Monday, 1 August 2011
Berlin Cooking Club does Cajun/Creole
Last weekend, on an extremely wet Saturday night the Berlin Cooking Club got together for another cookup. The theme this time was Cajun/Creole. We had quite a few new faces cooking this time: Suzy (@Foodieinberlin); Jill (@CHEFinBERLIN) and Caroline (@ThymeSupperclub). And some familiar faces too: Stefan (from the first berlin cooking club meetup) and Rene (@coachz_beta).
When we first arrived we did a bit of juggling around until everyone had a corner to work in. Everyone was hard at work getting their dishes ready and the place was filled with an intense quiet.
As guests started arriving and Kelsie's cocktails started to make the rounds the hum of activity grew. Now we had to figure out in what order we'd get to use the two induction rings. The dishwasher was starting to do it's work on all our prep bowls and boards and things started speeding up for dinner time. We all helped each other out with advice, an extra pair of hands, and lots of tasting.
First up was Suzy with a trio of canapes: the lightest, cheesiest cheese straws that would crumble just right in your mouth, a roasted tomato consomme and her famous devilled eggs.
Next was Rene with his Cajun pasta with a spicy cream sauce, chicken and crawfish.
Meanwhile, Jill dry-fried some okra that ended up being like a green kinda popcorn. I tried mine on top of a devilled egg and it was marvelous.
By this time we had joined all the tables up to make one long table in the space. It was tight seating but did the job perfectly. Wine and conversation were flowing.
We brought all the rest of the dishes out at the end: Stefan made some lovely manioc fritters with two types of sauce -- a punchy horseradish/lime sauce and a papaya-chili sauce. Both were a great foil for the creaminess of the manioc which he formed in patties, paned and fried in butter. Special mention goes to Jill and her "magic" Thermomix machine which saved Stefan from labouring over removing all the fibred in the manioc. Stefan also made a gorgeous Creole themed salad, with tuna and papaya -- light and zesty.
Jill had some novel dishes -- a raw sweet potato salad and a veggie jambalaya made with farro. I loved the nuttiness of the farro and that salad would go great with jerk chicken..
I brought out my meat jambalaya. It's supposed to have Andouille sausage which i couldn't source here in Berlin. so i substituted some intensely smoked polish sausage, some bretonne sausage, and some chistorras i had in my freezer. The recipe i used originally called for 4 dozen shucked oysters. I would have happily complied but knew it would break the bank, so went for shrimps instead.
More wine, more laughter, more stories and it was time for dessert: Caroline made decadent spiced chocolate pots topped with candied nuts and fresh redcurrants. We were stuffed. I couldn't have eaten a bite more.
Everyone, guests and cooks, pitched in at the end to get the restaurant cleaned up, and off into the rainy night we went. I can't wait for the next one! Stay tuned at the berlin cooking club site for more details!
Another round of special thanks to Shannon for kindly letting us use The Dairy to host this event.
And check out Suzy's blog post about the night here.