Author Archives: Nicholas Pillai

September 2015 Baking and Cooking Classes

French Baguette Class

Saturday September 5th 2.30 to 5.30 

Learn to make two types of French Bread.

You will learn to bake from scratch the French Method with the crusty finish and the American Method which is slightly crusty.

20140324_130841

This is a fully hands on class.

  1. French Baguette
  2. American Baguette

Price Per Person: $90 (Class will commence once there are 6 students)

 

Thosai and Idly Class

Sunday 6th  September 10 to 1pm

Learn to make Indian Breakfast delights. You will learn to make;

20140604_092650

  1. Idly
  2. Thosai
  3. Masala Thosai
  4. Potato Masala
  5. Coconut Chutney

20140512_193019

Price Per Person: $100 (Class will commence once there are 6 students)

This is a hands on class.  Be prepared to work.

 

Curry Puff Class

Sunday 6th  September 2.30 to 5.30

Learn to make two types of our favorite curry puff.

20150809_165023

  1. Malay or Indian Crispy Curry puff Pastry
  2. Rolled Curry Puffs – Curry Puff Pusing
  3. Vegetable Curry Filling

20150809_164842

Price Per Person: $95 (Class will commence once there are 6 students)

 

Carrot Cake

Saturday September 12th 10 to 1 pm

20131122_111823

You will learn: Learn to make one of my favorite cakes

Carrot and Cranberry Cake with Italian Butter Cream and  Coconut

  1. Nutty Carrot and Cranberry cake
  2. Italian Butter Cream

20131116_123758

Price Per Person: $100 (Class will commence once there are six students)

 

High Tea

Saturday September 12th 2.30 to 5.30

I’ve always like a good English High Tea with the little bitsy pieces of sandwiches and warm scones, and something fried and then that piece of cake

You will learn;

  1. Boxing Chicken
  2. Watercress Sandwiches
  3. Cucumber Sandwiches
  4. Devonshire Scones
  5. Early Grey Cupcakes with Honey Meringue

Price Per Person: $120 (Class will commence once there are 5 students)

Rainbow Mille Crepe

Sunday September 13th 10 am to 1 pm

20140712_130224

Learn the art of Mille Crepe, but this time we will do a Rainbow Mille Crepe.

Learn to make Rainbow Mille Crepe from scratch. You will learn to make the crepes, the mille feuille (Cream) and assemble the crepe and take your share home.

20140712_130234

Price Per Person: $100

Class will commence once there are 6 students.  This is a hands on session so please dress comfortably and bring a container.

 

Jelly Mooncake

Sunday September 13th 2.30 to 5.30

Jelly Mooncakes are not too bad. After turning my nose up to it all these years, thinking it was quite blasphemous, I have changed.  You will learn;

??????????????

??????????????

  1. Layered Agar Agar Mooncake
  2. “Salted Egg” and Yam Agar Agar Mooncake

Price Per Person: $95 – Class will commence once there are 6 students)

 

Mooncake Class

Saturday September 19th 2.30

??????????????

??????????????

Learn to make Baked Mooncake and fillings.  You will learn to prepare;

  1. Mooncake Pastry
  2. Homemade Lotus Paste – 2 different fillings
  3. Durian Lotus Paste from scratch

Price Per Person: $120 (Class will commence once there are 6 students)

 

No Coconut Curry Class

Sunday September 20th 2.30 to 5.30

  1. Chicken Devil Curry
  2. Dry Mutton Curry
  3. A Hearty Vegetable Dhall Curry

Price Per Person: $110 (Class will commence once there are six students)

Please bring three containers to take your curries home.

 

Pasta Class

Thursday September 24th 2.30 to 5.30 pm

Learn to make Pasta from scratch.

