This week’s A to Z features cool food and drink classes in and around Sydney, ranging from sourcing your own wild ingredients, to sprucing up your presentation, to attempting those dishes you are worried to try in case you poison someone.
Things I had no eyed deer you could learn how to do:
- Find edible weeds in the Sydney suburbs
- Make your own creations on the top of your coffee
- Make liquid nitrogen ice cream and hot ice cream
- Make your own vegetable sculptures
- Make some good old pies
A is for Australian native food
Pocket City Farms have a great workshop on growing Australian native bush food plants: The Bush Tucker Garden. This workshop covers how to identify species, as well as how to grow, care for, propagate and harvest bush foods. You also have the chance to taste test some of the local species and learn how to use them in your cooking or for medicinal use at home.
B is for Beer and barbecue
If you need a crash course in being an Aussie then the Brew and BBQ master class at BBQ School in Willoughby is the workshop for you. Not only do you learn the art of creating and crafting your very own perfectly brewed beer, but you also get to match it to beer inspired BBQ menu options such as Caramel Chocolate Pudding with Stout Ice Cream and Candied Bacon or Lemon Beer Cake with Blueberry and Pale Ale Ice Cream. Yum!
C is for Coffee art
If you are always impressed by the fancy foam creations on the top of your coffee then you can learn to do your own creations at Coffee School’s Coffee Art course. You will need to be a real coffee lover, as this has to be taken in combination with the Barista course, but you can do them both on the same day.
D is for Doughnuts
Om nom nom! Learn how to make home made doughnuts from scratch at Vive Cooking School in Rosebery. You will learn how to make the dough, shape, prove and fry the doughnut, how to make different fillings, glaze, and garnish the doughnuts.
E is for Edible weeds and foraging
Diego Bonetto is an Italian artist and forager. He offers workshops, trips and cookery classes that have you foraging the nature on your Sydney door stop. This time of the year you could be finding dandelions, flatweed, wood sorrel, mallow, and more. It is also definitely worth checking out the Wild Food Map that Diego is collaborating on:- building a community to identify and share locations of public domain food and medicine plants.
F is for Fish and other inhabitants of the sea
Cooking is not my forte. On one of my dates I decided to serve oysters as a starter. Unfortunately, not being an oyster connoisseur, I bought them unshucked and had to hit them with a hammer to open them. My date then had to politely crunch the contents. Fortunately, whatever you want to learn about preparing food from the sea then Sydney Fish Markets have the answer. Learn from the experts on a range of foods from fish, crustaceans, bivalves, squid and other meats. Oysters, mussels, scallops, crab, octopus, you can become an expert in all, and in several international cooking styles.
G is for Gelato and Gluten free (separately – I just couldn’t not mention either)
If you are fan of Gelato Messina then go along to their very quickly sold out Hands On Gelato Making classes. In the class you get to create and pasteurise your own gelato or sorbet using a Thermomix. You also get to take home the gelato you made in class and a copy of the book ‘Gelato Messina – The Recipes’.
Learn how to cook Gluten Free at Cornersmith School in Marrickville. Learn how different gluten free flours work; the art of substitution; and how to make delicious, adaptable recipes including pastry, biscuits, and breads.
H is for Honey
If you have ever fancied producing your own honey then Pocket City Farms run a number of classes including native stingless bee keeping. In this class you can learn about the structure and construction of a nest, the different roles bees play throughout their lifespan and within a colony, how to split or propagate a hive and how and when to harvest honey.
I is for Impressions – it needs to look good
Ever tried to impress someone with a meal at home and it really doesn’t look like the meals in the restaurant? Vive Cooking School’s Food Styling: Plating and Decoration class helps you understand the concepts behind the art of plating and food styling, looking at negative space, composition, volume, texture and colours. All of which means I should be able to improve on my ninja fairy bread offering which doesn’t seem to be impressing my guests…
J is for Jam
I have fond memories of helping my Dad pick the blackberries for his home made jam, and then eating blackberry jam for months and months. Cornersmith School in Marrickville offer a course in Sweet preserving: jam, marmalade and bottled fruits where you can learn the craft of preparing perfect jams and marmalades, as well as bottling seasonal fruit and you get to do tastings and take home some treats.
K is for Kefirs, Kombucha and Kimchi
With these classes on fermentation techniques run by Cultured Artisans at Work-Shop in Redfern you can be healthy and trendy at the same time. Kimchi is a traditional fermented Korean dish made of vegetables traditionally stored in jars underground during Winter months. Fermented drink Kombucha, originated in China and has been used as a health tonic for thousands of years. In the Kicking Kimchi and The Mighty Booch: DIY Kombucha workshops you get a hands-on experience of fermenting, taste testing and a jar to take home. Fermented probiotic drink Kefir means “feel good” and it is said that it can make you feel energised and improve your skin, hair and nail health. In the Creative Kefirs workshop you get a milk kefir culture already on its way, a dormant water kefir culture ready to start and step by step instructions and suggestions for second ferments.
L is for Liquid nitrogen ice cream buffet
This workshop at Vive Cooking School promises to feed your love of magic and science in the kitchen. It covers how to prepare the basic mix for ice cream, how to use and mix different ingredients and how to use liquid nitrogen to create ice creams. You get to enjoy some dishes in class, take over any leftovers (should there be any :-)) and the recipes.
