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  • Writer's pictureToni

Cookalong 23rd October 2020

Updated: Nov 7, 2020

Grand Final Eve saw members of our parish and wider community come together for a cooking workshop run by yours truly. Some participants cooked along with me while others chose to sit back with a drink and watch and perhaps cook at another time. It was terrific to see seventeen people Zoom in for this social event. It was my debut presenting on Zoom. Whilst I have taught culinary skills over many years to various groups of people of all ages, it has always been live / in person, never streamed via technology. Thus, it was a learning curve for me too. It was a lot of fun and a pleasure to invite people into my kitchen and equally see everyone with their smiling faces, aprons on ready to cook in their own kitchens. Cooking alongside one another was a lovely social activity to do together and one we often don’t get an opportunity to do. Often, we are busy cooking for ourselves, families or our guests- rarely together.

So, what was on the menu? Chilli Turkey Pot Pie. This is a wonderful combination of turkey mince cooked in an aromatic mix of spices, fresh herbs, corn, capsicum, beans and tomato, all topped with a crusty polenta pastry. Mexican inspired is probably the best way to describe the flavour profile. There would have been some tantalising cooking aromas in our collective kitchens! If only we had “smellavision” on Zoom! I provided a vegetarian option for tweaking the recipe too, so hopefully it was just as tasty.

There has been some tremendous positive feedback with one participant saying that it is a great way “to stay in touch and keep the parish camaraderie going”. This made me smile as this is what we, as a parish team, have really endeavoured to do throughout the whole lockdown.

Another told me afterwards they found it “informative, engaging, easy to follow and enjoyable”. One commented that the recipe was a good choice for beginner cooks yet with enough interesting flavours and ingredient combinations to extend the repertoire of more experienced cooks. This was pleasing to hear as it is always difficult to choose a recipe that all will enjoy. Using the same filling, I gave four variations of the dish so hopefully our adventurous cooks can try them as well. At the end of this session we had a nourishing, yummy dinner. Certainly, health and nutrition are a big part of my work and home life so there were plenty of health tips and cooking hints sprinkled in along the course of the evening’s cook.

Once the pies were happily baking in the oven, I made a wine suggestion in response to someone’s question. At the start of the evening I had dedicated the Cook-along to the memory of Maria George who worked tirelessly in our parish in recent years as Pastoral Associate, and whose funeral mass many of us watched via livestream this week. So, at this point, we filled our glasses and raised a toast to Maria. It was a beautiful way to finish off an evening of great conviviality, food and fun.

Thank you to all who participated and also to Jane Hearnes, Adrian Cropley and Christine Mitchell for their administrative support. A shout out to Rob (my husband) for his help as “cameraman” during those times I needed a close up. Cheers to you my enthusiastic and clever cooking companions!

I’ve attached some photos of all your handy work so thanks to everyone who sent them to me. Gold stars to the clever bunnies who served theirs with salad!

If you joined us on the night, I'd love to hear any of your comments or suggestions. Please feel free to post them here.

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