You will learn;

Cooking with Nicholas 3

  1. Pasta Dough
  2. Asian Style Pesto
  3. Creamy Eggplant Sauce

Price Per Person: $100 (Class will commence once there are 5 students)

Colors of the Rainbow Leopard Print Cake

Friday September 25th 10 am to 1 pm

20150801_124555

A photo was sent to me and I just had to do this cake and the results were fabulous. Even my photographer gasped when we cut the cake.  You will surely love it.  You will learn;

  1. Cake
  2. Buttercream
  3. Patterns and Coloring
  4. Basic Piping
  5. Assembling the cake

Price Per Person: $100 (Class will commence once there are 4 students)

Sweetbread Class

Saturday 26th September 10 to 1pm

These are breads just nice for tea or as a pickerupper.  I am still going to do my coconut rolls simply because I love it. So here goes;

20130610_124321

  1. Rich Coconut Rolls
  2. Monkey Bread

MOnkey Bread

Monkey Bread can be made unsweetened and used as a dip.

Price Per Person: $85 (Class will commence once there are 6 students)

 

Kasutera Cake

Sunday September 27th 2.30 to 5.30

As much as I love buttery cakes, this very old cake from Japan seems to be the rage in a few hotels and top notch bakeries around town.  Let’s make the;

20141005_111059

  1. Nagasaki Castella Cake – a cake from the Portuguese that entered into Japan hundreds of years ago
  2. Matcha Castella Cake

Both have no butter or oil.

Price Per Person: $100 (Class will commence once there are 6 students)

Classes will be held at 70 Road 14/24 Petaling Jaya. 

Please call 016 6827465 or email cookingwithnicholas@gmail.com to book and to make any enquiries. 

Please check my blog www.nicholaspillai.wordpress.com

 

Fees are to be paid once you make a booking, if a class is canceled you will be refunded.  If fees are not paid, your name will be not be placed on the list.

 

 

Salty Spicy Chicken (Uppu Chicken Paratel)

About six or seven years ago I took the train into KL and for some reason I got down at Sentral and took a Taxi to go further into KL…  Till this day I cannot think why but I did it, probably to meet a friend from Australia or perhaps the Netherlands.  I cannot seem to remember.  So I got into this taxi with an old Indian driver and he started talking to me.  I am talkative in taxis, I hate being quiet all through the journey to my destination be it a long or short one gazing into my phone or something like that.  This man was in his 70s, I know he was much older then my father.  He asked me what I did, so I told him and he was quite excited and gave me this recipe.

20150817_082932

His mother used to cook it when he was a kid and his late wife would make it for him and his children who were now working in big places and seldom had time for him.  That is why he drove a taxi to rid his boredom.  This recipe had only Five ingredients;  Chicken pieces, a bowl of cut onions, a bowl of dried chillies, some oil and a bit of salt.  I of course argued it might be rather insipid and boring, but he assured me it would be really nice.  He missed it he told me and he gave me this recipe so I will try it.  Of course it was not a difficult recipe to remember as he did drum it into my head a few times to make sure I didn’t forget.

I got out of the taxi and promised I would try this recipe and he assured me I would be happy.

Well it took me all this time to actually get a chook and the rest of the ingredients but I never forgot the recipe of course.  Yesterday I cooked it for the Assunta Nuns as they have no cook at the moment.  So here goes.   Please note, I added a bit of turmeric just to give it some color, which was quite unnecessary.

Here is the recipe:

20150817_080158

Chicken                                               about 1.8 to 2 kilos – cut into 24 pieces.  You may cut it smaller but I detest having to go through small bones. Marinade the chicken with a little salt and ½ teaspoon of Turmeric.

Onions                                                  4 to 5 large onions cut into segments

Dried Chillies                                      20 or so

Salt                                                        to taste

Oil                                                           ¼ cup

20150817_081131Potatoes                                              3 or 4 – I added this just because I like potatoes.                                                                     Boil till done.

