After my two lovely holidays to Zanzibar and Jordan it was time to get back to work. I eased myself in to things with a nice Bangkok flight that I managed to swap for an Australian multi-sector trip.
I’d fly to Bangkok, stay for 24 hours, do a “shuttle” flight to Hong Kong and back, and then get another 24 hours in Bangkok!
It’s been a while since I went to Thailand, so I was looking forward to the trip. The first day was spent getting a lovely massage and some delicious street food for dinner.
It was an early start the next morning for our flight to Hong Kong and back. At around 2,5 hours each way it can be pretty rushed getting the service done, but we managed! The plane stays on ground for a while in HKG so we have a chance to go to the airport lounge and grab a bite to eat and use the wifi – vital for cabin crew 😉
Here’s a picture I don’t post very often on the blog – me in uniform! 🙂
Watching the world (and plenty of aeroplanes) go by in Hong Kong airport.
Once were back in Bangkok it was straight to bed for us – we needed to be up bright and early the next morning for our cooking class!
Myself, Fiona from Ireland, Olivia from France and Ali from the US all walked down to our meeting point – the first stop was a trip to the market to pick up our ingredients for the class.
Our lovely chef (whose name I have forgotten!) took us around the market, explaining which ingredients were used for which dishes.
I gave up meat for Lent, so I was sticking to fish, and the class was very well catered to vegetarians, and even vegans like Ali.
Once we had all of our ingredients, we headed back to the cooking school ready to whip up some delicious Thai food!
Thai food uses very little or no dairy – however something that is used in lots of dishes in coconut milk. It’s actually made by shredding the coconuts (which was done at the market in a huge machine) and then adding water and squeezing. Then squeezing some more!
We made a big batch of coconut milk ready to use throughout the morning.
Everything was prepared beautifully for us, and we each had our own little stations to work from.
First on the list was a Thai classic – Tom Yung Soup. I have to be honest and say that although I love Thai food, I don’t handle spice very well and even the mildest of chillies makes my eyes water!
For the soup we needed the “flavoursome” ingredients which make up the base – lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and Thai ginger. All deliciously fragrant and of course fresh from the market less than an hour ago!
Then come the “filler” ingredients – the ones that bulk out the soup but can be interchanged, such as tomatoes, mushrooms, and some kind of meat or prawns.
After we made each dish we popped into the little room next door to sample our work. Whilst we did that the washing up fairies came and prepared the next lot of ingredients for us!
Pad Thai – one of my favourite dishes (probably because it’s not spicy!) and one that I get pretty much every time I’m in Bangkok! Our teacher told us that actually local Thai people wouldn’t normally make it at home, as it involves around 12 different spices, and it’s cheaper and tastier to eat out! Well, the mission is on to make a delicious Pad Thai fit for a street food stall on the side roads of Bangkok 😉
Next up were some simple fishcakes. Made with ground up fish and some freshly chopped herbs, we also whipped up a sweet chilli sauce to accompany them. The sweet chilli sauce actually involved a whole lot of vinegar – not to mention a ton of chopped up chillis!
One of the next main dishes was a red curry – usually made with chicken, but I substituted that for prawns and the vegetarians/vegans used tofu. To make the red chilli paste which forms the base of the curry we had to grind up absolutely loads of fresh and dried chillies in a pestle and mortar. Supposedly the faster and harder the Thai woman can pound the chillies to a paste the better a wife she’ll be!
A rather large amount of red chilli paste makes for one spicy curry!
We added some of the coconut milk we’d made earlier, but even that didn’t stop my eyes from watering whilst eating it!
A delicious – if very spicy – red Thai curry.
And of course we can’t forget dessert, the Thai classic of Mango Sticky Rice. Since the special rice (the dish doesn’t work with any other type of rice – so no basmati!) has to be soaked overnight for at least 12 hours we couldn’t prepare it ourselves, but luckily our chef had thought ahead and prepared some earlier. Once cooked, you cover it with coconut cream/milk and leave to soak whilst chopping up the fresh mangoes.
What a delicious treat to end a lovely morning of cooking! It was done so well, and we really cooked all of the dishes (well, other than the sticky rice) ourselves. Often cooking schools will just show you how to do everything and not let you do any of the actual cooking, but we really got stuck in! Best of all, we got to eat all of our delicious food and have someone else do all the washing up! 😉
The cooking school we went to is called Silom Thai Cooking School, and offers a variety of different dishes each day of the week. Even better news – there’s a cabin crew discount, so get cooking! 🙂