So recently I have been discovering my inner foodie that I never knew existed – don’t get me wrong this was nothing of my own doing rather a few fab brands have been throwing me into the fire (so to speak) by inviting me to events that involve me COOKING! Crazy!
Following on from my blogger dinner with entrepo – which I was relieved to find included pairing up with a foodie and a chef – I was invited to the launch of Pick n Pay‘s Finest Food range recently. It was all fun and games and delicious watermelon cocktails – I forget what type!! – UNTIL the organizers suddenly announced that no, we weren’t going to be wined and dined just yet, rather we had to head off into their test kitchen to make our own supper – ON OUR OWN. Oh my shattered nerves. I almost dropped my drink with fright and seriously thought of “taking a trip to the toilet” whilst disappearing unnoticed. Instead I downed my drink and put on my brave face!
We were each set up with our own kitchen work station and given a basket of pre-selected ingredients. We also were given free reign of the Finest Food pantry and a few other basics set out on the table. We had to come up with a starter AND a main and had 90 mins to do it in. And there was no recipe book or chef in sight. Plus I was with a room full of food bloggers – some of whom have cooked on TV shows such as Masterchef South Africaand Dinner Divas! Heart palpitations is putting it mildly. First stop was the drinks table for a refill and then I got out my camera and decided to stick with what I knew – taking photos. Unfortunately I couldn’t hide behind my camera all night so eventually had to take a look at what products I had been given.
As soon as I spied the whole chicken I was greatly relieved. I can make roast chicken!! Hooray. I remember the first time I did I felt so super proud of myself… it seemed like such an incredible meal to have prepared myself but in fact it is really rather easy! That being said I do usually still rely on following Jamie Oliver’s recipe so this time I had to remember all the steps by heart. Fortunately I had made it the week before with Matt’s assistance so I felt a bit more confident. I decided not to worry too much about what everyone else was doing and get on with what I knew. And to have fun.
My biggest challenge in the kitchen is overcoming my own fears and self-doubt. I lack confidence in cooking because I’m always so worried I’m going to poison someone…. ok it’s yet to happen but you know, it might! This event actually helped me to realize that cooking is meant to be fun, a form of creativity rather than a panic-inducing stress out.
For my chicken I followed the basics of stuffing with fresh thyme and lemon and rubbing with oil, salt and seasoning – I also incorporated Pick n Pay’s Finest Food range by using their Tarragon French Mustard which I mixed with butter and put under the skin – amazing what ideas you pick up watching the food channel occasionally! I also made some roast potatoes which I parboiled to speed up the roasting time. I think they could have had a bit longer but the time deadline meant everyone wanted to eat – it was 9pm!
While my chicken was merrily cooking away I decided to whip up a very simple starter – also no idea where I got the idea but must have been osmosis somewhere along the line. I used the ingredients in my basket and wrapped parma ham round steamed asparagus and placed it on top of slices of camembert cheese. Then sprinkled red pomegranate seeds on top to make it look more festive and drizzled with Pick n Pay’s Finest Balsamic Vinegar – If I say so myself it looked amazing!! And it tasted great too… Not bad for a first ever starter me thinks 😉
My starter – Asparagus and Camembert Cheese wrapped in Parma Ham and sprinkled with Pomegranate seeds and drizzled with Pick n Pay’s Finest Balsamic Vinegar!
My main – Roast Chicken stuffed with Thyme and Lemon and Pick n Pay’s Finest Tarragon French Mustard.
After all our cooking we got to do my favourite part of being a foodie – the eating! Boy was there so much delicious food. It was hard to know what to try. I tried to sample them all but considering there were 12 bloggers who each made a starter and main there was no way that would happen. I did obviously also have to leave space to try the Pick n Pay’s Finest Dessert Range too!! At the end of the evening I left with more than a few boxes of leftovers… And much to my surprise I left having discovered my inner foodie too!
Thanks Pick n Pay for a fun, albeit challenging, evening. I enjoyed it so much especially meeting some of the fabulous foodie bloggers of Cape Town! Let me know if you’re doing it again…. 😉
Images: Kathryn Rossiter