Method:

20150817_075816

  1. Heat Oil and add in onions. Fry the onions till they are slightly translucent.20150817_080003
  2. Add in the dried chillies and fry till the onions are really done. This will ensure the Chillies have enough time to let out its flavor.20150817_080633
  3. Add in the chicken and stir till it is cooked. You might need to add in a bit of water if it is too dry. Fire has to be medium steady.  Fry till chicken is cooked and add in salt.  This took me about 30 minutes or so.  Add in potatoes and cooked for about 10 more minutes.20150817_08254020150817_082603

I was quite shocked with the end result.  It was really nice.  Simple and delicious.  Yus reckoned the potatoes should be fried.  I think she might be right because it somehow didn’t look so nice.

My walking encyclopedia Susheela says it is called Uppu Chicken Paratel.  Uppu meaning Salt.  This dish actually goes well with beer and liquor I am told.

I will be cooking this dish for 120 people next month. Let’s see how they handle this.

So there you go. If you walk in the footsteps of a stranger, you’ll find thing you never knew you never knew..Pocahontas sang that!

August 2015 Baking and Cooking Classes

Spicy Nutty Rolls and Sinful Durian Rolls

August 8th 10 to 1 pm

We’ve always had Cinnamon Rolls and this and that rolls so why not something a little bit more local.  You will learn to make;

  1. Bread Dough
  2. Spicy Nutty Filling
  3. Durian Filling

Price Per Person: $100 (Class will commence once there are 5 students)

Mooncake Class

Saturday August 8th 2.30 to 5.30

Learn to make Baked Mooncake and fillings.  You will learn to prepare;

??????????????

Little Mooncakes

  1. Mooncake Pastry
  2. Homemade Lotus Paste – 2 different fillings
  3. Durian Lotus Paste from scratch

Price Per Person: $120 (Class will commence once there are 6 students)

Jelly Mooncake

Sunday August 9th 10 to 1 pm

Jelly Mooncakes are not too bad. After turning my nose up to it all these years, thinking it was quite blasphemous, I have changed.  You will learn;

20140824_155237[1]

  1. Layered Agar Agar Mooncake
  2. “Salted Egg” and Yam Agar Agar Mooncake

??????????????

20140822_124925

Price Per Person: $95 – Class will commence once there are 6 students)

 

Curry Puff Class

Sunday August 9th 2.30 to 5.30

Learn to make two types of our favorite curry puff.

20130914_164257

  1. Malay or Indian Crispy Curry puff Pastry
  2. Rolled Curry Puffs – Curry Puff Putar
  3. Vegetable Curry Filling

Price Per Person: $95 (Class will commence once there are 6 students)

 Black Forest Cake

Saturday August 15th 10 to 1 pm

I’ve always loved a good old fashioned Black Forest Cake.  And yet wherever I tasted it before it never tasted good because of the lack of ingredients.   So you will learn to make;

  1. Chocolate Sponge
  2. Cherry Filling
  3. Cream Topping
  4. Assembling the cake.

Price Per Person:$100 (Class will commence once there are 6 students)

 

Mutton Curry Bread

Saturday August 15th 2.30 to 5.30

20150731_141545[1]

We’ve made Chicken Curry Bread, We’ve made Chicken Rendang Curry Bread and now let’s try Mutton Curry Bread.  Tender pieces of mutton curried to perfection inside the bread.  Just the gravy alone is truly divine.  And no such thing as mutton smell.

You will learn;

  1. Bread Dough – slightly tweaked to suit the mutton curry
  2. Mutton Curry

Price Per Person: $100 (Class will commence once there are 5 students)

Watermelon Bread

Sunday August 16th 2.30 to 5.30

20150708_124447

A craze in Taiwan.  I will make it with real watermelon juice so there will be no added sugar.  While many may fuss about the coloring. Well use good colors and you won’t have to worry about anything.  You will learn;

  1. Bread Dough for watermelon
  2. Bread Dough for outside –skin and all
  3. Assembling the dough

Each person will get to take their own completed watermelon bread home.

Price Per Person: $75 (Class will commence once there are 6 students)

Nasi Dagang Class

Saturday 22nd August 10 to 1 pm

Learn to make Nasi Dagang and its accompaniments.

