Saturday, 30 June 2012


Latasha's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

On Friday night I tried out a cooking class at Latasha’s Kitchen in Leederville. Many restaurants now run cookery schools as a sideline to their operations. The most popular are usually demonstration classes led by the executive chef (as opposed to ‘hands on’ classes), after which everyone gets to sit down and enjoy the meal.
It’s great if you’re crazy for authentic Asian (or whichever cuisine the restaurant specialises in) but lack the know-how (or are simply too sh*t scared) to fly solo and execute a first class tom yum or vindaloo on your own. I tried a class earlier this year at the Coriander Leaf in Singapore, and it certainly didn’t disappoint! So I was eager to find a place back home to learn more..

I was excited to finally arrive at Latasha’s – I say finally as I’d been booked to do a Malaysian class two weeks earlier. As one of my exams had to be rescheduled I decided to switch to the Thai class (Latasha was lovely when I spoke to her on the phone about it and very accommodating)
Since I was a bit early, I decided to go for a wander around Leederville to pass the time..

newcastle street

you never know what you'll find in leedy..
i even found the colonel

the cake display in greens and tempting!
After a quick tea at Greens and Co I headed back to find a few participants milling around in the gorgeous cafe/shopfront Latasha has setup. 

Latasha welcomed us warmly and explained that our class only had 8 people now, so for the evening we’d be stationed in the kitchen at the back (rather than closing the restaurant, which is the norm for classes over 12).  

'Thai Table' Menu
Tom yum soup with prawns
Beef and aubergine salad
Spicy fish cakes
Pandan chicken
Vegetable green curry

Latasha also demonstrated the pastes which are the base of the mains – red paste for the fish cakes, yellow paste for the pandan chicken and green paste for the vegetable curry. She commercially produces and sells her own brand of pastes and bases in-store, which is why meals at LK carry a distinct home-style character. Latasha informed us that most restaurants nowadays use generic bases rather than producing their own, which means their dishes take on a more homogeneous flavour. 

Latasha is an amazing lady - a 100% self- taught cook with a genuine dedication to what she does. It was nothing short of spectacular to watch her power through five complex dishes in 3 hours, while explaining the ingredients/processes involved and entertaining us with her stories!

fresh ingredients
toastin' seeds...coriander i think?
birdseye chillis
curry paste ready to be blended...
..and after!
fish cakes

yellow curry paste, mixed with chicken
my attempt at wrapping chicken in a pandan leaf
waiting to be deep-fried
flank steak for beef and aubergine salad
tom yum
vegetable green curry

latasha carving up steak like a boss
The evening concluded with our Thai feast. The only downside I can really add is that there was no place to sit in the kitchen, so after 3 hours of standing and smelling these wonderful dishes cooking away I could NOT wait to sit down and start eating!

tom yum soup
thai fish cake with chilli sauce; beef and aubergine salad in the bigger bowl
pandan chicken curry
me and latasha..she is such a sweetheart she didn't even mind my relentless photo-taking :)

Wednesday, 27 June 2012


Vegetarian cuisine has garnered – rather unfairly- the reputation of being crap and boring. Sadly, this has been exacerbated by the meat-free 'options' I've encountered in many a cafe and restaurant (garden salads, burgers without the pattie...I’m not kidding. A pub in Freo recently had a ‘vegetarian Wagyu burger’ on the menu). GC is here to bring the good news – not only is vego food simple to whip up, it’s easy on your waistline AND your wallet. chilli bean mix precipitated my love affair with vego cuisine and what’s more, it requires almost zero effort. depending on your tastes, you can tweak the recipe to anything from mildly peppery to cast-iron stomach fiery.

1 brown onion
400g can of 4 bean mix
1 tin of roma tomatoes
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 red capsicum, diced
4 minced garlic cloves (or 2 teaspoons of the pre-crushed stuff)
 2 red chillies, sliced

Chop up the onion and lightly fry with the garlic. After 2-3 minutes add the chilli. Grab a large saucepan and transfer the mix, adding in capsicum, celery, 4 bean mix and roma tomatoes (including the juice). Bring to a boil then simmer for 30 minutes – the tomatoes should start to break down and the mix will reduce. Serve it on grilled Turkish bread!

GC difficulty rating: 4/10

Monday, 25 June 2012


I freestyled this one night after an intense craving for the hero of the salad. haloumi is a salty, white middle eastern cheese famous for its high melting point and indestructible properties. in layman's speak, it's almost impossible to f*ck up. dice the block into 3x4 cm cubes and throw into a hot frying pan with a bit of oil. 3 to 5 minutes on each side is plenty - you'll know when its ready as the cheese will turn a deep golden brown. result: salty haloumi love offset by beetroot and citrus acidity with walnuts for crunch = *drool*
hooray for haloumi!

150g packet of mixed lettuce
½ red onion, thinly sliced
250g haloumi cheese
1 orange, segmented
450g can of baby beetroot, drained and chopped
¼ cup walnuts

Dressing: 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper

GC difficulty rating: 3/10

Sans haloumi

The finished product