The invitation from IKEA Singapore to an exclusive SwedeCook Class was my big break from being labelled as an ‘Only Know How to Eat, Cannot Cook’ Foodie. But instead of the 2 IKEA Mega Stores that we are familiar with, the class was held at a rather remote (aka ulu) part of Queenstown, Singapore – 60 Jalan Penjara, Garden Hub.
Within walking distance from the gated entrance was Cookyn Inc, our cooking school for the evening. There were numerous activities going on when we were there. Side note to marketers – Besides cooking lessons, Cookyn can also host private cooking parties and corporate team building events. Pretty new and interesting concept for events.
While waiting for the other bloggers to arrive, light finger food was served to tide us over hunger pangs during cooking. I love the way they presented these IKEA Swedish Meatballs with Gravy & Lingonberry Sauce, they look like clams!
We also had IKEA Salmon Gravlax with Chive Sour Cream on Cracker,
Potato Gratin with Caviar Spread and Chives.
and a refreshing glass of Elderberry Sangria to make sure that everything goes down well. It’s supposedly pretty easy to prepare this drink, all you need is Elderberry Syrup, White Wine, Sprite or 7 up, Lemons, Oranges, Green Apples and Cinnamon Sticks. The exact steps and portions? You will have to attend the class to find out. 😛
We were ushered into the kitchen once it was ready.
The team at Cookyn was extremely well organised. All ingredients and required cooking tools were neatly displayed on our work station.
It looked like we would be doing some baking…
and quite a bit of cutting & slicing.
Our instructor Mervyn warmly welcomed everyone, brought us through pre-cooking preparations like washing of hands and gave a quick overview of the course.
Everyone was given their own aprons and a paper toque (aka cook’s hat). We were supposed to only write our names on our toque but many of us include our blog name too!
After putting on our apprentice uniform, we are all ready to start cooking!
Mervyn separated us into a number of small task groups to split up the work.
Our first dish was Cold Shrimp With Mayo In Vol-au-vent Shells. Knowing that majority of us were absolute newbies, he dedicated time to demonstrate the skinning, seed removal for avocado…
as well as the correct procedure for a clean extract of the avocado meat.
The treatment for mango was pretty similar. The avocado, mango and fresh shrimp was added to an earlier mixture of lemon juice, paprika, chives, mayo, minced anchovy and garlic to produce our cold shrimp mayo.
To make our vol-au-vent shells, cookie cutters were used to cut pieces of pastry from a rolled puff pastry sheet. Smaller holes were made with smaller cookie cutters within the big circles to form rings. Egg wash was brushed on the large circles before placing the ring pastries on top. After the final touch up with more egg wash, the structure was baked in a 180 degrees preheated oven for about 18-20 minutes till they are puffed and golden.
The final step will be to stuff these vol-au-vent shells with our cold shrimp mayo…
and they are ready to be served!
Next came our Baked Salmon & Potato Gratin. Our salmons were seasoned with salt, pepper, olive oil and some parsley.
Woodchips were placed in a roasting tray to smoke the salmon. Besides woodchips, Chinese Oolong Tea Leaves are another alternative.
We covered the tray with aluminium foil and heat it over a gas stove for about half a minute. Once smoke started to appear from the sides, the tray was transferred to a 180 degrees preheated oven to bake for about 6 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fillets).
We then allowed the fillet to cool.
Next, we turned our attention to the cheese sauce. First, we melted the butter.
Then we fried the onions in molten butter for about 2 minutes. Once we smell the fragrance, add flour and continue to fry for additional 2 minutes till the mixture turned light brown.
Garlic powder and sufficient milk was to be added to thicken the sauce. At the same time, diligently whisk the concoction to prevent lumps from forming. Season with salt and pepper for the finishing touch.
Remember our salmon? It’s time to start mashing them up. We took the opportunity to sneak a bite and the salmon tasted heavenly….
With all its ingredients ready, we were all ready to make our gratin. First, we put a layer of sliced potato to build the base.
Top it up with salmon.
Spread the cheesy buttery sauce over it and repeat these 3 steps again.
Sprinkle mozzarella and parmiggiano over the top and season it with salt and pepper.
Bake for a another 15 minutes till the top is lightly browned…
and it was ready to be served immediately with the salad leaves.
Our next dish Marinated Herring, Shaved Cucumber, Mandarin Oranges With Dill Caviar Cream did not involve much cooking. We started with preparing thin crispy cucumber slices.
Which was tasked to Moonberry and me.
It wasn’t as easy as it looked but we did quite a good job.
The marinated herring from IKEA commanded a rather acquired taste, make sure you brace yourself before trying.
To assemble the dish, spoon some of the caviar cream and top it off with shaved cucumber, marinated herring, red onion slices and orange segments. Garnish with dill and drizzle with the olive oil before serving.
Finally, its time for our dessert dish: Dark Chocolate Kladdkaka With Raspberries. The girls first whipped the eggs and sugar till they are combined and smooth before adding in flour, salt, vanilla and water. Molten cocoa butter was subsequently added to the egg batter and whisk until glossy. It looked like hard work….
Next, they poured the batter into a greased pie tin and baked it in a pre-heated oven at 150 degrees celsius for 35 minutes.
Once time’s up, remove the Kladdkaka and set it aside to cool.
Slice it up and serve with some vanilla sauce and raspberries.
After all the hard work, everyone had a good laugh over our personal blunders.
Enjoyed our fruits of labour and …
Took lots of photos!
Final candid shot to end the wonderful session!
If you like what we have done and will love to be part of the action, here’s a piece of good news for you! Simply submit a photo of delicious food, happy cooking or dining moments you have with your family and you stand a chance to be invited for an exclusive IKEA SwedeCook Class happening on 29 June 2012!
IKEA Pretty Smart Kitchen Campaign closes on the 14th June so you better start sending your photos soon! Of course, remember to have fun doing that. 🙂
You may also like to check out my other delicious posts here