You will learn to prepare;

  1. Nasi Dagang
  2. Ayam Percik
  3. Gulai Ikan Tongkol
  4. Sayur Loteh – A wonderful spicy sweet salad

Price Per Person : $110 (Class will commence once there are 6 students)

 

Colors of the Rainbow Leopard Print Cake

20150801_120504

Sunday 23rd August 2.30 to 5.30

20150801_124555

A photo was sent to me and I just had to do this cake and the results were fabulous. Even my photographer gasped when we cut the cake.  You will surely love it.  You will learn;

  1. Cake
  2. Buttercream
  3. Patterns and Coloring
  4. Basic Piping
  5. Assembling the cake

Price Per Person: $100 (Class will commence once there are 4 students)

3D old Fashioned Doll Cake Decorating Class

Saturday August 29th 10 to 1.30 pm

doll cake1

I have been wanting to do this cake for a while now but cannot seem to find my photos.  It is the old fashion 3D doll cake about 25 to 30 cm in height.

Each person will decorate their own doll cake.

This class is opened to my students who have done the Buttercake and Butter icing class as well.

You will learn to assemble you cakes, mix colors and piping techniques.

Come with your creativity in mind.

Please bring your own turntable if you have one.  I will need once weeks’ notice of your attendance and all classes have to be paid upfront.

Price Per Person: $165 (Class will commence once there are 3 students, maximum 5 students in a class)

Borrowed Doll Cake Photo till I am able to take five gorgeous doll photos after class

Borrowed Doll Cake Photo till I am able to take five gorgeous doll photos after class

French Macaron Class

Sunday August 30th

2.30 to 5.30

Learn to make these little morsels that everyone seems to either hate or love.  You will learn the fundamentals of making;

20150425_161118

  1. French Macarons
  2. Chilly Cheese Filling
  3. Salty Green Tea Butter Icing Filling

Price Per Person: $100 (Class will commence once there are 3 students)

 

Japanese Bread

Monday  31st August 10 to 1 pm

This will always be my most favorite bread class.  Hard work but it always pays off in the end.  You will learn;

20150214_165457

  1. Japanese Soft Bread
  2. Cheese and Onion Scrolls
  3. Bread Loaf
  4. Sausage Bread

Price Per Person: $100 (Class will commence once there are 6 students)

 

Puff Pastry

Monday 31st August 2.30 to 5.30

Learn to make puff pastry from scratch.  You will learn;

11188185_797544140340818_6703444884094312691_n (1)

  1. Puff Pastry
  2. Apple Strudel
  3. Spinach and Cheese Puffs
  4. Spicy Tuna Puffs

20150614_172209

Price Per Person: $100 (class will commence once there are six students)  Max 6 students in a class.

 

Classes will be held at 70 Road 14/24 Petaling Jaya. 

Please call 016 6827465 or email cookingwithnicholas@gmail.com to book and to make any enquiries. 

Please check my blog www.nicholaspillai.wordpress.com

 

Fees are to be paid once you make a booking, if a class is canceled you will be refunded.  If fees are not paid, your name will be not be placed on the list.

 

 

It’s Mooncake Time – Let’s make Lotus Paste!

Today I did something I never thought I would do. I made Lotus Paste from scratch because I have a private class coming up and my student wants to learn it from scratch as the country she comes from, well, they don’t sell it like they do here.

So I trotted off to the market and bought all of Ah Leng’s  300 gm Lotus Seeds, while she looked at me suspiciously like I didn’t know what I was getting into or what I was buying.

“This is for mooncake cake,” she exclaimed. I nodded my head, because I was looking at the newly opened box of Russet Potatoes.

“You better ask your mummy,” she went on.  I gave her the look and her staff laughed.  Then she went on to tell them how I bought the wrong things once long ago and was asked to return it and she didn’t want to take it back and my mum came and told her off.  She took back the stuff after that.  I was 8.

This is what I hate about going to the market over here because they all know me since I was a kid and the still think I am a kid.

Ah Leng still thinks the 25 salted eggs bought last year was for my mums Mooncakes. Now what rot is that?  Mum can’t even make a Mooncake!

