before we got to cooking, we watched Angela’s sous chefGeoff prepare some pork with a special Indian pesto that she’s made (and sells, naturally). He put a bit of rapeseed oil on the fatty side, spread a good heaping cup of pesto on the pork, and put it in the over for 45 minutes. When it came out, we got to try some. It was AMAZING. We got a container of the pesto in our goodie bags, and I’m really excited to try cooking with it
From there, we got straight into the dim sum cooking, starting with pork buns. This recipe makes about 50 yummy morsels:
- 2 spring onions finely chopped
- 1 can water chestnuts finely chopped
- 1 kg minced pork
- Handful of coriander stalks
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp shao hsing rice wine or dry sherry
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- Pinch of caster sugar
- Salt and pepper
- 50, 7.5cm wonton wrappers
To make the stuffing, add all the ingredients into a bowl and mash well with your hand. Place a heaping teaspoon onto each wrapper and fold up. I found the easiest method was to use the edge of a spoon on the corners until all the edges are folded up. You could also twist the edges up.
Some examples of our lovely work:
Line the steamer with grease proof paper and steam the dumplings for 12-15 minutes. The pork should just about be turning white when they’re done.
Serve with a dipping sauce of choice and coriander leaf. We actually dressed them in Angela’s pesto and a drizzle sweet soy reduction sauce as well, which was delicious. The finished product:
We also made some chicken gyoza through a similar method. I can send on the recipe if anyone is interested.
What I learned is that dim sum is certainly not as complicated as I originally thought. I also learned that I really don’t want to go to Ping Pong anymore – even if it is just ‘easier’. The food we all made was infinitely better, and I had a lot more fun with it.
My only issue with the cooking school is that it really is so far away. It was great, and I highly recommend it, but if I had to go through what I went through to get there, and I was paying (her cooking classes are not cheap!), I’d be a little frustrated. However, if you’re in Acton or anywhere on the Overground, definitely check her out.
She also got an absolutely brilliant review from Toby Young in the Independent when she cooked for his private dinner party.