This weekend I visited a place that kitchen dreams are made of. Wall mounted coffee machines, shiny touch screen hobbs, heating plates, wok stations… everything the food lover needs to fulfil their
heart’s stomach’s desire!
The Miele experience centre is open for anyone to come and learn more about their products, trust me they really go to town on this, I found out that Miele will even come to your house after you buy an appliance and teach you how to cook like a pro with it, isn’t that cool? Anyway, I was there to test out one of the many cooking classes they run and was invited to sample their very first dim sum & sushi lesson. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to have a go at making my favourite food!
The day started in the coffee bar meeting other classmates over a cup of (Miele, of course) coffee. Among devoted customers (one who was on her fourth cooking class at the centre) I met some lovely folk from the Oxford Times and a fellow blogger. Caffiene fuelled, we headed upstairs to our base for the day.
The experience centre has three cooking rooms. We were in the ‘steam’ room, equipped with their super fancy steam ovens, perfect for making dim sum!
We were all given a pack full of ingredients and recipe instructions for everything we would learn, meaning no notes required. My kinda class. First up was sushi making to ease us in. I’ve made sushi before but not for a while, I was interested to see if I could still do it…
Smoked haddock, Alaskan salmon and a Japanese tuna mix were our fillings among lots of veggies.
Nailed it! Not bad huh? I picked up some top sushi tips:
- Place your sushi nori shiny side down
- Nori wraps have lines on them, these should go lengthways
- Do not overfill your sushi! (It’s hard, I know)
- Leave your rolled sushi for 5 minutes before cutting into portions, to prevent it unwrapping.
Some went for more artistic looking sushi with diagonal slices.
We plated up our creations and sat down together to try our work.
I discovered wasabi mayonaise for the first time and oh wow is it good! Personally I find wasabi far too over powering with sushi, wasabi mayo was completely different- it had that lovely fiery hum but was nice and creamy too. I’ve gotta re-create this one at home!
After lots of self-praise on how good our sushi was (we were a modest bunch) and a good long chat getting to know each other some more we turned our focus to the main event, dim sum! This part of the class had loads of exciting things going on. We learned lots of fantastic marinades for various meats, and were shown fillings galore to put in our dumplings & buns. Once you’re cracked the dough making you’re halfway there, the ingredients used are a little different to bread dough, with wheat & potato starch used in place of regular flour. The bun dough was a dream to handle, very light and silky!
Our buns were filled with savoury and sweet mixtures: aromatic spiced chicken with spring onions, peanut butter cashew balls and a sweet vanilla custard. Adding a teaspoon of filling into the dough you carefully bring the sides up around it and seal. These took 15 minutes to cook in the steam oven until they were big & fluffy.
Onto the dumplings! With this dough, made from wheat starch & water, you can make wontons, gyoza, shumai… so it’s a very useful recipe to know! The key with this dough was to roll it out very thinly, about 1mm thick.
Our filling was spicy chilli beef
Whilst we worked on creating our dumplings, there was the gorgeous smell of sticky Chinese pork belly cooking away.
I was glued to the oven these were steaming away in! I had no idea you could cook belly pork with steam, but the results were really impressive. With the dumplings taking just 4 minutes to cook, we all got sitting around the table with eager empty plates.
For a first attempt at making dim sum I think we did a damn good job! The flavours the chefs had put together for the fillings were really authentic and incredibly tasty, the pork & prawn filling in particular tasted very similar to the kind I’m used to in restaurants. Those ribs as well, my God they were divine, I couldn’t get enough of them! Everything was cooked very quickly and tasted very fresh, the steam oven did a great job of keeping everything moist and flavoursome.
Final course was our dessert buns, served with a fantastic sticky ginger sauce and a not-so-authentic but irresistible chocolate sauce. Heavenly!
At this point it’s safe to say I was ready to roll home with a very happy stomach! I thought the class was brilliant, when I learned it was 6 hours long I thought maybe I would find it laborious but it was a great mix of tutorials, having a go and being able to chill out and socialise with others in the class. I came away feeling like I’d really gained some skills, which I can’t wait to put into practice at home.
Obviously Miele want to showcase their appliances during the sessions, but it wasn’t at all sales-like, we just focused on the food, let the ovens do their thing and they let the results to the talking. I was actually mega impressed by the steam oven and if I had the dollar I’d definitely consider buying one! There’s a whole load of classes if you’re interested in taking one, the patisserie class in particular got a lot of praise.