M is for Molecular gastronomy
Continuing the theme of magic and science in the kitchen is the Molecular gastronomy and cocktail making workshop at Zigi’s, where you can channel your inner Heston Blumenthal and learn how to make spherical cocktails, olive oil powder and hot ice-cream. After I did this course my friend and I drew the suspicions of our taxi driver by leaving with a lot of white powders (for spherification and making soils), and discussing a trip to Victoria’s Basement for some miniature scales.
N is for Novelty
Learn to create this cute Katy Parrot cake at Sharon Wee Creations. In the class you learn to create a structure, how to use styrofoam and wafer paper, air brushing, how to use dusts to create shading and how to carve the cake to make a wave. Not only that but you get to go home with a cake that will serve approximately 40-50 coffee servings.
O is for Orecchiette and other pastas
In this hands-on pasta making class at The Cooking School at The Essential Ingredient Rozelle you can learn how to cook and make a variety of egg dough pasta from scratch including pasta made into linguine, a German-type ravioli called ‘Maultaschen’, squid ink pasta, pasta Semolina made into Orecchiette and dried Capunti pasta. You then get to enjoy the dishes at the end of the class with a glass of wine.
P is for Pies
What is a party without pies! In this Sweet and Savoury Pie workshop at Paris International Cooking School you learn how to prepare a selection of sweet and savoury pies, including fisherman pies, Cornish pasties, potatoes tourtes, spinach filo pies, cocktail lemon meringue pies and more. The baked pies are tasted at the end of the workshop and be taken home.
Q is for Quirky
Ever get told off for playing with your food? Not here! Play with your food as much as you want at a Plant Planet workshop from Mundane Matters. In the two-hour workshop you learn how to create fruit and vegetable sculptures, take part in a mystery box challenge and a photography session that brings your creation to life. You can then eat your artwork! Check out some of Mundane Matters great fruit and vegetable sculptures on Instagram.
R is for Ricotta and other Italian cheeses
In this Italian Cheese Making Class learn how to make cheeses like ricotta, mozzarella, bocconcini, buratta, mascarpone and ricotta salata from scratch. On the night you will make your own whole milk ricotta and learn the art of stretching mozzarella curds. The class finishes with some fresh bread, home-made cheeses, a selection of charcuterie and a glass of wine. Plus you get to take home a cheese making kit that allows you to reproduce all recipes in your home kitchen without any cheese making experience.
S is for Sourdough
I’m excited about this course as sourdough is the only bread I can eat without my stomach blowing up to look like I’m five months pregnant. The Art of Sourdough at Brasserie Bread in Banksmeadow is a great introduction to baking sourdough. You learn about how to begin a sourdough starter, the processes of long fermentation, practice hands-on bread making techniques of mixing, hand-moulding and shaping, plus get a tour of the factory and to take home sourdough bread recipes.
T is for Truffle hunts
In the Southern Highlands, only two hours from Sydney, you can go on a truffle hunt with Yelverton Truffles. The hunt includes a truffiere visit with dogs ‘Jet’ or ‘Belle’ demonstrating their ability to locate truffles, and truffle tasting. Harvest time is during May to August.
U is for Urchin
Not exactly a workshop but Urban Winery Sydney’s Producer Night is a chance to meet and learn from abalone and sea urchin harvester Greg Finn from Pacific Urchin and share his catch of abalone, sea urchin and turban shell over some great wines.
V is for Vinegar
Learn how to make raw vinegar at Cornersmith School. In this introductory workshop you can learn how to ferment fruit juice, how a vinegar mother* works, and how to test for acidity. *The stuff that is added to alcohols such as wine and cider to produce vinegar.
W is for Wine
If you want to blend your own wine you can do this at a master class in St Peters at Urban Winery Sydney. As well as blending wine, if you buy a barrel you have the option to get more involved in the wine making process –from crushing the berries to bottling. I had a great few hours doing this workshop a few months back and took home my own labelled dozen.
X is for Wildcard!!
OK so I struggled with this one, I did have Xampinyon mushrooms, Xacuti or Xmas but I decided to use the wildcard and put in knife skills instead. The Cooking School at The Essential Ingredient Rozelle offers a knife skills course that also gives you the bonus of a knife to take away. The lesson covers all important aspects of different cutting techniques, knife and blade care, as well as safe knife handling. You will learn how to professionally dice, julienne and chiffonade a range of different ingredients, and watch a demonstration of jointing a chicken and filleting fish. At the end of class you then get to enjoy your creations with a glass of wine.
Y is for Yoghurt (or Yogurt)
This one is quite a bit out of Sydney but worth it. If you want to make your own yoghurt with a lesson on labne, quark and mascarpone at the same time, then go to The Cheesemaking Workshop in Coffs Harbour (near the Big Banana) for the one hour Yoghurt and Fresh Cheeses workshop. At only an hour, it would be great if you could do the same sort of thing in Sydney rather than sit at your desk at lunch time.
Z is for Zumbarons (well not quite)
OK, so I couldn’t find a current Zumbo masterclass, but I did find this Macaron and Choux class at Paris International Cooking School in Sydney. In the class you learn how to make both macarons and macaroons.
For more food and drink course inspiration check out these sites.
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