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 brown 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.
Pretty easy, isn’t it? And a lot nicer than just a jar of peanut butter on your plate!
26 Niderry Road
When I was a very new Mrs, I decided to make the new Mr a curry ( this was the 80s when we only used curry powder) the recipe called for three teaspoons of curry powder, I used tablespoons. Not only that, I had bought Hot Madras curry powder. It was blisteringly hot. The pot, the wooden spoon and the plates were stained yellow from it and my poor husband tried really hard to eat it with streaming eyes and a runny nose before I told him to stop and we went and bought some chips. I’m a pretty good curry maker these days and never use curry powder, but neither of us will ever forget that first one.
Ha ha! Oh no, Michelle! That’s a great one! I think I had a spoon up until recently that was that perma-yellow colour from curry! At least you got some nice chips out of it in the end!
Thanks for sharing – and for entering our competition!
Claire Chadwick : Mum's Closet
WOW! This recipe looks AMAZING! What a cool cool experience. As a QLD’er I’ve added this to my to-do list. Would be an awesome child-free weekend for Hubby and I.
My worst cooking disaster….hmmm…I’ve had many over the years 😉 A couple of years ago, in a severe sleep deprived state, a few months after our son was born, I squirted chocolate sauce over everyone’s sausages at dinner time – thinking it was BBQ sauce! Our 3 year old thought Christmas had some – chocolate flavoured meat!!!
Ha ha! Choc meat! That doesn’t sound too bad… though I’ve just had a few glasses of wine this evening! Love this story though. I’m trying to imagine people’s reactions when you did that. Must have been so funny!
Yes, please do give Spirit House a go. Even the restaurant is awesome – such a romantic setting. But the cooking school is a real cherry on top.
Thank you so much for sharing. Good luck in our competition!
What an amazing cooking class that really gives you the Asian experience without the travel. I will have to try your recipe over the weekend and thanks for taking me there with the fantastic photos. Be well guys!
Thanks Nick. Glad we could give you the feeling of being there with us! 🙂 Yes, the cookery lessons were really great – and that recipe really works. Takes a bit of time to get everything ready, but it’s very much worth it.
Have a good’un, pal.
Hello …I’m a newbie here …found u thru the gorgeous Woogs, love ur blog.
Some years ago & wanting to impress my new partner, I suggested he invite a few of his friends over for a dinner party solely provided by Moi. Entree….mushy asparagus ….mains ….tough as shoe leather! …..finally dessert…..& obviously on a roll….instead of giving it a light dusting of icing sugar…. I proceeded rather heavy handedly ….after a few glasses of bubbles to smother it in baking powder!!
I was bonkers by then ….as my solution was to grab my hair dryer and decorate his kitchen & all within in white dust!! Funnily enough… I never felt the urge to impress his mates again!! And thankfully, we both developed a great love for cooking. Have heard about the Spirit House from friends …def on my list of places to visit.
Welcome, Carole! How cool is Woogs? She’s awesome, isn’t she?!
Love your story – sounds hilarious – though I bet you weren’t laughing at the time! Spirit House is amazing – we were there with Mrs Woog as it happens. Definitely one for the list.
Cheers – and thank you for entering our comp.
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Being French, I thought I would try impress my husband for his birthday. I tried making coffee eclairs for the first time. I did think the choux dough looked a little runny when I piped it onto the tray before putting it into the oven. Not only the choux came out totally flat but it was also burnt! We ended up celebrating his birthday with coffee custard only for dessert!
Oh no! Well, I think you were very brave even attempting to make choux pastry, Cyndie! I don’t trust myself to make pastry – I used to just buy that pre-made, pre-rolled stuff. That coffee custard doesn’t sound half bad though!
Thank you for sharing and entering our competition.
Grabbing custard powder instead of cornflower to thicken the sauce for our cauliflower cheese and not noticing until it was served up with my roast pork.
Is it bad that I’m secretly intrigued by what your custard cauliflower cheese tasted like, Margaret?! You know, when I was at my nan’s once, I put salt on my cornflakes instead of sugar because the pots were strangely similar. It was not an enjoyable mistake!
Thanks for sharing. Hope your roast wasn’t completely wrecked.
That satay recipe sounds delicious, I might see if I can get Pat to try cooking it… on second thought, maybe I’ll just cook it myself.
Ha ha! It’s really good, Sara-May! I reckon Pat’s up to the challenge. Give him a go – at worst you’ll have another great story to tell us afterwards!
My worst cooking disaster has to be the time I made instant noodles but because I was busy having a Twitter chat, I set the plastic packet on fire…which burnt a hole in the kitchen counter…but at least, my noodles were still edible 😛
Ha ha! Oh no! Those noodles are indestructible, aren’t they, Ling?! Damn those Twitter chats – they shouldn’t be so distracting!
Thanks for sharing your cooking nightmare.
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[…] Oh, and don’t forget, our Spirit House cookbook giveaway competition is still going – the winner will be chosen this Thursday – 30th Oct. You just need to tell us about your worst cooking nightmare story. Get your entry in asap – details and your chance to win are all here: Our Authentic Chicken Satay Recipe – and Win a Copy of Spirit House’s Cookbook. […]
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Great article and recipe! Could I have the recipe for the asian slaw please?
Hi Danica. Glad you liked the story. So sorry, I don’t have the slaw recipe – at least not anymore. We were at the Spirit House a good five years ago. I’ve had a dig through my old paperwork but sadly that recipe’s amongst it. It does look good though, doesn’t it?