Monday, June 11, 2012

Pretty Smart Kitchen

Growing up in a family that absolutely LOVES eating and to a family of chefs, it's not surprising that I have a natural affinity towards food. 
I love all things associated with food.
The food itself. The chef. The recipes. The pictures. The fresh ingredients.

I was ecstatic when one9ninety invited me to my FIRST ever food related event last week. What's more memorable was that it's an IKEA event in collaboration with Cookyn Inc. So, not only I would get to savour Swedish cuisine, but also, get to COOK it!!

I bet you must be wondering if I burnt my food? Or the kitchen down?? Haha but being in a Pretty Smart Kitchen, would mean we should be able to saunter around the cooking stations and oven like Nigella Lawson or Jamie Oliver. Which I feel that we all did a pretty decent job. (under the supervision of Chef Mervyn and Chef Rayner, without whom we probably wouldn't get through the evening in such graceful fashion)

Synchrony of efforts (It was especially exciting for me meeting all these food bloggers in person for the first time! It was like meeting my fairy tale characters that I read to sleep every night) 
Self acclaimed domesticated goddesses
Our cosy kitchen for the evening
Our superstars for the evening!! Thanks Chef!! (I was so delighted to meet Chef Rayner, writer of HisFoodBlog, another of my favourite food blogs)
Chef Mervyn and Chef Rayner make everything seem so simple and hassle free, making Swedish Cooking seem all so simple. The most interesting part was smoking the salmon. As I never knew it was that simple! After smoking, the salmon had an amazing woody smoked flavour to it, so good you can really have it on its own! But it was not done yet. We had to add on the potatoes and cream sauce to bake before its ready to be eaten. But somehow, somewhere along the line, with the smoked salmon giving out that robust earthy aroma and the fragrance of melted butter with cream bubbling on the stove, and a chocolate cake on the way in its oven, I couldn't exactly concentrate what the Chefs were saying. All I could think was how delicious everything smells and it was making me hungry!!!

Wood chips that give the smoke salmon is earthy smoked flavour
Freshly baked potato and salmon gratin
And finally slightly less than 2 hours of free smells and useful cooking tips. It was feeding time!!! First up was the potato and salmon gratin. The layers of smoked salmon and potatoes were infused by the buttery flavour and texture of the butter cream sauce. The dish on a whole was rather light and fluffy.

Next was the cold shrimp with mayo in col-au-vent shells. The cold shrimp mayo concoction was delicious already on its own!! It could paired with a salad or even in a sandwich if you want some variation from the col-au-vent shells. But personally, I love puff pastries and it was interesting to learn how to make those shells. For all of you who are keen how to make this cute little pockets, which make fantastic party horderves, do check out IKEA current contest and you might be stand a chance to win a cooking class at Cookyn Inc and find out how!!

"housewife/domesticated" picture as suggested by Agri Velt :) 
Cold shrimp mayo salad in col-au-vent shells
Chef Mervyn ensuring that these "domesticated goddesses" haven't broken any shells or major damages done

No matter how full I am. I always feel I have a separate stomach for desserts. And desserts makes me happy :)

Hand beaten and whipped batter, not by machine mixer ok!
Ta-Dah!!! A dessert I strongly recommend trying at home, because its simple and delicious

Especially when it's a fudgy chocolatey kladdkaka cake made partially by yours truly and my domesticated partners, Dawn and June! The intimate session ended off on a sweet note with this warm and dense chocolate dessert. It's a very straightforward recipe which I'm sure many would be able to attempt it successfully. 

Thank You guys for hosting such a fun and yummlicious evening!!

All in all I think it IKEA's Pretty Smart Kitchen launch in collaboration with Cookyn Inc is a Pretty Smart Idea. I really enjoyed myself learning simple dishes which you will definitely impress your family and friends with. Good news!! All you have to do is submit a picture of your food creation or of pictures of yourself/friends in the kitchen or having fun with food, and you stand a chance to win a very informative cooking lesson at Cookyn Inc!! Don't wait cos closing dates end 14th JUNE 2012!!! So hurry!!!

The kitchen actually holds a meaningful place in my heart. It is where the magic happens. We can't deny that the basis of family/friends get together is food. And it is definitely more fun when people come together in the kitchen preparing for a meal. For example, when my mom or dad or grandparents cook, I enjoy watching them fully concentrated on the wok while a few of us help out with the simpler tasks such as peeling or chopping or mixing the other parts of the dish. The synchrony of joined efforts make the meal/gathering more memorable and somehow taste better when you stick your hands into some kitchen business. 

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