Anyhow, back to Lotus Paste Preparation.  Now be warned, this is hard work.  I have the aching right arm now to prove it.  So here is my simple recipe for basic Lotus Paste.

Recipe:

300 gm                        Lotus Seed – Skinless

120 to 150 ml              Peanut Oil

200 gm                        Sugar – More if you prefer it or to preserve the paste longer

1 tbsp                          Maltose

Salt a pinch (Optional)

Water

I bought skinless Lotus Seeds because I could not be bothered having to crack them opened but I am told the ones with the skin is tastier.

So here goes my method in Photos.

20150723_123228

Boil the lotus seeds for about 10 to 15 minutes. Please do not look down on my pot. This pot has been around since I was single digits and it was a second hand pot as well bought from some expat.  Serves me well and is the best compared to my Royal Doulton and all.  Once it is time.

20150723_123324

Notice the seeds are still whole. This is where the fun begins.  Cool the seeds down under running water and leave to drain properly.  Next job requires nimble fingers.

20150723_123555

Thank God for Yus nimble fingers. You have to remove this little green shoots because it is rather bitter.  I know.. I tried it just to see if this was true.  Very Bitter!

20150723_123616

20150723_124947

Quite pretty in the orange basket.  So once this is done.  We boil the seeds again for about 45 minutes to an hour.

20150723_124952

Do check for softness. Some of my seeds were softer then the other so you need to check this properly.  Often a time I would pick up something really soft and next minute Yus would pick up something hard.  So do check as food processing it might be a problem.  Drain and leave to cool for about 1/2 hour.

Food Process the seeds little by little.  I used my Vitamix and it made such strange sounds and even had a burning rubber smell so I stopped.  Next time Food Processor.  Make sure it is fine or not you will have to run it through a sieve and that will be messy plus a pain in the you know where.

So here is the food processed Lotus Seeds.

20150723_161557

20150723_162336

Yus had to use her hands to remove the rest as the Vitamix is rather narrow.  Real messy job I have to say.

Now we start to cook the paste.

20150723_162341

Heat the oil on low flame.  I only used a single flame Use only a bit of the oil.  Add in 1/3 cup or so of the sugar once the oil is slightly hot.

20150723_162341

20150723_162401

20150723_162626

Start stirring rather quickly and ensure it does not burn too quickly.  Fire has to be really small if you are a first timer.

20150723_162704

Now even this might be a tad bit dark for some but I decided to go ahead and add in the paste as it was not burning nor emitting any burnt smell.

20150723_162815

Add in the sugar as well and make sure you stir it through properly.  Hold the pan at all times when you are stirring as the wok or pot will move as well.  This is the hard part of preparing the paste.

20150723_163619

20150723_163624

Use a spatula to scrape the sides from time to time.  Stir non stop till it thickens.  Then add in the oil little by little in perhaps four to five batches.

20150723_164211

Please notice there is a bit of oil at the bottom of the pan.  Pour in this amount  four or five times once the paste becomes like this.  Stir till the oil is well mixed and becomes a lump again.

20150723_164427

Once the oil is well mixed, add in the Maltose.  Stir this till it is well mixed.  Make sure there are no bits of maltose within the paste.  Carry on stirring till the paste becomes a dough and doesn’t stick very much.  Don’t forget to use a scrapper from time to time to clean the sides.

20150723_164943

This took roughly about an hour and a bit.  Note too I have a steady flame to work with.  Stirring all the time is a pain, thank God Yus was around to help me with the photo bits.

Do not rush to do this and never do it over a big flame.  I left it to cool and wrapped it up with cling wrap.

Let’s see if I am in the mood to try Pandan Lotus Paste next.

Happy Cooking and don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Biskut Arab or Ghee Cookies

20150718_214135The first time I ate Biskut Arab or Ghee Cookies was when I was invited for Hari Raya to my friend Abdul Rahman’s house.  I remember that day like it was only a few years ago.  Abdul Rahman lived quite faraway from where I lived but I remember he would pray at the mosque in my area which meant he had to leave  his part of town quite early in the morning to reach here in time (didn’t occur to me back then of course).  Thinking now, it was a big sacrifice for him.

