Matt and I were very lucky to receive vouchers for the Nick Nairn Cook School as a wedding gift. From the large selection of classes I chose Thai because it was spicy (always important to me) but also fresh and suits the sort of spring time cooking I am really looking forward to!

Of course on the day we chose to go to the class it was actually snowing in Edinburgh. However it was a lovely day over Stirling way, and just as well if it had been snowing on some of the one lane roads (with passing places) I would have been pretty scared we would get stuck in the middle of nowhere!

When we got to the cook school we were greeted warmly by staff, then given coffee and shortbread while we waited till the class began. Which really set the tone for a day of a lot of cooking, eating and fun memories.

We learnt 3 dishes and a couple of extras were demonstrated during the course of the day.

First we made a starter of Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup (or Tom Yam Goong), to be honest from the moment I booked the course this was the bit I was least looking forward to – being as I really don’t like shrimps or prawns. However it was actually pretty good, and I would make it again, especially if I had people round for dinner who loved prawns.

Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup

Alongside the soup we made thai salmon fishcakes, which were lovely and so different from normal fishcakes that are mostly potato with little bits of random fish flaked inside. I loved the zesty flavours lemongrass, lime and coriander. I will definitely be making these again.

My favourite course, however, was the Chiang Mai Curry (Gaeng Hang Lay). It was so easy it was quite shocking, to start with you just thickly cut strips of blade steak, which you then simmer in coconut milk for an hour, before adding a curry paste and thickening the sauce.

Chiang Mai Curry

I can’t wait to make this again, and I wonder if the beef and coconut milk could actually be cooked in a slow cooker… making it an easy weekday night as well (although you could just make it a day ahead).

To go with the curry we were shown the traditional way to cook thai rice, and the not quite so traditionally Thai – naan breads.

Cooking Naan on a wok

Yes I am cooking a naan bread on an upturned wok underneath a hob ring, with a blowtorch to scorch the other side! Supposedly this is the best way to make naan breads when you don’t have a traditional tandoor oven!!

One of the best things was the ability to take home a lot of leftovers – we were feed at least two nights last week by leftover thai…

Chiang Mai Curry

However the top highlight of the day was being at the cook school with the instructors, seeing their enthusiasm for the flavours, ingredients, recipes and just cooking in general. There were so many tips given during the day I can’t possibly remember them all now, I can just hope when I need them they will pop back into mind.

Both Matt and I enjoyed our day at the cook school, I expected to, with food and eating being two of my biggest passions, however I was pleased at how much Matt enjoyed himself too.

The next Thai cooking class available in Port of Menteith is on the 14th of April 2013.