I love learning how to cook new things. And so does Mrs Romance. She loves me learning how to make her new dishes! But recently we were both in a cooking class that inspired us so much. We have a great recipe to share and a book by our teachers to give to 1 lucky reader.
When you step into Spirit House in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast Hinterland it’s like walking into a private oasis. You could forget where you are can imagine yourself in Thailand, surrounded by lofty trees and perched over a peaceful pond.
Instead of relaxing in the restaurant, we were there to work for our dinner. The cooking classes at Spirit House are renowned and really not that arduous. Our group was taught a variety of dishes like Vietnamese prawn spring rolls, crispy salmon straws and wasabi mayonnaise, and Thai style slaw. It was a lot of fun.
Aside from the recipes we picked up so many tips and techniques that are transferrable to lots of other dishes. One of my favourites was how to cook with kaffir lime leaves. Usually, these leaves are so tough, they can only be used like bay leaves and you can’t eat them.
However, if you chop them into fine threads similar to saffron strands, the lime leaves transform into an incredible ingredient for many Thai and Vietnamese dishes. We were taught the knife skills to do this too.
Our favourite recipe of the day turned out to be chicken satay with a peanut satay sauce.
We have a friend who decided make his wife chicken satay skewers. It was his first attempt. One jar of peanut butter and a last-minute takeaway order later, he knew it’d be his last.
To be fair to our friend, when we were shown how to make satay properly, there were quite a few ingredients in there that I wouldn’t have thought of. And peanut butter didn’t make the list.
Here’s the recipe we worked from to create this popular dish:
Satay Chicken with Peanut Sauce
Here’s what you need for the chicken:
? 500gm chicken thighs – sliced into strips
? 20 bamboo skewers – soaked in water overnight
? 1 stalk lemongrass – peeled and chopped
? 5 golden shallots – peeled and chopped (you could use regular shallots or even onions at a push)
? 2 tspn coriander seeds
? 1 tspn cumin seeds
? 1 tspn turmeric powder
? ¼ tspn cinnamon powder
? 1 tspn salt
? 2 tspn palm sugar (can use cane sugar)
? 2 tbsp roasted peanuts
? 1 tbsp vegetable oil
Here’s what you do:
1. Put everything other than the chicken and the skewers in a pestle and mortar and pound it all into a smooth paste.
2. Mix the meat and paste in a bowl and marinade for 2 hours then thread onto bamboo skewers.
3. Barbecue or grill skewers over medium heat for about 15 minutes, turning regularly.
Here’s what you need for the peanut sauce:
? ¼ cup vegetable oil
? 3 tbsp yellow or red curry paste
? 2 tbsp thick tamarind water or tamarind paste
? 2 tbsp dark palm sugar (can use Demerara sugar or cane sugar)
? 1 tspn salt
? 1 ½ cups roasted and ground peanuts
? 1 ½ cups water
Here’s what you do:
1. Heat oil in a wok and stir fry the paste until fragrant.
2. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until thick.
Win a copy of the Spirit House Cookbook
You can win a copy of Spirit House’s newest cookbook ‘Hot Plate’. It’s got recipes from all four of the head chefs running Spirit House – Annette and Ben, and also Kelly Lord and Katrina Ryan.
All you have to do is tell us your worst cooking disaster in the comments. We’ll pick and announce a winner by Thursday 30th October 2014. So hurry up!
Looking forward to reading your stories!
26 Niderry Road