So after prayers he would come to my house or I would wait somewhere and we would get on a bus.  I never took buses back then, so it was kind of an adventure for me.  It was so exciting I have to say.

I cannot even remember where he lived, because the bus ride was so exciting and we talked and talked so I really and truly cannot tell you where he lived but I am pretty sure it was like a long house.  Rows and rows of half wooden houses and we would get off the bus and I would plod along with him, through these rows and rows of houses and there his mother Mak Cik, would be there to happily greet me.

And then the cookie trays would come out and of course I have no shame at all, because I love home made cookies.

Long time ago, the Malays always made their cookies differently, it would as my mum would say a Malay Village smell, and Mak Cik’s cookies along with my Aunty Shina’s cookies.  You never get that scent or smell in Malay cookies anymore unless it comes from a village far away.  Only one other person came close and that was my other friend Muhammad Aidil.  His mother and sisters gave me cookies reminisce to the good old days only because he was from a village in Johore. The smell, the scent of each cookie was just indescribable.

I was told a few years ago, this smell was created because all the flour and sugar and anything dried that needed to go into the making of cookies were dried in the sun before the baking took place.   People do not do this nowadays.

So this year my friend Hafiq gives me a recipe book.  He made wonderful Rendang Tok and Peanut Sauce from this book.  And I, made this cookie.  I had to change a few things because somehow it would not come out right if I followed the recipe to a T, so here goes.  The end result was the closest I have ever tasted to Abdul Rahman’s mums Biskut Arab.  Still hers tasted better, probably because no one really bothered about sugar back then.

  • Plain Flour                                           2 cups + ½ cup
  • Ghee                                                    ½ cup
  • Castor Sugar                                       ½ cup
  • Icing Sugar                                          1/3 cup

Method:

1. Dry fry the flour for a few minutes in a non stick pan till it is a light light creamy brown.  Make sure it is on low flame. Leave to cool and Sieve it before use.

2.  Preheat Oven to 170 to 180 C.  Grease two cookie sheets.

20150718_210950

3.  In a bowl, mix in Ghee  with both sugars.  Gradually add in flour 1/2 cup by 1/2 cup till you are able to combine the dough and it is still soft but till in one piece. You may use up all the flour or a little more of less depending on the temperature of the day.

MyCollage_3

4.  Make round balls, place on a greased tray and bake for about 20 minutes.  I always start at the lowest rung and work my way up every 5 minutes or so.

5.  Remove when it is done. Cookies might not be very brown of perhaps it is just me not liking brown cookies. Leave to cool and gently remove from tray. Cookies should melt in your mouth.

6. I place some in the fridge just so it will harden.

Cookies were just divine. sweet though, so you can cut some sugar but do be careful as cutting down too much sugar might affect the texture.

You may modernize these cookies with a bit of Maddons Salt Flakes to kill the sweetness.

All in all I loved it.  It made me think of Mak Cik and Abdul Rahman… and the late Aunty Shina.  By the way Mak Cik also made unforgettable Beriani.

You see food always brings us all together regardless of belief and creed.

Selamat Hari Raya everyone.

July 2015 Cooking and Baking Classes

Sunday July 5th 10 to 1 pm Thosai and Idly Class Learn to make Indian Breakfast delights. You will learn to make;

  1. Idly
  2. Thosai
  3. Masala Thosai
  4. Potato Masala
  5. Coconut Chutney

Price Per Person: $100 (Class will commence once there are 6 students) This is a hands on class.  Be prepared to work.

