I’m thinking a lot about food lately, what’s its role in our life? Why is it important to share meals with people? How a generation to another shares knowledge related to food? Why is it so good eating?
Time travel to my childhood
I can tell you many food I loved when I was a kid. If I make some of them today, I’m in for a spontaneous time travel. Food would be the only way to do time travel? Am I becoming suddenly an 8 years old, while I’m having my favorite meal? Maybe. Anyhow, the time space continuum opens up for a short time, and it grabs me away to this place, where it’s really nice to be.
Plum dumplings and Me
Two weeks ago, me, my sister and my grandma’s sister made potato dumplings. Since I started not eating gluten, I kinda ignored this amazing food item. But this time, I really wanted to try making it with a gluten free flour mix, and see if it’s possible to enjoy it as much as when I was a kid.
As I’m mashing the potatoes, add the fat, egg, and the flour mix, I start to think, that this experimentation could actually end up being successful. But how much will it resemble the classic version.
Half plum goes into the middle of the squared dough, I sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on the top, pinch the corners of the dough together, of course gently, because the gluten free dough is less elastic. But wait, it works! I hope it won’t break while we’re cooking it, it seems so fragile. But it handles the boiling water, and swims up to the top, as a warrior just surviving its battle. I can’t wait to put it into the pan, and coat it with some bread crumbs.
Plum and cinnamon, match made in heaven, I tell myself, and with a fork I gently cut the dumpling in half. I dip it into the lactose free sour cream, then in some more cinnamon sugar, and the time travel begins. Gluten free or not, the dumpling is perfect, and I think it’s even better, than the classic version. I’m enjoying the time in that special place, where I seem to connect with the ladies in the generations before me, who were also making dumplings in their kitchen, maybe even somewhere else than Hungary.
Of course, every time travel has to end, and that’s when the questions comes up. When can I relive this experience? Maybe making that other kind of long dumplings, covered in poppyseed sugar mix, could it be as successful as this project?
New Baking Project
I made some time yesterday, and made a new batch of dumplings. Small rolled dumplings coated with either of bread crumbs, or poppyseed with sugar. Oh my! They were so good!
If we’re talking about space time continuum already, I might be able to travel to the future as well. For a short time, I saw myself making dumplings to my unborn children. I have no idea when and where this will happen, but it will be fabulous for sure!
Please cook and eat something!
Also send me in the comments, or message: what are your favorite childhood meals?
It’s not easy to travel during pandemic, and most of my favorite countries are closed anyway, when it comes to tourism. Of course I’m missing the roaming around the world, but also to trying out different foods. Luckily tons of people started their own online cooking classes. If you have an average 2 hours free time, the right ingredients on hand, you can learn to make some new dishes, that will lighten up your days.
In the recent weeks, I participated at a Mexican salsa making class, I made Gado-gado salad with an Indonesian couple, I cooked masala chai with JD, who was smiling at me from his New Delhi house, and so much other cool things happened in my kitchen. Come with me to this culinary road trip!
How does it work?
Every cooking class has its own page, where you can usually check the necessary ingredients, the available dates showed with your local time, and some other information. I contacted the hosts many times about substances, options to make some dish dairy or gluten free. They were always really helpful! All of the classes were held in English, but there are other languages available on the platform.
All of the cooking classes were booked through AirBnb. I stated the price I paid by the time I chose the class, these could’ve changed in the mean time. You can check them out by clicking on the buttons under each class.
Bonus: If you use the links below for signing up to AirBnb, you can receive a discount, up to USD59 to use it for your first booking of a stay.
AirBnb has recently changed their terms for credits. There’s a minimum amount to spend on a booking for using credits. Please check the website for up to date information.
1. Mexican Salsas from Mexico City
This class was a gift for my younger sister, so while I joined this class from Buenos Aires, she was making the three different salsas all the way from London. Natalia and her helper created a Mexican fiesta for that 1.5 hours. The salsas were really tasty and I was surprised how easy was to make all of them with some simple ingredients. After the class I grabbed an ice cold Corona with a lime wedge, and felt like I was in Mexico. Worth every penny!