Sunday July 5th 2.30 to 5.30

Curry Bread

One of my favorite bread classes. This time we will make Chicken Curry Bread with a different curry.   Since it is Hari Raya and all I decided on a Chicken Rendang. You will learn to prepare;

20140730_160653

  1. Bread – Bread just for Curry Bread
  2. Chicken Rendang

Price Per Person: $85 (Class will commence once there are 6 students)

Saturday July 11th 10 to 12.30

Muffin Class

Double Cheese Muffin

Learn to make some quick and easy muffins. Once again, Muffins are not Cupcakes, and Cupcakes are not Muffins. You will learn to make;

  1. Banana Muffins with Streusel Topping
  2. Double Cheese Savory Muffins
  3. Cranberry and Apple Muffins

Price Per Person: $90 (Class will commence once there are 6 students)

Saturday July 11th 2.30 to 5.30

Hawker Favorites Lor Mai Fun

These are some of my favorite Hawker foods.

  1. Lor Mai Fun
  2. Lor Bak – Chicken
  3. Pandan Kuih Kosui

Kueh Koswi Pandan Price Per Person: $95 (Class will commence once there are 6 students)

Sunday July 12th 10 to 1 pm

Chequered Cake

I made this Chequered cake for a private class last month.  And forgot to take a photo. It is fun and easy and somehow it makes everyone excited when you cut it.  So we will bake and decorate;

  1. Orange Cake
  2. Rich Chocolate Butter Cake
  3. Chocolate Butter Cream
  4. Orange Butter Cream

Price Per Person: $100 (Class will commence once there are 4 students)

Sunday July 12th 2.30 to 5.30

French Macarons

Learn to make these little morsels that everyone seems to either hate or love.  You will learn the fundamentals of making; 20150425_161118

  1. French Macarons
  2. Chilly Cheese Filling
  3. Salty Green Tea Butter Icing Filling

Price Per Person: $100 (Class will commence once there are 3 students)

Friday July 17th 10 to 12.30

Buttercake and Butter Icing Class

20150426_160239 Let’s make Old Fashioned Butter Cake and Butter Icing You will also learn to do some basic decoration like spreading icing, piping the sides and covering borders on your own cake. 20150426_160252 This is a hands on session. The old fashion way to make this is by using a spoon.  So we will be doing it the traditional way. Each person takes home their own decorated buttercake.

Price Per Person: $95 (Class will commence once there are 5 students)

Friday July 17th 2.30 to 5.30

Puff Pastry Class

20150614_172209 Learn to make puff pastry from scratch.  You will learn;

  1. Puff Pastry
  2. Apple Strudel
  3. Spinach and Cheese Puffs
  4. Spicy Tuna Puffs

11188185_797544140340818_6703444884094312691_n (1) Price Per Person: $100 (class will commence once there are six students)  Max 6 students in a class.

Saturday July 18th 2.30 to 5.30

Cupcakes

These new cupcakes leave a very different taste to the palate.  Almost never done here, so why not try it.  We often have left over Rosemary and Olive Oil around the house.  Peanut Butter is always there are well and that just leave the Chestnuts which you can buy fully peeled from MBG outlets. So you will learn to bake;

  1. Rosemary and Olive Oil Cupcakes with a Chestnut Puree
  2. Peanut Butter and Jam Cupcakes

Price Per Person: $95 (Class will commence once there are 6 students)

Sunday July 19th 2.30 to 5 pm

Crumble Base Delights

Crumble is an easy and fast pastry where it can be quickly prepared without much skill needed, and it’s uses are numerous.  You will learn to prepare;

  1. Crumble Pastry
  2. Nutella Crumble Slice
  3. Jackfruit and Apple Crumble
  4. Crumble Cake

Price Per Person: $100 (Class will commence once there are 6 students)

Saturday July 25th 2.30 to 5.30

Malaysian Noodle Soup Class

This was part of my Local Café class which I did last year.

  1. Fish Head Bee Hoon
  2. Prawn Mee
  3. Chilly Sambal
  4. 2 types of Stock

Price Per Person: $100 (Class will commence once there are 5 students)

Sunday July 26th 2.30 to 5.30

Cheesecake Class

chocolate peanut butter marbled cheesecake Learn to prepare two easy cheesecakes without fuss and mess.  You will learn;

  1. Marbled Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cheese Cake
  2. Apple Dump Cheesecake

Price Per Person: $95 (Class will commence once there are 6 students)

Classes will be held at 70 Road 14/24 Petaling Jaya.  Please call 016 6827465 or email cookingwithnicholas@gmail.com to book and to make any enquiries.  Please check my blog www.nicholaspillai.wordpress.com  Fees are to be paid once you make a booking, if a class is canceled you will be refunded.  If fees are not paid, your name will be not be placed on the list.