Menu: Roasted salsa, Creamy salsa, Pico de gallo with pineapple/mango.
Hashtags: #vegan, #gluten free, #milk free, #flavor parade, #perfect for family, #party time, #feels like traveling
Ngurah and Ayu is a Balinese married couple, who normally hosts you at their house for a live cooking class. As Bali’s borders are closed at the moment, they decided to hold the class online where they teach some of Bali’s popular dishes. That way you can save the flight ticket to Bali, but still can enjoy the vibrant taste of these dishes. Balinese cuisine uses a lots of fresh ingredients, vegetables, herbs. Some coriander, fresh chili, spices, and there you go, you just made something special! The fragrance of the kitchen was spectacular, when I tasted the corn fritter, I closed my eyes, and felt the soft Balinese wind on my skin, just like a year ago when I was actually there at the beach.
Ngurah and Ayu guided us through their garden, and showed us their family sanctuary, so we learned some about their unique culture. Really nice added value! Loved also that they were cooking in their garden. I need to try that as soon the warm weather reaches Buenos Aires.
Menu: Gado-gado salad with cooked vegetables and freshly made peanut sauce, Corn Fritter and Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Fried Rice)
Indian foods are just mesmerizing. The different spices, fresh coriander, the mix of garlic and chopped ginger, the vibrant colors, I hope you know what I am talking about. Lately, I’m experimenting with all the spices in the kitchen, and variety of vegetables I can find here in the market. Also am a big fan of masala chai, so when I saw JD’s class, I needed to join and learn from an authentic source.
JD was one of the most fun teacher we’ve met through AirBnb. He was really friendly and answered to every questions we had. Felt like an old time friend we’re cooking with through Skype, despite the thousands of kilometers between us. Can’t wait to go to New Delhi, and discover the amazing street food with the help of JD.
I actually did not make too much photos during this experience. We ate the pakoras right away, and had the chai as well! Such a delicious combo, I made it many times since then. Healthy alternative, and you can use any vegetable you have in your fridge.
Menu: Vegetable pakora, Masala chai made with spices (we used coconut milk)
I’m pretty lucky, as I already had the chance going to a cooking school while I was in Thailand. Colorful curries, the different rice dishes, fresh salads, when it comes to Thai food, I just love everything about it! And it there’s an online class, I need to try that for sure! During the 1.5 hours, I learned a lot from Tatiya. Who would’ve thought that Thai Omelette is super easy to make and it accompanies nicely a beautiful green curry?
I actually went to two classes of hers, and can say, it worth the time and money!
Menu 1: Thai curry (I chose green), Thai omelette, Thai dipping sauce, Thai Basil Stir Fry with tofu (others used meat as well)
Menu 2: Pad Thai, Mango Sticky Rice with coconut milk sauce
5. Korean Cooking Class: Recipes Using Kimchi from Seoul
Kimchi is a keeper, that’s for sure! I just love it with all my heart! Love the one made with cabbage, and ginger, garlic, chili, thinly sliced carrots, daikon. Of course it has more varieties, that are using different kind of vegetables.
I’m such a fan, that when I did not find kimchi during the lockdown, I made my own, so we could enjoy this delicious fermented food. World, meet my kimchi!
Anyway, we are talking about the Korean Cooking Class, right? It was 9 am my time when we started, you know, time difference and such. What a perfect way to start your morning with some kimchi dishes. Lovely breakfast option, if you ask me!
Me and my kimchi were ready for this challenge. I made both dishes with tofu, as I prefer to cook lately with vegetarian ingredients. Jomin shared some cool info about kimchi, all kinds of ways we can use it, which was pretty inspiring. Then hip hop, we cooked the two different meals. The smell in the kitchen was unbelievable, was hard to resist to not finish both plates immediately.
If you say some months ago, that I’m going to write this article from a house in Buenos Aires, and would write about “being stuck” in Argentina because of a global pandemic. C’mon, no-one thought, that could happen!