Tormenting a Client – Questions Questions Questions… and why this Foodie does it?

Confused-Figure-with-Question-Marks

This is just a rant… It has happened more times this month then other months. Usually I might get 6 to 8 calls asking for classes to help teach them to cook for their future restaurant.  Some or most have zero cooking experience.  They come from different walks of life, anything from a Hair stylist to Lawyers and even Doctors.  This month to day as of today, I had 12 calls.

The problem with people or clients or should I say potential restaurateurs who call me to teach them to cook, is that they give me orders with no basis.    It is fine because that is what I do,  some will not tell me their motive, some will shoot me with a few dishes, some will give me a list of about three dishes and some will say they want to learn… for some reason Chicken Chop.  That’s it.  What is it for I will ask?  “I want to open a café”.

The conversation will go on..                                                             Man-With-Question-02

Me: What kind of café do you want to open?

Client: Western Café.

Me: So you only want to learn Chicken Chop?

Client: Yes, er maybe Spaghetti.

Me: (further probing) .. Where is your café going to be located?

Client: Penang.

Me: Penang has a lot of good food.  What is going to be special about your restaurant?

Client: I don’t know. Just a few types of food, Chicken Chop and Spaghetti is enough.

Me: Why don’t you email me your needs, also think properly what else you want to serve in your café.  You need a few more things actually, you cannot operate with so few things.

Client: Why cannot?

Me: Have you seen a restaurant or café menu with five or six items?

Client: No..

Me: Don’t  rush, just go and do a proper survey of the area and see what is lacking and fill that void.  Do you know how to do a simple SWOT analysis?

Client: What?  Why do you ask so many questions?

Me: Because you seem unaware and rushing into things.  And setting up a café is not cheap.   I don’t like to see my clients fail.

Client: ok ok I will think..                                                                        man with questions3

Almost 80 percent or even 90 percent of the time, they will never get back to me. Simply because I ask too many questions.

Why do I ask questions?  Because I know for a fact, most people do not check and learn the market they are going to operate in.  They just think about it and try to learn a few things and then possibly open a restaurant and 90 percent of the time.. FAIL!

I also ask questions to make sure we are on the same wavelength. We need to be because this is important as through the course we need to be able to discuss your strategies, your whole food chain in the café, and this means questions.

I ask a lot of questions because we need to develop a two way conversation.  When we cook together in class, we need to question each other more so on the clients side because they are learning.                                                    question chef

So there are lots of reasons why I ask questions.

And being the person who taught them to cook, it actually makes me look bad and worst still I will feel bad if they fail. And I do not like to feel bad!

I more often actually reject people who I do not feel will be right for the industry. And you may think, “How dare he?” “Does he think he is that good to map peoples future?”  Well so far.. knock wood, I have yet to be wrong.  I rather not take your money, teach you, and then let you fail.

Or worst still, take your money, watch you mess up, you open your place, further mess up and I will not hear the end of it with constant phone calls and messages of failing this and that.

And quite a few who I rejected and went off with other people come back to me to clean up the mess.  I do not clean mess.  It is not a good thing for me to do as it will mean I am discrediting the other person.

I could be quite well off earning close to 6 figures a year just by teaching people who want to open restaurants and that doesn’t include my normal classes and my other food activities.  Mind you my fees are not cheap because I know the work involved  and it takes a few hundred hours and the after sale service goes on for months.

The problem is, I develop friendships and relationships with my clients over the few weeks or months when they come to learn that. Their failure will be my failure.

So now you know why I ask a lot of questions!

Now with the trend to do Food Trucks… it gets worst!